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Step-by-Step Knifemaking: You Can Do It! Paperback – June, 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 274 pages
  • Publisher: Boye Knives Press; Revised edition (June 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0615116590
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615116594
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #73,806 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Boye is smart and original, and if you like his style you can learn here how he makes it." -- Blade Magazine

From the Publisher

Knifemaking may strike you as a curious endeavor. With so many good knives available, you might ask, why would anyone want to make one by hand?

That very question coursed through my mind when a friend who worked in the office next to mine began talking to me about the knives he was making. Almost every day he would work the word knife into our conversations in some way. And samples of the different blades he was making would be placed casually on his desk, used as paperweights and letter openers.

I was surprised by the beauty and especially the uniqueness of those handmade knives. They were sleek and graceful, with a more personal and mellow look than commercial knives. I knew that my friend was strictly a beginner at this craft. And he had no great amount of experience in metal or woodworking, either. Yet after just a few weeks of experience, he was making beautiful knives.

Finally, his goading got to me, and I ordered a blade from a company selling knifemaking supplies. My initial project was not to make a whole knife, but just to fashion a handle for a blade that had been turned out by machine. Soon I was gluing, cutting, filing, grinding, and sanding away at my own knife project.

My knifemaking lasted perhaps a year, and I turned out three knives before directing my attention to other crafts and recreations. But I was happy to have had the experience, not so much because I made exceptional knives but because I was able to feel the relationship that develops between a person and a knife that is made for personal use.

A knife is perhaps the most basic and useful of all tools. Most of us develop favorites among the knives we keep in our homes for kitchen use, gardening, sport, and carving. When you reach for a knife, you automatically feel for the one that you like, that has served you best in the past, or that has some unique attraction to you that is hard to explain.

When you have made a knife yourself and have shaped the blade just the way you want it and the handle is made to fit your own hand, a special relationship develops between you and that tool. David Boye says that effectively and even eloquently in this book, but putting the feeling into words captures only part of the experience. Just as you feel the handle of a knife, you also feel the specialness of a handle that is of your own making. And when you have ground and filed a blade to suit a purpose that is clear in your own mind, you have a special, more personal feeling when you use that blade.

In this age when we are flooded with machine-made products for almost every conceivable purpose, the experience of making and using your own special knife becomes more important. Making a knife is like fashioning a key to a wider awareness of your own abilities and relationship to tools. These days, we have too few such opportunities.

- Robert Rodale
Rodale Press
(original publisher)


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Customer Reviews

The book is well written and the illustrations are clear.
William Rivera
This book is just a wealth of information and I recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about knife making.
Thomas Johnston
I would recommend it for the beginner and experts for reference and lost knowledge .
JAMES LUTTRELL

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

92 of 96 people found the following review helpful By Michael P. on May 5, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book primarily covers making knives (mostly kitchen knives) by starting with thin plates of steel (HUGE bandsaw blades), cutting out a knife blank, and shaping the knife by grinding it. I personally far prefer forging a blade, which this author does not even touch on.
However, Mr. Boye does offer solid knowledge on grinding, heat treating, attaching handles and bolsters (all necessary skills no matter how you make knives)... and an extensive section on acid etching which I have yet to find equalled in any other knifemaking book I've read.
So while I may not care for Mr. Boye's chosen method of production, I recognize his pure artistic ability and am gratefull for his willingness to share his hard won knowledge.
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54 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Timothy C. Corcoran on February 5, 2006
Format: Paperback
This was the first book I bought on knifemaking, and my copy is falling apart (it's 28 years old!) I absolutely love David Boye's sense of design, and his work has inspired my own considerably. That said, I learned a great deal about knifemaking from other sources, and I use few of his methods. Specifically, I would never use a wheel grinder on knife steel, it generates a great deal more heat than a belt grinder, isn't nearly as accurate, and the cutting surface is smaller. I would NEVER cut out blades with a cutting torch, unless you wanted to grind away at least 1/4 in from the cut edge, you're messing up your steel's microstructure doing this (see p. 111 under grain growth!) I appreciate the lengths he's gone to to describe heat treating, but had little luck with it myself; I would strongly advise against trying to heat-treat complex steels like D2, 440C, or 154CM yourself, unless you like throwing your work away. Finally, though I absolutely love the acid etchwork in the book, the beeswax/asphaltum etching ground recommended here is a very tempermental one, I would use commercial etching ground if I were doing this. Since messing with aqua regia at home is not the safest thing, I'd suggest looking into some of the other methods, such as electrochemical etching. So, I would say to the beginning knifemaker that I'd use this book for inspiration, but go elsewhere for methods. If at all possible, talk to someone who's been doing it a while.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 11, 1998
Format: Paperback
I knew nothing about knifemaking when I started reading this book but now I've just completed my first knife using Step-by-Step Knifemaking and am very proud. The instructions were stright foreward and easy to understand. By the time I was finished with the book I had a good basic knowledge of knifemaking and a basic under standing of steels. I would recommend this book for any beginner.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 19, 1998
Format: Paperback
I got this book from a used bookstore years ago. It's a testimony to Boyd that it's still in print. I liked the book, but have not tried to make a knife the way he described. I'm more interested in forging, which Boyd does not talk about. The book concentrates on the method of stock removal, i.e. how to grind a knife shape out of a blank and then hardening and tempering. Still if you are interested in how a knife can be made, this is a good book to read. Very entertaining.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 1, 2000
Format: Hardcover
If you are a novice in the knifecraft, this is THE book for you. It countains every little thing you need to know to design and construct your first knives - and advance in techniques and complexity, as you advance in the pages of this fascinating, amazing and honest book. For me, it was (and still is) a most usefull master, everytime I want, everywhere I need it. It'll be a very good friend & teacher to you, too.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Nicholas Gomez on July 3, 2008
Format: Paperback
David Boye writes as an old friend might write to you via e-mail, describing his hobby and how he makes knives, soon infecting you with this 'disease'. By the time you've finished your subconscious will be telling you "I've got to become a knifemaker!". The book covers tools, knife types, stock removal, grinding, building the handle, heat treatment, regrinding and polishing, handle materials, buffing, sharpening and maintenance, etching and even how to make the sheath. For a beginner like me who has recently rediscovered the world of knife collecting and knifemaking, this book is simply amazing. I've got no regrets buying this. You should add it to your library.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Tim on August 24, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book has proven to be a very good starting point. Always wondering what the steps and actions were for making my own knife, this has given me the knowledge to start a very prospective hobby. Thanks!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By D. Lichtenstein on May 10, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What an excellent book! Very well written, a nice personal touch, humor, and most of all, simple to use. I would highly recommend this book to all knife makers, new and experienced. The little tricks and bits of information on how to make knives from scratch, I mean from nothing but ordinary household products, is unique.
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