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Help with first knife

Dec 20, 2005
I'm working on my first knife. I built one from a kit and was hooked. Anyway, it's 3/16" thick 1095. My big questions are these:

How thick should I leave where the edge will be so it doesn't warp during heat treating?

Are there any tricks to a great flat grind, or it is it just patience and practice?

Here's a picture of the blank:


Lastly, has anyone ever used that dipped rubber coating for a handle? Home Depot and Lowe's has it both in a spray can and in a pint can. I thought about drilling some tiny holes or putting some grooves in the tang to help keep it in place. Any thoughts? I envision this as a camp/work knife so it will need to be able to take abuse. I work on radar equipment in the Air Force, so the insulated handle will be helpful from a safety standpoint.

I just wanted to clarify my grinding question. How do I use the platen to my advantage? I have a relatively cheap 4x36 belt grinder to work with until I decide that I want to make more than a couple knives a year. Any tips?

I would advice to make your first knife by hand only. First learn to use a file, get what you want and after that start using a grinder.
Or if you do decide to use the grinder, do the ricasso by hand and the finetuning by hand with a file.
Leave the edge between 1 and 0,5mm thick.

Hello Zcostilla

From looking at your Knife photograph I can see that you have it cut off. And now you need to drill your pin holes and this would be a great time for stamp if you have one. since this is your first knife, heat treat it first and then grind it, in doing so you will not have to worry about warping. But if you have your mind set on doing it before heat treat leave at least 40 thousand thick. The more you practice the better you'll get. Read all the books on knifemaking. And most of the questions will be in the knife books. I hope this will help you out down the road.

Barkes :thumbup:
I wouldn't use the coating, in spite of your concern about safety. What I would use is kraton with pins of micarta. if you carve the outline of the handle into the kraton you will be protected. I did a handle like this many years ago for a similar reason. Set your plunge lines with a chainsaw file and then grind your flats. I would keep your edge between .030 and .040" or just under 1mm.
Hope this helps,