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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 02-26-2013, 10:43 AM
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rockhound rockhound is offline
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Detail Filing VS Function

I very much enjoy doing detail file work and it was one of the things that initially attracted me to the world of knifemaking.
Now... after making several knives and learning a lot along the way... I'm far more interested in functional aspects rather than artistic, although they go hand-in-hand with skilled and savvy makers.
I've come to the conclusion that detail filing certainly has it's place, primarily as an embellishment and for display knives. I love display knives but I would prefer all of my builds to be true workhorses in every respect.
On a full-tang fixed blade knife I don't think there's any crime in embellishing the handle portion of the tang with filework, then filling it with epoxy, etc. If done well I don't think it can cause too much functional grief, but it's still a gamble since epoxy can fail in extreme conditions for a variety of reasons. The same can be said regarding inlays.
File embellishment on the top of the blade or any exposed tang (other than standard thumb-stop straight lines) is out of the question for any working knives that I will be building in the future.

Here's why:
A good friend of mine is an award winning taxidermist... big game, small game, bird, fish, reptile, and museum. He's taught me coldwater fish taxidermy and I'm forever indebted. Knives are his primary tools and he uses them all day/every day. He's extremely good at his trade and amazing to watch.
He asked that I make him a nice caping knife (which I will do at no charge). He's seen my work and likes it. When discussing the details of the project he immediately brought up file embellishment. Bear in mind, he's ONLY interested in function for obvious reasons.

To paraphrase our conversation, it went something like this:
"Me: ...so what exactly do you want in a caping knife?
Kev: first off, none of that fancy file crap
Me: what?? why not, I wanna make something really nice for you and I enjoy doing it
Kev: If you make me a knife with that **** on it, you can keep it. It's a bacteria trap and really tough to keep clean..."


So.... I have to agree with my friend who is a very skilled user and depends on high quality knives for a living. Filework definitely has it's place but not on any of my true workhorses. As much as I like the look and enjoy doing it, it's application is limited in the work arena.

I don't mean for this to be a controversial topic but thought I would share my recent revelation.


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Last edited by rockhound; 02-26-2013 at 10:49 AM.
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Old 02-26-2013, 10:58 AM
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ricky_arthur ricky_arthur is offline
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Yep, each project should be approached with it's intended and probable use as the primary design influence. Anything that would negatively affect the intended use should be left out of the design.

The other side of that however, is, how many knives are bought to be used? I don't know the answer to that, maybe it is "Most" of them and You may choose to cater only to that market, but my observation has been that there is a thriving market in knives that have no practical use other than looking good, feeling good in the hand and making you feel good because you have it. It's ok to throw a little embellishment into those ones, and if they get used from time to time? It won't really be in the way.

Bruce Bumps knives that get the most attention (and command the highest prices I suspect) are not likely to be found inside the body cavity of an elk, lol Just sayin.

Last edited by ricky_arthur; 02-26-2013 at 11:24 AM.
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Old 02-26-2013, 11:46 AM
Imakethings Imakethings is offline
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This is why I epoxy fill the voids when I know that the knife is going to see a lot of moisture.
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Old 02-26-2013, 12:05 PM
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rockhound rockhound is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ricky_arthur View Post

The other side of that however, is, how many knives are bought to be used? I don't know the answer to that, maybe it is "Most" of them and You may choose to cater only to that market, but my observation has been that there is a thriving market in knives that have no practical use other than looking good, feeling good in the hand and making you feel good because you have it. It's ok to throw a little embellishment into those ones, and if they get used from time to time? It won't really be in the way.

Bruce Bumps knives that get the most attention (and command the highest prices I suspect) are not likely to be found inside the body cavity of an elk, lol Just sayin.
I agree.
I don't make knives specifically for sale purposes and thus don't follow the demographic trends. I fully respect makers who turn a profit at this craft, regardless the demographic clientele... even Zombie killers.
I have no doubt that the market commands a higher value for ornate knives and that is an understandable logic. If the market gets saturated with that genre (any genre), the value eventually decreases substantially unless well-known makers have their mark on it... making it a guaranteed collectible.
The "working knife" market is fairly well saturated by now as well and the same logic applies from a business standpoint.
My only point is that I'm realizing that the application of filework has little use in 'my' making purposes. I'm more interested in pure function at this stage. I enjoy filework and will continue to do it on some 'light-duty' knives for friends and folders or whatever but will exclude it on my more serious workhorse builds.


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Old 02-26-2013, 12:22 PM
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ricky_arthur ricky_arthur is offline
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I have to admit that I have been on the same trend. It has been a few knives since I busted out the trusty vine pattern, that went on every knife I made for a little while.
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Old 02-26-2013, 01:38 PM
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Thumbs up

I've seen your knives and they look great!


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Old 02-26-2013, 08:34 PM
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Eli Jensen Eli Jensen is offline
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Filework on the tang could be a bacteria trap, even if epoxy filled. But thats probably no more true than where the scales meet the tang. If might also be somewhat of a trap on the blade spine, but that should be easily cleaned.

I put filework on the blade spine because it gives it a nice grip. Not as grippy as your basic notched spine, but a nice compromise between grip and asthetics
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