Introduction: My First Knife

Picture of My First Knife

This is my first knife making Instructable. It was my first proper knife, ie made of real carbon steel instead of files and scrap. I designed it as a gift for my best friend, his input and my design. The blade is just under 4.5" and altogether is almost 10". It is made from O1 tool steel I bought off eBay, G10 scales, brass rod and epoxy were all bought on eBay from various sellers. I only used an angle grinder, power drill, files, sandpaper and a DIY forge. Enjoy!

Step 1: Design

Picture of Design

This was a blade I designed with some of his input, some internet inspiration and my own mind. It has a just under 4.5" blade and is 4mm thick. Draw the design out in its final size, cut it out then stick it on some cardboard to test the comfort.

Step 2: Cut Out the Blank

Picture of Cut Out the Blank

Trace the template with a sharpie, then I scribed the surface with a steel pointy thing. I highly recommend you do this because I found that sharpie, despite being 'permanent' rubs off very quickly when you are working with it. Using some thin cutting discs I cut out as much as I dared with the angle grinder. (I'm sure other people could get alot better cuts, but I did not want to risk messing up the knife and I could file the rest as time wasnt an issue).
Note. I have a fair bit of experience for my age (15) using an angle grinder, if you don't please don't risk it and just use a hacksaw, its slower but if its that or losing a finger then the choice is clear.

Step 3: Refining

Picture of Refining

Using a grinding disc on my angle grinder, sanding discs (120 grit) and files I smoothed out and refined the entire blank. The grinder leaves uneven surfaces and strange angles, you can fix these with your files. I then used a sanding discs to smoothen out the edges and with the grinder started removing stock from the bevels. I also made a pyramid point on the butt of the knife to act as a 'window breaker' not that it will ever be used but its there if he wants it.

Step 4: Bevels

Picture of Bevels

If you have hours and hours to spare, patience, strength and willpower, try to hand file your knife bevels. I did, it took me 2 and a half hours to get one side finished, and it was close but not perfect. Took it to my trusty angle grinder with a 120 grit sanding disc, 20 minutes later... finished bevels to a high enough quality and finish, I was pretty proud to be honest.

If you have a bench grinder or belt sander, go ahead and use it, you'll probably get better results, but I don't so I had to make do. Also be careful not to get the blade too hot that the temper colours appear, just dip it in water from time to time, you will be surprised how quickly the thin edge heats up with friction.

Step 5: Drill Holes

Picture of Drill Holes

simple as it sounds, pick your handle pin size, drill the right holes. For the lanyard hole I piloted using a 2.5mm then 4mm then my 8mm, I also countersunk it slightly with a 9mm. A 2.5mm bit was also used to round off that sharpening thing at the end of the blade.

Step 6: Hardening

Picture of Hardening

I lit a fire in my bbq, added charcoal and then held up a hairdryer to it, the blade heated up very quickly (less than 10 minutes) and I took it out when it was orange/red and dipped it in vegetable oil, this hardened it well and a file scated across the surface - the tip melted slightly but I ground it back easily. Then I put it in the oven at 225° for an hour, the blade went mostly golden but had purple and blue spots, not ideal but still hard enough to hold an edge but not brittle.

Step 7: Finishing the Blade

Picture of Finishing the Blade

Starting at 120 grit on a flat block I sanded the bevels and flats true,
as I did the grinding with a file and angle grinder they weren't very neat, it took a ton of sanding to get them flat and the line perfect. I made a few mistakes when grinding near the ricasso so it was not sharp as I would have liked, but I didn't think it mattered enough to restart the whole knife.
I sanded the flats and bevels up to 600 grit.

Step 8: The Handle

Picture of The Handle

I originally planned on using 0.5 mm brass sheet as spacers, but the epoxy didn't stick to it very well and I lost one side so, I gave up with that idea. I used 4mm brass rod (also off ebay) and black g10 scales (ebay again) and epoxy (of course ebay) the handle cost just over £15 Altogether

Step 9: Shaping Up the Handle

Picture of Shaping Up the Handle

Having never worked with g10 I was surprised how hard it was, hacksaws and my scroll saw had no chance. A wood saw was the best way, and a sharp one make quick work of it. I drilled the holes for the pins and put them in when working so they were both symmetrical. I polished up the parts that would not be easy to get to when glued, then glued it all up with epoxy. I used an angle grinder to sand most of the excess material down then a file to round it off evenly.

Step 10: Texturing the Handle, and Finishing the Blade

Picture of Texturing the Handle, and Finishing the Blade

The blade was already at 600 grit so I buffed it with car body metal polish. 24 hours after gluing I started to round the handle until it was comfortable in my hand then using a claw hammer on a rock peened the pins out. Then using a round file I made lots of grooves from the top and bottom so that they crossed and made stripes. I sanded the spine and underside with a dremel and then hand sanded to 600 grit, I put a bit of oil on the handle and left the handle how it was because I like the rough surface

Step 11: Finished!

Picture of Finished!

After many, many hours of work in my back garden, a knife has been created, 3 months late for his birthday. I was pleased with how it turned out and I hope all of you can achieve better results.
The final thing I would like to say is, being a teenage boy in South East London, I faced many negative opinions when making this knife, in the time it took to make this knife 3 boys I knew were stabbed, 2 were classmates. In my opinion using a knife as an offensive weapon is abuse of a tool, a gun is a weapon, as is a knuckle duster for example, I do not carry a knife, despite how many times I need it everyday, because of the laws forbidding it, I find it sad that it has become like this. The new owner of the knife has the same opinion. I hate the fact that one of the first tools to humans survival, a perfect example of human ingenuity, genuine craftsmanship and engineered beauty, that is found in a high quality knife has the reputation it has with London teens like me, we are not all the same. Thank you for reading.
If you enjoyed please comment and favourite, follow my account there will hopefully be more coming soon.


RobertN124 (author)2017-08-18

Well done. Draw filing is a chore, but if done correctly, it can really make for a nicely finished blade. Keep em coming. It's addicting, ain't it :)

_tpowell7898 (author)2017-01-21

How long did it take you to get that nice edge and you did a nice job if I even need help I will email you

_tpowell7898 (author)2017-01-21

How long did it take you with the file to get a nice Bravia

shelaker (author)2017-01-11

Great article. I'm 43 years old, and have been a metal worker/ welder/ machinist most of my life. Just recently started making some of my own knives, (nothing special, reclaimed material and such), but your instructable was really insightful and full of good ideas. Makes me want to step up my skills.

steelshell fab (author)2016-12-02

Amazing! I'm just now getting started making my own knife, and it's no where near as nice as this. you've got real talent dude.
I'm honestly gonna start over, and follow this instructable.
I started with a table saw blade, but cut it out with my plasma torch. does the heat ruin the metal? can I fix it after shaping? I'd really appreciate some tips. thanx!

rainingfiction (author)2016-06-02

I think it is very cool that you are able to make a knife and not use it (other than for a gift). "With great power comes great responsibility" as some famous person once said. I come from quite a conservative family who would frown at such an opinion, but I think that everything thing you said was quite true. I look forward to seeing more of your upcoming instructables, if you build more things that is. :)

JohnG220 (author)2016-05-09

Pretty cool knife, nice design.

AidenH3 (author)2016-05-09

Tazer and tranqulizer proove otherwise

(awesome knife by the way)

owatson (author)2016-04-24

How is a gun a tool? I'm not criticising I just want to hear your opinion

johnny108 (author)owatson2016-04-28

It uses technology to perform a function.

A rock will beat something down. A hammer is more efficient,

but you need metal working technology to have it.

A bow and arrow is a tool, it can be used to hunt, or fight.

A gun is more effective, but you need better technology to have it.

I can murder someone with a hammer, the hammer is not an evil,

restriced-to-government item, so why is a gun?

That is a failure in logic. If the presence of guns causes more deaths

in your society, then your society is flawed, not the tool.

Nuclear weapons are exceedingly efficient at killing, yet in human

history, they have only been used twice. So, expediency isn't the

answer, and neither is banning a tool, as nuclear non proliferation

has failed, despite the fact that they haven't been used since their


AidenH3 (author)johnny1082016-05-09

i agree with you whole hartedly

AidenH3 (author)owatson2016-05-09

tazer gun, tranqulizer gun, are used to protect not to mention hunting is somtimes a proffesion making it a tool of the trade. lastly you can kill or save any one with any thing or use it to preform any other task (It will probably be less efective though).

macgyver71 (author)owatson2016-04-28

AidenH3's opinion might vary from mine, and I'm in no way looking to step on his toes in answering, but as a (retired) Police Officer and Army Vet, I've had this question asked many, many times.

A gun is a tool, and we choose tools based on their function. The primary function of a gun is to kill or injure people or animals. In the case of people, the only reason I might have to shoot them — or threaten to do so — is that they are immediately threatening serious harm.

In the case of animals, it is either to put food in my freezer, or, in the one time I had to use as defense while hunting, a wild dog who decided to charge at me.

Like any tool, frequent practice in its usage and safety procedures is paramount. One wouldn't pick up a large chainsaw and attempt to clear out an acre of land or carve a statue without understanding how it works, and how to SAFELY operate it.

poksumdo (author)2016-05-09

Milo Congratulations on this beautiful work of art. I have looked at lots of knives and I find your blade tops .Never seen such a handle , I love it . best wishes

jessyratfink (author)2016-05-06

Beautiful! I just met a guy that make carbon steel knives and ordered a couple from him - a fish knife and a chef's knife!

But you make it look possible to try on my own. :D

Bugabugabuga (author)2016-05-05

Amazing work man! Keep it up! When I was 15 I had no idea which tools did what.

dragonangel5216 (author)2016-05-04

Nice! thanks!

hcalitz (author)2016-05-04

Wow. Very well done! A very clear instructable as well! Indeed, you can be proud of your work.

fathertime (author)2016-05-02

Very nice work, It turned out as an impressive piece. You should be proud of what you have created.

johnny108 (author)2016-04-19

"I do not carry a knife, despite how many times I need it everyday, because of the laws forbidding it,..."

One of my countrymen said it best:

"If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so."

-Thomas Jefferson

A knife is a lethal weapon.

Carrying a box cutter is just carrying a tool.

A cosh is an offensive weapon.

A roll of coins in the fingers of a leather glove is spare parking change.

You should be ashamed of yourselves. First by letting yourselves be disarmed.

Second, by not thinking creative ways around your idiotic laws.

rmoody3 (author)johnny1082016-04-23

Well said.

JeffM62 (author)johnny1082016-04-21

UK weapons laws do not spell out exactly what a weapon is and if it being carried out of the context of intended is a weapon. Coins in a glove is a weapon period..not spare change. Walking down the street with a carpenter hammer will get you pinched. Use anything as a weapon and is a weapon.

johnny108 (author)JeffM622016-04-21

Loose change and leather work or driving gloves.

If you can't figure out how to lie to a cop, then you deserve to be in prison.

Actually- how did your laws get so screwed up in the first place?

Thank you for never offering advice to the US on weapons laws- ever.

Because you have screwed up. Royally.

Use something as a weapon? True- it's a weapon. Carry the parts to make a weapon?

Thats not a weapon- those are tools. Or, are carpenters routinely arrested there?

milo_baker (author)johnny1082016-04-20

you make a good point, however it's a difficult case to fight if the police stop and searched me and found a knife, even a legal carry (>3" non locking folder)

Bikergoody (author)2016-04-23

Very nice. You have the skills and the intelligence to turn this into a profession if you want. I would love to see what you could do if you decided to try making a "chef's knife" or some other kitchen knife. Since they are usually much thinner it takes extra care but I definitely think you could pull it off. Excellent job and keep making knives; even if you don't go into it professionally, you will have the ability to truly "make someone's day" by giving a gift that comes from the heart. Anyone can buy something but when you put in this type of effort it is truly special. Good job young man, good job.

Chipper Bert (author)2016-04-19

Lovely job. What a joy it is to be able to use your hands this way.

Amazing how many of your commenters are old codgers like me. If I had a grandchild I would be most proud if he produced something like...

Just curious.. Why did you do the hardening before tackling the finishing? Wouldn't it have saved some sweat to have annealed the metal right at the start and then done all the work up to just a tad before final finish, then to harden and temper and just clean up with emery paper?

milo_baker (author)Chipper Bert2016-04-20

My neighbours always complain about noise, I had to do the heat treat whilst on holiday in France, I was worried that the heat treat would ruin any proper finish on the blade. also I hadn't realised that the bevels were as uneven as they were unfortunately until after the heat treat

Chipper Bert (author)milo_baker2016-04-22

Lucky for me, both my neighbours are big time noise makers, one with his own DIY activities and the other with booze fueled parties accompanied with Metallica played VERY loud. So a bit of angle grinding on my part would go unnoticed...

Back to heat treatment... I have used a propane torch successfully but only on much smaller sections. I think one would struggle to achieve the right heat on the big chunk you used so your barbecue forge is one way to go. I tend to think one would get lot of pitting so would have to leave quite a bit of metal to be removed to clean off to remove it.

There are lots of instructibles on building a mini propane furnace out of an old coffee can that look as though they would be the answer. Have you thought about going that way (assuming that you are not leaving your knife making to "the first and last")

kimbo-fitzy (author)2016-04-21

I have been making knives for around 3 years and started when i was your age, and that my friend is a beautiful knife, your skill is far greater then mine was at your age, i love that at 15 years old, you share a genuine interest in making knives as a skill and tool and not as a weapon, it is something lacking in todays generation, i look forward to seeing more intructables from you.

SOCCENTSFC (author)2016-04-20

Well then, tell ya what.
I will give you my email address and you just keep it on file. When you have time and want to make a extra knife, just lemme know.
If I have the money to spend, you just made a sale.

I like the one you made here, as well as Wharncliff blades...a under-appreciated blade if ever there was one.
You can reach me at -LRSD117CAV@AOL.COM or on FB here

Good luck with things, and maybe we will talk again in the future.

SFC Craig

milo_baker (author)SOCCENTSFC2016-04-21

will do, cheers mate

ghostrider31622 (author)2016-04-21

Nice looking blade... Keep working...

SOCCENTSFC (author)2016-04-19

This is why I will,happily,spend my money and buy a knife. You have quite a bit of talent my friend.

I haz no knife makinz skillz. I haz MAD knife buying skillz,however.

milo_baker (author)SOCCENTSFC2016-04-19

God if I had the money to spend I would definetley buy myself some nicer Knives

SOCCENTSFC (author)milo_baker2016-04-19

Don't sell yourself short. That's on par with some very good tactical knives I have seen friends carry. Better than some.

Hmm...[thinking cap wait..wrong one,that was Dunce it is! My O-Ficcial Thinking Cap...bright red letters an' all ...yep,this is it]Maybe we can work something out,you seem to have what I consider nice knives,that I might want (learn to make nice kydex sheaths,and Soldiers will line up at your door),so you can buy some of the 'nicer knives' you want.

Is there a way to contact each other privately here young Jedi?
Who knows,you might have just found a lifelong,lucrative profession as well as skill...

milo_baker (author)SOCCENTSFC2016-04-20

I don't think there is a private messaging feature on this, in terms of selling my knives I would definetley consider, however until after my GCSE's I won't be making any more, if in June we come in contact again then I would be happy to make a few for certain people!

ThomasL127 (author)2016-04-19

Very nice knife Milo. I have made a couple and hope to start making a third soon. I really enjoy it.

milo_baker (author)ThomasL1272016-04-20

thanks a lot

RodL (author)2016-04-19

That is beautiful work, Milo. I am currently working on my first knife, although I am a few years your senior ... I am 68. I found an old machete at a yard sale for $5 and have cut it up into 3 pieces to make knives from. The machete is actually English made by S & J Kitchen, and the steel is quite good. I hope I can make a knife as nice as the one you posted. Thanks for sharing. Cheers!

milo_baker (author)RodL2016-04-19

I look forward to seeing the instructable on it

RodL (author)milo_baker2016-04-19

I've never done an instructable. Maybe I can do one for the knife.

milo_baker (author)RodL2016-04-20

please do, its makes it all the more rewarding

RonB2 (author)2016-04-19

Beautiful job. Your creation is much nicer than what the "professionals" on the Television show Forged in Fire create. And, from your comments on knives, I'd say you have intelligence to go with your creative skills.

milo_baker (author)RonB22016-04-19

thanks mate

I have to agree with what has been said about you doing a great job, but when the Gerber employee praised your work you should have thanked him instead of making the comment you did, also that knife is a tool and the carrier of the knife is the one responsible for the stabbings and not the knife. I'm grateful for living in a country and the state of Arizona because of the laws that allows us to open carry and buy knives or make knives that we want, and after what has happened in Europe and your country I hope and pray that some day you will have the opportunity to do the same. Keep up the great work.

milo_baker (author)HariKarier11 2016-04-20

thank you, and I hope so too but British government has a good record of banning everything by default, rarely any other solution. I did thank the Gerber employee, I was just saying that there are loads of better makers than me out there, it was a very kind comment none the less

Rottedroots (author)2016-04-19

My first impression was to call bull on this knife build for a couple of reasons. Using an angle grinder to cut your blade from the blank is very impressive and making curves and such even more so. you must have spent days with the file to achieve what you did. Did you buy a hardened steel blank and why did you need to harden it again? At what point did you lose the hardness you started with.
I think I'm jealous more than anything else. Very very impressive build and you.should be trying to get onto forged in fire. Nice job kiddo

milo_baker (author)Rottedroots2016-04-20

the steel came annealed, handy for me so I didn't have to worry too much about ruining the temper when making it, using a grinder to cut curves isnt too difficult if you are careful, and I only did one side of the bevel with a file, a sanding disc on a grinder is MUCH quicker

TimothyJ999 (author)Rottedroots2016-04-20

Typically when you order high-carbon or specialty steel online it arrives in its annealed (non-hardened) state. That allows you to easily work it, then you can harden and temper to meet your own needs. There's nothing impossible about what this guy did. Pretty nice job considering no belt grinder (the usual tool for creating bevels on a knife) and the fact that he only has a couple years of experience.

johnny108 (author)2016-04-19

"I do not carry a knife, despite how many times I need it everyday, because of the laws forbidding it,..."

One of my countrymen said it best:

"If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so."

-Thomas Jefferson

A knife is a lethal weapon.

Carrying a box cutter is just carrying a tool.

A cosh is an offensive weapon.

A roll of coins in the fingers of a leather glove is spare parking change.

You should be ashamed of yourselves. First by letting yourselves be disarmed.

Second, by not thinking creative ways around your idiotic laws.

About This Instructable




Bio: South East London, dont upload much
More by milo_baker:Easy File KnifeMy first knifeAcid Etching my Spyderco endura 4
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