How Long Does it Take to Make a Knife [Stock Removal Process]

Many people who are interested in designing and creating knives consider knife making to be an art form. Knives have long been a component of human existence and culture, and they’ve been employed for a variety of purposes.

Knife production was a professional activity for centuries, and specialists created the unique types of knives that people began to regard as personal property, to the point that certain blades are now considered heirlooms.

Making a bespoke knife for use or collection is a reproduction of the urge to bend and create steel for their own purpose. Some of these blade smiths consider themselves artists and are specialists in steel characteristics and shaping techniques.

That being said, let’s answer the question; how long does it take to make a knife?

Stock removal is the process of carving a blade from a pre-shaped block of metal. A basic, stock-removal knife can be made in 6 to 8 hours. A more complex knife can take up to 1 week to complete.

This can be done with hand tools or more modern equipment like a CNC machine. The time it takes to make a knife depends on the skill of the knifemaker, and the quality of the materials.

What is the stock removal process for knife making?

stock removal process for knife making
The stock removal process for knife making

Taking away the stock knife production is similar to blacksmithing, only you pay mills to do all the heating and hammering for you, and you start with a lovely flat piece of bar stock that you then remove material from until the required knife form is achieved. Many of the procedures, materials, and tools used in blacksmithing and stock removal are similar.

One of the simplest methods to produce and shape knives is to remove the stock. Grinding and shaping should be done slowly and carefully, but only with simple instruments.

To begin, locate a suitable piece of flat bar stock. Stainless steel is more pliable and easier to heat treat, resulting in a better blade.

Starting with an annealed piece of steel that can be readily cut or drilled is the best option. These are occasionally imported, and because they are accessible in a soft state, they may be worked with hand tools.

1st step:

Based on the design and size of the knife, select a bar material of the appropriate thickness. The knife is ruined by a hefty blade that should be less than five inches.

Also, the rule of thumb is to choose a blade with a thickness of less than 1/8 of an inch.

Cut out the knife pattern that you drew on stiff cardboard. Examine the size of your hand while imagining yourself holding the knife.

Once you’re happy with the design, use a Scribner or a sharp piece of steel to transfer it to your bar material.

2nd step:

Secure the stock in the vice and cut as close to the line as possible without going over it with a hacksaw.

To get a smooth surface, use a file to file down to the last few millimeters.

Carefully mark the bevels, as well as the ridgelines on both sides symmetrically.

Filing the bevels adds character, and using a sharp file prevents the material from flexing and is much simpler to operate than a dull file.

Mark out, punch out the centers and then drill the handle holes after you’ve achieved your desired shape and finish.

Once the blade is finished, heat treats it and attach your preferred handles.

3rd step:

The grinding is the most crucial aspect of the stock removal procedure.

This is the element that puts the knife maker’s character to the test, and when done well, reveals a lot of information about the metal’s properties and helps to form a link between the knife maker and the blade.

The main concept behind knife grinding is to give or restore a blade’s gross form based on the grit kind. Grinding wheels are used for the grinding.

Grinding generates a relief and a suitable cutting edge angle by honing with a secondary angle until a burr forms.

4th Step:

When manually grinding on a stone, stroke the knife away from you, then turn it over and stroke it back towards you.

You may also hold the knife blank on a workstation using clamps and vices and grind it with a file.

After that, you may smooth things up using a disc sander and sandpaper on the drill.

To safeguard your eyes, make sure you’re wearing your safety glasses. Allow the blade to rest on your fingernail and move it to see whether it has been sufficiently sharpened.

The edge of a sharp blade will catch, making it harder to move.

Holding the knife edge up to a light source and allowing the light to shine across the sharp edge is a simpler method.

Uneven edges, nicks, and chips will reflect sharply as you tilt the knife back and forth, indicating that there is more work to be done.

Frequently asked questions about stock removal method knife making

Why the stock removal method is used?

While stock removal is described as a procedure in which a blade smith warms a steel blade and hammers and shapes it until it resembles a knife, forging is defined as a process in which a blade smith heats a steel blade and hammers and shapes it until it resembles a knife.

A precision ground blade is used in the stock removal procedure, and a knife blade design is copied onto it by spraying with layout fluid, laying cardboard or other material on the piece of steel, and sketching a form around the template.

The material is then ground following the layout lines before being polished in a grinder or file. After that, the blade must be heat-treated in a professional oven.

What are the benefits of the stock removal method?

The main benefit of the stock removal method is that it allows for a great deal of precision and control during the knife-making process. This results in knives that are extremely well-crafted and look amazing.

What are some of the challenges of the stock removal method?

One of the challenges of the stock removal method is that it can be very time-consuming. This is especially true for complex knives with multiple bevels and a detailed handle. Another challenge is that it can be difficult to find metal blocks that are the right size and shape for your knife.

What type of equipment do I need for the stock removal method?

For the stock removal method, you will need a variety of hand tools and power tools. This includes things like saws, hammers, chisels, files, and sandpaper. You will also need access to a CNC machine if you want to create complex knives with multiple bevels and a detailed handle.

What type of metal is best for the stock removal method?

There are a variety of metals that can be used for the stock removal method, but some of the most popular choices include stainless steel, carbon steel, and tool steel. Each type of metal has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to choose the right metal for your specific needs.

What are some of the most common mistakes made during the stock removal process?

Some of the most common mistakes made during the stock removal process include not having the correct tools, not heating the metal properly, and not cooling the metal properly. These mistakes can result in knives that are poorly made and can be dangerous to use.

What are some of the safety concerns with the stock removal method?

The main safety concern with the stock removal method is that it uses a lot of power tools. This means that there is a greater risk of accidents occurring. It is important to always use caution and follow all safety guidelines when using power tools.

Final thoughts:

You may need to invest in solid tools to build a knife utilizing the stock removal approach. To remove the superfluous steel, you’ll need files. A decent belt grinder will make this procedure go much faster.

A decent bench vise would be an excellent investment since it would allow you to grind and file in a more controlled and comfortable way. For a decent finish on your blades, you may require a good set of wet and dry sandpaper in various grids. With constant practice, you may achieve very smooth, silky finishes. If you want to make wooden handles, you’ll need carpentry equipment, as well as drills and epoxy to attach the knife handle to the blade.

If you want to make knives by forging, you’ll need a decent heat source (a forge), a good set of hammers, tongs, and an anvil on which to lay the hot steel and shape it. Ample illumination, as well as a few safety and first-aid supplies, round out the image.

Many books are available on the market to assist anyone interested in learning how to make knives. Anyone interested in learning more about this ancient skill may find plenty of information in these books.

The internet is another excellent source of knife-making knowledge, with many forums including hundreds of connoisseurs, professionals, and enthusiasts discussing various knife-making processes and also assisting in the clarification of any concerns or supplying information to the newbie.

They are willing to share numerous tips and tricks of the trade that may assist anyone starting out in the knife-making business in avoiding frequent errors and achieving reasonable success.