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  • Best material for making a knife

    I am interested in crafting my own knife handle, but I don't want to make the actual cutting implement. What is the best type of steel or carbon, or combination that I can use on the business end of this knife? And most importantly, where can I purchase this bare blade?

    I'm looking for a 1" wood carving blade that will run the full length of the handle I want to make..........if I can find it.

    Can you help?

    Doc AT

  • #2
    Re: Best material for making a knife

    Originally posted by Doc AT View Post
    I am interested in crafting my own knife handle, but I don't want to make the actual cutting implement. What is the best type of steel or carbon, or combination that I can use on the business end of this knife? And most importantly, where can I purchase this bare blade?

    I'm looking for a 1" wood carving blade that will run the full length of the handle I want to make..........if I can find it.

    Can you help?

    Doc AT
    To be honest, I don't think such a beast exists. At least, I've never seen one. A custom maker could make you a blade blank but I don't think you will find a woodcarving blade off the shelf that is 1 inch long with a full length tang. And by full length, I'm assuming you are not talking about a stick tang?

    Your best bet is to draw a picture of the blade you want and ask a custom maker to make one for you, imo.
    Terry

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    • #3
      Re: Best material for making a knife

      Doc,

      I think that Terry is right on. I've never seen such a creature either. If you wanted to try your hand at amateur bladesmithing, there are lots of tutorials available. I've made quite a few myself with fairly good results using pretty common tools and materials.

      L.P.

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      • #4
        Re: Best material for making a knife

        I believe most, if not all, of Buffalo Bif's "file" knives are full tang. Can't recall any others.

        Ken

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        • #5
          Re: Best material for making a knife

          Another thought would be to buy a carving knife that has the characteristics you are looking for , remove the handle and make your new handle. Places like Woodcraft, or Wood Carvers Supply have a pretty good selection.
          Dave
          https://www.facebook.com/baggerleather/

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          • #6
            Re: Best material for making a knife

            I've never seen a tang that runs the full length of the handle with the exception of Brian Fergusson's knives. However, you realy don't need one. I've never broken a knife by applying even heavy pressure. (and to be honest I'd hate to see the cut I'd get if I ever did push that hard) If it goes an inch or so into the handle you are fine. As far as blades, I like to grind down old straight razors. These have a three inch tang. You can also buy blades from deepwoods ventures, Cape Forge, and others. I secure my blades with a 24 hour epoxy. You might want to try grinding a blade from an old jointer blade. It will give you a full tang.
            As far as handles go, the sky is the limit. I've used all sorts of exotic woods, walnut burl and I'm going to try antler. I even saw a stunning knife made of sagebrush. Material is less important than functionality.

            what you make,

            Dan

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            • #7
              Re: Best material for making a knife

              I have a knife that the blade fills the entire handle. It was custom built so I don't know where the steel came from. It really should be relatively easy to order the steel in pieces big enough to do this - but it would also be expensive....and time consuming to grind it to fit.

              I don't make knifes, so I'm really not much help other than to let you know that it can be done. One problem is that most of the knife makers also heat treat the blades. I would expect that you don't have that capability.

              My suggestion would be to buy a pre-shaped blade from Warren or something similar and go from there.
              Member of Caricature Carvers of America
              My website: https://mitchellcartledgewoodcarvings.com

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              • #8
                Re: Best material for making a knife

                How about using a Murphy adjustable knife blade? Got this off their site. May work for you? These come in 6", 8" & 9" lenghts

                $8.44
                Adjustable Handle Knife Blades PN:ADBL
                View larger photo
                17 gauge (1.5 mm) Adjustable Handle Knife blades available in 3 sizes and with either standard or extreme ("Wicked Sharp") edge.

                Blade Dimensions available:
                0: 6 inch (15.2 cm) x 1/2 inch (1.3 cm)
                1: 8 inch (20.3 cm) x 1/2 inch (1.3 cm) (add $0.13/blade)
                2: 9 inch (22.9 cm) x 5/8 inch (1.6 cm) (add $0.34/blade)

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                • #9
                  Re: Best material for making a knife

                  Doc: I and several other tinkerers on this forum have used the Warren blades. They have a generous tang although not enough to run full length. I have also used the Murphy blades and they also have a pretty long tang. The Warrens come presharpened, but need a really good stropping before use. The Murphys require a good bit of sharpening to get a proper bevel. They are both good steel and very reasonably priced.

                  L.P.

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                  • #10
                    Greetings all. I pulled up this old post because I was looking for some info on these "R. Murphy adjustable knives". I picked these up today off Craigslist in a package deal for 60 bucks. It also included 3 blanks , good news. But the blanks are made in Taiwan, so I don't know if that is good or bad. Do any of you have any experience with this tool? It reminds me of Lynn Ds "Old Reliable" utility knife, but this is a heavy duty knife, pretty sharp but needs work. Looking forward to comments.
                    Among a bunch of other stuff there were 3 Knott's knives. Stropped a few times and ready to go. A set of Millers Falls, A set of Hirsch chip carving tools, 6 duck decoy blanks plus stuff.....
                    I had a really good day and best of all......are you ready.....my wife "Good ol Barb" did the searching and found them and told me it was OK to buy tools . Life is good
                    You do not have permission to view this gallery.
                    This gallery has 3 photos.

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                    • #11
                      Until recently, I have made up my wood carving crooked knives from various blade sources.
                      Many of them are revised farrier's hoof-trimming knives. Considering the abuse those get in service, quite good steel for simple wood carving. Generally bash off the factory handles and make replacements.

                      I can buy blades of good carbon steel, well made, from a variety of bladesmiths in the Pacific Northwest. Crooked and straight blades to haft in handles of my size.

                      Of course there's a good selection of properly finished knives from several of these bladesmiths.

                      On the bench at the moment is a rusty 10" TC saw blade ($2.00). I will lay out and cut a few Ulu and Umialik blades of such utility to our Inuit people in the far north. Kitchen prep knives that I want to try.
                      I might shape some scrap for little blades.

                      Direct answer: I have not found a full tang blade. Mostly about equal length to the actual edge AND surface hafted in the traditional First Nations style. They never come apart. Last night, I spent several hours sawing and carving in seasoned birch. Tool damage never crossed my mind.
                      Brian T

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                      • #12
                        I am sure Mike can make you a blade.

                        https://occtools.com

                        Dave

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                        • #13
                          The several knives that I use regularly have blades that extend half the length of the handle (& full width of the handle) - sold under the Woodcraft name. The blade is slotted into the handle and riveted in place.

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                          • #14
                            Thanks for the info guys. I apologize for not being more clear or starting new post; but this previous post turned up when I did search to find out what I had just bought LOL. I have no idea what this particular beast is meant for
                            The knife above is complete. It is a R. Murphy adjustable knife and the blade runs the length of the handle and is secured by set screw on side so that knife can have different lengths , or hidden safely in handle. The spares look like blade in post by Big Barn. The handle is Brass with rosewood sides and this is a very nice, upscale version of common utility knife. and heavy duty , not throw away razor type blade. You guys with bear paws for hands would love it. Very possibly made to be held upright in fist, maybe for leather work??? some kind of pattern cutting??? My conclusion is it is not for wood carving............But I'm workin on finding a way.
                            Thanks again for your help

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                            • #15
                              These knives were used by Pattern Makers as markup knives. I have one I use for carving quite a bit. You can still buy them and various length, width and thickness blades are available. I cut my spare blades to different lengths and have several different shaped blades that I swap in and out. Originally, they were sharpened in a chisel grind (one sided bevel) for marking - the flat side would be held against a guide. I have some blades as chisel grind and some I put traditional bevels on. The steel is high speed tool steel, and it is tough to overheat when grinding. You have a lot of flexibility with that knife. Have fun.

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