Recap: CNC Knifemaking Workshop

by: Julie Henning

About a year ago, we started toying with the idea of creating a specialty CNC workshop at the Tormach Training Center here at the company headquarters in Madison, Wisconsin. The workshop would fit into a niche-interest like knifemaking, RC car modding, or model railroading. We already had the training facility and qualified machinists—the only factor missing from the equation was an instructor willing to come up with a project for the class.

Partnering with John Grimsmo on his popular Knifemaking Tuesdays video documentary, we put the challenge in John’s corner, asking him to design a knife that could be built from a raw piece of waterjet cut from 5160 high carbon steel over the course of three to four days. Describing the workshop as a hands-on specialty course designed for CNC enthusiasts with a special interest in the craft of making high-end custom knives, students would also receive practical experience in CNC programming, machine control, and machining.

He came up with the Tor, a fixed blade hunting knife each student would make as a “take home” project at the end of the week.

interview-1-with-guests_1

Scheduling the class for the first part of November, five students registered—one from Texas, two from California, and two from here in Wisconsin. Following a daily itinerary, blades were machined, heat treated, tempered and hard-milled for a surface finish. G10 handles were then machine contoured and installed with the blade before using a Wicked Edge knife sharpening system on the final edge. Between classroom instruction and making their own Tor, students worked together and even hung out at the local brew pub one night.

Knowing a few people might be interested in seeing what went on during the class, we took the opportunity to roll the camera throughout the week. Talking about their overall experience and impressions on the last day, here’s what they had to say.


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And, as long as they were in the building, we put John and Erik in the interview seat and asked them a few questions about their journey so far. Watch this one all the way to the bloopers outtakes at the very end.


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Julie Henning

About 

Julie Henning is the Tormach Technical Writer. She has a ten year background in technical documentation and marketing communication in the medical device and printed circuit board industries. Julie holds a BS in Technical Communication from the Milwaukee School of Engineering and a MS in Technical Communication from Colorado State University.

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