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Step-By-Step Knife Making

Step-By-Step Knife Making

Quite a while ago now I was “turned on” to the joys of knife making when I reviewed a DIY knife kit in these pages.  Since then I have been avidly making knives using stock blades from many sources and generally using a Scandinavian style “rat tail” tang or an adapted “Henry Rabbet” style construction.

I have learnt an awful lot by trial and error (an awful lot of error!) and am now thinking of proceeding to making my own blades as well.  To this end I have been looking at several books and the one that really stands out, inspires and encourages me is the aptly named Step-by Step Knife Making, You Can Do It! By David Boye.

OK, it may not be the newest title around, originally being published in 1977, the black and white photos may not all be the crispest, the measurements all Imperial and some of the ideas a little “New Age”, but the content, clarity of instruction, clear line drawings, step-by-step directions, all encourage me to believe that, yes, I can do it – something I have not found with other books I have looked at.

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The book looks at every aspect of making knives, mainly full-tang designs, from “starting out” through “design”, “cutting out”, “grinding the blade”, building a bolster”, “heat treating”, “trueing up”, “regrinding and polishing”, “drilling rivet holes”, “handle materials”, “making a full tang scale handle”, “the partial-tang one-piece handle”, “buffing”, “sharpening and maintenance”. “etching designs into the steel”, “sheathmaking” and much more, including a whole technical section on alloy steels.

This comprehensive guide to knife making really does give you a solid introduction to the tools and skills you will need to start making blades and knives in the “stock removal” tradition, and is easy to read with illustrations of every stage and technique, recommendations of tools needed (and even how to adapt tools to your needs) and is realistic in attitude, pointing out that many tools and supplies can be bought second hand.

David Boye would seem to be a natural communicator and, as well as communicating his skills, he also passes on his enthusiasm for knife making. Of all the knife making books I have looked at that include sections on the making of blades, this is the one that demystifies the process to the point where I feel I have a chance of making something worthwhile.  The photos of Boye’s finished work, and especially the etched blades, are inspirational and the story of the making of his first knife, encouraging to say the least!

This classic knife making book is available from Attleborough Accessories in soft cover for £19.99 (plus P & P) and its 20 chapters (274 pages) take you from beginner’s basics to the most advanced techniques.  I have yet to find a better book for the aspiring blade maker!

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