Christmas Gifts – Hand made Knives

For a while now, I’ve been experimenting with making knives, having made a few knives for myself. There is a thriving online community in knife making, and it is gaining popularity as a hobby.

For Christmas this year, we decided to make some presents for people, and I decided to make some knives for different members of our family.

Today’s blog is more of a display of what  I have made. I do have quite a few process photos, so I hope to make a couple of individual process threads for some of these knives. This post is just a overall look at all of them.


For my three sisters and my Mum, I made Kiridashi’s from 1075 high carbon steel. Two are straight steel, Two had a wood scale, held in with brass pins.


Fixed blade Knives

For my Dad, and one of my brother in law, I made fixed blade knives.

I made a sheepsfoot kitchen chopper style knife for my dad, with scales made of wood that he and mum found in their travels.

Again, they are made from 1075 high carbon steel.



My Brother in law got a sheepsfoot knife of a different design, with black G10 handle scales.


Slipjoint Folding knives

My Father in law, and other brother in law both got hand crafted slipjoint folding knives, They are linerless, with G10 scales, brass pins, and screw pivots. Again, the steel used is 1075 high carbon steel.



All the designs were new, and It took a lot of work, and I tried a lot of new things, and I think they came out great. I hope the recipients enjoy their new gifts, as while it was a lot of work to get them finished, I enjoyed making them!

Ozito belt grinder to stand alone 2x48inch grinder

I started this blog post ages ago, and add bits to it occasionally. Now I’m almost happy with the way it runs, I figure I should post it up and let you all see it in all it’s hideous glory.

This story begins with a $69 bench grinder with attached belt grinder. THIS one to be specific.

This is the grinder from Bunnings.


There is nothing similar for close to this  money. However, of course, you get what you pay for.

To start with, its very underpowered. That was kind of expected, but I thought it might do. The biggest problem though was getting it to track correctly.

The tracking mechanism was horrendous, and it would take 10 to 15 minutes to get the thing to track right if you changed belts etc… and the pressed sheet metal parts would bend all the time.

I tried to use it as is, but fairly quickly started modifying it to make it suit my needs better.


Modifications Phase One – Simple tweaks

The grinder before any modifications

Here is the grinder before I begin any modifications on it

I began by modifying the grinder to work suitably with my needs, rotating the belt so it ran vertically, and adding a new work support that was nice and large.

A small template I made to make re-drilling the holes in the case of the unit easier

A small template I made to make re-drilling the holes in the case of the unit easier


The holes drilled in the grinder case. The slots you can see are the original mounting positions

The holes drilled in the grinder case. The slots you can see are the original mounting positions

Here is the grinder after the modification. Much easier to use.

Here is the grinder after the modification. Much easier to use.

This worked OK, but the issue of belt tracking still existed, so on went the modifications.


Modification Phase 2 – Fixing the tracking, and going bigger

Here is an overall shot of the grinder, now running the longer belts

Here is an overall shot of the grinder, now running the longer belts.


Here is a close up of the tracking system I make. Far from perfect, but it kinda worked.

Here is a close up of the tracking system I make. Far from perfect, but it kinda worked.

Now, I was getting sick of how hard it is to get the grinder to track right. the mechanism was so bad, it was almost impossible to get it to run right. So I set out to make a new tracking system, and while I was at it, extend the length, so I could fit the longer 48 inch belts.

The tracking system is made from angle iron, and uses some parts left over from the previous tracking system, mainly the tension spring.

Now, this tracking system is not perfect, but Its a heck of a lot better than the original system.


Modification Phase 3 – chuck everything out and start again.

Belt Grinder

OK, at this point, its hard to call it a modification, its basically a new grinder. All that remains of the original grinder are the drive and tracking wheels. They seem to be holding up so far.

I had a 400 watt electric motor from a pool filter pump I had kicking about, which I originally picked up to make a disk grinder out of. I noticed that its shaft is exactly the right diameter for the drive wheel of the Ozito grinder.

Using some scrap metal which I salvaged from a wall support from a CRT TV as the basis for this grinder, I’ve constructed a more traditional style belt grinder.

Belt grinder


This grinder now works much better than any iterations before it. It does still have its ideosyncracies though.

The gas strut I’m using is too strong, and puts way too much tension on the belt. Unfortunately, due to construction, I can’t move the location further down the pivot point, to reduce its leverage effects, as the main support gets in the way.


Modification Phase 4 – Further Improvements.

So at this point, I decided to change directions with the way I was doing the belt tensioning. I moved to a telescoping pillar style method, using vertical shaft of the grinder as the outer  motion point. It uses the same gas strut for tension, but this way it provides less force on the belt, and things run pretty nicely.

The grinder as it stood before receiving the wheel and platten update.


After that, I felt what was holding me back was the wheels on the grinder. The skateboard wheels I have been using have a slight taper in one direction, that makes keeping the belt straight a little difficult. I could try and correct the taper, but in the end, I chose to simply replace them with proper grinder wheels.

The wheels I’m using came from Ebay, all the way from Poland from THIS store  (no affiliation, just bought them from here). Being custom made for the purpose, they are a lot more solid, and are actually square compared to the slight taper the skateboard wheels had.


This is the wheel set that I bought for the grinder. Currently I’m not using the drive wheel.


My current frame for the skateboard wheel assembly wasn’t going to work for the new wheels, so I went back to the drawing board, and  started fresh. Some more scrap steel from the brackets and bits & pieces I had lying about, and I had a one piece frame, and I didn’t have to worry about welding bits of steel together in the same plane like I did with the original.


Laying out the new platten / wheel assembly


Getting things lined up on the new platten assembly


Here I align the work platform and receiver before welding it on.


Here is the grinder with its new wheels. I’m yet to mount the actual platten in this image, but you can see how it looks at least.

It’s been quite a journey from a crappy, overly cheap bench grinder with attached belt sander, all the way through to a slighly more powerful grinder that functions a whole lot better. There are things I’d change. If I were starting again, Ideally, I’d avoid the bench grinder all together, and just start with a set of the wheels I posted, a motor that suits the wheels and a nice pile of fresh steel. Its always good to use what you have lying around, but often you get nicer results by investing some money and doing things properly.

Now I’m fairly happy with it’s layout and operation, I’m happy to let the grinder’s evolution to rest here for a little bit. It’s working as well as could be expected, but there is always something else to tweak. What I want to do now is USE my grinder to get making some things, specifically a few knives.

And for you all that read though to the end, here is a video of me talking about the grinder, and it running:

Sharpening Knives

I have come to enjoy the pleasure of using a sharp knife in the kitchen. I’m sure most people have heard the old saying “A blunt knife is a dangerous knife“, which is a bit of a half truth. A sharp knife is just as dangerous if not used carefully, but a sharp knife is a pleasure to use.

For a long time, I’ve muddled my way thru with various sharpening techniques, and I could usually come up with a sharp knife, but they never really stayed sharp for long, so I wanted to learn more, get to know if I’m doing it the right way, and make sure I’m not causing damage to my blades.

So, in order to learn more, I headed off to the knowledge collective of the internet, reading thru stuff on the knife forums, and found a few videos on YouTube that helped me.

The first video I’m going to link to briefly demonstrates a range of methods, including the Lansky system, diamond stones, ceramic rods, and stropping. unfortunately the sound isn’t the greatest, but if you are looking where to start, It could be worth enduring the audio, as it’s a good video.

The next video focuses on Whetstones, and the technique is the same for the diamond stones.

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Multitool Museum

example pics

For those of you, like myself, who have an interest in pocket knives and multitools, I have a website you might find interesting.

The Multitool Museum (, not to be confused with which is another very good multitool site, has some interesting “exhibits” of old and different multitools, aswell as reviews of current ones.

Hopefully the guy running this site keeps working on it, and it can build into a truly great site about multitools.

keyring sized tools

This post has been spawned from my interest in pocket-sized tools, and trying to build the ultimate handy set of keys for my work keys. I have a few tools in my collection already, and I’ll write a short review of those, as well as showing some tools off my wish list. This list ignores multitools I have reviewed previously. Most of them are far too big to be included in this post anyway.

Gerber Artifact

my Gerber Artifact

I recently got my hands on a Gerber Artifact, which looked awesome. It has a small pry bar, Bottle opener, “x-acto” style replaceable blade, and a Philips head screwdriver on the tip. I had nothing like it in my collection, so i put in an order

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My Multitool Wishlist

After creating my multitool review, I thought it might be nice to make a short list of the multitools I don’t own, but hope to get my hands on eventually

Spyderco / Byrd Byrdwrench

Technically, its a Byrd Byrdwrench. Originally, Spyderco made the SpyderWrench in the USA, but due to expense of manufacture, couldn’t keep making it, so it got discontinued.

It was popular enough however, that after not too long, they decided to start making it again, but this time thru Byrd, their Chinese budget operation.

and thus the Byrd Wrench

Byrdwrench has a good review of the tools. Actually, has a lot of interesting reviews. I recently found it, and now it makes my multitool wish list even longer

The Byrdwrench is unique in looks, and in function. unlike most multitools, the wrench can separate into 2 pieces. That is the main reason I find it so interesting, its uniqueness.

SOG Paratool


the Paratool is again unique, this time in the way it folds up. where most multitools work on the flip the handles all the way over principal, the Paratool’s plier jaws come out from the side of the handle. It appears to make a compact multitool


Leatherman Crunch

There just had to be at least one Leatherman in the list, and the Crunch is where it’s at


The basis of the Crunch is a pair of locking pliers, or “vice grips”. This is a worthwhile feature for many uses.

As with most multitools, the jaws still fold up into the handles

Kershaw locking pliers


Pictured here with the Leatherman Crunch is Kershaw’s equivelant. the Kershaw may actually be older then then Leatherman, but i’m not sure.

As you can see, it is along the same lines as the Letherman Crunch, but the jaws don’t fold up. The one advantage the kershaw has over the leatherman is the outside opening blade. For me, this is the biggest win on any tool. Back in the day, the knife was my most used part of a multitool, and having to open the whole thing up every time would be a pain.

SOG Powerlock

Here is the second one on the list from SOG.

SOG powerlock

The powerlock looks like a big mean machine. It has SOG’s lovely power assisted jaws, which actually gear up the pressure you can apply to whatever you are grabbing onto. This can be handy if the nut – or whatever – is being stubborn.


So, these are the main tools on my Multitool wishlist, they, Its not a final list, as its always changing – expanding mostly. I’m a huge fan of doing things a little different to the mainstream. The regular folding pliers has been done a million times. From an ease of use point of view, I believe the best tools are the ones that have the knife accessible in the folded up position (which few seem to actually do), but that’s not a criteria I’ve used here, generally, these come more under coolness than usefulness.

I hope you liked my review.

My Multitool Review

I have collected several different Multi-tools over the years. I thought i would do a bit of a review / rundown of how they go, as there are a lot of different ones out there, and it can be hard to know what you want, and if the extra cost of a quality tool is actually worth it.

Leatherman Wave – Old Wave

Leatherman Wave

Leatherman Wave

This was the first “proper” multi-tool I owned. From memory, I bought it with the first pay check from my first full time job, as an Audio Visual Technician, and for me, is the yard stick to measure all other multi-tools. This is one of the original style Waves. The outside tools, the blades, Saw, and File, all lock into place with a liner lock style system. None of the inner tools, the screwdrivers and other bits lock into place, but I don’t generally find that a problem.

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