What metal should I use for the blade of a Kitchen Knife

Hey guys,

First post here. I tried searching without luck, but I'm about to go on my first "making" adventure. I like to cook, so I decided a kitchen knife would be a good starting point. I really like the knives made by Joel Bukiewicz at http://cutbrooklyn.com/ and I want to try and make something similar to that.

The question is what kind of material should I use for the blade for starting out. I heard that stainless steel was complicated to work with, though that would've otherwise been my first bet. I have access to a local workshop with most of the tools I'd need, so I'm really looking for the sort of easiest-to-work-with material for my first knife, that still would make a decent chefs knife.

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crapflinger3 years ago
Stainless steel is almost the last thing you want to make a knife out of (right before lead, or live snakes). it's pretty bad at holding an edge long term and can be a pain in the butt to sharpen once you do loose the edge.

my grandpa has been making knives for quite some time and he typically uses old circular saw blades or cross cut saw blades (the type of saw you'd use to cut a tree down if you had a big bushy beard and wore a lot of flannel).

typically when he'd use a cross cut blade it was a really old blade, so, really old steel. less complicated alloys. he tends to try to stick with older circular saw blades too (for the same reason...less complicated alloys), but i've seen him take a blade right off the table saw and cut it into a skinning knife so....

the biggest advantage of using saw blades is that they're cheap and easy to get to. the knives he makes hold an edge very well and you can shave a gnats...well...you knows with it if you're good at sharpening a knife.

the biggest drawback is that it's untreated steel so they will rust. and apparently, according to my grandpa, mustard will turn them black. i have no idea why he'd be cutting mustard with a 10" chef's knife...but...whatever.

Ahrengot (author)  crapflinger3 years ago
Thanks for the helpful answer ... crapflinger :D ...

I'm not sure where I could get old saw blades nearby, but I went to talk to the guys at the metal workshop and they recommended something called "Spring steel" (That's how Google translates it from Danish to english anyway). I think it's a similar kind of metal, if not the exact thing saw blades are made from, as it's relatively cheap, flexible and get's really hard after being hardened.
Maybe what they mean by "spring steel" is the steel from the spring coil used in car suspensions. It is a good steel to make knives by forging.

Broken Spring Coil...view 2
yeah....i can't imagine what i know of as spring steel being the right thing. though, it could be. just, seems like something that would be difficult to find in the proper thickness for a decent blade.

using the steel from a coil over type spring would maybe make sense though...if you're forging stuff.
You want somthing called a leaf spring, its used on older vehicles
Although Ii have never tried this myself I know that others had. If I am not mistaken, I believe that it has something to do with the carbon content of the steel in the spring coils that makes them ideal for forging knives.
sourcing circular saw, or cross cut saw blades shouldn't be TOO hard. you could buy new circular saw blades and it should be fine enough.

you don't have to harden/temper the metal at all after you make the knife...you just have to tell the person using the knife to not use it to cut bone (which you shouldn't do with a knife of any type anyway) or any other hard stuff like that. circular saw blades are already tempered to a level that allows them to be sharpened pretty well and maintain an edge well enough if you practice proper knife maintenance (keep them clean, don't drop them, don't put it in a dishwasher, never bang it in the sink, sharpen after/before every few uses)
Since there are many types of steel that can be used in making knife and each steels have description. I found this site that can be helpful to you and you can select according to your preference.

http://www.knifecenter.com/info/knife-blade-materials
Ahrengot (author) 3 years ago
Hey guys,

Thanks again for all the replies. I just verified that it was actually spring steel ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spring_steel ) that I was recommended using. It doesn't come from an old coil or anything, it just means that it's a flexible metal.

I watched a couple of videos from the knife maker in Brooklyn and he certainly hardens his knives while making them, so I imagine there's a good reason for that — Probably so the edge doesn't get dull too easily.

Here's the video if anyone's interrested. It's quite good. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtyMrFMW3Fg


The best source for spring steel would be Leaf Springs or coiled spring's  both of them are used in car's so you can get them at a junkyard cheaply.Making knife from coiled spring Requires a good deal of practice(as they are required to be forged into a knife shape).
If you are able to get a circular saw blade then https://www.instructables.com/id/The-Making-of-Raven/#intro this is a good Instructable you could follow.The guy who wrote that instructable has several other's also that you can look at.