Picture of Make a Kitchen Knife
This tutorial demonstrates how to make a kitchen knife out of a piece of new 0-1 tool steel.

In this post I make my first knife, and I do my best to document each step and provide you with the knowledge I had going into it, and also what I learned and how I would have done it differently. As I said, its my first knife, and I didn't do everything in exactly the right order. However, Im arranging this tutorial in the order that makes the most sense if I were to make another knife based on the knowledge I now have. Because of this, some of the pictures may reveal steps that you haven't seen yet. Dont worry, I dont think its too confusing.

Several weeks ago I was overcome by the need to make a kitchen knife. Right away I went online to find a tutorial (like this one), but didn't find exactly what I was looking for. Many websites I found showed how to, say, make a knife out of an old file or saw blade, but I couldn't find a complete, from scratch tutorial that combined all the steps and processes in one place. Through hours of online research I compiled all the different information I needed, and I thought I could make this easier for the next person by arranging all that info here. This is my first online tutorial so bear with me! 
harmless matt4 months ago

I really liked your instructable!

Keep up the good work.

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t.rohner made it!1 year ago

Hi Sam

A wonderful instructable you made here. 5*+

I just finished forming and grinding a kitchen knive for my cooking girlfriend...

I wanted to forge damascus steel. I actally forged "something" out of different steels.(sawblades and such...)

I used Borax as flux and had a quite seasoned tutor. (75 year old blacksmith, but not a bladesmith..)

First fault: I didn't clean the steel from dirt or paint or oxides. After watching some tube vids of how it's correctly done, i now can imagine how important this is.

It held together and i forged it into the desired form.

Second fault: I hardened it, without normalizing the steel after forging.

Third fault: I quenched it in water, instead of oil.

As a result, the layers came apart and it was brittle like tree bark...

So now, i made a knive out of 1.2519 steel (European naming for a high carbon tungsten steel, 62-63 HRC after annealing. This hardness makes it possible to sharpen it to razor blade sharpness)

I went to great lengths of not overheating it, while grinding. Now i gave it to a buddy, who has a hardening oven at work. I don't want to have all the work go down the drain again...

My tutor formed a knive out of a chainsaw blade... looks nice, but has a limited usefulness. (A damascus compound is as good as the worst steel in it. In terms of achievable sharpness.)

I will do a second attempt in damascus steel, but after investigating it, it's overhyped in terms of functionality. But then, it looks darn aweful and i can't sleep until i mastered it ;-))

I will post a image of my first finished knive later...

Sam DeRose (author)  t.rohner12 months ago


And wow, that's awesome! I would have loved to have some actual instruction from a professional, metalworking seems so vastly complex, and probably takes a lifetime to master (which is part of the appeal, right? haha).

I'd love to see a pic of the knife you're currently working on.

Probably i take a two day course with a bladesmith. I have found such courses in neighbouring Austria and Germany.

Back to my attempt: The blade was curved after hardening, because they hardened it not in a hanging position. (Oven and quench were not high enough)

I tried to straighten it with a hammer and it worked a little bit. But at measured 63 HRC, it was just too hard and a part of the tip snapped off.

That's why the form of the final knive doesn't have the desired(designed) form.

Here some pics of the original form, the hardening oven and the final knive.

Sam DeRose (author)  t.rohner11 months ago

Cool! The shape is great, you formed it by hand?

Thanks for sharing :)

Well, it wasn't formed by a CNC, but i used power tools.

The tools i used, were far from optimal, but it worked. Your "inverted belt sander" is a good idea by the way.

sgarrison2 years ago
Unfortunately Annealing is the act of softening metal. In Ferrous metals this is accomplished by heating the piece and then cooling it down slowly. In non ferrous metals such as silver or copper quenching after heating produces the softened state.

The process you are describing is hardening, which is done before tempering.
Sam DeRose (author)  sgarrison2 years ago
Thanks! Ill be sure to change that. So tempering is like 'controlled' annealing?

Exactly like that. Usually brings down the hardness by one to two points on the Rockwell scale. Very well done.

strooom2 years ago
Maybe just a little too much work for a knife that most likely will not be as sharp as a real Wusthof. But the great things is that through this instructable you learn to appreciate how much effort it takes to make a knife, and so you should treat them with love and care.
Nice work? Do you sell them?
Sam DeRose (author)  savorthefood2 years ago
Thank you! Haha, this one took me like two weeks, so I dont think I would make much money...
Candles2 years ago
You can find some nice blades here if you can't make one yourself
thats great for a first knife! I have made a few knives but not a kitchen knife yet.
EmcySquare2 years ago
Like it !!