Knife Makers... Tool Suggestions?


May 25, 2009, 01:52 PM
i know that THR gets visited by some very good knife makers and metal smiths
im thinking of tinkering in knife makeing and was wondering if you guys could suggest some basic must have tools to get the job done

also advanced/specialty tools that make the job easier

thanks in advance

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May 25, 2009, 02:19 PM
Do you wish to make blades by stock removal (grinding) or by forging, or by both? What sort of knifes would you fancy making?

The basic knife-maker's tool is the belt grinder. Most stock removal is done with this. I don't have one.

I forge. So I have basic smithing tools, a forge and blower, hammers, hardies, tongs, punches.....

I do minimal post forging work on my blades, for which I use bench grinders, angle grinders, files, drill press... And not much else.

But along with the bladesmithing, comes making the blade furniture: guards, handles, scales, bolsters, etc. So, woodworking tools, jeweler's saws, soldering tools, leatherworking tools....

The list can be endless. I'm less interested in what tools I need to do a job than what jobs I can do with the tools I have.

One can go far with a set of files, an idea and time on his side.

It's what you make of it.


May 25, 2009, 02:39 PM
Knife forums:

Check out
and here is information on how a "hand made" knife is made.

Good Luck,


May 25, 2009, 03:11 PM
Buy a good grinder up front and your job will be easier - variable seed is expensive but a must. You can get by for a while with a screaming one-speed machie like the Grizzly but you will have to upgrade from there. Expect to spend $2k on a good grinder.

May 25, 2009, 03:21 PM
Here's a great way to start:
The Absolute Cheapskate Way to Start Making Knives (

Here are some links to tools and such (I haven't checked it in a while so some links might be bad:():


Black Toe Knives
May 25, 2009, 07:22 PM
My first advice on You very first tool is Wayne Goodard's
50.00 Knife shop.

You can start with the basics.
1. Some way to cut metal. saw or side grinder
2. Way to work the metal, side grinder, files or belt sander
3. Drill on some sort. Drill motor or a drill press.
5. Heat Treat you can use something as cheap as a fan blowing on charcoal and magnet.
6. Quench can be as cheap as ATF or 1095 can be water.
7. To polish good old sand paper.

My first set up was

12 inch x 18 inch work bench.
drill press table top Harbor Freight.
assorted Files
Dremel tool
6'' buffer 1/2 horse Harbor Freight
Cast iron pan to hold charcoal and fan and AT Fluid.
Side Grinder and cut off wheels
Hack saw
1x30 belt sander and 5'' disk sander.

Jim Adams (

May 25, 2009, 09:03 PM
Black Toe hit on my first suggestion of Goddard's book, but you could start out more simply and look to Tai Goo's neo-primitive school that only depends upon hand tools.

Draw files, vises, hack saws and stones will help you work closely with the material.

Then you can get into power tools.

May 25, 2009, 11:12 PM
WOW thanks guys i usualy dont get that many responces that quickly

i should have mentioned that i am very good with my hands and have worked with woods leather plastic and several other materials for several other occupations through my life the one elusive material i have never worked with was metal
i have a workshop full of tools (thanks Dad still miss you)

May 25, 2009, 11:32 PM
I wouldnt say variable speed is a must , but slower would be better than a screamin beast like the Grizzly.

The KMG with a step pulley setup will fill the bill nicely.

also some light reading for ya.

Black Toe Knives
May 25, 2009, 11:35 PM
HSO is very right. Bottom line is keep it simple. Simpler you keep it the more likely you are to do it. It is not about the tools as it is desire to make knives. There is video called Knifemaking unplugged. Tim Lively and his wife, Marian make a camp knife. There are no power tools. There is lot on information in the video. This as simple as it gets. Plus it is great video to watch.

May 26, 2009, 09:14 AM
Another decent resource for forgeing at home is Tim Lively knives.... I use his forge design, more or less.


May 26, 2009, 06:05 PM
I used the stock remonal method to make my knives and at first used a 1HP belt sander with 6"x 48" belt with good success.
Later on I wished to hollow grind my blades and I built a belt sander that uses 2"x120" belts.
Purchased items were primirarily an 8 inch "cog tooth" contact wheel and a smooth 8 inch contact wheel.
A backstand idler, necessary for tracking the belt was given to me by a friend.
Good Luck as knifemaking was a rewarding expirience for me in many ways.

May 30, 2009, 11:46 PM
7X57 is correctamundo! Get Tim Lively's DVD! It does not get any simpler than that....Welcome to the addiction!:)

June 1, 2009, 01:11 AM
My first advice on You very first tool is Wayne Goodard's
50.00 Knife shop.

ISBN 0-87341-993-6
Usually runs about $20...

Excellent read for anyone wanting a good, practical working knowledge of metal smithing, metallurgy and just plain common sense round hot/sharp stuff!

"$50 Knife Shop" by Wayne Goddard...
This should be the FIRST $20 you spend...

Black Toe Knives
June 1, 2009, 03:30 AM
Next thing go to Knife Shows. Knifemakers love to talk knives. We love to share ideas. Most Knifemaker I don't care how famous they they will talk to you and maybe share a secret.
Last Weekend at Blade I met all the top makers, Plus Dewey Harris spend 90 minutes with me last weekend explaining to me how to make a folder. He is master of lock back folders. He knowledge was priceless. I never be able to repay him. But I can incorporate his ideas into my knives and pass those ideas on.

I carried on 20 minute conversation with Chris Reeve about couple of custom I had bought that he had made. My wife about fainted when she seen the name his name tag. LOL
Then she went on and met many more makers including Gil Hibbens

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