Thursday, July 14, 2016

How to make a DIY knife from a file

I had an old file and a scrap walnut piece in the shop and I decided to make a woodworking knife with them.

First of all I cut the file to a basic shape using my angle grinder.

I then moved to the belt sander and started cleaning the file marks a little bit and also creating a basic bevel on my knife’s blade.

The steel of a file is really hard. In order to soften it I heated it with fire. While still hot I was able to move the blade to the drill press and drill out two holes for the brass pins of the handle.

I then reheated the blade until it was red hot. I cooled it down fast by dipping it in water. At this stage the blade was hardened. 

To give the blade a little flexibility it needs to be tempered. Other wise it might break really easy.

To temper the blade I put it in the oven in 220 degree Celsius for about two hours. After that the blade should have a kind of  blueish color.

I let the blade cool for a few hours and then moved to the belt sander again to clean it up. During that process, I constantly cool the metal with water to prevent it from losing it’s hardness.

I traced the back of the blade on a scrap walnut piece and created a groove to receive it, using a sharp chisel.

I cut the basic shape of the handle on the bandsaw and used the first piece to trace the second one.

I made holes on the wood to receive two brass pins on the drill press.

Because the brass dowel I had was a bit big, I used my drill press as a lathe and using a file I reduced it’s size until it fit in my handle’s holes.

I then used two part epoxy glue and clamps to glue everything together.

I cut the excess pins on the bandsaw. I also used the bandsaw to rough shape the handle.

To shape the handle I used several techniques. I hand sanded it with a sanding block, I used a spokeshave for the outer curve, a chisel for the excess epoxy and the belt sander with a fresh belt.

I finished the handle with a couple of coats of teak oil that revealed the beautiful grain pattern of the walnut.

At this point I sharpened the knife using my two grit oil stone. I polished it on the drill press, using polishing compound on a small leather buffing wheel which gave a razor sharp edge to my knife.

My file knife was now ready, I hope you liked it!

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