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Knife Making – How to Get Started!

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In this video, Walter Sorrells discusses getting started with the hobby of knifemaking. He suggests that before thinking of making a living making knifes, first make it a hobby. The money will take care of itself later.

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His first advice is to start small. You don’t have to know everything to know about knifemaking on day one. It’s okay to be ignorant. That’s where everybody starts. Admitting that you don’t know something is the first step in learning to do it right. The key to learning any hobby is recognizing that you accumulate skills slowly, so focus on acquiring those skills first. Wood and plastic are easier to work with than steel, so handles are a great place to start. Move on to steel when you feel ready.

He says that your workspace doesn’t have to be huge or elaborately equipped. It can be in the basement, garage, or a shed. The most important thing is that there is a stable counter, table, or workbench with a bench vise set up on it. That’s about it. If you have a lot of space, a big electrical service, heat, air conditioning, ventilation, and so on, then good, but not necessary. A little ingenuity is more important than a big workspace.

Walter says that there’s no need for fancy gear either. You can make simple knives with simple tools. All you need is a hacksaw, a drill, sandpaper, a bench vise, and a file. For the materials, he lists a piece of steel (01, 1075, 1095, or an old file), 1/8″ brass pin stock, and a small piece of hardwood (any kind will do). He discourages getting too caught up in buying fancy gear.

Once you have the basic necessary tools and materials, come up with a simple project. Don’t start with a katana or a huge sword, but rather a throwing knife or something similar. He stresses that your mindset is crucial in starting this hobby. Don’t be afraid to be passionate about something that most people aren’t that interested in. Absorb the enormous amount of information out there. Buy three or four basic knifemaking books. His final advice is to take concrete steps and make a commitment to knifemaking, if that’s what you really want.

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