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Rob Davidson - Maker

Knives From the
Texas Hill Country

Since 1978

830-798-7744

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Rocket Knives Tutorials

How-to make a Fixed Blade Knife

 

 

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This page is created for those that have been wanting to know
how to make a fixed blade knife. This particular knife
will incorporate metal bolsters, instead of a milled guard.
It will also be full-tanged, instead of threaded or stick tanged.

 

Please keep in mind that this is only one way of very many ways to
accomplish the same thing. What works for me may not work for you.
This is intended as a guide to get started and assist in basic knowledge.
Have thoughts or ideas??? Let me know.


Rocket Fine Handmade         Knives Tutorial Fixed Blade Knife

I have chosen a piece of mosaic damascus steel for this project.
You can apply the same ideas with any hardenable bar of steel,
whether it be tool steel, stainless or damascus.

The above picture shows the finished piece.
Scroll down the page to view the steps required
to make this knife possible.

Rocket Fine       Handmade Knives tutorial blank

I have started with a billet of
mosaic damascus steel. This billet has
a hardenable edge welded to the mosaics.
This edge has to somewhat stay in place
as is. Also notice that a tool steel handle
has been welded to the billet.

This shows a close-up view of the
damascus billet. Notice the mosaic base
with the welded "twist" damascus edge.
This twisted part of the billet is the part
that is the most readily hardenable.
Rocket Handmade Knives tutorial blank close-up
Rocket Handmade Knives tutorial blank profiled The billet is profiled. Please note that
A LOT of time was taken in layout of this
piece. I had a pretty good idea of what I
wanted to accomplish before I started
sawing this blank.
Generally speaking...the more time that
you spend on layout and "getting it right"
the first time, the smoother your project
will go. You obviously don't have to use
this particular pattern. Imagination goes a
long way here.
Next is the location of the bolsters.
This is necessary because the holes can't
be drilled once the blade is hardened.
An outline of the bolsters are drawn on
the blank and holes are made to accept
the bolster material.
Rocket                 Handmade Knives tutorial blank drilled
Rocket                  Handmade Knives tutorial blank blade ground

The blank has been surfaced flat and the
initial grinds are made in the blade.
I have added another hole at the end of
the tang for another addition later.
Filework has also been added to the spine
of the blade. Filework has to be completed
before heat treatment. There is also a
hollow groove ground into the tang. To be
explained later.

All machining and grinding are finished
and the blade is heat treated.
Damascus steel is very easy to heat treat
and is also very forgiving.
The blade is quenched in oil and is ready
for clean-up and attachment of bolster
and handle material.
Rocket                     Handmade Knives tutorial blank blade heat treated
Rocket                     Handmade Knives tutorial blank blade etched

All heat treatment scale and coloring are
removed. The blade is hand sanded
smooth and then etched with ferric
chloride to enhance its' pattern.
The mostly completed blade is now
ready for bolsters and a handle.

Bolsters are sawn out, dovetailed, drilled
and mounted to the blade. The bolster
material is stainless steel.
The matching pins are heavily peened to
fill the hole and hold the bolsters securely
in place. The blade is now ready for handle
scales.
Rocket                     Handmade Knives tutorial blank blade bolstered
Rocket                     Handmade Knives tutorial blank blade handled I have chosen mother-of-pearl as a
handle material for this project.
The scales are dovetailed to fit inside of
the bolster margins and are glued in place.
Remember the hollow spot ground into
the tang? That is to hold glue. It is also a
good idea to make a similar groove into
the backside of the handle material.

The handle scales are ground down to the
profile of the blade and mated with the
bolsters. The handle part of the blade is
ready for final hand sanding and finishing.

Rocket                     Handmade Knives tutorial blank blade handle ground
Rocket Fine                    Handmade Knives tutorial blank blade buttpiece Remember the extra large hole drilled into
the tang of the blank blade?
That hole was to accept a Murata pearl
from Japan. The bolster is carved into a
clam shape to finish the motif.
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