The First Hunter

The Value of a Good Knife

Having recently completed the ACB-90 that has been haunting my dreams since my school days, the time has come to set my sights on something slightly more practical. As a passionate outdoorsman and active bow hunter, I hold a great appreciation for knives of all shapes and sizes. Short ones, long ones, primaries, backups, and even backups of backups. I firmly believe that knives are just tools, not unlike hammers, in that they enable SO many aspects of modern life that we tend to take them for granted sometimes.

From a hunting perspective, a sturdy, quality knife is invaluable as a successful hunt will depend almost entirely on having some sharp ones handy to turn big bits of game into little bits of game to carry out of the bush and into your fridge. While there are countless affordable hunting knives available to serve this need, there’s something special in being able to depend on a knife I made myself in these situations.

Deciding on a Pattern

As someone who is relatively new to the knife making scene, I still find it quite difficult to simply “come up” with an appropriate knife pattern and so, for my first hunter, I relied on the proven designs available from the DC Knives blog. I went through countless patterns before deciding on the one I felt best suited my needs: the DH52 drop point hunter.

Making the Blade

The first step was to get the pattern cut out. My material of choice was a good old farrier rasp again just because they’re cheap and I’ve got like 35 of them strewn about the garage, many of which have already been annealed: A very beneficial product of my sourcing efforts when I just started getting into the hobby. I decided to produce two identical blades in order to work on my skills whilst also producing a knife that could later either be sold or make a handsome gift for someone.

With the two blanks produced I focused on finishing the first one, commencing with the bevel grind, hardening, tempering and polish. I had recently acquired a green Josco rouge to use with a stitched cotton wheel that puts a really nice shine on a 400-grit grind with relative ease.

Making the Handle

With the blade completed, I focused on the handle. I leveraged the same type of liners, mosaic pins and Acacia wood that I used on the ACB-90 with the exception of the liners being red this time around, and then an additional brass tube fitted at the back of the handle to support the fitment of a retention strap in the future.

I produced the liners first in my DIY MDF book press, then used the same press to glue the rough scales down and finally fitted it all to the blade. I used a mix of 5-minute and 30-minute epoxies throughout the assembly depending on the parts being produced, given that the liners need time for the epoxy to be absorbed by the various stacked sheets whereas the mounting of the handle scales to the blade is something that a 5-minute epoxy will suffice for.

Once everything was fully cured over 24 hours, I proceeded to grind down the handle to a nice comfy grip, starting with 50-grit belts all the way up to 400-grit, then finally a polish on a loose-leaf buff.

The Final Product

The result is a hunting knife that I’m SO proud of 🙂

Now for the second blade!

– M

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