File knife

DaveBromley

Full Member
May 17, 2010
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Hey guys

Im working myself up to making my first knife, I've decided to aneal an old sheffield file and go down that route. I will be using ONLY hand tools (not by choice but when i asked SWMBO about getting a grinder the air turned blue!!) so does anyone have any tips or tricks that will make my life easier and/or result in a better blade in the end??

Dave
 

Peter_t

Native
Oct 13, 2007
1,353
1
East Sussex
its not so bad, iv made (havn't got round to finishing) a file knife and as long as you aneal it well and have a good sharp file the work isn't too hard. i just need to temper mine, one day... lol

make a big fire with dry wood and chuck it in when it gets going and leave it a day or so untill the ashes are completely cold. i did mine at work in a bonfire, ok it wasn't dry wood but it was VERY hot.


pete
 
I have made 3 file knives now. Annealed in my BBQ and left overnight to cool. Hardened in the bbq with a hairdryer to boost the heat and tempered in my gas oven! It does take a quite a bit of filing by hand to shape them but I enjoyed the effort. When I get a bit of spare cash I am going to buy a pre-made knife blank for my next project.
Get yourself a quality b @stard file to do the most of the hard work and a finer file to get a smoother finish once the rough material removal is done. Continue to smooth finish with differing grades of wet and dry paper.
 

Everything Mac

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Nov 30, 2009
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Yeah - a really good rough file will make life easier.

are you able to do any forging or is this a proper hand tools only jobbie?
 

DaveBromley

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May 17, 2010
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handtools only for the moment, the Mrs is sure i'm going to set myself on fire so its as much to prove i won't than to make a knife lol. Once i've done this with no accidents (touches wood) then i want to move onto my own forge etc

Dave
 

ged

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
handtools only for the moment, the Mrs is sure i'm going to set myself on fire so its as much to prove i won't than to make a knife lol. Once i've done this with no accidents (touches wood) then i want to move onto my own forge etc

I haven't any tips mate but I can sympathise on the grinder request!

I do have some tips. :)

Grinding wheels are amongst the most dangerous things in the workshop, so people are right to be cautious. At work, the law says that you must be suitably trained to use them and work on them but at home there are no such regulations which is in my view unfortunate. Grinding wheels have some bad habits which aren't necessarily obvious, setting fire to nearby materials such as the user's clothing is one of them. Before anyone buys and attempts to use any kind of grinding machine they should read about using them safely and preferably attend a workshop-based training course. Half a day should be enough if you're paying attention. If you have difficulty paying attention then for goodness' sake never use a grinding machine of any kind, because it will have you. The edge of the wheel will probably be doing about eighty metres per second (180 miles per hour) when it does.
 

Retired Member southey

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Jun 4, 2006
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Ged is absouluty right there, they are machines that are great when worked properly, but a simple mistake can make a real mess of you, and nothing tells you you company loves you like an exploding wheel! If you do end up shopping for a ginder invest in good quality wheels. I'm looking forward to seeing your knife finished chap.
 

Ph34r

Settler
Feb 2, 2010
642
1
31
Oxfordshire, England
Yeah, i think that Ged is right. I mentioned to a friend about the grinder I bought to make my first knife about a year ago, and he went mental at me and took it away until I had done a workshop safety course! They are are great piece of a kit to have to speed up blank grinding. I was going to use my flat grinder to do the bevels, but dave wisely told me to carry on using hand files, as it takes the soul out of the knife.
 

JohnC

Full Member
Jun 28, 2005
2,624
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I used a hacksaw for the roughing out and got a fair bit done with a large file when I had a go at this.. I found that once I got over the feeeling that I had to get the lot done in one go, I could take my time over shaping and cutting with hand tools. I guess we get used to faster results with machines (not a bad thing) and need to accept that hand tools can take longer but often achieve the same, or more satisfying results.



 

sasquatch

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jun 15, 2008
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I do all my knives with a file and a bevel jig but my first 5 knives were done without a jig. It's slow going but provides plenty of time to avoid removing too much stock! Apart from being slow it's a satisfying approach. If you google Cromwell Tools they sell 2nd cut engineer's files for around a tenner. If you have any questions or want to buy a jig pm me, I can also send you a link to my photobucket if you want to see what can be done with hand tools. Blood sweat and tears go into each one but it's a great feeling to put the time in and have a proper hand made tool that should last a lifetime. You'll need patience but it's well worth the effort! Have fun fella...
 

Everything Mac

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Nov 30, 2009
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on the grinder front - no offence intended lads but I think the PC/H+S/ fluffy bunny syndrome has got to some of you. - I was using a grinder when I was about 12.

a little bit of common sense works wonders.


- now - to the knife making front:

tell me exactly what kit you have, for example to you have a vice? hack saws etc.? - if not then one would make things easier - even if it is just a work mate.

hand tools only means that this will be a slow process but you will get there eventually. - as said - get yourself a decent b*stard file - ie a really rough one. a hack saw will help a lot - and as shown above you can more or less get to the shape you want with just that.

- a bevel gig as shown is a really good idea. - takes a while but you get there.

what do you intend on using as a handle?

have a watch of this series
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ysKd1cswlo

all the best

Andy
 

DaveBromley

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May 17, 2010
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on the grinder front - no offence intended lads but I think the PC/H+S/ fluffy bunny syndrome has got to some of you. - I was using a grinder when I was about 12.

a little bit of common sense works wonders.


- now - to the knife making front:

tell me exactly what kit you have, for example to you have a vice? hack saws etc.? - if not then one would make things easier - even if it is just a work mate.

hand tools only means that this will be a slow process but you will get there eventually. - as said - get yourself a decent b*stard file - ie a really rough one. a hack saw will help a lot - and as shown above you can more or less get to the shape you want with just that.

- a bevel gig as shown is a really good idea. - takes a while but you get there.

what do you intend on using as a handle?

have a watch of this series
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ysKd1cswlo

all the best

Andy

Hi Andy

i ave used gringers before and found them great just that things are tight financially at the mo and SWMBO has banned ANY un-needed spending

As for tools i have several files although i am not sure they would qualify as b*stard they will do the job! i also have a standard heavy duty engineers vice and hacksaws (i'm a spark by trade so have lots of tools for that lol)

I will just try to use common sense and patience (the one thing I struggle with) and i'm sure it will come out in the wash!!

any advice on HT and anealing to make sure it right?

Dave

P.s it was watching greenpetes tutorial that gave me the itch to begin with lol
 

sasquatch

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jun 15, 2008
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on the grinder front - no offence intended lads but I think the PC/H+S/ fluffy bunny syndrome has got to some of you. - I was using a grinder when I was about 12.

a little bit of common sense works wonders.

I'd have to agree with you there. I've never been on a course for any shop tool but have made a living at it for enough years. I don't think any amount of training will help in the event of an exploding wheel! It's just a chance you take with such a tool, common sense is all the health and safety required. Just my opinion, but I'm glad I'm not the only one thinking it!
 

Everything Mac

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Nov 30, 2009
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lol good stuff.

I can fully appreciate that mate - I'm in a similar situation myself.

the kit you have will make life a lot easier.

as far as heat treatment goes - the best advice I can offer is to do it in low light. - also I would have several practice runs with the off cuts of your file as you don't want to bugger it up after all your hard work.

get your fire going nicely - I use a cheapo bbq from tesco for my portable forge (it was £3) point a hair drier at it to get the temperature up a bit.

the file needs to be a nice cherry red when it comes out - and the colour should be even across the blade.

I do my HT like this: - check to see it is non magnetic then dip into oil for a second - then out and into water for a second.

take this out and dunk it in the oil again until it stops fizzing - then put it back into the water so it cools enough to touch.

make sure the blade has not warped or cracked anywhere - it shouldn't have.

to check to see if it is hard - try and file it with a fine file. - the file should skip over the blade and sound glassy. - if at this point it isn't hard then stick it back in the fire to anneal and start again.

rub it down with sand paper so it is a bit shiny - then wrap in tin foil and stick it in the oven at 220 degrees for an hour - then turn the oven off and allow to cool.

you will have a blade come out that is a straw yellow colour and is ready to be sharpened up and used.

best of luck
Andy
 

Everything Mac

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Nov 30, 2009
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[

I'd have to agree with you there. I've never been on a course for any shop tool but have made a living at it for enough years. I don't think any amount of training will help in the event of an exploding wheel! It's just a chance you take with such a tool, common sense is all the health and safety required. Just my opinion, but I'm glad I'm not the only one thinking it!

quite right.

I'm home for the summer and work for my dad. I machine all manner of things - never been trained on a single machine I've ever used.

to be quite honest if some one came in and said you can't use that because you aren't trained I'd laugh myself silly.
I'll stop hijacking the thread now.

All the best Dave.
 

Retired Member southey

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Jun 4, 2006
11,098
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your house!
I am certainly no health and safety nut, all i'm saying if you can, spend the money on the bit's that count, don't be fooled by the false economy of cheap consumables.