Northcoast knives

Discussion in 'Wilderness & Survival Skills' started by shotgunner11, Aug 11, 2006.

  1. shotgunner11


    Dec 17, 2005
    I've been looking alot at diffrent custom knives from a bunch of makers like O'Hare, Bill May and a few others for use as an all-around fixed blade to use for general woods bumming duties and "bushcraft" and while their all very nice, I'm afraid if I pay a few hundred bucks for them, I'll be reluctant to really use them.

    The other day, in my endless search for decent quality blade blanks (read "not 440c") I stumbled onto Northcoast knives:

    I picked up a Knockabout II to make up the afore mentioned all purpose knife. It looks like a decent blade from the specs, good size, AUS-8, nice high grind.

    I also ordered their carbon steel Mora blade so I can see what all the fuss is about:D . I've been thinking about a Mora 2k but I just hate plastic and really like carbon steel.

    With all the money I saved, I'm going to pick up a new drill press so it won't look like a 4 year old put the scales on.

    What do ya think, did I goof?
  2. coote


    Apr 3, 2006
    You didn't goof in my opinion. You made a sensible choice.

    If you are really into an art form or whatever... or because you collect them like some folks collect stamps or coins, then maybe it is good to get some of the "classy" ones.

    But all you need is a reliable sharp edge. A knife costing 20 times as much as what you purchased isn't going to be 20 times as versatile (or sharp etc), and it isn't going to increase your bushcraft ability.

    It is a heck of a lot better to own a drill press and to do the work yourself.

    I like the look of many of the upmarket knives, but I don't own one even though I may fondle them in my mind. Yet I probably carry and use a knife more than maybe 90% of of the folks in my area. I have some cheap folders that can fall out of my pocket and I won't cry myself to sleep, and I have a few home-made knives that serve me well. I also have some purchased knives that I like a lot.

    Once you've fitted the scales and finished the current project, maybe you'd like to try cutting up a saw blade and making a knife from that just for fun. A buddy of mine makes some very nice knives from discarded masonry cut-off saws. I have used all sorts of saws. Sometimes the steel is quite soft...after all you can use a file to easily sharpen many of the old wood saws... but they still do a good job.

    But it is easy to fall in love with all sorts of knives. It's a matter of whatever strops your blade.
  3. shotgunner11


    Dec 17, 2005
    I remember seeing some of your homemade blades in another thread and wanting to try out the sawblade thing.

    How do you go about not ruining the temper while cutting? I cut a machete down a few years ago to make a big belt knife and the area along the edge that I cut overheated and got far too soft for my liking.
  4. Leatherface


    Dec 3, 2005
    Northcoast knives is good people..I have made several purchases from them and will do so again...Prolly

    I dont know how coote does it, and I dont presume to answer for him but here is how I did a mod on several knives that I wanted to change there look into a more Nessymuck style, till I got tired of doing that and just made my own Nessy


    First thing ya need...

    Dremel w/ flex arm attachment

    3-4 of those heavy duty cutoff wheels

    A nice garbage can lid or something like it

    A small quantity of water

    A glass of warm water with dishsoap mixed in (frothy)

    On the blade ya need to mark a line where you are going to make your cut...If ya got a scribe this is where ya wanna use it

    Put the blade in the lid with the water...make sure it lightly covers the spot that you are going to cut

    Very lightly start cutting with the dremel across the line you made..

    Make very light cuts across the scribe line

    Did I mention that you need to make light cuts?? :)

    The water in the pan should keep the knife from getting anywhere NEAR hot enough to mess up the HT

    When ya need to add some water/soap mix to the pan AND you can dip the knife into the glass just to make sure...

    After you are done, just file it smooth with a file

    And go and sin no more!!

    Try it...I did a mod on a Tamontina machete thingy for a bud and it works fine...Several kitchen knives (Ontario skinners) also have recieved the same treatment with no lose of performance

    PM me if ya got some quesitions
  5. shotgunner11


    Dec 17, 2005
    AAAAHHHHH, cutting while IN the water. Never tried that. I tried freezing the blade into a block of ice but that never worked out and I tried dipping into water every few min. but that was also less than sucessful.

    Thanks for the tip.
  6. coote


    Apr 3, 2006
    One of the original ways that I cut through a saw blade was to clamp it tightly in a large engineers vice, then shear it off with a cold chisel. The chisel is rested against the top of the vice and it is hammered against the blade, starting at one end of the saw blade. The metal is fairly jagged at the cut, and it may bend a bit. If it is particularly hard it may shatter. Anyway you should wear safety goggles doing anything like this.

    I have also cut it off by using a cut-off disk in a hand-held disk grinder. You have to be careful doing this because sometimes the disk will grab in the cut...and this can result in a shattered disk or a similar disaster. If you dont let the disk go too far through the blade you are cutting you are less likely to get a grab. The steel does heat up, but the heat line may travel a smaller distance than you may think. The small hot area is then ground away (carefully) when you are grinding the blade to shape (preferably on your bench grinder using a moderately coarse stone). If you have a nice cut-off disk and use it carefully you may be surprised at how cool the steel stays.

    The temper of most steels in my experience may be harmed by overheating, a few types may not.

    When I worked in an engineering shop, I once cut up a big bit of old bandsaw blade that I had begged from a sawmill. I used a plasma cutter to cut it up into workable strips that I could turn into knives or broadhead arrow points. The plasma cutter seems to put a lot less heat into the metal compared to the traditional oxy-acetylene cutting torch. Sure, the metal alongside the cut was discoloured by the heat, but it was only a very narrow strip that got ground away when I made a knife blade. Perhaps you could get a local engineering works to cut up a blade for you. Some of them may even risk cutting a woodsaw blade in a metal-cutting guillotine (especially if the foreman isn't watching).

    When I grind a knife blade into shape I have a big bucket of water nearby. I will take a few grinds then dip it in the bucket. If the metal starts to discolor as you are grinding it then you have probably gotten it too hot. It doesn't matter if the edge of the tang portion...or the back of the blade overheats a bit. The thing you have to be particularly careful of is the point of the blade. Because it doesn't have much metal surrounding it to carry the heat away it can overheat in an instant.

    I believe that with carbon steels (not necessarily stainless - although I don't know) you have to see heat discoloration before there is enough heat gone into the metal to harm it. If you look up a temperature chart for tempering, you will see that things get fairly hot before significant changes take place. If your knife reaches the temperature of boiling water, it is still ok...but the heat can build up quickly from here so be careful.

    Don't panic too much if you inadvertantly overheat part of a blade. When the blade is almost finished you can try filing the edge, you may not even notice a difference. And when you consider that some knives were made from copper, bronze or plain iron... chances are the alloying elements in some modern steels will still give you a tougher blade irrespective of a soft temper.

    Sometimes it may be simpler to forget about harming the temper ....and then just re-harden and temper the blade afterwards.

    Sometimes some saw blades will be too hard to drill through for the handle rivets. So you can anneal the steel by heating it to a dull red and allowing it to cool slowly by covering it in fine wood ash. I have drilled through hard steel by grinding a sharp edge on a tungsten carbide tipped masonry drill bit. One of these drills should be rotated quite slowly if your drill press allows it. And you have to be particularly careful when the drill bit is breaking through the metal because it can grab at this point and maybe shatter the tungsten tip of the drill bit. I like to lubricate my drill bits when drilling tough steel...I have used vegetable oil, although there are commercial lubricants that probably work better.

    Of course if you have a hard blade blank that you don't want to re-harden and you cant drill holes in it, you can always make a spike-tanged knife and glue it into a hole in a handle. These may be stronger than you think, especially if the tang doesn't have any sharp corners or edges where it joins on to the blade. I recall reading about some knives that were made in some primitive situation where plastic was melted and used as the glue to hold the tang in the handle. But two-part epoxy is a good choice.

    There is quite a lot of good information around on hardening and tempering (and knifemaking in general).

    Some steel should not be quenched in is too rapid and may cause cracking (car spring steel may be in this category). These alloys should be quenched in oil... and vegetable oil is a nice clean option. Of course the oil will often flare as you thrust hot metal into it, so be careful.
  7. shotgunner11


    Dec 17, 2005
    Thats a wealth of info for a guy like me.

    Thanks for your time Coote, thats alot of typing.
  8. coote


    Apr 3, 2006
    You are most welcome Shotgunner11. I love sharing stuff I am enthusiastic about, I enjoy writing (a lot of the time), and I can touch type (with the letter keys anyway).
  9. shotgunner11


    Dec 17, 2005
    Just gotta throw out a good word for Northcoast, I ordered on friday and noted that the website said they were closed on wed, thurs and fri so had little hope of fast shipping.

    Well, Just got my package, on monday. That's the fastest shipping I've ever had.

    The blades I ordered are of the utmost quality too boot. The Puukko is scary sharp right out of the box, leg shaving, newsprint slicing sharp.

    I am very impressed and would reccomend them to anyone.
  10. Mendel1941


    Feb 23, 2019
    As a new forum member I would like to know Northcoast knife's address.
  11. Mikel_24


    Sep 19, 2007
    Did you check the website link in the first post?

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