Nail nicks

When I started making folding knives I was using a dremel with a cutoff disc to cut my nail nicks. The results worked ok but the final results didn't look the part. To get an acceptable looking nail nick I started milling my nail nicks in with a flycutter bit. Cutting the nail nick with a flycutter must be done before heat treatment whilst the blade is annealed before grinding the bevels. The final shape of the nail nick will be determined by the length of the flycutter bit and its shape. A longer bit will make a wide narrow nick and a short bit will make a short fat nick. The shape of the bit will also effect the final shape of the nick, mine is shown below. Click for larger images.

The steps involved in cutting the nick is quite simple. I scribe a line 2mm down from the top of the blade and mark the centre of the nail nick.

First part of the process is to line up the scribe mark parallel to the top of my vice in the mill.

I then use a drill bit to line up the centre point on the spine of the blade. I then lock the x axis on the mill in place.

Next I align the tip of the cutter to the scribe line on the blade. Once that is done I lock the z axis of the mill in place and I am almost ready to get cutting.

I need to know how thick the blade is so I only go half way in. I usually use 3/32" (2.4mm) steel so I go in 1.2mm or sometime a touch further if I want a deep nick. This will also differ for each blade on a multi blade folding knife.

Cutting the nick is something not to rush. I run my mill as slow as it can go and use a very slow feed rate. The smoother you can do this the smoother the cut is.

Here is the end result. The nail nick might look a bit wide at this stage but it will narrow down when I grind the bevels on the blade.

Here is how it looks once the blade as been ground. You can see once the bevels have been ground the nail nick has become quite a bit narrower.

Thanks for looking and I hope you enjoyed the little article.

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