Who's a lucky boy then or A day in the workshop of Guy Stainthorp

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  • After my recent roller-coaster of an introduction to knife making, our very own Guy of Stainthorp ( Actually bloody miles away in Staffordshire somewhere) took pity on me and invited me up to spend a day with the maestro himself in his workshop.

    After an uneventful drive up I arrived at his workshop just in time for a late breakfast, bacon sandwich, at the farm cafe where Guy's place is (very) well -situated.

    Over this breakfast of champions we discussed what sort of knives I would ( and could, let's be frank here ) make in a day, even under the watchful eye and grand tutelage of the man himself.

    It was decided that a small blade in O1 would be tackled first, to get the hang of grinding, and then a stainless steel blade of some sort thereafter.

    The O1 blade I would learn to heat treat in a forge and stainless job would be left with him for the much more involved heat treatment process involving kilns, liquid nitrogen and a recording of Right Said Fred's seminal 90s hit "I'm too sexy".

    Fueled with bacon and coffee we set to it with a maniacal fever that lasted for over two hours until lunch time, excellent pub lunch it was too.

    The first step was select one of Guy's many, many profiles ( the man literally has a wall of them! :D) and transfer the design to a piece of steel.

    It's a small knife, not sure what to call it but handy for small game as well as general purpose cutty goodness. It's like nothing else I own or would buy from a website as well as looking rather nice, which was an important factor as I hope to broaden my knife outlook.

    Out with the angle grinder and the first tip ( well the second if you count drawing around the paper pattern instead of trying to glue it to the steel) was that what I thought of as a thin cutting disc was in fact not the thinnest cutting disc everyone else was referring to.

    Once the rough outline was cut out in straight lines:

    It was time to take it to the grinder and get the profile right on the 36 grit belts

    A good tip is to work along the length of the blade rather than perpendicular to it, saving belts due to presenting them with a 90 sharp edge all the time.

    I was surprised to see that these belts ( where you press rather hard) actually seem to cut full on swarf rather than dust... 8|:D

    The platen was installed to get everything nice and perpendicular after the roughing out and resulted in:

    Already fits the hand beautifully, but then again it is a Stainthorp really... :D

    The next step was to mark it out and get grinding. Guy does everything by eye these days but for my benefit put a grinding jig on the grinder and marked some rough landmarks on the blade.

    Now to the grind...

    Not bad for a first (second) attempt:

    Guy left me to it with instructions to the effect of even I wouldn't be able to screw the blade up as long as I remembered that with the jig the grind lines would be the same and the blade centred as long as they were the same height on each side.

  • Being fairly pleased with the grind ( it's not perfect by any means ) I moved to a finer grit and made a few passes under Guy's watchful eye.

    The next step was to drill the holes in the tang for the pins and also to lighten the tang, it's incredible how heavy the blade end is when unground and the way the balance point shifts when ground out.

    We adjourned for Lunch at this point, sustenance being close to close to godliness in my book, and went for a pie and a pint.

    We may have lingered a while...

    Anyway the forge was fired up and the blade triple quenched, obviously with Guy doing the last one for "good luck"... ;):D

    It was a pain to get pictures of the process and follow what was going on so the next picture is of the steel out of the oil and between the quenching plates.

    Before heading out into the liquid nitrogen tank, just because. :D8)

    And the heat treated article in all its glory

    I call it "The Flashheart GTO".

  • - utterly wonderful, Amir..........love it!

    Wow - grinding for well over half the blade's depth too.....just so glad it wasn't a Woodlore/bushcraft ;)


    ...anyone who rides a bike and loves nature, can never be poor, we will always be happy, no matter what
    Gunther Muller

  • Nobody loves a smart arse ;)

    "This is my rifle.There are many like it, but this one is mine"


    Sharpen it like you love it, use it like you hate it.