Jump to content
Conner Michaux

how do you find inspiration and WIP

Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)

Im Having a very difficult time coming up with ideas and designs for knives,   My filing jig limits me greatly, so I can't have any recurve knives or any knives with big curves in the blade. 

So im stuck not being able to make what i really want to. But thats beside the point, When you are first drawing up a completely original design, how do you find the inspiration for it?

Edited by Conner Michaux

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally I started (in the 1960's) finding fault with a commercial skinning knife and that started my interest in knife design with altering the first one and then making for myself. 

Decide what you want to use a knife for, whether it be kitchen use for slicing/ paring, the various aspect of hunting knives, camp knives or EDC's etc etc, and go to the big box stores or specialy stores and get your hands on "feel" of the various types. Put the same style into you google search and somewhere within that exercise you will find something that excites you with either trying to recreate or improve on one of the designs you have encountered.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I watch a lot of knives of talented smiths and try to point out why exactly I love the knife, which details pick my attention. Then I try to replicate those my own way(which means poor attempt most of the time :lol:). 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Watch a movie, read a book, listen to music, look at other's work, study artifacts, take a walk, or go for a run. Just look around really. 

I would suggest against letting your jig tell you what to do. When you start figuring out how to work with what you have to make what you want, you unlock an arsenal of materials, finishes, and techniques to add to your work. I'm not saying go crazy, but work your way into it. Try and learn something new with each knife. 

What do you really wanna make? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Alright thanks for the ideas!  

33 minutes ago, Zeb Camper said:

What do you really wanna make?

I want to make a few traditional Tanto's and Wakisashi (how ever you spell it) .  But the edge comes up to the spine very quickly, and ive found that on very aggresive curves, the file makes it kind of round Ill get a pic of an example soon,   And I have a cool idea of a Modern/Persian/fighting knife to o thang.   I kinda got the idea from a guy on instagram its similar to what he does but its not quite what i have in mind.   here's a link, you'll know what i got the idea from when you see it.  https://www.instagram.com/pariah_knives/?hl=en

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
43 minutes ago, Conner Michaux said:

Alright thanks for the ideas!  

I want to make a few traditional Tanto's and Wakisashi (how ever you spell it) .  But the edge comes up to the spine very quickly, and ive found that on very aggresive curves, the file makes it kind of round Ill get a pic of an example soon,  

Just make the blade straight, file the bevels in, and  bend it before the quench.

While holding the hot blade's tang with tongs; place your blade at a 45° angle on a log with the cutting edge down. Take a thick stick (shwacker) and apply taps to the spine of the knife until you get the desired curve. Run a normalization, let the blade cool, and study it until you find any twists or bends. Fix those cold with wrenches, or in a vice, normalize, quench. 

I'd love to see the other designs! 

And btw, please dont look for my Instagram account... I was like 16-17 when I made it and my profile picture is the same I started with. I thought I was cool with my tiny little bicep and rolling stones shirt.  You've been warned lol!

Edited by Zeb Camper

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I’ve never thought about that, thanks!  

2 hours ago, Zeb Camper said:

And btw, please dont look for my Instagram account... I was like 16-17 when I made it and my profile picture is the same I started with. I thought I was cool with my tiny little bicep and rolling stones shirt.  You've been warned lol!

Jeez... thanks for the mental image.... :blink::P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Conner Michaux said:

 

So im stuck not being able to make what i really want to. But thats beside the point, When you are first drawing up a completely original design, how do you find the inspiration for it?

I'm of the firm opinion that there's nothing new under the sun, even less so when it comes to blade shapes.

So what I do is complete immersion, looks at as many knives constantly as you can manage.

Want to make a Bowie? look at a zillion Bowies and use the parts that you like

Want to make a kitchen knife?......you get the idea.

See a knife here that you like? Copy it, or try to, might not be your design but with blood sweat and tears the knife is yours.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll agree with Gerhard here. I'm only on my 5th/6th knife, but I have probably drawn 3 dozen designs out. I've also looked at THOUSANDS of them to find inspiration. 
Some days I just search "custom knife" and do a google image search to see what piques my interests. Once I find one I like, I see what that person called it (bowie, drop point hunter, etc) and then refine my image search to that specific terminology. 

You'll find that specific elements of one persons design don't fit your overall vision, but maybe then handle from another looks cool. Maybe it won't fit exactly as planned, but you can modify it and take the soul from that element and apply it to your design. Many of my own designs are just outlines/profiles, and they're waiting to be filled in with those details. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you're having trouble with inspiration because you feel limited in your capabilities (be it tools or skill wise) then you should spend more time doing the things that you ARE currently capable of. As you get better and better at exercising your basic skills you will also develop ideas and designs of how those skills can be applied to other areas. Any time you struggle with motivation or inspiration, the first response should be to get back to work. Even the simplest task related to what you know you should be doing. The more time you spend not working, the harder it will be to get back to work. Being hands on is a driving factor for your mind to develop thought processes and "momentum of thought" which will drive you forward to new ideas and skill acquisition.

I know this has been a "woo-woo BS" kind of answer, but you're not going to find inspiration that will overcome tool and skill deficits. Everyone has skill and tool deficits just at different levels. The goal is to exercise your current skill sets which will allow you other opportunities for experimentation and exploration and thus developing new skills to exercise.

However, I personally like to look at frame handle bowie pictures in image search to get my pulse up. If I look at too many it is discouraging, but if I spend three-four minutes looking around It gets me pretty excited.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is the limit of my tool capabilities, how does one make the modern tanto with a file??   Do I start with the tip or start with the main, I’m gonna call it the “shaft” of the blade, or do I start with the swage “I think it’s called that” at the top. 

7AEC240E-AF9B-4020-83C8-EF93BA2CE836.jpeg

0D11AB30-E6A4-4233-9720-C0BE26C89A51.jpeg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Place your blade this way on the jig to file the "tanto" tip

0D11AB30-E6A4-4233-9720-C0BE26C89A51.jpeg.a8d985b0e4575f74023a0d7797372e7e~3.jpeg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looks pretty good.

I see what you meant now. I thought you meant that if the blade was curved, the file left a curve opposite the edge in the grind line at the spine or something like that. Thats why I suggested what I did. It's still a good idea, traditional Japanese blades start out straight and get the bend (sori) from the differential (clay) heat treat. At least Joël got it. 

I call that a false edge. Could be wrong. 

You could totally make that!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
51 minutes ago, Joël Mercier said:

Place your blade this way on the jig to file the "tanto" tip

0D11AB30-E6A4-4233-9720-C0BE26C89A51.jpeg.a8d985b0e4575f74023a0d7797372e7e~3.jpeg

Alright that’s what I thought. 

I will start on it tomorrow. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Conner Michaux you're forgetting rule number something or other.......Tool Up Or Die :lol:

You've got some nice handle material, if you pull off that design surely you could sell that knife....? And buy the next piece of equipment?

I know it feels like forever in the beginning, took me two year-end bonuses to get some basics....... 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just be sure to not have these corners here. You'll want them to round down and not take straight angles. Hard angles like that will create stress points prone to breaking. 

image.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Gerhard Gerber said:

Tool Up Or Die

Yup, that ones going on a sign in my shop now :D.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wish i could tool up, but that aint happening any time soon, money for me is scarce these days,   I’m thinking of making a dozen or so of little Kiridashi neck knives. Very simple, and relatively quick to produce.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For the first eight years I made knives they were all with an angle grinder, files, and sandpaper.  Never a file guide or jig.  Learn to file freehand and you'd be amazed at the things you can do.  Jigs severely limit creativity.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh and what would the next tool I need be?     Y’all pretty much know what I’ve got to work with. 

Man oh man a belt grinder would be so helpful!      But I’m not ready for one yet.    I have access to a small delta belt-sander, that might be useful for making the kiridashi’s

Yeah I’ve been thinking about learning free hand filing.   Where do I start? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What did people ever do without power tools anyway? :huh:

Passion, patience, and practice are all you need. I think you've got the first one. 

Tell you what, if I can figure out how to ship it; I'll give you my 2x42.

But even with that I'll easily spend 12 hours hand sanding. It just skips the filing part is all, and at that rate, I could get along just the same with an angle grinder. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Thanks!    Filing is the one part I hate.   Hand sanding is becoming fun, watching how the grit lines become smaller and smaller.   

Oh and for shipping,   Can you take the sander apart?  That might cut down on shipping, I am pretty good at putting things together. 

Edited by Conner Michaux

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And it seems like most knifemakers on Instagram don’t hand sand, they leave the rough grind lines there, must be some sort of knifemaking trend now. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's called laziness and an uneducated public.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

^^ Yep.

I'll PM you when I can get a free day to go to the post office. But really, this thing takes a fair amount of skill to operate because its freehand (no table) and it takes hours to "grind" (sand) a blade out. The plus side is it is slower and less aggressive, and will likely engrain the correct pressures, angles, and travel speed in your brain for if you ever get a 2x72.

Edit: it might have to go ups idk...

Edited by Zeb Camper

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...