View Full Version : Alick's First Project

05-06-04, 09:51 PM
Well, after months of thinking about what to make with it, I took the saw to my first piece of steel today to begin making a damascus fixed blade based on the style of Neil Blackwood's small hunter - a long time favorite of mine though not a knife that I own.

After making a mock up in balsa wood to work out the sizing (19cm long overall), I transferred the pattern and cut it out roughly my saw, then angle grinder -nibbling alternately at different sides and ends of the blade to keep the heat down -finally going to files and assorted sizes of sanding drum on the bench drill.

My first stage of cutting out is now done and I thought I'd ask for peoples opinions before going on to the next step.


The blank is a little oversize from my original outlines, but "you can always take it off, you can't put it back on..". It's a pretty good fit in the hand as is, but looks a little chubby - I'll probably need to slim it down some more as adding the scales will obviously fill up the hand.

I've mildly exaggerated the belly that is a distinctive feature of Neil's original to see how it looks, but I'm not convinced and I've no idea if I'll be able to grind what is quite a strong curve.

I'm also wondering about a little more drop to the point.

All in all, this is great fun - you get to play with ergonomics and aesthetics together.

Please do comment because I'd love to learn from anyone who's been here already.

Thanks, Alick

05-06-04, 10:04 PM
Looks pretty good so far

What kind of gring are you going to go for? and are you planning to use files or a belt grinder or something else?

As you say I would be tempted to drop the point just a little and maybe take a tiny bit of meat of the internal curves of the handle and choil just to flow the handle into the blade a little more. ALthough thats just from one photo, I'm sure you have a better idea of how it looks yourself. I find I spend a lot of time just staring vaguely at knives which have reached this stage wondering whether to take off a bit here or there.

Anyway best of luck with the next stages...i look forward to seeing how it progresses.

05-06-04, 10:41 PM
Cheers Chris - yes that would help, being more aggressive on the inside curves would thin the front of the handle and emphasise the back some more - nice.
For the grind, I only have files, powerfile and watersones - no belt grinder. Neil B uses a stylish deep hollow grind with nice crisp grind lines, but I need to wing it. Essentially flat grind, not quite to the spine at the rear but full depth by 1/3 back from the point. The steel's only 3mm so I'll need a secondary bevel. Cheers for the comments :biggthump .

05-06-04, 10:44 PM
Only 3mm? I thought it looked much thicker from the photo (prolly the shadows). If it is just 3mm do you think you'll have to reduce the profile of the tang much in order to not make it too bulky?

05-06-04, 10:45 PM
PS It does look like it's going to be a great looking knife, what sort of etch were you thinking of?

05-06-04, 10:59 PM
Yeah I think you're right to go for a deep grind with a secondary bevel, that should work well with the overall lines and bring out the best of the damascus. I tend to use a skandi type grind so i can't offer much advice there. Probably the best tip is to come up with some way of scribing a centerline along the edge of the blank ie the line which will be the edge when the grind is finished if that makes sense. This will be a great help in getting the edge straight first go.

05-06-04, 11:30 PM
Having had another look it seems to me that it will be harder to get a good edge with a flat grind on the strong internal curves so smoothing them out a little may make things easier. If the 'original' design used a hollow grind with the curvier shape that would seem to make sense.

Although I'm all theory and no practice (yet) so feel free to ignore me :)