A kitchen knife for a friend

A couple weeks back I mentioned to a friend of mine that I made knives as a hobby. Of course his question was "Can you make me one?" to which I answered "Yup". This is the result:

The first thing to know is what type of knife he wanted. Turns out he had a picture of one he liked:

It's made by Hendrik Max Knives and is a real work of art. While I didn't want to copy the design exactly for ethical reasons, I thought I could use it as inspiration - a drop point, a multi-wood handle, some texture variation on the blade.

The Blade

Now, I'm limited by the tools and materials I have. I don't have a forge - which limits me to stock removal techniques. So the first order of business was to find a suitable piece of steel. I went for a cruise around the hardware store and looked at things ranging from machette's to lawnmower blades to garden loppers and woodworking saws. Eventually I settled on a nail-puller flat pry-bar. It was a thick piece of steel (5-6mm), and I reasoned that because it was used in a application where strength was required, the steel would probably be of an OK quality. When I put the steel on the bench grinder there were some fairly bushy sparks, so I knew I was good to go.

I cut out the shape with an angle grinder, and cleaned up the profile with the bench grinder. Then I had to figure out how to make the super-wide bevels. I started off on the bench grinder to get it roughly to shape, and then started to flatten it by hand with a piece of 80 grit sandpaper (a bench grinder, being a round thing, does not easily make flat surfaces). After a couple minutes I re-evaluated - it would take all week by hand. So I had to find another solution. That solution ended up being building a linisher on my bench grinder:

It's made from a piece of 3mm steel bar, two skateboard wheels, and some M8 bolts. A bit after I took the photo I added a platten to help sand things flat.
Some interesting things about this tool: After that, flattening the grind of the knife was a pretty quick job.

The metalworking was finished by sanding the grind/bevel with progressively finer grits until I was at 1200. For some reason I can't buy sandpaper with finer grits anywhere locally! But for this steel which isn't the hardest, going to a mirror polish would probably only serve to highlight scratches picked up during use.
I left the spine of the blade at it's 60 grit, with just a quick polish at 1200. This means there's a bit of texture variation towards the spine. It isn't so visible in the photos, but I expect it to become more clear as the blade develops a patina.

The Handle

The handle is made from three woods: Kwila, Mahogany, and Oak. The Kwila comes from an offcut of decking from the hardware store. The oak was scrap from a local woodworking shed I went to a couple times, and the Mahogany is from a 1/8" sheet I purchased in 2009 while I was in highschool (I've just about run out now).

These woods were cut to approximate size and then laminated together. They were then painstakingly cut into two scales by hand. A bandsaw would have made this a really quick job, but it ended up taking ages as I couldn't figure out how to clamp the thing for the final centimeter of the cut. After cutting I ended up dropping one of the scales and it broke along one of the laminations. So when I epoxied the scales into place on the blade, I put some glue there and made sure to apply some clamping force to squish it back together. By the time it was sanded smooth I couldn't even tell which one it was that broke!

Final shaping was done on the linisher - being careful not to allow the belt to touch the blade, and it was time to pick a finish for the handle.
A couple years ago I discovered cyanoacrylate as a finish, so a quick trip to the local dollar store gave it to me in the form of small bottle of super-thin super-glue. I did probably 5 or 6 layers in half an hour, followed by sanding it smooth and polishing it up to the same 1200 grit.

Yes, I did get my fingers glued to the cloth I was applying the glue with.

The Giving

So I gave it to him this week. Did he like it? Yup!

Mission accomplished.