Picture of From File to Knife (with simple tools)
06 ps.jpg
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!

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
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woodenbenny made it!yesterday
You made an great instructable. It was a lot of fun to make the knifes.
casvandegoor (author)  woodenbennyyesterday
Wow, very cool! Thank you.
dhakim made it!1 year ago

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

file knife.png
casvandegoor (author)  dhakim1 year ago
Awsome! Nice Work!
stumitch17 seconds ago

Thanks so much for a fabulous 'ible. I am going to give this a try. I would really like to try this with a group of metal work students... hopefully I will get admin permission...:Thanks again!

ĐăngH27 hours ago

I don't have an oven for tempering, so can i use a charcoal fire instead ? if i can, how can i determine the suitable temperature of the fire for tempering ?

casvandegoor (author)  ĐăngH26 hours ago
You have much less control over the temperature, so I wouldn't recommend it. But maybe it is possible. Perhaps by putting the knife on a bbq rack a distance away from the coal and waiting for the color of the steel to change. If the color is not yet the desirable tempering color, then lower the rack and wait for the color to change, etc...
Venemot2 months ago
wow.....this amazing. A pretty well laid out instructable as well
Woodworker_172 months ago
Beautiful knife, now i just need to make one.
yoink334 months ago
That was a beautifully done, well informed, and simply stated instructible! Great job, and thank you.

after cool down of the steel,does it become magnetic again?...or is it just Demagnetized when its hot?

casvandegoor (author)  russell.gitlitz4 months ago
The steel is only non-magnetic above a certain temperature.
philocirapt0r5 months ago

does the finished blade still have the grooves from the file or did you smooth it down?

casvandegoor (author)  philocirapt0r4 months ago
Yes, it still has the grooves from the file
Frinn5 months ago

nice and simple!

after cool down of the steel,does it become magnetic again?...or is it just Demagnetized when its hot?

PowellMade7 months ago

Great job. Nicely laid out tutorial!! I saw this video a while back on a knife forum and found it to be incredibly useful. Its about hardening steel. A must for anyone who is serious about making a file knife or even one from O1 steel as a first.

heres a link


kwald667 months ago
This is great! Been making kit knives for a while. I am ready to do some file knives. You did a great job with this. I understand each step. Thank you!
casvandegoor (author)  kwald667 months ago

Nice, good luck! And show us the result :D

alcher247710 months ago
Good instrucrions , I have made several file knifes. I do some of the same things you do. The information about the blade grind I am going to try. I am not sure about my tempering of the blade.
lkjhg56one11 months ago

Lol Step 5 is very ironic

seth33701 year ago

this is fun. my dad has about 40 old files. now he only has 26. :)

casvandegoor (author)  seth33701 year ago

Wow, you can start a bussiness ;)

quote491 year ago
I have a couple of questions. Firstly, what type of file was used in the making of this knife? Secondly, could a dremel be used instead of a hacksaw to remove the blank from the rest of the file?
casvandegoor (author)  quote491 year ago
It was a large smooth flat file, high carbon steel (not case hardened). What tool would you want to use? A small grinding disk? I think it is possible, but not ideal. I think a dremel lacks power. You could use an angle grinder.
BigBerland1 year ago

I'm a bit confused as to how thick each bolster should be. You said the handle is 115mm before you peen the end off, then it will be around 110mm. How much space do the bolsters take up after peening?

casvandegoor (author)  BigBerland1 year ago
My bolsters were about 5 mm thick. As long as the tang is sticking out a few millimeters you will be fine. When you have peened the tang, you can remove excess material. I hope this answers your question.
JerryH11 year ago

Problem: the files warped in annealing step. Suggestions?

Hit it with a hammer.

This is cool, is there anyway you can get rid of the file edges on the finished product?
casvandegoor (author)  justintime19981 year ago
Ofcourse: you can just file them off ;)
Flash671 year ago
Wow! You did an amazing job on this i can see you really put your time into this instructable and I can tell you very passionate about this! I'm gonna have to try this someday. This instructable is also a very good example of good instructables I want my first instructable to be like this:)
casvandegoor (author)  Flash671 year ago
Thank you very much :D I'm glad that I've inspired you to make good instructables.
Emsaid1 year ago

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

casvandegoor (author)  Emsaid1 year ago

Nice! I'm curious how it turned out.

Mattrox1 year 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!

Johnhall141 year ago
Good instructable : )
casvandegoor (author)  Johnhall141 year ago



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