Knife making 101 - Lesson 4...Grinding the edge

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skinner with bocote handle and brass pins

        From previous lessons, we have the knife ready to grind. First, define the area we want to remove the metal. Use a scribe and draw a line on the knife parallel to the cutting edge, about 1" up. If you have a set of calipers, use the back edges. Open the calipers to the width of the hollow grind you desire, put one side against the edge of your blade at the back near the handle, then draw the line by moving the calipers along the edge of the knife until you reach the point. 

    Clamp the knife in the vise with the cutting edge up. At the rear of the cutting edge, use a round file to put a "choil" where the cutting edge stops to define the end of the cutting area on the blade.

    Clamp the knife flat on a work surface. Use a round file to remove material across the face of the blade at the rear,  tapering to the top where no material will be removed. When finished it will look like a trough, starting at the choil and going upwards to the top of our hollow grind. Do the same for both sides.

    Wear gloves, the knife is going to get hot. Put a bucket of water near your work area to cool the blade while you work it.  Start removing metal by passing the face of the blade across the surface of your bench grinder. Remove a little at a time. After a few passes, turn the knife over and remove material from the other side. The idea is to keep the blade even on both sides. Look down the edge - is the material removal even? You may have to vary the pressure you apply while grinding to keep the thickness even. I find I usually grind too deep at the back of the blade and not deep enough at the tip. Keep removing material until the hollow grind matches the depth of the grooves. Don't grind it too thin at the edge as we will be removing more material later. 1/32" is about the right width. Onward to Lesson 5 - Preparation for heat treating 

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