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!
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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
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lkjhg56one27 days ago

Lol Step 5 is very ironic

seth33702 months ago

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

casvandegoor (author)  seth33702 months ago

Wow, you can start a bussiness ;)

quote492 months 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)  quote492 months 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.
BigBerland2 months 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)  BigBerland2 months 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.
JerryH12 months ago

Problem: the files warped in annealing step. Suggestions?

HannesH1 JerryH12 months ago

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)  justintime19983 months ago
Ofcourse: you can just file them off ;)
Flash673 months 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)  Flash673 months ago
Thank you very much :D I'm glad that I've inspired you to make good instructables.
dhakim made it!6 months ago

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

file knife.png
casvandegoor (author)  dhakim6 months ago
Awsome! Nice Work!
Emsaid6 months ago

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

casvandegoor (author)  Emsaid6 months ago

Nice! I'm curious how it turned out.

Mattrox7 months ago

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

clockworkfish7 months ago

Such a great job on this!

Johnhall148 months ago
Good instructable : )
casvandegoor (author)  Johnhall148 months ago



Advar9 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)  Advar9 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!
ZakSett10 months ago
Nice work many thanks, tips from expert , well explained
mykiscool10 months ago
Prisoners everywhere hail you as their hero! Just kidding though, nice instructable.
casvandegoor (author)  mykiscool10 months ago
Haha, thanks!
Yard Sale Dale11 months ago
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 Dale11 months ago
That's also a possibility. Good luck!
flatboat1 year 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)  flatboat1 year ago
Wow, thanks!
I just published my own knife building ible. Not nearly as well worded as yours though. Good job.
cjones921 year ago
"Forge" sort of throws this a bit out of the "basic tools" realm, don't you think? Heh heh!
casvandegoor (author)  cjones921 year 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.
jyxk1 year ago
great!I want to make a knife like this!bushcraft
cjones921 year ago
Cool (er, uh... Hot?) project!
casvandegoor (author)  cjones921 year ago
Outstanding!!! Well thought out and illustrated... a great post....!
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