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Oliver Knives How-To Build for AWCC 2011 Prizes

From Dwane Oliver of Oliver Knives

I get this particular knife cut out at a water jet place back east. It saves me about 1.5 hrs. This is the only one I do this with. The rest of my knives I cut from barstock. When I get them I aneal them , put them in the oven at about 1400 deg F , let em get up to temp and then just shut the oven off and let them cool real slow. This makes them dead soft.

Then I flatten the edge so I can mark it with a sharpie and mark the grinds. This is the tool I use for that.


Then I get my sander set up to do a flad grind. I built this sander from scratch , it’s built just like the ones you can buy , but mine has a 2hp DC variable speed motor, and I built a vertical 5/8″ shaft on the other end. I can put several different tools on it.

I built a small work rest to do flat grinds on , it helps to hold the blade still.


The belt direction is down , I always grind into the edge , never away.

Here is one that has been ground next to one that hasn’t.

I start on a 60 grit belt then go to a 120 grit and then 220 grit before heat treat.

Here they are , ready for the oven to be heat treated.

My digitally controlled oven , it will go up to 2200 deg I think.
1095 High Carbon steel heat treats at 1550 , I take them to 1600.

They are in there , wow that’s hot.

When I take them out of the oven I dunk them in the quenching oil , that cools them off very fast. As long as your grinds are even you don’t hear a pop when you drop them in. If you do ……its cracked and now scrap iron. lol , its has happened to me before, not in about 5 years though 8)

After they cool off to about 200 deg , I put them in the toaster oven at about 325 deg for 2 hours.


Here they are after the heat treatment , that’s the oil burned on the blade.

I then go back to the grinder on a 120 belt , 220 , 320 , 400 then a burishing 3M belt. Makes a great brushed finish. Here they are after that…..I had some others at the same stage and just shot them all.

While the blades were in the oven I made the handle material. I buy the G10 ( fiberglass composite ) in different thickness and colors and then laminate them together. Not all of the choices , just custom ones like this.
I sand each side with a 30 grit block and then use Devcon 5 min epoxy to hold em together. I put it in my 20 ton press and squeeze the chit outa it.


Cut up and ready to put on the blades.

Here they are again , with handles on them , epoxy drying , it dont take long before I can start shaping them. I also put 4 brass pins all the way through the handle. this helps with latteral strains.



Sanding and shaping is done on the belt grinder , I have a .500″ wheel that works great for the finger groove. I use a Hook-it II system( 6″ disks with hook and loop straps on them , real fast to change grits ) mounted on the vertical shaft to finish sand handles on. Missed a pic of that.

Now its time to make the Kydex sheaths. Kydex is a heat moldable ABS based plastic , its super tough stuff , and really cool to work with. If you mess up a mold , you just put it back in the oven and try again.

Here is my home made Press , it just has 2″ of a real dense foam on the bottom and then 1″ on the top.

Here is the first one ready for pressing. I tape the chit outa the blade to give it some room inside the sheath , the square on the handle is for the loop to attach to. The Kydex I decided to use has a silver carbon fiber look to it , i think it looks cool. It goes in the oven at 325 deg F hard as hell and comes out soft as dough.

Its pretty simple , put a piece of sheet down , the knife on that and another sheet on top and press…..2 min later and take it out and here it is.


I have a system of holes for these sheaths that will accept 2 different kinds of attachment , there is a rhyme and reason for the layout. It can be worn right or left handed , cross draw or upside down. Pretty cool I think. The rivets closest to the handle are critical in placement. They are the ones that dictate how tight the knife fits the sheath.

Drill a 1/4″ hole and put a rivet in it and press it in the arbor press.

I make my own stencils for marking my name on my blades too. I use this light sensitive material , its like a silkscreen. You put the negative on the glass and then put the stencil material on top. Close the lid , turn on the light , wait 2.5 min and turn the light off. Take it out , peel a clear film off each side and put it in the developer for about a min…..done.



Then I just tape the stencil on the blade and etch it on there , comes out cool most of the time. These came out pretty good.

AND here they are. As Parker would say…Those drivers that Do Work , will reap the rewards. The winner of each class will get a hand made knife.
Here are the two for the 2.2 pro and Sportsman classes.


And a special one for the winner of the G6 scale competition.
It has Moon Glow in the center of the handle , man its some bright stuff and glows for hours. The lanyard has glow string in it as well. It is also equipped with a whistle and a Black Crater cord light flashlight. Of course all of the knives have a ferrocerium fire steel in the handle as well.






Well I hope you enjoyed my little how to here.
I wish I was going to AWCC , but it just ain’t meant to be I guess. There will be a little bit of my sweat there though , these were fun to make.

Oliver Knives – Official Sponsor of the AWCC 2011