jdwhitak

Single Bevel Clicking Knife

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Hello,

I have a Tina knife that is similar in concept to the Blanchard L'indispensable knife. Anyways, the blades for these are relatively cheap and I wanted to do some experimenting with different knife grinds for leather working. Specifically, a single-bevel grind. Does anyone here have experience making small clicking knives like this and can advise me on the best ways to go about it. I'd really like to know what angles to use, how to measure them out on my stock, and what tools to use. I was thinking about using precision metal files and my waterstones. I don't have access to a grinder.

Thanks for any and all help.

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I have some experience making skiving knives but not clickers specifically.  

Regarding the cutting angle; I don’t think it would be that critical as only the tip hits the leather and the angle that you hold the knive would vary.  Perhaps copy the produce on your existing Tina/Blanchard blade. 

Bevel wise, I would go around 15-20 degrees but again, I wouldn’t think it would be too critical with a clicker.  

The hard part for me would be getting the stock.  Maybe use an old HSS SawsAll blade and trim down as necessary.  Not sure if stores such as MSC would have such small stock.  Are you planning on heat treating yourself? 

 

 

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Various comments -

I have made skiving knives and kiridashi type knives from old hacksaw blades & plane blades, and it's not easy

Firstly, just about all modern hacksaw blades are bi-metal which means the body of the blade is made from soft-ish flexible steel, and only the teeth are hardened. This means you can't snap them, you must cut them with some sort of grinder, and also that the steel cannot be made very sharp - though I'm willing to be corrected on this Another issue is that these old hacksaw blades are much sought after by all sorts of hobbyists, knife makes, engineers & mechanics, so you really have to search & ask around for them

But I did manage to find some High Speed Steel or all- hardened steel hacksaw blades by searching around in secondhand dealers and my father-in-law's shed. Here's what I managed to do -

On a 12" x 1/2" blade I snapped it roughly to size & shape with pliers and a vice, then finished with a file & oilstone and also to smooth off the teeth. This was hard work, and took ages.

On a 1" wide blade, which was also thicker I tried shaping & sharpening by hand, but it was impossible so I found someone with a bench grinder

On a 1 1/2" wide blade I didn't even try anything by hand, I went straight to the bench grinder. Then finished with a stone & strop.

These were all sharpened on one side, I haven't measured the angle but went for something shallow, say 15 degrees.  Be careful or you could burn the steel. The exact angle for a leather cutting knife is not so critical, just shallow. Search YouTube for; kiridashi; leather skiving knife; and Japanese leather knife to see the sort of thing

The 1/2" & 1" were made into a craft knife or kiridashi style, and wrapped with leather handles; the 1 1/2" into a chisel type skiving knife and fitted with a wooden handle

If you want to do this by hand you'd need to buy steel stock, shape & sharpen it, then harden it. Unless you're already set up for knife & blade making, I wouldn't bother

You could look round secondhand stores, flea markets and so on to see if you can find useful bits of old tools & blades, but that could take a while

I have often thought that a wood carving knife with a suitable blade could make a small leather knife, and it's more or less ready to use. Search Google & YouTube for; 'chip carving knife', and YT for 'The Best Leather Cutting Knife' by Leathertoolz

I have found the brass handled Tina knife, but also look at their model 211 - 15 

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I've also found this video -

Making a carving knife from a jigsaw blade by Meighan Workshop

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I was just going to take one of my Tina blades, which I made a mess of, and cut off the existing "blade" portion, then regrind. It's my understanding that as long as I'm careful about not heating the steel up too much then the temper won't change. The Tina blade is made out of high speed steel. I'm wondering if hand shaping with files and such is feasible with that kind of steel.

Edited by jdwhitak

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27 minutes ago, jdwhitak said:

I'm wondering if hand shaping with files and such is feasible with that kind of steel.

It is.  I would use a hand file to blunt off the existing bevel and then use the hand file to put in the single bevel.  After that use 320 grit wet/dry paper on a piece of glass to clean up the bevel.  Increase grit through 1000.  Polish with strop. 

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Grinding on thin material will heat it up very quickly.  Use light, brushing strokes of the steel against the grinder and keep a cup of water nearby to cool the steel frequently.  If you see a change of color, you've already lost any temper it had.

 

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I just purchased some of the Doldokki knives that are single bevel and I can't say enough good things about these knives. They are very sharp and leave the cleanest edge I've seen on leather.

I've put the Tina blade rearing on hold until I'm better equipped to do it. That or find someone who wouldn't mind doing it for me :)

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