What do you think of knife #4?

Nov 19, 2004
Hey guys I want your opinion on knife #4. Negative or positive please. When I ask anyone I know, they always say "Man that looks great" but I want some real criticism. I do apologize for the poor photos but as I said before my digital camera really stinks. Please give it to me strait good or bad.

Drop point skinner
Blade 4" 01 steel hardened to hc 59 full tang
BRASS hardware (remember I started the thread on brass)
9" overall

I am not completely finished with it yet because I still have a little polishing to do yet but if you can tell any thing by the photos let me know.


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Mar 29, 2002
From what I can see of it it looks good to me, including the brass furniture.



Gold Member
Oct 6, 2000
First off, "Welcome to Bladeforums!!" I'm glad to see you aboard. And if this is only knife #4 for you, you're knifemaking efforts are doing well IMHO.

Second off, I'm not a maker so my comments can be considered as coming from the Peanut Gallery. I'm just a knife knut who gets impoverished collecting them, who uses them daily, studies them, and thinks about them way too much. :rolleyes: All comments below are just my very subjective opinions and first impressions of the knife based on quick perusal. They're worth what you paid for them. ;) :D

Good points I see in the knife:
- the fit & finish look good (no gaps between materials or ridges/gouges/uneveness caused by an unsteady hand while working)
- I like the materials choice, the brass complements the wood well
- nice wide blade (personal preference of mine) which allows shallow primary bevel grind angles to be made. These in turn can yield a very thin shoulder at the top of the secondary grind --> greater slicing efficiency.
- the handle looks like it is really comfortable :cool:
- 4" is a handy size blade IME, small & handy enough to actually keep on the belt for EDC

Things I'd change on the knife (as if I were a maker :rolleyes: ):
- the handle looks visually heavy to me somehow. I think it's because the brass is the same thickness at both the front of the handle and the pommel. My eye somehow wants the pommel to be smaller than the front brass. Or maybe the brass overall to be thinner (i.e. make the wood a larger percentage of the total handle length).
- Another solution might be to make the joins between the wood and brass at a forward-canted angle to add flow to the line of the handle. The join lines looked to be pretty much at a right-angle to the tang to me. This has a tendency to visually either stop or slow the viewer's eye as it travels along the handle.
- in spite of having some contours in the mid-section of the handle, the pommel strikes me as being really round in shape. Almost too starkly mechanically-symmetrical-looking compared to the organic undulations in the wood in front of it. Again, a forward-canted join line would create a bit of asymetrical visual tension in the pommel shape, which would eliminate the relative rigidity of its current shape/weight configuration.

Questions I have on the knife:
- How wide is the blade on the knife (edge-to-spine dimension)? In the picture it looks like 2"+.
- I was wondering why the deepest finger-groove is in the middle of the handle? That is the location where there is traditionally an outward swelling of the handle to fill the fisted hand of the user. The deep finger-groove is an inversion of that configuration, so it's got me wondering (myself being a person curious about the "why?" behind things).

I look forward to your further knifemaking efforts. Keep the good work coming!
Dec 7, 2000
It takes real huevos to try double bolsters - and good work to pull it off. Well done! My question is about the grind. It looks like one of two things is going on: Either the grind is very short, like 1/4", or the edge is quite thick leaving a wide secondary bevel. Either way I would recommend thinning the blade a lot more. This is assuming I'm interpreting the photos correctly, which I won't swear to. ;) Thanks for sharing and keep up the good work!
Oct 30, 2004
Real criticism: second finger groove looks quite deep on 2nd pic (but i haven't handled the nife so i don't know whether it improves the feel in hand or not, it's just a visual nit-pick). Other than that looks nice but like you said, the quality oif the first pic (which shows the entire knife) is bad. If that depth of finger groove works out i'm all for it though. Since this is a skinner the blade is shorter,this is understandable (i'm a big favourite of just slightly longer blades). There you go, blunt as a shovel :D

FWIW, I was once told that we (overseas) guys are way more blunt in criticism/praise than you (US) guys :) As in, we don't praise stuff we don't like and what we don't criticize must be damn good :D
Sep 11, 2002
Looks like a good knife, especially since it's only your fourth. Now take what you've learned and make number five.
Nov 25, 2000
The design looks comfortable. The probem with asking for critiques on your knives is, what you are usually getting is design choices.

For example, they will say, make your handle a little xxx, and your blade a little less xxx, etc. That is just someones opinion of how it should look, and instead of getting tips on building a better blade, you get instructions on how to build a knife like someone else does.:eek: ;)

The ideas are, hopefully yours, and you will change them many times in the future, until you really like them. That just takes time, and experience, and looking at every knife publication, or anything else that will give you design ideas.

That said, you're not finishing your blades properly before you start installing bolsters/guards/handles.
You are leaving coarse grit scratches in the finish, and moving on to another step. Stay with one thing until it's right.
You are also, IMO, leaving the blade edge way too thick, and then going for some thick barbarian appleseed edge to finish it off rapidly.
Grind your blades thinner, leaving space after each grit to accomodate the next finer grit, till by the time you are using your finish belts, or whatever you use, they will be ready for the edge.
Don't rush to complete your knife. Adding bolsters, and a handle on an unfinished blade is very noticeable. Take your time on each step, and do them right.
What you are doing is not just you, it happens to most new makers, so I'm not singling you out for criticism, just pointing out some apparent problems.

The second problem with critiquing is, it can hurt peoples feelings, and most makers, myself included, hesitate to do that.
I hope you take this at face value, and not a personal insult.:D
Oct 16, 2004
yes i agree with you totaly friends and famialy say that it is the coolest knife they have ever seen but they never seem to see the grinding falts and mistakes :(

next time you make a knife try to clean up the part right infront of the gard because u will never be able to polish gring majorly again.( that was one of my problems. when i got a handle done i stuck it on a not quite done knife and thus ruined the knife. :grumpy:
i also like larger knives but it looks like a good knive to cary on a daily basis.
looking good for #4 mine were crap :barf:
Nov 24, 1999

Lets see if this helps any :D

Looks like your off to a pretty good start to me :)

As far as what to work on....I think the edge does look pretty thick, but at least you rounded it off to a nice convex. The front edge of the front bolsters looks like it may be a little sharp, but I'd have to handle it to really know.
Overall I'd say you have a very serviceable knife there and are off to a fine start, keep at it :cool:
Nov 29, 2000
Ditto Mike Hull's comments..... Your doing great, the fun is all in your own take on knifemaking. As time goes on, you will "grow" , and..... it'll still be fun!!! Believe me, everyone that's posted to you here has all the best wishes and intentions. We all want you and other people just starting out to keep making knives and ... enjoying it!! Numbers (of enthusiasts) are the strength in any fancy.

regards, mitch
Nov 19, 2004
I really appreciate all the comments. The blade tapers a little more than it appears in the photo due to the light, but I agree it needs to be thinner. I made the blade thick so it could with stand dejointing and deboning a deer. The guard does look sharp in the photo but actually it tapers to about a 1/16 flat edge. The grind marks just above the guard is my fault because when I drilled the brass for the pins I was off about 1/8 of an inch and I didnt see them because when I soldered the joints I did it upside down with the blade submerged in water. The extra solder hid it but I should have checked it when I test fit the brass. Guess I got a little to excited to take my time. :rolleyes: The handle is pretty big and round because in the winter time (which is when most hunting seasons open around here) I usually wear gloves because of the cold. The second finger indention is a little deeper because I noticed when I skin a critter I use my thumb and index finger to manipulate the the blade while my middle finger and lower fingers remain pretty much stationary.

But again all I can say is thanks for the critique and guess who is getting this for a Christmas present. Thats right some of those family members who seem so easy to please. :p

In the knife making world I am pretty much a child so I appreciate all you old folks opinions. :D :D Hopefully my next one will look alot better and I hope to get a new camera for Christmas so the photo's will be better too.
Dec 4, 2001
Looks pretty good, though a little chunky to me, but thats just me. I(once again :( ) wish my fourth looked nearly that good!
Nov 25, 2000
Nomoemuny said:
................... so I appreciate all you old folks opinions. :D :D Hopefully my next one will look alot better and I hope to get a new camera for Christmas so the photo's will be better too.
Alright, now you're getting personal !;)

Yes, your knives will improve with every one you do. Use every mistake as a learning tool, and most of all, learn patience. A good knifemaker has to have that.
If you make a mistake, don't berate yourself.
Say that you did something stupid, not that you are stupid.

Grinding good blades is a matter of experience more than anything. Nothing will replace, or hurry that process.
If you don't seem to be making progress after a bit, don't worry, that will pass.
It's just a hill you climb on your way to excellence.

I look forward to seeing your future knives.:D