Building the Everyday Work Knife by Joe Kertzman

By Joe Kertzman

Author of such books as Wayne Goddard's $50 Knife Shop and The ask yourself of Knifemaking, Wayne Goddard takes you thru his confirmed strategy of making the standard operating knife. Goddard speaks the language of standard those who prefer to use knives they have made themselves.

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The forged-to-shape blade can be finished with files, stones and abrasive paper. This allows the new maker to get started making knives with a bare minimum of equipment. An advantage, for myself, to forging is the energy created by the process. I get sick and tired of grinding and sanding inside my shop. Grinding creates smelly grit that permeates the skin and clothing. Fine steel and wood dust fills the air and settles in every nook and corner. I prefer the fresh air of my smithy, which isn’t much more than a lean-to hooked onto the back of my shop.

It is wise to practice getting an even heat on a junk knife blade or piece of scrap steel. The A/E torch is perfect for an edge-hardening quench in which only the edge portion of the blade is heated to the hardening temperature. The back of the blade remains at a temperature where it does not fully harden in a quench where the whole blade is submerged in the oil. Blades that are edge heated with the A/E torch can be edge quenched or fully quenched. This side view shows the location of the fire, which is ahead of the center.

A double-cut file will remove material quicker but will leave small ridges that have to be worked out with the mill bastard file. A light touch is best because it keeps the teeth from digging too deep. Keep a file card close by, and every so many strokes, use it to keep the teeth free of filings. When the teeth are allowed to plug up, it can cause galling of the surface and that will only make more work for the draw filer. If the file is lubricated with chalk dust, it is supposed to help keep the teeth from clogging.

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