• Matt - Selfe Made Knives

5 Simple Workshop Tools I wouldn't be without

This is a brief guide to the top 5 simple tools used in my knife making workshop.


Digital Callipers

I cannot count how many times a day I use these. From checking the thickness of pin stock and drill bits. You do not want to drill your holes too big or small for your desired pin material. I check and re-check again before drilling any holes

I also use them to check the thickness of blade stock. It isn't always quite the same thickness as listed on the packaging!


I use them to check handle material. When gluing up my G10 liners I have to make sure that the scale material is flat. However you also need to ensure that it is level to ensure straight holes when drilling. This isn't normally a problem with man made materials such as micarta and G10, but when you have ripped a set of scales off of a gnarly piece of wood you need to ensure that it is flat and level, so out come the callipers.


Height Scribe

Does what it says on the tin really. I always scribe guide lines on what will be the cutting edge of my blades. This gives me something to aim for when removing the steel and creating the bevels. The scribe I use is made by a great UK maker called Mike Palmer. He makes all manor of useful things for the knife maker, a real asset to the UK knife maker community


Thin Tip Permanent Marker

Such a useful tool in the workshop. I draw around my blade on the scale material so I know where I can cut off the excess. I mark how I want the front of the scales to look.

When making friction folders I can mark small area where I need to remove tiny amounts of steel to ensure that the blade opens and closes in the correct position.

I use it to draw a guide as to where I want to place my makers mark logo on the blade.

I also use it to write what steel each blade is after cutting out and after heat treatment. This way I always know what steel I am using for each build. Also on any steel that is left over and goes back onto the shelf gets its name written on.


Clamps

No matter how many clamps I have, it is never enough. I have over 20 spring hand clamps that I use for gluing G10 liners to handle materials. They are also used in the final glue up of the handles to the knives.

I have screw G clamps that I use to clamp knives in the glue up. They are also used to secure my portaband metal band saw to my work bench.

I use speed clamps for my kydex press. When making kydex sheaths you need to clamp your press quickly whilst the kydex is still hot and malleable. These pump clamps have proven to be invaluable as a custom kydex sheath maker.


Cotton Buds

Is a cotton bud really a tool? Well in the way I use them I think they are. They are great for cleaning up the front of the scales when you glue the knife up.

They are also great for cleaning up lanyard tubes from the dust and detritus that gets stuck in them.

They are also used for electro etching my logo. I made myself an electro etcher for salt water etching blades, and it is the cotton bud that I dip into the salt water when etching.

See just how useful they are, I always have a tub of them in the workshop.


Want to have a go at making your own knife? Why not read this blog post?