Ok so lets complete this odyssey.
So next up we need to get some holes in the blade for the pins in the handle. Figure out where you want the pins to be and then measure to find the middle. Next take a center punch and tap it into the spots where you want to drill. This keeps the drill bit from wandering on you.
I chose to use 1/8" brass pins and I put a 1/8" drill bit in the drill press. You can do this with a hand drill as well. Regardless make sure you clamp it down either in a drill press or when using a hand drill. Here you can see the holes with the center punch in them.
Ok all drilled and ready for the next step.
Ok so now we reach a very important step Heat treating the knife. Your goal here is to get it to non magnetic. Again I used a magnet to check it when it was close. You can see here the Orange color which is close to all non magnetic. Make sure the whole blade gets to non magnetic. The rest of it doesn't need to get to that point but the blade ie sharp part must.
Ok into the oil. You can use lots of things, canola oil, mineral oil, bacon fat/grease, the list goes on and on. Ideally you want the oil to be warm like 125 degrees. Once you are at nonmagnetic it goes directly into the oil. Hold it there for a few moments so it rapidly cools. Then take it out of the oil. Please note this is extremely hot. Once it is out of the oil it is still hot and can burn you so set it aside to cool.
At this point this is just after the oil bath. Once it cools down you should take a file and run it over the blade part. It should skate right off and not grab the metal. This means it is hardened. Now we need to temper it so it gets soft enough to sharpen but hard enough to keep and edge.
I have an old toaster oven I keep in the shop for tempering. I set it at 425 ish which should give us a nice temper. I let it cook for 1 and 1/2 hours. Fair warning here guys, if you chose to do this part in the house in say the toaster oven or the kitchen oven you are taking your own lives in your hands. The wife/girlfriend will not be happy. Also it can get smelly. Even if you wiped all the oil off.
Out of the oven and ready to get cleaned up.
here is where you get out your sand paper and clean it up. If you chose to use something with power you have to be very careful not to overheat the blade if it gets any color at all you will have to anneal and then reheat treat and temper all over again. you can hand sand up from say 60 grit up to 220 or 400 and get a nice finish.
Ok so here it is cleaned up and ready for the handle But first lets make sure our heat treat and temper worked.
Ok so this is the semi famous brass rod test. if you place a 1/4" brass rod in a vise and then press the edge of the blade and pull it along it you should see it deflect. If it chips you are too hard if it flexes and stays flexed then too soft. Ideally it flexes doesn't chip and goes back to shape. This one passed no problem at all. There are lots of ways to test a knife but this is one that gives you an idea especially when you don't know the steel you are using.
Ok so next I took the pieces of wood I wanted to use as handles. Note you want the side against the blade to be as flat as can be which may require some sanding. As you an see I went ahead and drilled the holes in the wood and placed the brass pins through.
Ok next we get rid of the excess wood For this I use a coping saw first to get the bulk out. Then you can use a file to get it down to the metal. Then back to the sandpaper. Note that the blade should be taped up. I like the blue painters tape for ease of removal. This keeps your blade clean and safe while you work on the handle.
Here we are getting close to epoxy time.
Ok so once you got the edges done you need to take the handles off and put the pins in them and then sand then end towards the blade since this would be very hard after you epoxy.
Ok next mix up some two part epoxy. These can be bought at the local hardware store for around $5 do your self a favor and get one with at least a hour dry time. Once you epoxy the handle on and the brass pins. Take some wd-40 on a rag or paper towel and wipe off the excess saving you a lot of time later from sanding. Now do the smart thing and let it dry overnight. No need to rush it now.
Ok time to remove the excess brass pins. I clipped them off. Then take a file to flatten then out to the wood.
Next get out that sandpaper use a 60 grit or 100 to round off the handle material. you want to make this nice and round so its fits your hand well. once you got the shape work your way up to 150 grit, 220 grit and then 400 grit. stop anywhere you feel it is good.
All sanded and ready to be sharpened.
All sharpened up. You can hand sharpen it on a stone. I used the belt grinder on slow speed. Again though you have to be super careful not to change the color of the metal but overheating it and losing the temper/heat treat. Note its slicing paper with ease.
If you used wood you should finish it with some tru oil, linseed oil tung oil, Danish oil, wax etc. If you oil it usually takes a couple of coats over a day or two.
So there it is the finished product. What started out as a old file in a drawer that was well past its prime is now a new tool that will last for years to come. Phew. Now it just needs a sheath.
Hope you enjoyed this little tutorial. I tried to keep it basic. I am happy to answer any questions and if you try to make your own feel free to pm me anytime. I learned a long time ago knife makers are very generous with their knowledge and time and I have had a lot of help along the way. The best thing that you can do when folks are so nice is pay it forward.
Keep them knives sharp