Knife making 101 - Lesson 5...preparation for heat treating

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    We're almost ready to heat treat the knife blade. First we must prepare the finish and do any utility work as after hardening it will be difficult if not impossible to do some of this stuff.

    Completely sand the entire blade and the edge all the way around the handle. Start with a grit slightly less coarse then the grinding wheel. About 80 grit is usually right. Grind in one direction until all the grind marks from the wheel are gone. Then move up a step. Use 120 grit and grind in one direction (a different direction from the 80 grit step!) until all the marks are gone from the blade and edge. Now repeat with 180 grit. Now repeat with 220 grit. You can skip steps in the progression, but you'll use twice as much sandpaper and it makes this job harder than it already is.    

    I stop at 220 grit, going any further until the knife is heat treated is counter productive.

    Let's drill handle holes. I use either 1/8" or 1/4" inch pins to attach the handle, so make a decision, draw a straight line down the centerline of the handle, and drill holes exactly the same size as the pins you will be using. If the knife is to have a thong hole, drill it at this time as well. I use 1/4" brass tubing for thong holes.

    Drill some more holes in the tang (handle) to allow the epoxy to flow between the handle wood sides. 1/8" is plenty big. Use a file to remove the burrs left by drilling from the holes.

Take a good long look at the blade. Are you going to make any changes? Now is the time, BEFORE we heat treat it! Next is Lesson 6 - hardening the blade

Lesson 1   Lesson 2  Lesson 3  Lesson 4  Lesson 6

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