The Complete Online Guide to Knifemaking, PROFILING THE BLANK
The Complete Online Guide to Knifemaking
PROFILING THE BLADE
Stock removal knife making is sometimes described as starting with a piece of steel and grinding away everything other than the knife. Many knifemakers actually use a combination of both stock removal and forging choosing to hand forge the basic shape and then finish by grinding the profile and bevels of the blade.
The profile of a blade can be cut out with a metal cutting band saw, an angle grinder with a metal cut off wheel or just with a coarse grit belt on a belt grinder. Knifemakers could even cut out knife blanks with a hack saw. Although, with the relatively cheap price of angle grinders and cut off wheels, it's hard to rationalize why.
If you use an angle grinder, please note that these tools throw a lot of sparks so proper eye protection is mandatory. The knife shape can be scribed or drawn with a marker, or a paper template can be glued to the material. Clamp the blade into a vise or to a work table. Then, start to cut away as much excess material as possible. For inside curves, cut a series of straight cuts being careful not to cut beyond the marked lines. Come from the side and remove as many of the small sections as possible. The remaining jagged edges can be sanded down with the same angle grinder using a coarse grit Flap Sanding Wheel.
Waterjet and Laser cut Blanks
For the guy that makes multiple cutouts of the same design, getting the blanks cut out by either a waterjet or laser shop is an option that can save quite a bit of time. Both produce good end results. Now the actual knife making begins. Shaping a raw piece of steel into a knife can be done in a variety of ways. Blades can be hand forged in a furnace and then hammered into shape or the material can be cut or ground into shape using a process called stock removal. Stock removal knifemaking has been described as starting with a piece of steel and then cutting or grinding away. The only downside is some machine shops require the knife smith to provide CAD drawings, which can be fairly expensive. If you do not want to invest in 20-30 blanks being profiled, many knife supply companies offer an assortment of precut knife blanks.
Check out our Knife making tools, huge assortment of topic specific how-to knife making videos, our Complete Online Guide Knife Making and our New Book Introduction to Knifemaking by Dan Berg and Jason Northgard.