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The Newbies Arena Are you new to knife making? Here is all the help you will need.

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Old 01-07-2015, 09:36 AM
Snyiper Snyiper is offline
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Southern Md
Posts: 1
Wanted to say hello

My name is Glenn Im in my mid 50's and thinking I would like to make knives as they fascinate me always have. I am mechanically inclined but knife dumb. My first venture after much reading will be a Ulu type knife from a skill saw blade. Any tips or tricks welcome. I know at first Ill be the recipient of a lot of knowledge from you and I thank you in advance but I hope to be able to pass it forward as I get better. I have a pretty good array of tools and a workshop I do not have a forge yet but do plan on making one. My dream is to weld Damascus at some time in my life.

Gun control means never saying "I missed you"
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Old 01-07-2015, 10:04 AM
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Ray Rogers Ray Rogers is offline
Founding Member / Moderator
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Wauconda, WA
Posts: 9,793
Welcome Glenn! The first step would be to read through some of the Sticky threads at the top of this forum, lots of basic questions answered there.

A Skil saw blade might do for an ulu is edge holding wasn't too important to you but generally speaking that type of saw blade is useless for knives. There are a bunch of very good reasons why we tell beginners to buy their knife steel and reading through some of the posts here should familiarize you with some of them. When you are ready to make your own blade buy some 1080 or 1084, don't waste your time with scrap steel.

But, it may be that you aren't ready to make your own blade just yet. Most of us start out by finishing a kit knife or two. That way, you learn how to fit up and finish a handle, maybe make a sheath, acquire the tools to do those things, all without spending a lot of money AND you end up with a real knife. Everything you learn doing kit knives will be skills you need on your own blades.

We also have a Sunday night Chat Room that is very easy to use (see the Sticky ) and is especially intended to help beginners get over the start up hump.......


Your question may already have been answered - try the Search button first!

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Old 01-07-2015, 11:13 AM
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ricky_arthur ricky_arthur is offline
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Utah
Posts: 524
Welcome snyiper. If you want to make some knife shaped objects with saw blades, you will no doubt learn things along the way, But like Ray said, if you want to end up with a usable knife, get some known steel. 1080 or 1084, if you want to send the first couple out to be heat treated by someone else you can even get some stainless like 440c. Really the cost of good steel is the very lowest of costs when starting knife making. You will probably use up more funds on sand paper than 8-10 inches of 1080 would cost for a knife.
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Old 01-07-2015, 08:07 PM
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ATalley ATalley is offline
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Greenwood IN
Posts: 325
Welcome Glenn! Lots of great information here. Can't wait to see some of your work



"We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends." Shel Silverstein
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Old 01-08-2015, 05:28 AM
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Crex Crex is offline
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Acworth, GA and/or Hanging Dog, NC
Posts: 3,521
Welcome to the jungle/addiction/game/fun/frustration/delight/disappointment/satisfaction that is knifemaking. It's quite a journey no matter which path you take so just hang on and enjoy the ride.
You will get a lot of good info and advice here along with a sufficient number of "how not to's" (seems we all know more than a few of those tricks).
As Ray indicated the saw blade will most likely suffice in Ulu applications (lot of the originals found in Alaska were from boilerplate and other ship debre). However, as advised, using known steel that you can learn to be consistent with, will greatly minimize the learning curve when you start doing your own thermal cycling and forging if that's the path you take.
You will learn the mechanics of a knife using the "kits" and there's absolutely nothing wrong learning that way.

The best suggestion I can give you is to seek out a accomplished local maker and negotiate a little time with him/her. That way you can observe shop setups, tool applications & adaptations, tips & tricks, etc. You will learn that much faster and hopefully find a new friend and mentor. Most of us makers are pretty OK people (just a little weird and reclusive).
If you are serious about going the forging route, attend as many hammer-ins as time/money/travel permit. You can learn a lot at these events.

With any of these options remember to take everything with a grain of salt and use common sense discernment on what you see, hear, read or watch. Million ways to skin the neighbors cat and everyone has their favorite way.
Mostly enjoy yourself and keep us posted on your progress whether good or dumb questions (well there are, but most of the guys here are gracious enough not to point that out) we want to help.

Carl Rechsteiner, Bladesmith
Georgia Custom Knifemakers Guild, Charter Member
Knifemakers Guild, voting member
Registered Master Artist - GA Council for the Arts
C Rex Custom Knives

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