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Review: Custom Knifemaking by Tim McCreight

Review: Custom Knifemaking by Tim McCreight

Reviewed by John Calkin

Originally published in American Lutherie #66, 2001 and Big Red Book of American Lutherie Volume Six, 2013

Custom Knifemaking
Tim McCreight
Stackpole Books, 1985
ISBN 978-0811721752

“So what’s this book doing in AL?” I hear you ask. Well, books directly pertaining to lutherie don’t come along every day, so I’ve been scouting the terrain for volumes that overlap our favorite subject. Toolmaking is a tantalizing excuse to delay any of the less-appetizing aspects of instrument building, and knives certainly qualify as tools. What’s more, once you can make a knife, you are prepared to make specialty plane irons, spokeshave blades, and perhaps small flat chisels. The steel-shaping and tempering processes described in this book will work for any project involving flat stock.

There are two basic methods of making a knife: forging, and stock removal. Forging involves heating the steel chunk of your choice to red hot and beating it into the shape of your desire. Stock removal begins with flat steel the thickness of the finished blade. The blade is cut to shape with a torch or saw and then ground to a knife edge. If this sounds like work beyond the scope of your ambitions, please hang in there. McCreight will make this work for you.

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