Making knives can be gratifying, but it can also be dangerous, dirty labor that requires proper precautions. Here is a selection of gear that can make the knifemaking experience safe and more enjoyable.

If you need a reminder of what can happen if you don’t take safety seriously, read these knife shop horror stories here and here.

Reusable Respirator

Safety mask for making knives

Breathing in fine metal particles and wood dust can do serious damage to your lungs over time. While disposable respirators are good products, anyone who grinds and sands frequently needs a higher level of protection. As result, Jantz offers the 3M 7500 series Reusable Respirator.

“The biggest complaint we hear about respirator use is comfort and heat,” Jantz’s Shanna Kemp noted. “3M’s 7500 series solves these problems with a combination of comfort and durability.”

MSRP for both medium and large sizes: $33.95 each. The MSRP for a combination cartridge to complement the unit is $14.95.

Belt Safety Guard

Belt guard for making knives

Hawkins Knife Making Supplies offers the Bader B3 Belt Guard, which features an adjustable front hood that minimizes the risk of injury if an abrasive belt should break while in use. Order by phone only. MSRP: $170 (plus shipping and handling).

Forge-Welder Safety Glasses

safety glasses for making knives

David Kayne of Blacksmiths Depot says the Didymium Glasses are the company’s best-selling safety item.

“They will save the eyes of anyone who regularly works at temperatures above 2,000°F,” he noted, “forge welding of billets for damascus in particular.” MSRP: $75.

Super Magnet

magnet for knifemaking

According to Shannon Edgington of Knife & Gun Finishing Supplies, K&G’s model no. WT12 magnet comes in a 5-inch size and is more than strong enough to hold small pieces of steel against a disc or belt sander.

“The magnets are great ‘finger savers’ for removing the bark or just flattening the surface of steel,” she wrote. MSRP: $19.95.

Heat-Resistant Work Apron

apron for making knives

Texas Knifemaker Supply’s heat-treat technician wears the company’s heat-resistant denim work apron to shield himself from the oven’s radiant heat, as well as from the red-hot blades as he checks them for straightness before air quenching.

The heavy-duty denim is nice and thick and has a waistband cord to tie behind the back. One size fits all. The apron also protects clothes from dirt and grime. A handy pen pocket is ideal for telescopic magnets, safety glasses, etc. MSRP: $12.95.


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how to make a knife

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