Dave Budd knife course - review

  • Hey Guest, For sale we have Hultafors Outdoor Knives with Firesteel PLEASE LOOK HERE for more information or use the Pay Now button in the sidebar

JakeR

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jan 18, 2004
2,290
4
33
Cardiff
For many years now, I've been threatening to learn how to make a knife. Finally moving back to South Wales in May, into a house with a basement -soon to be workshop - the time was nigh. It was either now or never.

So permission was granted by Household Government sometime back in June ("Why do you want to do a knife making course?") and off I went. Leaving South Wales on Thursday at 6am, arriving at Cheriton Bishop at 8.30am to begin my two-day knife making course with Dave Budd. Easily found the parking spot (test it on Google Street View first), and there he was, bang on time, waiting for me.

A five minute stroll into Dave's woodland, set in beautiful rolling countryside just to the north east of Dartmoor, we arrived in Dave's masterpiece of an off-grid workshop. I was anticipating something slightly more rustic. But Dave's built up an impressive arsenal of tools and machinery, from ancient to super-modern. His cabin is a man cave dedicated to all thing metal, wooden and leather.

Our needs were simple, however. Belt grinder, angle grinder, drill, kiln, and a selection of abrasives.

After niceties, and a bit of gossip, I knew it was the moment to start. Something I was nervous about. Those machines looked menacing. And Dave's hands looked a lot tougher than mine. "Right then," he says, pointing at the chalk-board. "Draw your knife."

S***.

I tried my best to make it look like I hadn't come more or less straight from a nightshift, and had given it some though. I drew this

4e0075801ab839a0461dc7b98a4f3936.jpg


His response was charitable.

"I want a full tang," I said. "And either a full flat or a convex grind." This was the moment Dave and I first bonded over knife talk, over our mutual bewilderment at the omnipresent "scandi" grind. While he wasn't all that keen on the full tang idea: "it's really not needed for strength," I told him I liked it aesthetically and he relented.

So we got to it. Drawing out the rough on a piece of tool steel and angle grinding it, and roughing it on the belt.

fbc04e6b94e423182976e1f8e05bca9b.jpg


Then came roughing out the edge. Dave explained the concept, in detail, gave a tutorial, and then told me to go ahead. "Looks easy enough," I thought. Confident in my ability to impress him. Not to be. It's then that I got an understanding for his mastery on the belt grinder, even though "it's not something I like doing. Much prefer forging," he said. He churned out a precisely ground knife blank, insisting that we don't use a jig so that we develop the skill of doing it by hand and using one's eye. His looked like a masterpiece, mine looked like it had been run over by truck.

I got there, more or less. The unrelenting, unforgiving belt grinder giving me a run for my money. But with some patient step-by-step guidance from Dave and constant questions from me, in the end I was very happy with the result.

That's where the photos dry up a bit. I got too excited and forgot. Missing out on the extensive heat treat process, including Dave expertly crafting me a two-brick forge to take home with me.

The process was clearly explained, including the science, and we went through the three normalising processes, hardening and tempering, leaving us with two heat-treated knives. Both in his kiln and two testers in my two-brick with a plumber's torch.

Out came the knives, and on with the grinding. "You want to get as much done prior to heat treat, but not too much so that you risk warping in heat treat." It all made sense.

7effa2b71899db614290d852654dba0d.jpg


Next angle grinding the tang to lose some weight. The only process I simply couldn't get to grips with. That's Dave carrying it off like a surgeon.

Now onto the handle fitting. Again, lack of photos here, but the process was made clear, with an emphasis on using your eye, not a jig, and the importance of proper sanding (to get a completely smooth finish - Dave doesn't do machining marks- that was made clear). Doing bulk on belt grinder, and finishing by hand.

ac69d33a666ee5e9452a196887977cbd.jpg


a2131bed5127cffd747933490893ac2d.jpg


8b1482898d3f7540d0988058ccc1d9c2.jpg


At each step of the way, just when I thought I could get away with what I'd done, Dave would step in and insist on perfection. Clearly, there were some mistakes that couldn't be rectified: "you're just going to have to live with that," namely a very deep sweep beyond the ricasso which nearly cost me the entire project, plus a couple of other moments. But I was brought back round, and the end product was far better than I had hoped at the beginning. With nice additions like the turquoise quartz.

The joy is, I did it myself. And I've never used power tools. There were small moments of assistance, but the entire project was done with my two hands with Dave guiding each step, as is his teaching style. The result is a great knife, and imparted knowledge which would have taken me years to discover on my own.

And the end product? See below. Mine's the bottom one: flat ground O1, spalted Hawthorn scales with brass pins and turquoise quartz filler.

Two days in the woods making knives interspersed with tea from the Kelly kettle. What a way to spend time. If you're toying with the idea of doing such a course, do it. Dave Budd comes highly recommended.

91f49b38b3efc8a9ce03cc01c4497582.jpg



Enviado desde mi iPhone utilizando Tapatalk
 

Dreadhead

Bushcrafter through and through
a fine tribute to the mans teaching skills. I know all too well when you do something for a living you do it instinctively, when you have to stop and explain how to do it to people, it becomes a whole other task.

Also a fine tribute to skills you perhaps didn't know you had. That knife looks damn good to me, superb work.
 

JakeR

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jan 18, 2004
2,290
4
33
Cardiff
Great writeup!

Confess, you have done this before. Your knife looks almost (99%) as good as Dave's!

The turqoise bit, ow did you make that?

Thanks Janne- there's a reason I've chosen the softly focused wide shot! Up close it's quite clear who's the apprentice in this case.

The turquoise was ground quartz (I think?), which we mixed up in epoxy and then fed down the pins prior to sanding. Once set it sanded off clear. V nice effect.


Enviado desde mi iPhone utilizando Tapatalk
 

Toddy

Mod
Mod
Jan 21, 2005
36,341
2,318
S. Lanarkshire
That's a good write up :D and the knife is a success :cool:

Dave has a good rep; it sounds like it's well earned.

Thank you for taking the time to post about it all; it's appreciated.

M
 

JakeR

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jan 18, 2004
2,290
4
33
Cardiff
a fine tribute to the mans teaching skills. I know all too well when you do something for a living you do it instinctively, when you have to stop and explain how to do it to people, it becomes a whole other task.

Also a fine tribute to skills you perhaps didn't know you had. That knife looks damn good to me, superb work.

Too kind !

I'll perhaps do closeup shots in about 15 years when I've honed the craft a bit... close ups now would betray my beltgrinder skills.




Enviado desde mi iPhone utilizando Tapatalk
 

Dave Budd

Gold Trader
Staff member
Jan 8, 2006
2,809
226
41
Dartmoor (Devon)
www.davebudd.com
Glad to have you in the woods last week Jake:welcome1:

Especially considering that you've never used power tools and don't have a background in anything that develops the sort of motor skills needed for jig free makings, I would say you didn't just do well but amazingly well! The machines are scary and you are right to treat them with the respect that they deserve (most of them will give you life changing injuries in a split second!). My hands are indeed quite tough, but they are also covered in scars :rolleyes:

Materials used here: O1 toolsteel, hawthorn from my woods (mine was clean and Jake's was fairly well spalted), crushed turquoise filled brass tubes, and epoxy of course. The turquoise is one of a number of similar crushed/powdered stones that are often used by wood turners for coloured accents. It's a nice and quick way of making a decorative pin without the need to find pieces of wire that telescope into tube for mosaics (I haven't done any for years, so couldn't lay my hands on much at short notice)

When people come to learn from me, if they intend to continue afterwards, I like to teach them with whatever tools they have or are intending to have. In Jake's case, he is unlikely to be able to set up a forge in his basement, but will likely be grinding blades instead. I think this was probably only about the third or fourth time I've been asked to teach a stock removal course. Maybe I should offer it as a standard option sometime? I have enough grinders to do that now.

Anyway. a few more pictures for you all. Showing Jake's prowess and comfort with the tools of the trade! :cool:


grinding the blade. I generally do all bevels after heat treating, that way I don't have to worry about warpage or decarb; but I wanted Jake to get some practice before it became critical.
jake9 by buddknives, on Flickr

shaping the handle. splitting his time between one of my Ali grinders (downland engineering) and this Baliegh (a radius master clone).
jake6 by buddknives, on Flickr

Sanding the handle to smooth perfection
jake5 by buddknives, on Flickr

and here he is. Suitably pleased with himself
jake1 by buddknives, on Flickr
 

JakeR

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jan 18, 2004
2,290
4
33
Cardiff
Glad to have you in the woods last week Jake:welcome1:

Especially considering that you've never used power tools and don't have a background in anything that develops the sort of motor skills needed for jig free makings, I would say you didn't just do well but amazingly well! The machines are scary and you are right to treat them with the respect that they deserve (most of them will give you life changing injuries in a split second!). My hands are indeed quite tough, but they are also covered in scars :rolleyes:

Materials used here: O1 toolsteel, hawthorn from my woods (mine was clean and Jake's was fairly well spalted), crushed turquoise filled brass tubes, and epoxy of course. The turquoise is one of a number of similar crushed/powdered stones that are often used by wood turners for coloured accents. It's a nice and quick way of making a decorative pin without the need to find pieces of wire that telescope into tube for mosaics (I haven't done any for years, so couldn't lay my hands on much at short notice)

When people come to learn from me, if they intend to continue afterwards, I like to teach them with whatever tools they have or are intending to have. In Jake's case, he is unlikely to be able to set up a forge in his basement, but will likely be grinding blades instead. I think this was probably only about the third or fourth time I've been asked to teach a stock removal course. Maybe I should offer it as a standard option sometime? I have enough grinders to do that now.

Anyway. a few more pictures for you all. Showing Jake's prowess and comfort with the tools of the trade! :cool:


grinding the blade. I generally do all bevels after heat treating, that way I don't have to worry about warpage or decarb; but I wanted Jake to get some practice before it became critical.
jake9 by buddknives, on Flickr

shaping the handle. splitting his time between one of my Ali grinders (downland engineering) and this Baliegh (a radius master clone).
jake6 by buddknives, on Flickr

Sanding the handle to smooth perfection
jake5 by buddknives, on Flickr

and here he is. Suitably pleased with himself
jake1 by buddknives, on Flickr

Too charitable as always!

Dave you should certainly offer this specific course as standard. I know you prefer forging, but there's a lot to be said for stock removal, and it's more accessible for people.

Another thing which I may not have mentioned, the time and money saved by a beginner doing a course like this will pay dividends in the long run. There are lots of expensive mistakes just waiting to be made. It would have taken me years to learn some of the basic lessons by trial and error, and I've precluded that with two days in the woods.

Next up for me will be the forge course. I may have to build up some brownie points first.....




Enviado desde mi iPhone utilizando Tapatalk
 

brancho

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Feb 20, 2007
3,647
410
53
Whitehaven Cumbria
Nice work to you both.
I recommend one Dave's forging courses I enjoyed my day forging with Dave.



Sent from my SM-T580 using Tapatalk
 

JakeR

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jan 18, 2004
2,290
4
33
Cardiff
Question is Jake, did you strop the knife on your starky? ;)

Ha! Stew- very well remembered....

....and of course

I'd thought that fun fact had long since disappeared from collective BCUK memory!


Enviado desde mi iPhone utilizando Tapatalk
 

Hultafors Outdoor knife for Sale

We have a a number of Hultafors Outdoor Knives with Firesteels for sale.

You can see more details here in this thread OUTDOOR KNIVES The price is £27 posted to the UK. Pay via the paypal button below.