This knife was a personal project and is the confluence of a lot of things I love. Design, machining, food, 3D printing, sharp things, hand made, blood, sweat, and patience. This was a personal project completed in 2014.
I was first inspired by a video documenting how a knife is made by hand at Cut Brooklyn. A few months went by and I slowly realized I already had access to everything I needed to create one myself. And so it began.
I started with sketching, moved on to CAD in Solidworks, made a 3D printed prototype, adjusted, then went ahead and bought some steel online. To vastly simplify the machining process, I cut it out of the stock with a Dremel, used a belt sander to put the primary bevel on, sent it off to be heat treated to 61 on the Rockwell C scale by some guy named Darrin in Missouri, brought it down to final shape, put on the 3D printed scales, polished the whole thing, sharpened it, and finally forced a patina.
Here’s some more pictures of the process.
I want to discuss the finish on the handle, just to illustrate the little side processes happening around the details. I had a long debate with myself about what the handle finish should be. There are so many options and a lot to consider. It could be raw 3D printed surface finish, or painted with acetone, or sanded matte, or sanded to glossy, polished with a dremel, or covered entirely with plastidip or epoxy or enamel or some combination of any of these. I learned from the 3D printed prototype that the handle needed to have some shine to it to be able to see the facets. Cleanability, grip, and aesthetics were also concerns. An absolute must for me was for people to be able to see that it was 3D printed. After experimenting with all of these options I decided on sanding down to 800 grit and applying acetone with a small trigger sprayer. Acetone is a solvent for the ABS plastic that the printer uses. It usually leaves a glossy finish, or a paint brush finish if applied that way, but it is often uneven. Applying with a mist solved this, and also gives it a very fine speckle so the surface seems matte but has some reflectivity. In the end I got everything I wanted: you can see the facets well, and can also see the grain indicitive of the 3D printed origins. The look is very unique – I’ve never seen anything plastic with smooth faces and a grain in various directions on different faces.
This is my first knife. Thought it’s not perfect but I’ve learned an immense amount by making it and loved the whole process. It’s good to be reminded of the joy in creation.