Introduction: Handmade Knife

About: i like to think of myself as artistic. i try to see beauty and adventure in everything in life. i dont stick to a single kind of making. when i get the urge to try something i do it the best i can. you learn s…

In this intructable, I will be showing how to make a fairly simple yet professional handmade knife using 5 basic steps

1 design
2 shape
3 heat treat
4 sharpen
5 finish

When it comes down to it, the actual list of materials in the knife consist of
Steel (1/8" 0-1 in my case) and paracord. I did however use other things like plastic and glue so I will cover that when we get to it
Equipment list
Band saw
Drill press
Kiln w/bucket-o-oil

Step 1: Design

This step was the easiest; I knew I wanted to make an interesting knife so I started drawing lines until I came up with this guy here. After a little talk with a guy that has made knives for years (my Dad) we changed the design a little, you can see the final design just under the knife.

after the design is printed and cut out, its glued to a piece of plastic in order to make a permanent template, in this case I used an old knife design my dad had laying around.
When the glue dried i used a band saw to make quick work of the excess plastic and then cleaned it up using a sander

Step 2: Shape

For this knife I wanted to create a simple blade design without a lot of grind lines and design to it like the picture below, so I decided to do a flat grind…much easier so I hear. Also, if this was to be used as a survival situation, it’s good to have nice flat reflective surface to attract help.

After I finished the template, I clamped it on top of the steel and used a scribe to trace the pattern into it. I used a little Dykem(Bluing agent) to help me see the line better. It is exactly the same steps used in cutting out the template. I used the band saw to cut off the excess and then used the belt sander to clean up the edges.

I knew I wanted to add a rope handle when I was done, so I put a hole on each end of the handle and along with a chamfer to protect the paracord from sharp edges

Step 3: Shape...part 2

Remember the Dykem? I used that again to coat what will become the blade of the knife and used a little tool to score a couple lines down the middle(just off center). This acts like a guide when im grinding the edge down and keeps me from taking to much material off before its time. With that done, ITS TIME TO GRIND!!!!

 Grinding is fairly straight forward and easy. I ran the knife under the wheel of the sander using smooth strokes. There is one exception, this step is mainly to give the knife a taper so as your grinding away, apply less force on the back of the knife, and more pressure where you want the edge to be. When should I stop? Glad you asked. Do you remember the two lines I marked on the edge a minuet ago? That’s it; you don’t want to go any further than those lines right now. If you’re interested in trying, this is the time to add a grind line once you finish with this. its time to heat treat this bad boy.


I used 0-1 steel, this requires a trip to the kiln to heat treat it. My dad told me that the atmosphere in the kiln will more than likely create a lot of scale (crappy nasty surface stuff) the way he takes care of this is to wrap his knives in steel foil and seal it up nice and tight.

I’m not sure of the temperature needed, but dad taught me a little trick; when the knife gets nice and hot, stick a magnet to it, if it doesn’t stick your good to go. This happens because all the molecules in the knife have gone to a semi liquid state that allows them to drift out of alignment, something needed for magnetization. So after about 15 minutes in the kiln and checking it twice with the magnet we were ready to quench it.

To quench the knife you submerge it tip first into room temperature oil, vegetable oil in our case. This hardens the outside into a super hard shell while the inside stays a little more flexible. You have to do it quick so we held it over the oil and pretty much snipped the tip of the foil and it slid right in. you can jimmy it around in the oil a little bit till it cools down. Once that happens it’s into the over for an hour at 400 degrees. This step takes some of the brittle nature out of the steel, keeps it from snapping in half when you hit something hard.

Step 5: Handle Wrap and Sharpen

the best way to show you the handle is to have you watch a video or two.
Once I had the handle nice and tight I was ready to sharpen on the sander, this bit was a little tricky for me but with a little coaching I got the hang of it. This got it down to a mighty fine edge, but I wasn’t finished yet, the last step in sharpening the knife was to use a couple stones and get it to a razors edge.

Step 6: The End

I was going to make a nice leather sheath for the knife but this is a job more suited for my dad (he’s a busy fellow) so I made a simple one out of cardboard and some black duct tape, nothing fancy but it got me home without losing a finger.

I hope you like this instructable, I plan on doing a lot more so any questions, constructive criticism or requests are always welcome.

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