So this instructables is all about building a chef knife. I have done a lot of welding projects regarding stainless steel on to my channel and during that work, I got an idea to build the knife with stick welding using stainless steel electrodes. This build definitely costs a lot and there is no guarantee that it’s going to be successful, and that the reason it took me so much time to take a decision over building this project. The main problem with making such things with just only welding is that these things need a lot more clean work than you usually not taking care during knife making because if slag trapped between the two layers it’s going to affect the overall result. To proceed with this work there are two methods which think the first one is this which I showed in the video and the second one is much resemble with the 3d printing technique. In which I bend a thick electrode in a curved shape and start laying the material over it repeatedly and ended up with a billet formation. What the problem with that technique is there at every time I lay one layer of weld bead for next bead I need to clean up that entire bead and this will definitely consume a lot of time and effort. Although that I think makes much consolidate billet and you have no need of forging later on. That’s why I decided to leave that technique and build a knife with the electrode stacking technique. So this journey is all about the building of this chef knife completely out of stick welding. If you have some suggestions then definitely leave them in the comment section below.
Material and tools required:-
1.SS 308 welding electrodes
2.High carbon welding electrodes
3.Pickling agent for stainless steel
11. Needle Rasp File
13. Bench vise
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Step 1: Removing the Flux and Electrode Cleanup
So to start this build the first thing you need to do is remove the outer flux from the electrodes so that you can stack them together to form a basic knife shape. For the removal of the flux you can either dip them in the water for a couple of hours and then it will come off easily but I I use chipping hammer to remove that flux. Although it’s not that difficult to remove it with the hammering process. Once the flux is completely removed I start the cleaning process and for that, I attach Scotch Brite wheel on to my angle grinder and then remove the remaining flux from that electrode to make it nice clean and shiny.
Step 2: Designing the Basic Shape and Bending the Electrodes
So once the cleanup process completed I draw the basic shape of a chef’s knife onto the bench. Usually, the length of a chef’s knife is around 8-9 inches so I go with 9″ length and the tang varied according to the grip. So after that, I bend the electrodes by following the knife shape until I fill my entire Design with electrodes. Then by taking them little by little I start making tack weld. During this work, one thing needs to be taking care of that for the edge you need a carbon rod because otherwise, you are not able to get a hardened edge.
Step 3: Welding to Form Basic Knife Billet
Once the basic tack welding is done and basic knife shape seems to be visible I start the cleaning process first. For that, I use pickling agent which is used to remove the black oxides and slag from the stainless steel and brightens the welds. So before starting the welding I clean up all the tacks and make sure no slag remains inside during the welding. Once it’s been completely cleaned I start the welding and during welding few things need to take care of is that make sure to clean up your weld with a wire brush and chipping hammer make sure no slag left behind otherwise it’s going to be trapped between weld layers. Once the welding from one side is complete I didn’t start the weld onto another side because there is a lot of burn scales appears onto the opposite side and there are few areas still left where slag get trapped so I again clean up the entire billet with pickling agent and the trapped slag is removed with the help of foredom. I use diamond burs and carbide burrs to knock off the slag so that I can fill it with the weld material. Once everything again cleaned I start the weld on the other side. Once these two welds completed I have a nice thick billet with which I can make my chef’s knife.
Step 4: Forging the Billet
To make sure that every part fused together nicely I decided to do the forging part although I am completely new to this work but I manage to do it properly. Few things onto which I wanted to pay much attention is the bolster piece and tip of the knife. I heat the billet until it gets at a fusion temperature and then starts hammering the billet. I am sure that by doing this there is no delamination or crack inside the billet and everything would be nice and solid.
Step 5: Grinding the Bevels
Once the billet has been forged out I started the bevelling process. I don’t have a belt grinder so I do always with an angle grinder. For this, I use a thick grinding wheel to hog of much material as I can. For grinding this I use the eyeballing method. Once the basic grinding has been done I use files to flatten the entire knife because grinder never grinds straight but for a knife, you need a straight piece and to achieve that I use files to accomplish that straightness.
Step 6: Quenching
So this part goes slightly wrong although the end result is acceptable. So I wanted to do the case hardening and the reason is that I wanted to use stainless steel 304 for knife making so I decided why not to give that a shot. So for the case hardening, I used charred leather mixed with salt and plain flour in a ratio of 6:4:3 by its weight respectively. Then mixed with water and kneaded thoroughly so that I am able to wrap it around the knife. Once the coating is hard I made a case and put it inside the case so that it will not able to get oxygen. I saw click spring channel in which he did case hardening but I didn’t have clay for the case so I made it with sheet metal and I find out that I have to put the knife for around 50 minutes to induce the carbon in the billet. But when I check after 15 minutes I saw that the case is completely gone and the coating is also burnt off so I decided to leave that part and quench it in water because even though case hardening didn’t succeed the electrodes used for the edges have enough carbon around .50% that it’s able to provide a good cutting edge. Due to that case Hardening, the tip is also melted but a little reshaping makes the job done. After quenching I didn’t temper the blade because I thought something different about that.
Step 7: Grinding and Polishing to the Final Shape.
Once the quenching has been completed I start the grinding work. First removes the scale with an angle grinder and then attached a grinding drum stone to my drill press and then flatten the entire knife evenly. I also use a diamond file to flatten the knife because after the quenching metal files skates from the edge area. Once I get even grind finish with the stones and files I start the polishing process and its required a lot of elbow grease. I start at 150 grit and goes up to 1500 grit and able to get a nice clean finish.
Step 8: Handle
So the handle part is made out of resin and a few years back I made a knife and I wanted to make a resin handle for that. For that, I pour polyester resin mixed with 3 different pearls and poured into the mould to get that handle block. After having that handle block I mark the hole location for the handle Tang and then drilled out the holes and make them precise fit with the help of rasp needle files. Then I start shaping the handle. First I draw the layout roughly onto the handle block and then grind the material onto my drill press. For this, I use a different technique in which I insert the drill bit into a PVC pipe and then wrap the sandpaper around that and remove the material. If I start doing that with the help of files then it will take a lot of time. Once the rough shape is achieved I insert the handle into the knife and then make a precise shape with files and the drum sander. I insert that into the knife because a knife has a bolster and that bolster needs to make a smooth transition with the handle and the only way to get that is by attaching the handle with the knife. That’s why tight-fitting of handle is required. Then I finish the handle up to 1000 grit with sandpaper and make it completely smooth.
Step 9: Buffing
Once the sanding work is finished up to the required grit I buff the entire knife. Here one thing is to make sure that using buffing with a knife I use speed regulator and reduced the speed very low to make it safer. I rub the blade with buffing wheel and it slightly heats up the surface then rub the buffing compound over it. This process melts the compound over the surface and then you can effectively buff the surface. With same buffing compound, I also buff the handle as well to mirror polish like state.
Step 10: Colouring and Sharpening
Then I decided to give this some rainbow colour and as you know at certain temperature metal changes its colour. So I kept an eye onto the edge because overheating the blade also ruins the hardness. So I heat until I get a straw colour at the edges. Make sure to do it without handle otherwise it ruins the handle completely. Then I sharpened the edge and it’s fairly simple for me to do. I turn down the speed of the grinder very slow speed and then sharpen the edge. I start with 400 grit and then finish it with 2000 grit. A paper cutting test confirms its sharpness.
Step 11: Assembling
The last and most important thing is to assemble both the pieces together. Since I am not going to add pins for locking the handle that’s why I created some teeth into the tang of the knife so that when I pour the epoxy it stuck in that area and that will jam the handle to its place and make it impossible to remove until you break the handle apart. Then I mixed two part epoxy and then mixed some pigment to match the front piece of the handle and then allow it to cure and the final result is in front of you.
Step 12: Finished Product
So that’s all about the journey of making a knife from stick welding and using electrodes as a material for the knife. Definitely not the easiest one but definitely teach a lot about knife making.
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