DT Knives
P.O. Box 94536
Albuquerque, NM 87199

How I make a knife

I look for old used metal files. The old ones are usually 1095 high carbon. I look for the Nicholson, Arcade, Disston, Grobet and Heller brand. New files made in China are low carbon and case hardened this makes them unsuitable for knife making. Old sawblades and car leaf springs are really good too.

I then take the file and put it in the forge where it is heated to approximately
1550 degrees. I might hammer it out on a anvil to the rough shape or just turn off the forge and let the steel cool slowly inside. I usually won't mess with it for at least 6 hours while it cools.

Once cooled hard but brittle file is now soft and ready to shape. It can be filed with another file or metal can be removed with a belt grinder. I have a few basic paterns that I use for the rough layout but I just grind away until i like the feel and look of the blade.
I like to color outside the lines so no CNC, Plasma or waterjet cutters here. every knife is different. You won't find 50 of the same thing for sale. If you're looking for the flawless, perfectly machine cut knife, skip to the end.....

I then choose the handle material. I like Cocobolo, Amboyna, Afzelia, Buckeye burl, Maple burl. Elk antler is available most of the time and micarta is sometimes used when I have time to make it.

After the holes are drilled for the scales or bolsters, the blade is sanded down to 400 grit. Then back to the forge where the blade is again heated to 1500 F and plunged into quenching oil. This hardens the steel but leaves it very brittle. The blade is placed in an oven and heated twice to temper the steel.

Now comes more sanding. How much depends on the look I'm going for. Lots of western types and bushcraft guys like a knife that has a used look.

The handles are put on and pinned in place. Now it's time to profile the handle. Again this is done to my hand and tastes. Yours may vary. After shaping the handle it's sanding time again! this time up to 1200 grit after which the handle is sealed with an oil.

A handmade sheath is then made and fitted to that particular knife design. The leather is 7- 9 oz. Sometimes I tool the leather but if you want it plain, I can do that.  

If you have any questions or special order requests, please feel free to
email me.