Blades are purchased from suppliers or manufacturers and inspected upon receipt. Blades are prepared to accept fittings and handles. Bolsters/finger guards are fabricated and pinned to blade. Forward bolsters/finger guards are soldered to the blade to ensure no liquid (water or animal blood) can seep into the bolster or handle. Over time, this could have an adverse affect on the knife materials. Handles are cemented and pinned to the blade. The pins would securely attach the handles. However, epoxy cement is used to ensure against liquids getting between the handles and the blade tang. Epoxy is allowed to cure overnight. Final shaping is then performed on the knife assembly using various power tools. Then, extensive polishing is performed. Handles are sealed with special sealers to protect against normal moisture conditions. Some handle materials are procured with a special process to stabilize the material. In this case sealer is not normally needed. Blades receive a final sharpening. Final polishing is performed and handles are buffed with wax. (I use gun stock wax.). Completed knifes are carefully inspected. Depending on the complexity of the knife, a project takes from 4 to 20 hours to complete. However, I've spent as much as 125 hours on a knife project.
I accept orders to personally fabricate blades from bar steel. It will add a substantial cost to the knife. Presently, it takes about 10 hours to shape and prepare the steel for heat treatment. I do not currently have in-house treat treatment capabilities so I must procure this service. After receipt from heat treating facility, figure about another 2 or 3 hours to remove any scale, scratches, nicks, etc. Please don't misunderstand, I do enjoy making blades and the feeling of accomplishment from my own design and effort; but, I can buy blades just as good (or better) at very reasonable prices. It is hard to compete with quality blade manufacturers. They have very expensive, close-tolerance equipment and can mass produce. The only drawback is that you lose the “one-of-a-kind” concept as you have with a blade you completely design and fabricated from bar stock.
When I fabricate blades, I usually start with 440C bar stainless steel. 440C stainless steel comes annealed for ease of working. Next, I cut/grind/file/sand the bar into the shape of the blade (stock removal method). I then send the blade to supplier for heat treating and cryogenic treatment. Upon receipt of the heat treated blade, I assemble/shape the finger guards/bolsters and handles. Final handle shaping/polishing/sharpening/sealing is performed. Final inspection comes last.