Introduction: The AXe Knife

Picture of The AXe Knife

This is a short instructable showing you the steps to make a survival ax knife. I intended to make this knife to enter into the metalworking contest. Please vote for me if you enjoy this instructable, thanks! To check out my gut hook hunting knife click HERE

Step 1: ​The Materials and Tools

Picture of ​The Materials and Tools


Blade - Steel 3/16" - I've seen people use lawn mower blades or you can purchase the steel off eBay and temper it yourself. The steel came off an 5000lb piece of switchgear and the hole was used as an anchor point for a crane to hook up.

Handle - Wood of your choice

Handle pins - nail - brass or soft metal is preferred for the pins but I didn't have any

Metal polish - Brasso


Sharpie and pencil

Metal saw such as a hack saw or metal band saw. To check out my metal band saw table click HERE

Metal file

Sand paper: 60-6000 grit

Belt sander, grinder, dremel



CA glue

Drill press with bits

Step 2: Designing and Cutting

Picture of Designing and Cutting

- Choose a design and start by drawing onto the steel with a pencil.

- Once you have your final design drawn in with sharpie,you may change your design later by sanding off the sharpie.

- Cut the steel using a metal saw such as a band saw. If your design requires holes in the blade, drill them now.

- I made the small teeth by drawing small triangles with a pencil. I then used my bandsaw to cut the triangles and sanded them down on both sides. This makes them pointy and appear like shark teeth.

Step 3: Shaping and Sharpening

Picture of Shaping and Sharpening

- Place the knife in a vice and grind/Sand the blade to desired shape. I used various tools to shape the blade such as the belt sander, grinder and file. Don't make the blade to thin or the metal will start to fold on itself.

- Sand the blade from 60-6000 grit

Step 4: The Handle

Picture of The Handle

- Trace the handle using a pencil on the desired wood.

- Cut the wood a little bigger than the metal handle so you can sand it flush later.

- Once cut, drill holes the size of the pin into the metal. When drilling the pin holes into the wood, use a the next drill size up to allow for flaring of the pin.

- Cut the pin 1/8" bigger than the wood and metal put together.

- Glue the wood onto the metal using CA glue.

- Hammer the Nail on an anvil or hard surface. Be careful not to crack handle! This makes the nail/pin flare on both sides to fasten the handles to the metal.

Step 5: Finishing

Picture of Finishing

- Let the glue dry.

- Shape the wood around the metal handle using belt sander and files.

- Once sanded, clean the wood and finish it with stain or preferred finish.

- If you made any scratches in the blade while attaching/sanding the handle, fix it now.

- Polish metal with Brasso or similar metal polish

- Enjoy!

Step 6: The Video


wtjs (author)2014-06-01

I love this! it's such a simple inexpensive way to build your knives!

Verga (author)wtjs2014-07-08

That is exactly what I thought when I saw this knife.

Eldalote (author)2014-06-02

It reminds me of a Tops Tom Brown Tracker knife (which I love!) Excellent job done here!! :)

avionjedi (author)2014-05-31

Very impressive. On my future to do list. Great post

rimar2000 (author)2014-05-29

Very nice design, good work!

jmwells (author)2014-05-29

I like the way you're using what you have on hand. Incorporating the existing hole was interesting.

C013Y (author)2014-05-29

I will be making this soon :D it's really cool

Wattosie (author)2016-06-12

You need to heat treat and temper it

supermanenoch (author)2015-07-23

nice job

epicalien (author)2014-07-04

It's the knaxe a combination between knife and axe

CompositionC4 (author)epicalien2014-09-16

Saxe knife actually

Nickynui (author)CompositionC42015-06-30

just saxe, actually. saxe is the scandian word for knife. so saying saxe knife is just saying 'knife knife'

MorsanuTim (author)2015-05-22

Hey guys, firstly, does anybody have a schematic/outline of the blade available for printing? I would like to make one of these but I worry about how I would shape it Thanks for reading and great Instuctable

justinmonroe00 (author)2014-11-02

Can I but one?

michaelgc (author)2014-09-10

This looks sweet!

TrollFaceTheMan (author)2014-08-15

I love the Sheen of it, Nice job with the sharpining and getting the Polished finish.

Robotron Cx3 (author)2014-06-24

You forgot about punching the metal so the bit doesn't skip around

nmartin12 (author)2014-06-06

I have some notes that will make this a better knife. I have worked with a professional blacksmith for a while now and learned some things. Firstly higher carbon steel will hold an edge better since it is harder (however it is a little more easily snapped when used for prying), when grinding look for sparkler type sparks (they indicate more carbon). Secondly you should repeatedly dip the knife into a bucket of water while grinding it to shape, the discoloration seen around the blade edge in step 3 and on is because the blade got too hot and lost its temper (hardness). The more metal you take away the easier it is to burn the blade since there is less metal. The smith told me to dunk it first and "admire (see where you need to grind next) it later". Lastly try adding glue to the nails you drive through the handle to increase their hold. Even if glue squeezes out it is easily sanded off when you shape the handle!

nmartin12 (author)nmartin122014-06-06

I'm sorry The reflection on the picture and shadows in step three looked like a discoloration from an overheated blade. I was wrong... Sorry.

killersquirel11 (author)2014-06-03

A couple of questions/comments:

1) What is the purpose of that curve at the end near the top of the knife? Another place to rest your hand or something? Or is it just aesthetic/weight?

2) It's a pity that the hole was already there, I'd've made a bottle opener there :)

3) What angle did you end up putting on the edge? 25-35 degrees?

All these posts about people making their own knives really makes me want to try...

xd12c (author)killersquirel112014-06-03

It isn't that difficult, and this method is good because you don't need to do the heat treating, but it takes a lot of time. I think you should go for it.

nmartin12 (author)xd12c2014-06-06

He unfortunately destroyed the existing temper by letting it get too hot. The discoloration indicates a burned blade.

Hey killer,

The curve at the top is just for aesthetics haha. For the angle I have know idea. When I was making the knife blade I didn't use any jigs to measure the angle.

ael mouallem (author)2014-06-06

how do you make 4th shark teeth like you did in the back of the knife

Ryan Depace (author)ael mouallem2014-06-06


I made the small teeth by drawing small triangles with a pencil. I then used my bandsaw to cut the triangles and sanded them down on both sides. This makes them pointy and appear like shark teeth.

Don,t try this at home (author)2014-06-02

I see in your list you say to get hardened steel. I would advise against buying already hardened steel because its just gonna be burning up blades cutting though it. You can buy steel that has not been tempered yet off ebay and temper after your work is done. It will save you alot of trouble. That is a really nice knife tho good job!!

The metal needs more than just tempering.If you annealed steel (like an O-1), when you are done, you need to hear it to non magnetic for a while, quench it in oil, and then temper it. Make sure you follow the hardening instructions for the steel.

You said the same thing i just did.. i assumed that if someone was going to heat treat a knife they would look up the right process. This instructable has The right process for 01 steel

never assume. It gets you into trouble.
Tempering is also 1 part of the treating process. If someone just looks up tempering, they may get the wrong idea. And while the instructable you referenced has most of the information, it didn't have all of it. O1 has to be kept above critical temp for x minutes depending on steel thickness, quenched correctly, and then tempered for so long at 400°, if I remember correctly.

Very true and thanks, I will add that in the instructable.

bdaniel7 (author)2014-06-06

It looks nice but you need to work more on sharpening... :)

throbscottle (author)2014-06-05

Love it. Voted.

woodNfish (author)2014-06-05

Nice knife. I want to suggest a design consideration for you in the future. I noticed you changed the original angle on tang where your forefinger would go from a sharp angle to a nice comfortable curve. I would have liked to you to have duplicated the circle in the blade there and made a nice arc from the finger rest into the blade and no backward angle on the blade. I like the hole in the blade - it gives your knife distinction.

There is also a marking tool woodworkers use for laying out repetitive spacings: I don't know if something similar, and smaller, is available for metal working, but it would help you with serrated edges.

Good luck with your knife making.

Kinnishian (author)2014-06-04

Hiya! I feel like the part about the serrated edge were really lacking detail.

I also think use of CA glue might be bad, as it's a quite brittle glue. Maybe gorilla glue or another less brittle glue would work better.

Overall sweet recycling and instructable. Thanks

toro6300 (author)2014-06-04

Congratulations! good job

alcurb (author)2014-06-04

Great job. Beautiful product.

billbillt (author)2014-06-04

double plus good

cw87 (author)2014-06-03

You can use this to stab all of those evil minion darts!

great job.

danny6114 (author)2014-06-03

What is the total weight of the knife?

Ryan Depace (author)danny61142014-06-03

Hey, just weighed in at 12 onces

Ray from RI (author)2014-06-03

Nicely Done...!!!

xd12c (author)2014-06-03

Awesome 'ible! I like the shape and may adapt it for my own, if that's ok.

ajensen27 (author)2014-05-30

i love this. I want one now so bad. very cool. couple of questions though. how long did this take? can I use paracord for the handle? did you intend to leave that large hole for a reason? can I purchase one of these from you? what kind of steel makes a better blade and did you do any hardening? do I need to?

Ryan Depace (author)ajensen272014-06-01

Hey ajensen27,

Thanks! This knife took me roughly 6 hours to make. I actually wanted to use para cord for the handle but didn't have any at the time. That hole was in the steel when i got it. The steel came off an 5000lb piece of switch gear and the hole was used as an anchor point for a crane to hook up. I didn't do any hardening to the blade just because it was already hard steel. I suppose you could do some quenching to the steel. I have also seen people use old lawn mower blades to make knifes. Carbon steel and high speed steel are very durable.

xd12c (author)Ryan Depace2014-06-03

Annealed steel is easier to work with, but the heat treating is an involved process. I'm having issues doing heat treating now.

interstice (author)2014-06-02

Really cool looking knife dude! Do you happen to know the thickness of the metal you used?

Ryan Depace (author)interstice2014-06-02

Thanks, the steel is 3/16"

bhilson55 (author)2014-05-29

curious as to what kind of steel was used and how long does the blade keep its edge?

Ryan Depace (author)bhilson552014-06-02

The steel I got for free off a 5000lb piece of Switch gear. I'm not exactly sure what kind of steel it is. I haven't really used the knife enough to say how good it holds an edge but when I was grinding the metal it didn't blue at the edge at all. I've seen people make them out of old lawn mower blades.

Grasshopper1221 (author)2014-06-02

Really really nice Blade.I love good cutlery :)

About This Instructable




Bio: I live in New England and currently have two degrees, one in Electronic Engineering and the other in Electrical Technology. I love building and tinkering ... More »
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