My First Knife

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Introduction: My First Knife

About: South East London, dont upload much

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!

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.

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    99 Comments

    Have you made any more knives? Sad to see how this helpful tool that I carry all the time is treated in the UK.

    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 :)

    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

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

    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.

    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!

    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. :)

    Pretty cool knife, nice design.

    Tazer and tranqulizer proove otherwise

    (awesome knife by the way)

    5 replies

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

    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

    invention.

    i agree with you whole hartedly

    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).

    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.

    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

    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

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

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

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