Grinding the Tang
The tang is ground to a maximum thickness of 1/4".  The top and bottom are rounded to fit into a 1/4" hole in a handle.  It is very important to keep the tang straight so it enters the handle easily. 
How to make your favorite carving knife
My favorite carving knife is about five years old;



made from a vintage German straight razor
Old Barber's Razor
Good razor to start with
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Making a knife that does exactly what you ask of it, is the goal of this article.  I have bought, made, used, and sold enough knives that I feel confident saying,
"the best knife I ever held was a hand-made Razor knife".

The razor knife has long been a favorite of some well known whittlers;   H.S. (Andy) Anderson's 1953 book; "How to carve characters in wood"  gives some instruction on making one.    Claude Bolton's book "Heads, Hats, and Hair" also mentions home-made razor knives.
I have carved with a razor knife for several years and prefer it for the majority of my carving.   Making a knife from a straight razor requires three things; a quality razor, an abrasive belt, and patience.  You cannot rush making it, the method used is called "material removal". 
This refers to the fact that you are simply removing metal and not performing any heat-treatment of any kind (hopefully). If you overheat the razor during shaping, it will change color in the heat affected area.  

The various colors the steel might turn, are relative to the temperature the metal has reached.  Anything darker than a dark bronze color is not a good sign.  The best advice is to keep water close by and remember that good things take time; so don't rush it.
By looking at the end of the razor, determine if there is enough steel to make a good knife.   The sharp edge will be removed, so what you are looking for is the wedge shape starting at the thick edge.


How to prepare the razor (wear a dust mask or respirator from this point on)
The first step is removing the handle; which may be resold if removed carefully, I have never been successful at removing them carefully.  
Grind off the pin that holds the two handle halves to the razor and it will usually fall apart.
If I can take a quote from Harold Enlow,  "don't turn a $100.00 razor into a $30.00 carving knife".  The point is; that straight razors are very collectable and some are highly prized and valuable.   It is a good idea to do a little research on the subject of razor collecting before you begin making knives. 
You will discover that straight razors are not all equal; some are thick, some very thin, the best is somewhere inbetween.   The "Barbers" razor is extremely thick and would make a fine knife if you had enough patience to grind it down.
Selecting the razor
Choosing a good razor is not too difficult; I prefer vintage German or English razors, although most vintage U.S. razors are very good also.  I buy most of my razors from online auctions; I also find many at flea markets and antique stores.  Do not use new inexpensive straight razors, they will not hold an edge.
The next step is removing the sharp edge; it is too thin to be useful, and too dangerous to leave on. (be sure you are wearing your safety goggles) This also raises the cutting edge closer to the center of the knife
(a good thing).

Score the length of the blade at the thinnest portion of the hollow-grind. That is usually 1/8" - 3/16" from the sharp edge.  I score it with a cutoff wheel or the edge of a 1/2" sanding drum in a micro-motor.  
Then place the thin edge in a vise and carefully break it off .
The finger hook on the end of the razor will eventually be removed, but leave it on until the blade is completely shaped.
Shaping the profile
This is probably the most interesting part of shaping the blade.  At this point, you must decide the knife's side profile.  Consider carefully, this profile determines 97% of the knifes character; the other 3% is the bevel.
Use a permanent marker to draw the blade shape onto the razor; noting that the black areas are to be ground away. 
Put on your dust mask and grind off the remaining black areas without overheating the metal.  (I have gone to using a Belt Grinder with 36 grit belts for roughing out the blade shape. The grinder with the red motor shown on this page is exactly like mine. Beaumont metal works   The KMG Grinder is made by Rob Frink, a great guy to deal with.)
Be sure to shape the radius where the knife meets the handle; where you form this will effect your ability to sharpen the knife.
Grinding the Bevels
This is probably the most tedious part of making a razor knife. This takes time and a small amount of skill to keep the sides of the blade flat and straight.  Occasionally check your progress with a straight edge. Don't get in a hurry or you will either over-heat the metal or end up with a convex grind.  Start with a 36 to 60 grit sanding belt and finish with 180 or finer.  The final finish and sharpening will be accomplished once the handle is attached.
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Do not remove finger hook until blade shaping is done.
I hope you enjoy your knife as much as I do mine.
Rick Ferry 
Little Shavers woodcarving supply
Selecting wood for the handle
Your choice of wood will add much to the quality-look of the knife.
Slabs for two knives cut to handle thickness
To see the wood figure, sand lightly and mist with water.
Negative image of layout
This shows the layout of the two handles on the slabs.  The temporary outline leaves a flat end. An indentation is then punched at the centerline of the blade.  The handle is then held between a center and the drillbit while drilling a hole to receive the blade.
Selecting the best figure for each handle
Rough layout for blade length and depth using a felt marker
Cutting the rough blade length and depth is done
Handles are cut out and ready to drill
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Top blade is marked for grinding; bottom blade is rough shaped.
Refining the blade
Refine the blade to desired shape, bevel, and fit (into handle).
Polish the blade and remove the finger-hook; this completes the blade.
Once the blade is mounted in the handle, the final sharpening and polish is applied.
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Handles are drilled and bandsawed complete
Drill depth is indicated on top handle; the hole should be 1/8" to 3/16" deeper than required
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