Well, I finished the first knife. Over a week ago, actually, but just getting around to posting this.
Filed and sanded down the handle, polished everything up, applied a couple coats of danish oil to the wood and sharpened and honed the blade. Here’s a bunch of shots of the finished product.
It’s decent enough for a first knife, but it was more of a learning experience, as you’d expect from your first anything. Some takeaways:
1. Design. If I were doing this knife again, I’d make the blade a bit shorter and the handle a bit longer. The butt of the handle fits nicely inside the palm of my hand, which would be fine for a small carving blade. But with a longer blade like this, you tend to want to do some more beefy cutting, for which you’d need a fuller grip on the handle.
2. The choice of wood for the handle didn’t come out as awesome as I’d hoped. The spalted maple is rather soft, so as I sanded it into shape, particles just kept getting embedded in the wood, giving it a dirty look. More sanding just exacerbated the problem. I’ve since learned about stabilizing wood with resin in a vacuum chamber, and understand why this is done. But I doubt I’ll be going there any time soon.
3. The bevel on the blade was hand filed, without the use of any jig. So it came out convex. Not horrible structurally, but not as pretty as a flat grind. I’ve since picked up a cheap belt grinder, which will solve that problem in the future.
Lots of other stuff learned, and a whole lot went right on this. It’s a decent knife, sturdy enough, and it honed up nice and sharp. Been using it for this and that around the shop, and it feels good to use a tool that I made from scratch.
On to the next projects. Got some 1 1/2″ and 2″ wide, 1/8″ thick steel. I’m going to make a wooden plane and some more knives.