Introduction: Home-made Copper Knife

Picture of Home-made Copper Knife

I recently made this knife out of a copper tube. It's work hardened and keeps a pretty nice edge on it, works well as a throwing knife. To get the shine to stay on it, I polished it with coarse sandpaper, then fine, then used 2 different rubbing compounds to get the scratches off, then did 3 coats of clear coat lacquer.
The handle is made out of pine I believe, or some other common wood, I'm not too sure on that. But I used a 1x1 inch piece of the wood, and used about .3inches of wood on each side of the blade handle. The handle is coated in a pecan color wood stain with a smooth finish in it.
The blade is actually soft 1/2" copper tubing, about 10.5" of it. I work hardened it with a ball-peen hammer so it flexes, but doesnt really bend. The blade length is 6", while the handle is 4", for a total length of 10". And yes, the blade is full tang, if you havent already figured that out.
I forgot to take pictures along the way, so I snapped a few pics of the finished product with my camera phone, explaining the moderate quality on them.
All in all, its the best knife out of the 2 I have made (not much to compare to, I'm planning on making more) and I probably could have used a nicer looking thing to bind the handles together than gorilla glue, but it works.

Comments

Don,t try this at home (author)2011-06-08

Nice knife but when you made it did you fold the copper pipe in half??

Nope, I cut a line down the middle with tin snips then folded that out. I then hammered that to make it flat, no folding, only cutting then spreading it out.

DanyN1 (author)_Scratch_2017-10-19

So, once you hammered it you used the tin snips to shape it? Or how did you manage to do that?
When you say "work hardening" you mean that flattening the tube made it hard right?

Thank you very much

JonathanW57 (author)2015-12-06

This is very useful for Wiccas thank you.

Athame supposed to be a none used blade. in fact supposed to be made of
COPPER. I would Make him double sided to represent goddess and god..

ducktape.mac (author)2011-06-12

why copper? was it just because it looked cool? because copper is getting pretty expensive. i actually like the look of the knife and every thing though. very rough and homemade looking, just what i like.

_Scratch_ (author)ducktape.mac2011-06-12

Because I don't have the nessacery tools to smith steel, and I had some copper laying around. I got that 10foot spool of tubing for 12$, which is enough to make a good dozen knives.

ducktape.mac (author)_Scratch_2011-06-13

is it very strong? it seems like copper would bend easily.

_Scratch_ (author)ducktape.mac2011-06-13

Thats what the work hardening helps with, it still bends, but it flexes about 3 inches and returns back to its place, its pretty durable. I can throw it from 25 feet into a box, and even if it hits the side of the blade, it wont bend.

ducktape.mac (author)_Scratch_2011-06-14

nice. i'll have to make one someday. i don't have the ideal tools to be working with steel or anything like that. and the pipe would be the perfect shape too.

_Scratch_ (author)ducktape.mac2011-06-15

Yea, I was hoping to make a forge this summer, but I'm not sure how much spare money I'll have to do that, so that may be put off until next summer. If I do manage to make one though, I'll make sure to get an 'ible up on it, and make some steel or bronze knives.

ducktape.mac (author)_Scratch_2011-06-16

funny, i was also thinking about making a forge over the summer as well. but just like you, i'm short on money. one thing that we could do without a forge is use the galvanized metal strips that they have at lowes. they are pretty cheap, and whenever i go to lowes i normally pick one up just to swing around the store like a sword or something. but i was thinking last night that they might make a good knife if i cut one up and sharpened it. but how did you attach your handle?

_Scratch_ (author)ducktape.mac2011-06-16

I looked into the toxicity a bit more, and the reaction of zinc fumes with oxygen creates zinc oxide, which isnt carcinogenic or very toxic, but it will induce severe flu-like symptoms, but not cause any long term damage. I would still stay away from it.
Also, the way I attached the handle was take the 2 pieces of wood, and put a small line of gorilla glue on each one, then stuck them on the handle part of the copper, and clamped them for about 5 hours. every 40min or so you should clean up where it starts to drip, due to the expansion of the glue.
Oddly enough, the glue is incredibly strong and I havent had the blade move even a millimeter since the handle was attached. so it works pretty well.

curvy77 (author)_Scratch_2012-01-20

If you are still trying to make a forge you should try a fire pit first. Safer than gas and wood or charcoal withsome air glow is enough to melt soda cans in like 10seconds once its going. I used a hair dryer ( semi melted hehe) and forged 3 steel knives and made a few aluminum ingots for rings. Wood andcharcoal burn hot andlong but create a little mess after words. And when ur done u need a looong shower or ull smell like a smoke bomb went off on u.

ducktape.mac (author)_Scratch_2011-06-16

yeah gorilla glue is incredibly strong. now, about the galvanization, would that stuff that you get at lowes for welding be galvanized? because i used some today and i didn't smell anything out of the ordinary. i'm pretty sure its not. i think i mentioned it being galvanized because they had galvanized sheets on the website and i thought everything was.

_Scratch_ (author)ducktape.mac2011-06-17

I dont think welding steel is galvanized, usually you tell because it has that distinct gray triangle pattern.

ducktape.mac (author)_Scratch_2011-06-18

okay, i didn't see any of that on the metal. the knife turned out good though. just very hard to sharpen.

If you don't have a forge, you can make a basic one with one of those small metal patio braziers. Leaf blowers make great forge pumps, just rig it so it doesn't melt.

Wouldn't a leaf blower be kind of.... inefficient? And insanely loud?? Or do you mean a electric one?

Electric. You should use some of high- temperature resistant tubing to direct the air into your fire. If it is blowing too hard, you could try a lower-powered device, or use something to divert some of the air.

sounds good.

_Scratch_ (author)_Scratch_2011-07-14

Also, I'm gonna try my hand at making some pattern-welded steel when i build that.

curvy77 (author)ducktape.mac2012-01-20

Steel isent toohard to wwork with. In my insructable i take a steel dresser base and make a durable knife. Tested it on fresh pumpkin...... hehe little to no force and i cut to the base ):p

curvy77 (author)2012-01-20

I like the design, and it shines like a new penny!! However copperis not the best material for knives or really any bladed weapon, cept axes, because its a soft metal. Constant reforging make it less wanted than iron.

wolf996 (author)2011-11-23

I made a spear like that

wolf996 (author)wolf9962011-11-23

Here's My Cheap Copper Spear Instructable:https://www.instructables.com/id/Gettin-Started/

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Bio: Currently working with logic gates. Might make some sort of robot when i get the money (and the Detroit Techshop opens).
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