What I'm making is called an "integral" knife. It is one solid, machined piece of steel to which the handle material is attached. Often, the guard of the knife is a separate piece, which is soldered in place. An integral knife means a lot of time on the milling machine.... more about that below.
First, the steel has to be machined flat and the template is then scribed around.
Now, this is definitely something I'm not used to. A half a day was spent making something to help make the knife. I had to make a jig to hold the knife steel in place while it is being milled. This separate piece of steel had to be machined flat, drilled, and tapped..... honestly, a little irritating to spend the time on, but I definitely came to appreciate having it!
On the milling machine.....
I love this machine.
I really wanted to get more experience using it, and the integral design meant there would be a lot of time spent here.
It is kind of like a drill press with a movable table underneath it... or better yet, it is like a router for metal - only the cutting tool stays in place, and the material moves underneath. The table is controlled by an x-axis handle and a y-axis handle, which you have to use simultaneously. I have my right hand turning one handle and my left turning the other ... it's a lot like patting your head and rubbing your belly. Using a milling machine means having to know about the different types of cutting tools, how to sharpen them (I've been practicing sharpening drill bits and cutters), and wrapping your head around conventional vs. climb milling. It's a lot, and I've been having some moments of serious frustration. But, the results are incredible.
Oh, I don't know if you can tell that I have my apron tied all the way up around my neck. These little, blue-hot chips of metal fly off this thing - and, as my dad says, they hurt enough to make you curse your mother (it's been an onslaught of these types of aphorisms all week long).
Most of the machining is finished..... now, I have a lot of hand sanding to get all the cutter marks out.