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The Things I Advise New Knife Makers Against.

1) Blocky handles
Many look like a stick of wood with the corners rounded off.
Try and make the handle surfaces a continuous curve, with the overall cross section being ovoid ( the shape of a
chicken egg). Having the butt drop slightly from the spine adds a look of flow. A bit of palm swell adds more of
the same flow. Avoid huge and deep finger choils unless the knife needs them. In the beginning, it is probably
best to leave thumb rest grooves and deep choils off the knife.

2) Blocky blades
The first temptation is to profile the outline of the knife and put an edge on it. This tends to look like a
sharpened bar of steel. Add some taper to the blade, starting about 1" past the ricasso. Use curved lines on the
profile as much as possible. The knife doesn't need more than a degree or two of arc to suddenly have some
"flow". Eventually, you can move to tapered tangs once your grinding skills develop. The same thing applies to
handle choils, deep arcs in the ricasso area are strange to the eye. Avoid overly long ricasso areas. The ricasso
should be taller than it is wide ( if the edge to spine is 1" the length of the ricasso should be about 1/2")

3) Thick shapeless guards and butt caps


The guard often appears to be nothing more than a piece of metal with a slot cut in it. Make the guard ovoid in
front profile, and tapering in thickness. Try to avoid any straight edges. Just like the blade and handle, a tiny
curve looks so much better than a straight line. It does not need much decoration to make it stand out, so a
simple groove or rope file work can really accent the guard. The butt cap should usually be the same thickness
as the guard.

4) Riveting nightmares
Many newbies try to come up with new rivet placement styles. Most look sort of weird, and make the viewer
say, "What was he thinking?" Keep the number of rivets to two or three on most knives. Have them placed in
geometrical alignment. They should be visually centered and spaced evenly. The best way to determine the
position is to make a cardboard blade and draw in the rivets. Move them about until they look the best, and use
the cardboard for a drilling template. Position all mosaic rivets so the pattern goes the same way. Stars, squares,
or any geometric pattern should be with a point or corner at 12:00 position ( this makes a huge optical
difference).

5) Proportions
Make the handle and blade fit each other.
I see bowies with short handles, and bird and trout blades with 6" handles.
While there is no set ratio, a handle should be some reasonable match to the blade size and shape.
In many of these areas, the Golden Mean is a great guide to how to change things. Notice I didn't say The
Golden Ratio. The ratio is an exact number...1.61:1. The mean is a balance or harmony of aesthetics.
Make your knives balanced and they will look and work better.
Stacy E.Apelt