From File to Knife (with simple tools)

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A good "bushcraft" knife is a must-have for every outdoorsman.
It's a tool that lasts a lifetime.
Wouldn't it be awesome to make such an essential, lasting tool yourself?

There are many different types of knives and many ways of making them.
This instructable will show you how to make an excellent, inexpensive (<$20) bushcraft knife with simple tools (such as a hacksaw, file, drill and vice).
The design is based on the popular (but expensive) Ray Mears Bushcraft knife.

So if you have a few basic tools and plenty of elbow grease, lets make the [Your Name Here] Bushcraft Knife :)

I have entered this instructable for the Great Outdoors Contest and the I Could Make That Contest.
If you like this instructable, please vote for it!
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Step 1: Tools and materials

Here's a quick overview of the tools and materials that I used.
They'll be discussed a bit more later on in the instructable.

-Old file
-Piece of hardwood
-Two-part epoxy adhesive

-Forge (something to burn the coal in)
-Air pump
-Quenching oil
-Kitchen oven

-Scriber, permanent marker

-Lubricating oil
dhakim made it!7 days ago

Finally finished! Thanks for the was a great learning experience.

file knife.png
casvandegoor (author)  dhakim6 days ago
Awsome! Nice Work!
Emsaid14 days ago

Great ible! Just finished annealing mine, I'll post a picture when I'm finished with it.

casvandegoor (author)  Emsaid11 days ago

Nice! I'm curious how it turned out.

Mattrox1 month ago

This is awesome! I love the finished knife and how you used fairly everyday tools. Thanks for posting!

Such a great job on this!

Johnhall142 months ago
Good instructable : )
casvandegoor (author)  Johnhall142 months ago



Advar3 months ago
Nice 'ible! Question: If one wished to make a hand ax, with a stronger edge, what griding angle would be best with a dremmel? For a camper friend next Xmas.
The block is 6"l, 4"w 1\2"t.
casvandegoor (author)  Advar3 months ago
Thanks! I'm not an expert, but this is what I found: The grind angle ranges from 12 to 20 degrees (so the included angle ranges from 24 to 40 degrees). It depends on what you want to do with the axe. For carving you'll need a steeper grind angle (12 to 15 degrees), while for chopping (hard) wood a less steep angle is preferred.
So I'd want to use 12-15°. Thanks!
ZakSett4 months ago
Nice work many thanks, tips from expert , well explained
mykiscool4 months ago
Prisoners everywhere hail you as their hero! Just kidding though, nice instructable.
casvandegoor (author)  mykiscool4 months ago
Haha, thanks!
That is very interesting. I think if I make one I will just cut off the tang of the file, and make a very straight knife with the old file surface for grips, and finger grip indentions. No woodwork would be necessary then.
casvandegoor (author)  Yard Sale Dale5 months ago
That's also a possibility. Good luck!
flatboat7 months ago
As a metallurgist, it is a real pleasure to see someone on these forums give well thought out useful and accurate knowledge, in a clear and concise fashion, to people wanting to do a good job! Well done!
casvandegoor (author)  flatboat7 months ago
Wow, thanks!
I just published my own knife building ible. Not nearly as well worded as yours though. Good job.
cjones926 months ago
"Forge" sort of throws this a bit out of the "basic tools" realm, don't you think? Heh heh!
casvandegoor (author)  cjones926 months ago
By "forge" I actually mean anything you can burn the coal in. So in this case it can be a barbecue, a couple of stones or a hole in the ground. You can even heat the steel in a simple campfire as well.
I am using this as a forge for my knife(s), I would suggest two burners though.
jyxk6 months ago
great!I want to make a knife like this!bushcraft
cjones926 months ago
Cool (er, uh... Hot?) project!
casvandegoor (author)  cjones926 months ago
Ray from RI7 months ago
Outstanding!!! Well thought out and illustrated... a great post....!
casvandegoor (author)  Ray from RI7 months ago
You certainly made an outstanding sloyd type of knife...!
monkeyking107 months ago
If you were to make this knife full-tang, would you need any wood for the handle or bolsters, or would you just cut it in the shape of the handle?
Great Instructable!
casvandegoor (author)  monkeyking107 months ago
Normally you secure wooden/composite scales to both sides of the tang, for a better grip and more comfort.
I can imagine that you don't necessarily need it on a small knife that you use for small jobs.
Would it be possible to serrate the knife by filing part of it to a serrated edge with a rat tail file?
casvandegoor (author)  monkeyking107 months ago
I've never done it, but I think it's perfectly possible :)
Gaark7 months ago
I've got a spare file at home, I'm going to try this!

Thanks :)
casvandegoor (author)  Gaark7 months ago
cool! good luck and show us what you've made!
Litchifirst7 months ago
looks hard to do ot
Litchifirst7 months ago
looks hard to do ot
poofrabbit7 months ago
Just wanted to say congratulations on being a finalists in the Great Outdoors Contest! This was a fantastic instructable! Good luck!
casvandegoor (author)  poofrabbit7 months ago
Thanks for all the nice comments, I'm loving it :)
solobo7 months ago
This is awesome. Sums up one of my favorite books (Custom Knifemaking by Tim McCreight) in a lot fewer pages and a much more accessible preseentation. I will be trying this soon. Thanks!

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