In this video, Walter Sorrells gives his line-up of the first ten tools that a beginner needs in order to start making knives. To get started in knifemaking, you don’t need a lot of expensive tools. He suggests the following:
Tool 1 – There are many different kinds of files and they are all useful. A file costs $10.
Tool 2 – A good quality hacksaw with a bi-metal blade costs somewhere around $20.
Tool 3 – Every metalworking shop needs a bench vise. Cheap vises will start at around $50, but you’ll never be sorry if you spend a bit more.
Tool 4 – An old hand drill or even a brace and bit will work, but Walter strongly recommends getting a drill press, along with a drill vise, instead. You can buy them at places like Home Depot for well under $200.
Tool 5 – Sandpaper is not really a tool, but is very important in knifemaking. Buy it by the sheet and tear it for specialized work. You can buy sanding blocks or make your own from scrap wood. It costs $40 or $50.
Tool 6 – You can buy digital calipers pretty cheap, which is perfectly adequate for most knifemaking needs. It costs $30 in places like Grizzly and Enco.
Tool 7 – Buy little sets of precision machinist gizmos (e.g. squares, rulers). Plan on spending maybe $20 to $40.
Tool 8 – Clamps are necessary and welders clamps are a good place to start. Over time, you’ll end up using different kinds of clamps. Every time you go to the hardware store, just grab one or two, so that in the future, you’ll have enough to do what needs to be done.
Tool 9 – Walter recommends the EZE-LAP 2×6 inch diamond stone, with heavy grit on one sand and fine on the other. For $20 to $70, you can already find something that works for you.
Tool 10 – If you think you’re serious about knifemaking, you need to get a professional quality 2×72 inch belt grinder. It will cost close to $2000.
In conclusion, Walter stresses that you don’t have to fill your shop with expensive tools to make your first knife. If you’re just starting out, you can start with very simple tools.