Introduction: Handmade Knife and Leather Sheath

Picture of Handmade Knife and Leather Sheath


This is my second instructable. This time i'll show how I made a beatiful knife.

When i was a kid, I remember how my grandpa made a lot of knives. Even though they weren't visually attractive, they were razor sharp, and served good for a long time.

Some years later I started going to art school, to drawing and metalworking. I was making rings, bracelets, and many other things, but my dream was to make a knife. So I made my first knife, it was good for a twelve-year old, but now it seems quite bad.

Some time has passed since then, I'm not a professional, I know that some of my methods are wrong, but despite that, I have learned a lot.


  • angle grinder
  • sandpaper
  • files
  • drill
  • FeCl for etching
  • wood burning tool


  • steel
  • deer antler
  • redwood
  • leather

Step 1: Blade

Picture of Blade

The main problem was, that I dont have a forge, so I had to make the blade from a steel plate.

Unfortunately I didn't take pictures of starting materials, however I simply cut out the blade.

After that I started sharpening it.

Step 2: Blade Etching

Picture of Blade Etching

Next thing I did, was blade etching.

First of all, I put duct tape on blade.

Then I started drawing the pattern and after that I cut it out. I drew latvian national tracery.

Then I covered the blade with nail polish, and took of the duct tape.

Then I put the blade into the iron chloride(FeCl3), and after taking it out, removed the nail polish.

Step 3: Putting All Together

Picture of Putting All Together

First I made the piece that connects blade and hilt (don't know how it's called)

Then I drilled a hole in the hilt.

After that I put it all together.

Then, using knife, I started carving a deer on the hilt.

When that was done, I glued all together using epoxy glue.

Step 4: Sheath Making

Picture of Sheath Making

I cut out the pattern, put it on leather and cut it out too.

Then I knocked out holes in the leather and put in studs.

Step 5: Leather Sheath

Picture of Leather Sheath

I liked the sheath, but knew that it needs something more, so I decided to burn in some kind of pattern.

I drew the pattern on the sheath, and started burning it using wood burning tool.

Step 6: Completion of the Knife

Picture of Completion of the Knife

The last thing I had to do, was to add a piece of redwood at the end of hilt.

I sawed a piece of redwood, added some epoxy, and glued it to the knife.

When it was holding hard, I took off unnecessary wood using files and sandpaper

Currently, this knife is my favourite, overall I was making the knife for three or more months (I worked only at weekends).

I'm planning to make another knife this summer, so it'll be another instructable :)



steampunkpotato (author)2014-06-06

Epic. I voted

ElmarsM (author)steampunkpotato2014-06-06

Thanks a lot!!

mezari (author)2016-11-23

Olá, parabens pelo seu trabalho, e por mostar as etapas. Gostaria de saber quanto tempo voce deixou mergulhado no Cloreto Ferrico? Obrigado.

Cliffsidegirl (author)2016-01-06

how did you cut the metal?

ElmarsM (author)Cliffsidegirl2016-01-10

I used angle grinder :)

akute (author)2015-12-02

Nice job. I like that you've added decoration to each part of your knife, and worked out each step as you went along. Good instructable to follow.

ElmarsM (author)akute2015-12-03

Thank you!

Lee Wilkerson (author)2014-06-10

Very skillfully done. I just wondered why you didn't heat treat the blade.

ElmarsM (author)Lee Wilkerson2014-06-11

As I already told, unfortunately I don't have a heat-treating oven or even a blowtorch, if I had one, I would have heat treated the blade

Lee Wilkerson (author)ElmarsM2015-10-12

Your cookstove burner will get it super-hot. Then just quench it with ice water or better yet, oil.

k-labit (author)2015-09-26

Where do you get your steel?

ElmarsM (author)k-labit2015-09-28

I buy it in local market, where all the metal parts, technical stuff and other similar things can be bought!

hbarret (author)2015-07-09

Good tutorial. did you do anything to the antler to make it smooth or shiny? i have some brittle sheds that i can use, but id want to make it smooth and shiny white

ElmarsM (author)hbarret2015-07-09

Thanks! I simply sanded it with different grit sandpapers and polished it with a polishing compound!

hbarret (author)ElmarsM2015-07-12

What was that polishing compound?

ElmarsM (author)hbarret2015-07-13

Something very similar to this!

solanarose (author)2014-11-24

very impressive job dude. Actually, you did a downright wonderful job! looking forward to seeing more! I'm a metalsmith/jeweler as well, and have been yearning to make a knife. With every instructable I watch of yours I become more and more inspired. :)

ElmarsM (author)solanarose2014-11-25

Thanks man!! Glad you find them useful :)

DesignByMarc (author)2014-11-08

Great looking knife, thanks for sharing your build with us. I really like the etching on the blade, it turned out well.

ElmarsM (author)DesignByMarc2014-11-09


Jake_Makes (author)2014-09-03

Where did you get the Iron Chloride? Is there another name for it?

ElmarsM (author)Jake_Makes2014-09-03

It's also called Ferric Chloride, I bought it in an electronics shop

TrollFaceTheMan (author)2014-08-15

That is one good looking Knife, nice Job!

ElmarsM (author)TrollFaceTheMan2014-08-16

Thanks!! :)

TrollFaceTheMan (author)ElmarsM2014-08-22

No problem :)

laffinm (author)2014-07-11

Hi, I really liked the sketch of the knife in the sixth picture and I was wondering if you would let me use it as a guide to make my own knife and Instructable based on it, granted I would give you lots of credit on the design. Please let me know.

ElmarsM (author)laffinm2014-07-11

yeah, sure, use it as much as you need :)

Garra23 (author)2014-06-25

Great insttuctable but can you make one over just engraving like you did? It would help me and possibley others if it was in more detail. Again great job!

ElmarsM (author)Garra232014-06-27

Sure! I'm making another kinfe now, and I'll engrave something, so i can make an instructable :)

Garra23 (author)ElmarsM2014-06-29

Awesome! I planned on making some rings or something and wanted to engraved them. So this will surely help. Thanks.

doodlecraft (author)2014-06-24

Awesome! I love the pattern on the knife! :)

spylock (author)2014-06-18

Nice looking blade,what is holding it all together,just glue?

ElmarsM (author)spylock2014-06-18

thanks, it's just regular epoxy glue

dojers (author)2014-06-18

Very nice - voted in all 3 categories. I love knives but have never made my own. I have a blank that was started by my uncle before he passed away so all it needs is a handle and sheath - I want to make my handle out of paracord but I have to figure it out first. And if I get a deer this year, I think I'll have it tanned and see what I can do with that (if anything - guess I should look into it first before paying to have it tanned LOL)

Rizwan Azami (author)2014-06-14

Very nicely made and presented. What metal did you use for the blade? how do you keep the knife edge sharp? It is so well made it cannot just be ornamental.

ElmarsM (author)Rizwan Azami2014-06-14

it's just regular stainless steel, i have sharpened it once, but haven't used it, and most likely wont, it's quite sharp, but i think i'll keep it on shelf (maybe i'll start collecting knives :D)

crszoom (author)2014-06-11

Cool you know the old saying pratices makes perfect !!!

knutknackebröd (author)2014-06-11

wow really cool end result, if you don't want to use chemicals to etch steel you can use electrolysis.

ElmarsM (author)knutknackebröd2014-06-11

using chemicals is a lot easier, and result is nearly the same

spylock (author)2014-06-11

Top notch build,great job

antagonizer (author)2014-06-09

Ya dun good. Once you get the hardening process down, I think you'll be ahead of the curve on knife making, especially handle design. Try using old files instead of bar stock until you get the gear for a kiln. They're already hardened and all you need to do is anneal certain parts that you can do with a hand torch.

nliwilson (author)antagonizer2014-06-10

That's a good tip, I've actually done it but it's worth noting that files are actually too hard and usually made of too cheap a steel to keep and edge, kind of one extreme to another.

You can make a temporary/single use kiln with clay on a small scale to make a single knife, you seal the blade in to get very high temperatures and leave a gap underneath to blow air in with bellows or even just a hair drier, fire it with coal & wood and you can experiment to see what works. You can even zone harden the blade by putting clay along the edge.

Great looking knife though and the sheath is really outstanding. :)

antagonizer (author)nliwilson2014-06-10

You need to find pre-1950 files as newer ones are only case hardened. Older files have a higher carbon content of around 1-1.2 which is great for knives. The trick is to anneal which can be done with a hand torch, unlike hardening which needs a kiln. In fact, the process of grinding often takes off some of the hardness from friction heat, hence quenching often, but I can still get a .3 micron edge on mine which is straight razor sharp.

nliwilson (author)antagonizer2014-06-11

Nice! I actually have some WWII era files I can try that with but I would have to bring myself to "destroy" one of my grandfather's old tools. :/

Good advice though, thanks. :)

ElmarsM (author)antagonizer2014-06-09

Ok, thanks for the tip :)

tcharris2017 (author)2014-06-10

hey so when you said cut out the design you made on the duct tape, did you cut it out with an x acto knife or what?

ElmarsM (author)tcharris20172014-06-11

I cut it with a simple paper knife (x acto is suitable too), it's a subtle work, but worth it

craftclarity (author)2014-06-06

Wow, that is REALLY nice!!! Beautiful work.

ElmarsM (author)craftclarity2014-06-06

Thanks!! :)

catacris2003 (author)ElmarsM2014-06-07

What about metal hardening?

About This Instructable



Bio: I'm a simple guy from a simple country called Latvia. I enjoy making useful (and sometimes not so useful) stuff to make people around ... More »
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