These are the instructions I use to get someone started with a profiled stainless steel knife blank. I thought there might be those who could use the tutorial and pointers. Some details are specific to a particular knife project, but the info is universal. You can start with a bar of any type of steel and shape it to the knife profile you want. 1084 is a good starter carbon steel, and CPM-154 is a good starter stainless steel.
Files needed are a 10-12" mill bastard (or a magic-cut), and a 10" second cut file. A finishing file is nice, but not necessary. Here is a great file and filing tutorial - http://www.appropedia.org/Filing_Metal
As to the paper, use wet-or-dry metal working paper in grits from 100 to as high as you wish. Most folks use it in steps of roughly doubling the grit. A good set would be, 100/220/400/800/1000/1500/2000/2500. Buy the best paper available. 3M or RhynoWet are both good. I am posting this in two parts.
I have preformed the knife shape to your template.The handle scales will be rough shaped and drilled to accept the Corby bolts ( this will ship after HT). When you get the knife, unscrew the bolts and remove the handles. Take a look at how things fit for reassembly later.
Let's get the names of all the parts clear.
The end of the handle is called the BUTT.
The two pieces of wood are called the SCALES.
The attachments for the scales are called RIVETS.The type of rivets I am supplying are called CORBY BOLTS.
The flat area directly in front of the handle is called the RICASSO, and is the space between the end of the bevels/cutting edge and the handle.
Any inward curve or indentation at the ricasso area or ricasso end of the handle is called a CHOIL.
The little rounded notch at the end of the sharpened edge ( at the ricasso) is called a SPANISH NOTCH
The top of the blade is the SPINE.
the cutting part is the EDGE.
The end of the cutting edge is the PLUNGE LINE.
The taper from spine to edge is the BEVEL.
The taper from the ricasso to the tip ( looking down on the spine) is called DISTAL TAPER.
The point is the TIP.
Work area and procedures:
Find a place where you can safely work on the knife and have room to move. A picnic table outside will work, or any small work surface in the garage. Don't use the kitchen table or the resident cook may become upset with you.
If possible, screw or clamp a strong piece of wood so about 10 inches sticks out from the corner of the work table. This is the sanding arm. A piece of 2X4 will work. The knife is clamped/screwed to the board, with the edge just off the wood, to allow sanding and filing.
File with smooth strokes in one direction only. Never file in a back and forth motion - it will ruin the file. The files I sent are new and from medium to fine. They should be fine for working on this knife. When sanding, cut the paper into strips, or fold it, and use a six inch long block of hardwood as a backing block.I cut 8X2" strips and use a heavy rubber band to hold the ends on the block. Get a small plastic tub or something that will hold about a quart of water for when you do the wet sanding. You will dip the block and paper in the water. Sand in one direction strokes. Most sanding should start at the ricasso and progress toward the tip. The initial sanding can be perpendicular to the blade ( spine to edge) but the finer sanding should always be parallel to the blade ( ricasso to tip). When changing grits in the coarse to fine range ( 50 to 400 grit) change the angle of each grit so you can tell the old sanding lines from the new ones. Don't move to a finer grit until all the scratch lines from the last one are gone. It is very hard to get them out later. They have a nasty habit of showing up again as you get to the fine grits. If you see a deeper scratch.....stop....and go back at least one grit until the scratch is gone....then proceed back up the sanding steps. Skipping grit sizes is not going to speed things up. Progress from the coarse grit to 400-800 for the pre-HT sanding. In final finish, the finer the grit, the better the blade looks. The rule of thumb is to double the grit size ( more or less) each grit change. That would roughly be 100,200,400,800,1000,1500,2000,4000,8000. When doing the final sanding many people sand dry to 800, then wet sand to 8000. With the 3M polishing papers ( the colored pack) wet sanding is not as necessary, but works very well if you go that route. wet sanding will give you a brighter and shinier final finish. Save the 3M papers for final finishing after the HT. They are super for getting the handle sanded and polished. When wet sanding, clean off the blade, the block, and change the water in the tub at each grit change. BTW, putting a 1/2 teaspoon of dish soap in the quart of water makes it sand better.
Mark the blade tang with a marker where the handle ends at the ricasso. When working on a blade, don't sand or file any of the metal that will be under the handle scales, or the wood may not sit flush with the tang when reassembled. This is a common error, and often shows as a little space where the handle comes down to the ricasso. Avoiding it now is how to keep from having to deal with it when you start to assemble the knife and discover that the ricasso is curved up under the handle a bit. By marking the handle area, and not doing any sanding/filing there, you will assure that the area is still flat when you finish the knife after heat treatment. Some folks actually tape this area with masking tape ( the blue painters tape is what I use), to make it clear that there is to be no work done there. That is a good procedure to learn. I often tape any part of a knife that I am not currently working on ( the handle area when doing the bevels, the blade when working on the handle, etc.)
Decide how you want the blade to be beveled ,and where the plunge line should be. For this blade, I suggest a full bevel - from edge to spine - and the plunge line about 3/8" to 1/2" in front of the handle. ( I pre-cut the plunge line)
Screw or clamp the blade to the board. File the bevels in slowly. take a little off at a time, easing up on the final shape. Flip the blade and work the other side regularly, allowing the shape to form from both sides. Don't try to do one side and then the other. That takes a lot of experience, and gives many old smiths trouble.
Stop each step before it is fully to the point you want. Look it over carefully before taking the final strokes of the file. It is easy to take a little more metal off later, or to go back and change the shape, but impossible to put any metal back on once it is filed away. Also, don't file the bevels to a sharp edge. This is one of the most common errors. Leave the edge a fairly wide flat surface. About the thickness of a nickel in the filing stage (.050-.060), and the thickness of a dime after sanding before HT (.030-.040). Always remember that the next step will take off some more metal. I suggest filing to 80% shape, sanding to 90-95% shape, HT, then final sanding to shape, and the last step after the handle is assembled is sharpening the edge secondary bevel and sharpening.
OK, get filing:
When the bevel looks good, and you are happy with the plunge lines, it is time to start sanding. Sanding is where the blade shape takes on the final look. It goes fast in the coarse stages, and slower in the fine ones. Use even firm pressure on the sanding block. Avoid using a piece of folded up sandpaper and your fingers. You can easily make dips and waves in the blade that will show up after the final grits like a fun house mirror. Grits below 400 should be done on a backing block and applied just like they were a file. Finer grits don't gouge the metal as much and can be worked without a block if needed, but the block is your friend if you want straight and flat bevels.
Once the filing is done, you can remove the tape from the tang area, but be careful that any sanding done at the ricasso still leaves the tang flat.The tang does not need to be sanded smooth, and bonds better with a rougher surface. Initially,a few strokes of the file to assure it is flat is all that is needed.The best way to avoid the ricasso dips is to flat sand the tang and ricasso area together with the paper laying down on a smooth and flat surface, and moving the knife over it in smooth strokes. Sand the tang/ricasso to 200 grit, then gently sand the ricasso area to 400. Now, you can proceed to the blade bevels without much risk of rounding the ricasso up under the handle. When the entire blade is sanded to 400-800 ( except the tang) and all surfaces are scratch free, the blade is ready for HT. Drill all holes in the tang before the HT. You will really hate yourself if you don't. Also, the holes should be larger than the rivets/bolts used, so for an 1/8" pin, drill a 3/16" hole;3/16" -drill 1/4";etc. Too large isn't a problem....too small is a big problem later on after the blade is hardened.
When the blade is sanded to 400 and all is well, it is time for the heat treatment. This is where the soft (relatively) pearlitic steel is going to be changed into hard martensite. This steel is ATS-34. The blade needs more than just getting it hot and quickly cooling it off if you want a superior blade. It will be heated to 1900F and held there for 30 minutes, then plate quenched to cool and remain straight. After that it will receive two temper cycles at 400F
I will send you a new email with all the HT information and a short metallurgy class later. When it is ready for HT I will do it, or you can have someone else do it . You won't be able to do it yourself.
Please feel free to ask me any questions while working on the blade.If you can take photos of the progress, do so by all means. They will help me see what you are doing, and will be useful to you when you post the "My new knife" thread.
Take your time. Spending a few more hours/days/weeks on the blade will result in a far better finished product than trying to rush it out in a single day/weekend.
Work a while, take a break, and when you come back ,examine the progress before you start back up. You may see some area that needs attention that you would have gone right past.