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WIP, Heavy duty camp Knife

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This is a simple full tang camp Knife WIP. I decided to do a WIP, To help others and to help my self. So feel free to give any critiques and/or questions about my process.


Sorry I dident get any pics during the forging process, but here it is after forging. I always leave the handle undersized, and then grind out the rest of it out.


here it is after being roughly shaped, and taking the scale off with a wire brush.


next I get out any warps from forging, by clamping it with some scrap metal in my vise.


After marking the spots for the pins with a sharpie, I center punch the marks, and then take it to the drill press. On this knife I’m doing 3/16 pins and a 1/4 lanyard hole. I also drill a lot of larger holes for weight reduction and to help the glue.


Then I take out any imperfections from forging and the burrs from drilling by draw filing. since I’m leaving the forged look on this blade I make sure not to file past the handle.


after scribing the edge I clamp it on my jig. Now it’s ready to be ground.


After grinding with a 60 grit belt I use a 150 grit flex belt to clean up the plunge lines. then I make the choil with a round file.


Next I hand sand the back of the knife, Butt of the handle, and the other side of the handle to 120 grit. I like to wrap the sandpaper around an old file that i ground the teeth off of.


Thats how far I take it before heat treat.

Bear with me, this is my first WIP.

I’ll probably get around to heat treating later tonight.

Thanks for looking!


Edit: this is 1084 from aldo if anybody is wondering.

Edited by Mason Simonet
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Cool so far. Very good WIP.

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Heat treat went well, tested at about 65 HRC after grinding off the decarb. Small warp that I will get out during temper cycles. Going into the oven now.

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Hand sanding day! <_<



First I take it back to the grinder to make sure all the decarb is off, I used a 180 flex belt for this.



Then a start with 220 grit hand sanding. i use soapy water as the lubricant, I always have some around to check my propane lines.



After im done with 220 grit on both sides, I sand all the edges with the same 220 grit.



next I take it back to the wire brush  for all the forged areas. I would usually do this before I start sanding, but I forgot :P



then I take it to 320 grit, sanding in the opposite direction to make sure I get all the 220 scratches out.



again I sand all the edges with 320 grit. I always sand in the same direction on the edges, I don’t worry about the finish as much, because I will most likely mess it up when I’m sanding the handle.



next is the final grit of 400, Changing the direction again.



Again I sand all the edges with 400 grit.



Lastly I put my sanding block (file) at an angle, start at the plunge cut and pull it all the way to the tip, in one motion. This ensures all the scratches are going in the same direction.



Then I wrap it in a paper towel and painters tape to protect the finish.

now it’s ready for the scales, Ill probably get around to that tomorrow.

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Alright, it’s time for the scales!



im using bocote for this one, it’s my all time favorite wood.


First I’m going to glue the scales together perfectly square I like to use a small amount of a quick drying super glue. (Sorry I forgot to take a pic)




then I’ll sand the angles in for the top of the handle.



Now I have perfectly symmetrical scales.



next I’ll glue 1 scale on with a small amount of the same super glue. Then I’ll drill through the pin and lanyard holes.



now I’ll glue the other side on making sure they are level at the top.



then I can drill through that side.



Now all of the holes are drilled.



next I’ll clamp each scale in my vise and lightly sand it to make sure it’s level, and to get the super glue off.



then I’ll rough it up with a wood file. 



and I’ll also lightly sand the handle to get any residues off.



Now I can cut the pin and lanyard hole stock. I’m using copper for this knife.



Then I’ll put it all together to make sure everything fits.



next I’ll clean all of the surfaces that will be in contact with the epoxy, I use rubbing alcohol for this.



Now it’s ready to be glued. I like to cut up my old hacksaw blades for mixing sticks.



once the first scale has the epoxy on it, I push through the pins and lanyard tube.



then I’ll push down the knife on to the pins, then the other scale goes on top of that. I like to glue it up in this order, because the pins are always pushing the epoxy through the holes.




after it’s all clamped, I clean up the epoxy that squeezed out of the top, I use que tips and alcohol for this.



and don’t forget to run a que tip through the lanyard tube, it usually gets filled with epoxy.



Now it will be ready for shaping tomorrow. 

Thanks for looking!




Edited by Mason Simonet
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Thanks Alan.


I just finished the handle today.



i start by grinding the pins down flush with the wood.



now I start rough shaping the handle on a 60 grit belt. This part goes pretty fast if you use the corner of the belt to dig in.



As you can see I’ve hit the tang, I do this in a couple of spots to make sure I’m close.



after that I can clean up the rest with a finer 180 grit belt.



I have to clean up this side by hand, because I don’t have an exposed contact wheel on my belt sander.



now every thing is nice and clean.



I start rounding with 120 grit.



once the edges are rounded over I take it off the vise and finish rounding by hand.



next I go to 220 grit. Making sure I get the tang and spine as well. Then repeat this step with 320 and then 400.



After that, I wrap some 400 grit around a file and make sure the tang and spine have a nice straight grain.



now I sand to 600, 800, and then finish with 1000



Now it’s ready for the first coat of boiled linseed oil. I usually do a total of 3-4, making sure it’s dry between coats.



And there it is!

It just needs a sheath and to be sharpened, I probably won’t include that in this WIP.

I will post some more professional pics once I finish the sheath.

thanks for the kind words everybody!


Edited by Mason Simonet
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Since this is such a great WIP on the handle process, can you please add some details of the BLO process you do?  I think that would be a great finish to the thread (as would sharpening and sheath making though).  

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My BLO process is kinda here and there. I’ll put one coat on, then come back in a day or 2 and put the second coat on. Or, maybe I’ll forget about it for a week :lol:. So basically 3 to 4 coats waiting a day in between (or until dry). If it starts to get a sticky feeling I’ll sand it back a little with 1000 grit.

i may include the sharpening and sheath making. But I won’t be able to get to that for a couple of days.

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Thanks for posting this Mason. Very useful WIP. I’m with Jerrod. Don’t stop now. B)

"The way we win matters" (Ender Wiggins) Orson Scott Card


Nos, qui libertate donati sumus, nes cimus quid constet.

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I had some time to work on the sheath tonight. I always make the sheath before sharpening, because I will be using the knife for fitting.



I first trace it out from a template I made. Sorry I can’t show how I make the templates, I haven’t made one in so long I’ve forgotten exactly how. :lol: You can easily find a vid showing you how on YouTube.



now I can start cutting it out, I just use a box cutter for this.



Here it is all cut out.



Next I’ll trace the edge for the welt. I make it extra long towards the end, I will measure and cut that right before glueing up



here it is after being traced.



now I will measure how thick it should be, I usually make mine 1/2 inch.




Ill measure in a bunch of spots, and then connect them by hand.



after cutting it out. I will cut a slight angle here at the top, this helps the knife not get snagged on the welt.



then I will bevel both sides. Only up around the belt loop area for now.



now it’s time for dying. I first use some fiebings dye prep, I can really tell a difference with this stuff.



I prefer dip dyeing. the downside to this is how much dye you have to buy at once! Right now I’m using a combination of fiebings saddle tan and walnut.



And here it is after dyeing, it will get much lighter once it dries. I don’t worry about the flaws at this stage, because I will be dyeing it a second time once it’s sewn up.

thanks for looking!

Edited by Mason Simonet
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Thanks Wes.


I got some more time in on the sheath. I gotta say, I absolutely hate leatherworking :lol:


here is the color after it dries.



I’ll start by burnishing the edge up around the belt loop with a little water.



After the water burnishing, I’ll use some gum tragacanth, you can just use water but you get better results with gum  trag.



I’ll also burnish the top of the welt where it will be seen.



Now I can fold back the belt loop and glue it.



after the glue is dry, I’ll mark where the holes will be with this 2 pronged tool.



Then I’ll start drilling out the holes.



next I’ll groove in between the holes on both sides. this is especially important on the inside of the sheath so that the knife can’t cut the thread.



now I can start sewing it up. You can see I have the string through the first hole, with a needle on each end.



I’ll first push the right side needle through the next hole.



Then I’ll push the left side needle through the same hole. I’ll repeat this all the way around.




once I stitch it all the way around, I’ll go back through 2 holes. I use pliers to pull the needle through once the hole starts to get crowded.



now I can cut the thread, I usually leave 3/16” on each side. I’ll hold a lighter to it, it will melt into a little ball, then I’ll push the edge of the lighter on it to make it flat.



heres how it looks.



Now it’s time to fold it over. I first dampen both sides of the leather, This makes it much easier to fold.



After I fold it over, I’ll put the welt on top and mark it.



Then I’ll test the fit. Since I always leave the welt oversized, I’ll keep taking it out and cutting a little bit off until it fits.



then I’ll bevel the end to round it off.



now I can glue it up. I start by applying glue where the welt will be. I’m using barge leather cement for this.



After pressing the welt down I’ll apply glue on top of that.



and then I can fold it over and clamp it. The tip of the sheath usually needs a lot of force to come together, that’s why I’m using the large clamp, I always put some leather between the larger clamps and the sheath so that it does not dent it up.

it will take a few hours to dry, I may sew it up tonight.

thanks for looking!

Edited by Mason Simonet
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Well... we have a problem <_<

last night I stitched it up and dyed it. This morning I went to see how the fit was, Too small! Not that big of a deal because I can just use it for a smaller knife.

i will start making the larger sheath and pick up where I left off with this WIP.

man, I hate leatherworking :lol:

Edited by Mason Simonet
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So I have a question. I have seen this in a few knives but why do you drill so many holes and not use them all? :huh:

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Mainly to reduce weight and to provide an area for the epoxy to bond all three pieces together at once.  It'll almost function as a hidden pin in the handle.  Loving this WIP by the way.  Its cool to see different methods that people use to accomplish the same results.  Keep it going!

Edited by Alex Middleton
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I drill hoes in the tang to reduce weight but primarily to allow epoxy to make a bond thru the holes.

I drill holes in the backside of a handle that are not seen or used, and thru the handle as well.

It allows for the epoxy to fill the holes in the handle material and thru the steel of the handle. It makes a bond that is nearly impossible to break. My opinion pins are for shock value, (dropping the knife on concrete IE). A handle glued up as I spoke of you will not break that bond. Screw a handle up an you will find yourself grinding off!!!

C Craft Customs ~~~ With every custom knife I build I try to accomplish three things. I want that knife to look so good you just have to pick it up, feel so good in your hand you can't wait to try it, and once you use it, you never want to put it down ! If I capture those three factors in each knife I build, I am assured the knife will become a piece that is used and treasured by its owner! ~~~ C Craft

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I got the larger sheath back where we left off. I went with a little bit different shape on this one.



after being glued up, I take it to the belt sander and level the edge out. Sorry I forgot to take pics, I thought I posted pics of that with the last sheath, but I guess not :huh:



then I will start grooving for the stitching, I’ll go over the same groove 3 to 4 times to make sure it’s deep enough.



I like to put double stitching just at the top. that’s where the most pressure will be, especially on the first fitting.



Now I will mark the holes with this tool (whatever it’s called) hole marker? :lol:



after marking the hole I will poke them with an awl, this helps the drill bit find its spot.



then I can start drilling the holes out with a rotary tool. 



after drilling, I clean up the back side with a damp cloth.



Then I’ll groove the back side, I just free hand it between the holes.



Now I can start stitching it up. I use the same stitching method as I used on the belt loop.




at the end, I’ll pull one thread back 2 holes and the other thread back 3 holes, So that the burned threads  will be on the back side.



then I will bevel the edges.



Now it’s time to be dyed, I use dye prep just like before, but this time I use it on the rough side of the leather as well.



after being dip dyed, I’ll hang it up to dry.

it may be ready for fitting tonight.

thanks for looking!

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It’s time for fitting.



it’s not fully dry yet, but it won’t hurt anything. I wanted to get this done tonight so I could finish it tomorrow.



first I wrap the knife in plastic wrap, I’m using one of those roles you use for moving.



Then I run the sheath under the sink, once on the front side once on the back side. You don’t want it too wet or it won’t hold it’s shape.



and then I hang it up to dry, now it will be ready to finish tomorrow.

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If I could make one recommendation, it would be that you use a saddle stitch.  Before you pass the second needle through the same hole, take the thread from the first needle and leave a small loop before pulling it tight.  Take the second needle and pass it through the loop at least once (more like twice), and then pull the first needle tight.  It will create a small internal knot that sits inside of the leather.  If a single stitch breaks, the small knot will stop it from unraveling.  Also, when you get to the end, you can backstitch three or four stitch holes, and then cut the thread without burning it.  It will hold just fine provided you are using decently thick thread.

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“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer."  -Albert Camus


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A guy taught me how to saddle stitch a long time ago, and since then I’ve forgotten. Actually Just the other day I was thinking about looking it up to learn how again.

thanks for the advice Wes. 

Edited by Mason Simonet
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Alright, I finally finished this sheath. 



im going to start by burnishing the edge. I hade 2 burnishers so I took one and cut down the end to fit in my drill, it actually works great. Way faster than doing it by hand.



I’m using the same method as before. Using water first and then gum trag.



after the gum trag I go over it by hand with the burnisher. This gives it a smoother finish.



Now I rub some beeswax on the edge, and then go over it again with the handheld burnisher. This waterproofs the edge.



Then I will buff out the edge with a cloth, to remove any excess wax.



And here’s how it looks.



now I can put the finish on the sheath, but first I buff off any excess dye.



I’m using acrylic resolene for the finish, It gives great waterproofing and a nice shine.



I’ll put as many coats as needed until I achieve the desired shine.



then I’ll put a coat on the belt loop and the inside of the sheath with a wool dauber.



and here it is all finished. Now all I have to do is sharpen the blade.


thanks for looking!

Edited by Mason Simonet
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