Make your own knife

This is the first project of this kind I have ever undertaken, as I found it quite daunting I decided to write a Step By Step to guide others who are novices at building things.

The Kit is a Karesuando Kniven. Everything you need to build the knife is there except the tools.

What you get in the box…           

Where to start:

The first things to do are to decide what shape, style and size of handle and knife you want. Draw some designs on paper until you get something you like. Obviously you can’t change the blade shape but the rest is down to your imagination. The main thing I thought of was comfort, how the handle will feel and the size of the handle.

This was my design:

Now I have my design I need to set about making it. First I drew the handle on the birch block,

Assembling the Knife:

The first job was to fit the brass bolster and the Antler piece to the blade.

The Antler:

Decide how you want the antler piece to be aligned with the bolster by placing the bolster on top of the antler. Once you have decided the position (remembering you will be filing some off later) mark a rectangular mark following the inner edges of the bolster. Then drill out the rectangle to fit the tang of the blade I used a 4mm wood drill. The antler is brittle so drill enough to ease it on without force. I could have used a 3mm drill but it was a bit tight so I used a 4mm so the antler slid onto the tang easily

The Bolster:

File the majority of the tang so that the bolster plate can be slipped on without difficulty. However, DO NOT file the last ¼ inch or 0.4mm approx. That way you can hammer the brass plate into place  insuring a tight fit. I used a pair of pliers above the bolster to hit instead of hitting the bolster and making sure the bolster went straight.

Fit the antler and the bolster to the tang but DO NOT GLUE yet. Measure the tang to the birch block to make sure everything is OK.

As you can see from my design the tang was too long for my handle design. I could change the design to fit the tang but I like the design I made and decided to cut the tang to make it fit.

  

The Handle:

Now that I have the tang cut and the Antler and Brass bolster fitted, the next job was to drill out the handle to fit the tang into. I used a 4mm wood drill and drilled 3 holes at a slight angle. Be careful not to make the hole too big, but also make it big enough to add some epoxy glue later.

Once you are happy with the way the bolster, antler and tang all fit together (try not to have any gaps between the bolster, antler and birch block) it is time to mix your epoxy glue. I bought mine from eBay as it was the cheapest place I found.



  I started by placing glue on the brass bolster, then on the antler pushing the antler up to the bolster then more glue on the underside of the antler and down the tang, finally into the hole in the birch block. Pushed everything together and placed a piece of wood on the blade tip to protect it.



 

The blade has been covered in cling film and then taped to protect it from the start.

I used a long G clamp and tightened it all up and left it for 24hrs.

Now the fun begins….

Shaping the Handle:

First I cut of the excess birch around the design. This will reduce the amount of sanding required



 

 

 

 

 

Having the right tools for a job is always advisable. A G clamp was no substitute for a vice..

The new vice…sanding and more sanding.

  

I used a coarse file ( the file is just resting on the knife to show. I’m not filing the blade lol..) to take off some of the larger areas of birch and when I got closer to the design marks I changed over to sand paper.

As you can see it’s starting to take shape. I am using 240 grit now…

Now it’s time to use 600 grit sand paper to start smoothing the handle.

The handle is finished and ready for oiling…

I have decided to use Pure Tung Oil on my handle as I have read that it is one of the best for knife handles.

This will take about a week to get to the finish I want. I will update once it is complete.

Now for the Sheath…

The first thing I decided was I didn’t want to use the plastic inner sheath provided with the kit. I felt it might make the sheath look bulky. Anyway it’s up to you what you decide. As I did with the handle I made a template of the sheath on paper. I folded a piece of A4 and drew the sheath how I wanted it to look, allowing for sewing and blade protection.

You only get one shot at this so make sure you get it right, unless you have spare leather lying around.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Before I started I cut a strip from the top of the piece of leather to form the belt clip holder. You have to sew the belt piece first as it is impossible to do it once the sheath is formed. I cut the leather to shape and then glued a strip (from the off-cut) along the blade side to protect the sheath when the blade is inserted. Then I folded the sheath and glued it and clipped it.

 

I left it for a few hours to set, then I marked out my stitching and using a saddle stitch sewed the sheath to this point.

A saddle stitch involves using 2 needles. There are loads of help on YouTube and Tandy’s Leather on how to do a saddle stitch and lots more about leathercraft. I only stitched the sheath to the bend as I wanted to wet form to top part to fit the handle.

As you can see I use what I can as a weight. In this case my fly-tying vice and a couple of clips. I left it for 24hrs to dry and when it was dry I sewed it up.

 Front and back of sheath.

If you intend to wet form your leather sheath you must protect the blade and handle from staining. Again I used cling film and tape.

All that is left for me to do is to finish the handle with a weeks worth of oiling and buffing with fine wire wool. I will show the results when I am happy with the results.

I hope you liked this Step By Step and you found it helpful. If you have any tips to help newbie’s please add them in comments.

Many thanks

Ian

 

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. john hardin
    Nov 13, 2011 @ 15:40:45

    Yes sir I was wondering where I get brass for around the top of the antler and how I get it to fit and stay. Thank you for your assistance

    Reply

    • thecraftycouple
      Nov 17, 2011 @ 10:53:07

      Hi John the brass came with the Kit. As for making it fit and stay that is trial and error I’m affraid. You take the size of the tang and file the brass until it is slightly smaller than the top of the tang. Then tap it down the tang, to keep it straight I used pliers. Have a look at the way I did it in the picture on the How to..
      Sorry I cant be any more helpful than that, once you have it completed and the antler and handle is fitted with epoxy resin it won’t go anywhere.
      Sorry for the delay in answering your question I have been busy with my next project.
      Regards
      Ian

      Reply

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