Introduction: How to Make a Knife From a Old File

Picture of How to Make a Knife From a Old File

making a knife from a file. I will help teach you how to make your first knife:} for more on knife making go to

Step 1: Tools and Suplies

Picture of Tools and Suplies

you will need a grinder or belt sander,a old file (files have a high carbon content perfect for a knife) wood blocks, glue, a sharpening stone, sandpaper, and yes a knife (not the one you are making)

Step 2: Grinding

Picture of Grinding

you have to grind away at the file to make a knife be careful not to over heat the steel and do not let the file get to hot to touch. you do not have to grind away the file marks on the blade they are deep when you are done sharpen it.

Step 3: Making the Handle

Picture of Making the Handle

when you are done grinding the knife you attach the handle, first cut the wood scales, then glue on the wood, you do this by gluing the blocks of wood to the knife, the wood should be about 1/4 inch thick. shape the wood with knives, files, sandpaper,
and anything else you want to use.
for a quick handle wrap some paracord around the knife it can be removed later for a better handle made of wood

Step 4: The End

Picture of The End

you are done i will post a guide on how to make a leather sheath.


admin (author)2008-12-15

Hey, this is a great instructable and is very informative. Just one thing is missing... pictures! It really helps a lot when trying to follow directions so you should consider taking some photographs. Once you do that and leave me a message when you have so that we can publish your work. Thanks! Thanks for the cool instructable and we hope to publish this soon!

Juttermoore (author)2016-06-15

Milling machines and flat bar does take the chalenge out of reclaiming material if only we were all blessed with a miller and a heap o flat bar this guy made an instuctable u view and mock him show us your masterpieces as another comment said check out the web site he is a talented person

Juttermoore made it! (author)2016-06-15

Pattern welded and kilned and forged in an open fire . Slow progress 2 weeks work

ridiciliculous (author)2012-04-09

This is why I'm glad I have access to a milling machine and good ol' steel flat bar.

triumphman (author)2012-03-19

"Thats not a knife! Now here is a knife"! (Croc. Dundee )

triumphman (author)2012-03-19

I am making a big file knife tonight. The blade is12" long and has a tang of 3" . I have not decided on the handle material as of yet. I have maple oak birch and hickory in my wood stash. I have drilled the tang for two brass pins. I will post some pics. May even do an ible of it! Booyah!

jreed3 (author)2011-05-09

Alot of people sitting here talking about his process and such. Have any of you actually taken the time to go to his website and look? He makes freaking amazing knifes in all different manners. He is a great knife maker but per the usual everyone is to lazy to look. Fail on yall's part.

Lt. Duct Tape (author)jreed32011-11-21

This. Is not. M40. Do you see ANY of his knives in that picture?

bobthebuilder728 (author)2011-10-14

Mine will be up in a couple days, I'm making a full scale Rambo first blood part1 knife

frozenwalkway (author)2011-08-15

i made this with a big file, and a 4 x 36 sander, a bucket of water, a regular knife grinding stone, and 80, 100, 220, 400 and 600 sand paper. you can make amazing blades from files, if you know what you want to make out of it.

shadow wave rider (author)2011-06-20

where did you get the big knife from. looks cool. are they all yours. nice instructables

stuwegie (author)2011-02-24

Thats not really a knife now is it, its the sharpened end of a file with some wood tied on as a handle.
Quite a poor instructable in my opinion.

mrbrian1969 (author)stuwegie2011-04-25

you can improvise a knife out of practicallyanything, even a broken bottle, it depends on how fancy you want to be. certainly there are better knives available, but I like this concept for a very accesable first homemade knife

spenfisher12 (author)2010-11-21

needs rivets there are no rivets

stAzer (author)2009-06-16

I had always thought you had to heat it to soften the file and then use a hack saw to cut out the pattern of your choice, then use a file to sharpen it before heating it up again and cooling it in oil to harden it again.

spenfisher12 (author)stAzer2010-11-21

te term for the softening process is called annealing and dont forget the temper

flamesami (author)stAzer2009-11-23

my way of doing that:
lob file on fire;
shape knife;
make forge;
heat knife to red hot and put in oil;
temper knife with a blowtorch;
hone knife.
test knife

koolkid12 (author)stAzer2009-07-28

you can to tempon the steel but it is not for beginers

spenfisher12 (author)2010-11-21

annealing it would make it EZer to work then harden then temper

Void Schism (author)2010-09-29

More detail on the steps taken to shape the blade would be good.

bombmaker2 (author)2010-06-07

I like the idea but that looks more like a homemade shank rather than a knife

Doddity (author)2010-06-01

Nice idea and all but you didnt do a lot of research on the subject which would have saved time and given a better result. There are a few ibles which have a better method that would have been helpful to look at.

zaarenoc (author)2010-03-14

I once made a knife from an old file and it would cut the edge right off of any other knife.  It took a lot of whetstoning to get it sharp but it would stay sharp for a looonnng time.

weaponscollector94 (author)2010-02-28

here is the pictures i was talking about!

weaponscollector94 (author)2010-02-28

nice instructable.  i recommend breaking the file in half and then putting it in a fire to anneal the steel. then use your grinder to shave the teeth off the file. then again use the grinder to shape the blade to your preferences, then grind it to a good angle! then put the blade in a vice and carve a handle for it. drill a hole to aid the next process in the handle and slowly hammer the back of the handle so the blade's tapered un-sharpened  end goes into the handle. then sharpen it with a whetstone! here is one i made yesterday out of an old file, and i used manzanita for the handle! it turned out great! it took about 2 hours from start to finish!

imakeknives (author)2010-02-18

i made a knife from a file but i made a hidden tang tanto with a traditional cord wrap...

weaponscollector94 (author)2009-12-09

awesome! i think i am going to do this sometime soon!

meat grinder (author)2009-11-25

random pictures of knives? not the actual instructable?

brandon borick (author)2009-10-09

you made a pison shank nice doses your mom lock you in with al the inmates

hary hary har

Shut Up Now (author)2009-09-09

wow, in step 3 i thought that block that you sawed was aluminum or something by the picture. i was thinking like "wow, this guy must have a lot of endurance to do that by hand..."

Notbob (author)Shut Up Now2009-09-17

we sawed aluminium by hand back in metal shop, if you are using the right saw, and its sharp enough, it can cut through with ease.

PyroManiac96 (author)2009-03-23

wouldnt this be more of a dirk, since it is a knife-like object with no guard? B.T.W. this would be a good concealed carry if the blade was slightly longer nice ible ive been wanting to make a knife but dont have carbon steel on hand, and my files are dull man this is a run-on comment lol

koolkid12 (author)PyroManiac962009-07-28

i make mine from butter knives or even a pice of steel strip (home depo 10$ for a foot) will work

PyroManiac96 (author)koolkid122009-08-12

does home depo have any really thick(1/8"-1/4") steel strip?

koolkid12 (author)PyroManiac962009-08-17

i think so

The_iron_nose (author)2009-08-15

I certainly agree with using the old files for working with, they are both cheap and have a high carbon content. you might find that they will be a lot easier to work with if you anneal the file first. this will both bleed some of the carbon from steel and make it more ductile. to anneal it heat the file/blade/steel to about 750 degrees C and allow to cool very slowly, the slower the better. once your done working the blade you can restore much of it's original hardness by tempering. this involves heating it and rapidly quenching.

inumaru (author)2009-07-13

i have the same knife as on the right on the bottom row, the black one.

ipwn (author)2009-03-26

i just made the knife in the last pic to show how to make it, balisongs are ilegal in canada

pearldrummer (author)ipwn2009-07-02

u can own one u just cant sell it or cary it

ipwn (author)2009-06-24

i just made the knife to show how to make it. and i used a grinder to make the knife so i do not need to soften it to shape it, and the steel is already hard

lmuli3 (author)2009-06-03

It's pretty small i prefere thebigg knife on the front page . If you know how to make it plz post it up

bigmama1079 (author)2009-06-02

It seems like you simply made this instructable to show off your (not too impressive) knife collection. Your instructions aren't very clear, and the lack of pictures didn't help either. It seems like a decent idea, but the execution is quite poor.

nc527 (author)2009-05-16

the whole point of the ible was to use a dull file guys okay?

winman2000 (author)2009-03-31

"Hey, this is a great instructable and is very informative. Just one thing is missing... pictures! It really helps a lot when trying to follow directions so you should consider taking some photographs. Once you do that and leave me a message when you have so that we can publish your work. Thanks! Thanks for the cool instructable and we hope to publish this soon!" Nice form letter! Good to know that the administrators care enough to send out personal messages. Just saying...

truckersson9 (author)2009-03-19

this is nice i am a expert knife maker my self but i prefer a balisong myself.

MakerBreaker (author)2009-03-14

fyi thats not paracord

disturbedreaper (author)2009-01-11

looks like a prison shank

kinda looks like a dull, round x-acto knife.

neffk (author)2008-12-21

First, I like this instructable a lot. Nice work. You could improve it by using a few punctuation marks. Just scatter them about. They're free, so you can use them where ever you want. And if you're not sure where the periods, commas, and question marks go, just guess :) Good luck in the contest. I'm going to go look for an old file.

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