Knifemaking is one of my hobbies, and I find it most enjoyable. Making a knife gets me away from the daily distractions, and affords a bit of personal space and time to think. But most of all, I love making beautiful knives, fashioning them in various creative ways, and using them in the wilds - for preparing food, cleaning fish, making shavings for starting the campfire, carving wooden components for the bow drill method of primitive firemaking, for whittling, cutting basketry materials, and innumerable other uses around camp. These knives would also be indispensable in a survival situation.
Pictured below are some of the knives I have fitted with handles. All handles are made of dead wood that we collected in the wilds. In the background is a shirt I made of buckskin. We are not hunters, but we buy raw skins or sometimes they are given to us. Either way, we brain-tan them ourselves. With such garments we feel we are remembering and honoring the animals.
For this knife handle project, I had in mind something that would serve on primitive skills outings, while being light weight. The blade is 3-1/4" and the handle oversized for aggressive cutting. The knife weighs 1.9 oz and the sheath 1.5 oz. I made another sheath for this knife weighing less than an ounce, but like the utility and aesthetics of this one better.
Another knife handle and sheath project.
More knife handle projects.
The handles of these knives are made from dead branches found around our Connection Camp in northern Arizona.
The scales of this knife are laminated. And the handle is hollow, so the knife is very light weight.
I made this knife handle at Connection Camp #4. Behind are the knife handles my students made. All woods were collected from the forest.
The same knife with its leather pouch sheath, which I also made at Connection Camp #4.
This is my first knife blade in the making. From 440C stainless steel bar stock, I made the blade 4" long, and the tang 3".
Heat treating has left the blade coated in dark oxide. Next I will attempt to temper the blade, at which point I am hoping it will look nice in one of my custom-made handles.
The completed knife. The heat treating did not go as planned, and I tried several methods until achieving the desired hardness. That done, I tempered the blade, again with a propane torch, and fit it with a handle. The shape of the blade did not turn out as planned, due to inaccuracies during the beveling. But initial testing of the blade's ability to hold a sharp edge were a success.
Blade #2 in the making. This one has a 3-1/2" blade, again of 440C stainless.
The completed knife.
This is a lightening bolt sheath, where I have emphasized the bolt.
Another lightening bolt sheath in the making. I tooled the thick piece of leather, and folded and sewed it together to create the pouch sheath below.
The completed sheath.
Knife handle from a Ray-Way Kit.
Why make a knife? There is nothing like a custom knife, and particularly one that you make yourself. and can be an enjoyable way to spend an evening, away from the blaring tv. These are quality evening, as you learn the basic techniques, and work with your hands assembling and shaping the pieces - all while developing these useful skills. Moreover, you may feel very proud of the finished knife, not only because of its beauty, but because you made it yourself. This will give your knife much more meaning than a store-bought one.
The Ray-Way Knife Making Kits
The Ray-Way Sheath Making Kits