Introduction: Handmade Knife and Acid Etching

Picture of Handmade Knife and Acid Etching


This week my dad will celebrate his 46th birthday, so I decided to make him a gift that's useful. Some time ago he used to go hunting regularly so he has one really good Italian handmade knife, but i hope that he will like this one too.

Also this guy: Garra23 asked if i could make an instructable about acid etching so i made it :)

Tools and materials:

  • Angle grinder
  • Sandpaper
  • Files
  • Glue
  • Fe Cl2
  • Used plastic bottle

For the handle I used deer antler and cow horn but that's optional

Step 1: Blade

Picture of Blade

First I took a piece of steel and cut out the blade and grinded it. I choose this form of the blade because it's the usual form that's used for hunting knives.

Step 2: Preparing for Etching

Picture of Preparing for Etching

First thing to do is to put duct tape on both sides of the blade.

Then I drew the lines that I wanted to be etched on the blade and cut them out and also i put some nail polish on the places where duct tape didn't cover the blade.

After that took a plastic bottle and cut it in half, poured water and FeCl2 mixture in there and put the blade in there.

Step 3: Etched Blade

Picture of Etched Blade

I left it in FeCl2 for couple hours, however I regularly checked, because I didn't want to overdo it.

Unfortunately it didn't turn out the way I wanted it to be, because I didn't sand it enough.


Step 4: The Knife

Picture of The Knife

At first I thought i ruined the blade but when I made the handle and polished it, it turned out quite well, it has that old, vintage look to it. It sits in hand really good, and it's razor sharp, I even was able to shave hair off my leg :D



mechagen (author)2016-08-05


I have a question for you about acid etching metals. Do you think it's possible to 'dye' the metal a specific color using a similar method to acid etching or not? and if so how would you do it?

ElmarsM (author)mechagen2016-08-11


Yes! It is possible, however consider that this process makes the metal become weaker against rust! I have tried something similar, only with electric etching, but you can simply put the metal into the FeCl solution, and "dye" the metal from light to dark grey color!

fixfireleo (author)2015-03-10

very cool knife! would it be much harder to make a sword? by the way, you should be a model, you are georgous!

ElmarsM (author)fixfireleo2015-03-10

Yeah sword is really one level too high for me, considering how much work I put in my knives, so I'm sure sword would be quite harder to make! Thanks!

dvncan (author)2014-11-13

That's a great knife, one question: why, if you had enough steel, did you make the tang so small if you had enough to make it stronger?

ElmarsM (author)dvncan2014-11-15

Thanks. I did so, because the the cow horn had limited space in it, in lenght, the hole in it was too short even when i drilled it, and I didn't want to overdo the drilling, so i just made the tang shorter! :)

Garra23 (author)2014-09-18

Really Awesome!! You did great!

Garra23 (author)Garra232014-09-18

Haha you even added me in there. Priceless lol.

ElmarsM (author)Garra232014-09-19

Glad you liked it! :)

afield4 (author)2014-07-17

this is a wonderfull knife, did you have to temper the edge and if so did it effect the etch in any way?

ElmarsM (author)afield42014-07-17

thanks! i didn't temper or heat treat it because i took steel from a massive saw that most likely was already tempered, and i think that tempering shouldn't affect the etch

templerpadi (author)ElmarsM2014-08-09

could you do an instructable on how to make a knife without power tools because i dont have access to any :p

ElmarsM (author)templerpadi2014-08-09

wow, if this is quite time consuming, then working without power tools is incredibly hard, i could do it, but i have many other projects, so sorry, most likely i won't do it

lilcorona805 (author)2014-07-19

how do you make handle?

ElmarsM (author)lilcorona8052014-07-21

I didn't make it, it's cow horn, i only polished it, and glued the blade into it

lilcorona805 (author)ElmarsM2014-07-21

how do you polish the horn or bone?

ElmarsM (author)lilcorona8052014-07-21

i used very fine sandpaper (1000 grit and more), and polishing wax

Ageless Kronos (author)2014-07-17

think I found my next project from you good sir :)

ElmarsM (author)Ageless Kronos2014-07-17

awsome, then share it too, when you'll make it :)

lilcorona805 (author)ElmarsM2014-07-19

how do you make handle?

Silent_Shadow (author)2014-07-19

Haha, shave hair off your leg.

jjdebenedictis (author)2014-07-18

Beautiful work! (And I love that handle, too. :) )

mazzinga (author)2014-07-18

how did you wedge it into the handle?

ElmarsM (author)mazzinga2014-07-18

I glued it, using epoxy

tylerlund381 (author)2014-07-17

where do you get FeCl2 or do you make. Ps this is aweesom

hjjusa (author)tylerlund3812014-07-17

I got mine at Radio Shack.

ElmarsM (author)tylerlund3812014-07-17

its called ferric chloride, i found it on the internet, and bought it in an electronic shop, its also used for etchign some kind of electric circuits. its a salt-like brown substance, and you only have to add water to it

loompiggytutorials (author)2014-07-17

This is really cool!

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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