Introduction: How to Make a Simple Hunting Knife

About: My name is Owen Schafer, I am 14 years old. I like making knives, woodworking, and metalworking.

Usually, when I make knives and swords, I take ideas from a tv show like forged in fire, A video Game, or Another Blade from history, like a samurai sword or a greek kopis. This time though, I decided to make something simple and small. The reason I decided to do this is to see if I would like it more or less than the other things I choose to make. If you ever feel kind of like trying something but don't think you'll like it, just try it. More often than not, you will like the thing you try, and this is the entire reason I started knife making and making Instructables, both of which I enjoy doing very much.



1.5" Width X 9.5" length X 0.25" thickness Hardenable steel

3/16" Brass, Copper, Or Steel Rod

3/10" to 1/2" Wooden Handle Scales (or another material, if you have it.)

100 - 320 grit sandpaper (Or Higher if you want a better polish.)

Cutting and grinding disks

3/16" metal drill bit

5-minute epoxy


Coal/propane forge (optional, can also use butane or oxyacetylene torch)

Angle Grinder

belt grinder or belt sander

Drill press or handheld drill

Anvil (optional, only used if you want to forge rather than grind to shape.)

Beveling Jig (optional, good for making even bevels if you are a beginner.)

Step 1: Using the Right Steel

In order to make a knife that is strong and lasts a long time, you will need to find the right kind of steel to make it out of. There are many different kinds of steel, but you will want high carbon steel over other kinds if you want your knife to be durable and strong. High carbon steel is in springs, crowbars, files, hammers, and other tools. There are a few ways you can test if a piece of steel to find out if it is harden-able if you aren’t sure. The first way is called spark testing. Spark testing is where you grind on the steel you are thinking of using for your knife until it produces sparks. If the steel has a bushy spark pattern (much forking) that starts at the grinding wheel, then the steel is most likely harden able and can be used for making your knife.

Step 2: Designing

Although some people may argue that the design step for knife making is not very important, too me it is one of the most important step in the knife making process. The reason I think it is important to design your knife before you start making it is because it is the first way to visualize what the final product is like and how you will plan your project. If you don’t agree and don’t think you need to design your knife, then you can go ahead and skip this step.

Step 3: Forging and Grinding to Shape

Always use eye and ear protection while grinding and forging. I also recommend using welding gloves while forging so you don't get burned by the forge scale.

Normally, I grind my knives to shape because I think it gives a better and faster result, but this time I decided to forge my knife to shape instead. (If you don’t have a forge, don’t worry, you can still just grind out the shape. I just forged this time to try something new.) I am not as good at forging as I am at grinding, and I want to get better, so that is another reason I decided to forge rather than grind.

This step takes the longest out of all the steps on this instructable, so have patience. The better you do on this step, the better your knife will turn out.

Step 4: Quenching

This is one of the most important parts of the knife-making process. This step is important because it is where you put the strength into your blade. The way you quench is by heating up your blade to between 1050 and 1090 degrees Celsius or 1922 and 1994 degrees Fahrenheit. If you cant measure the temperature, just heat it up until it is a red to orange color. You can heat it up using a propane or charcoal forge, but if you don't have one of these you can use an oxyacetylene or butane torch for an edge quench (Advantages of an edge quench over a full-blade quench include making the blade less brittle, as well as the blade having a reduced risk of bending or cracking, but edge quenches are much harder to get right if you are a beginner)

The material of your quench tank is also something you should keep in mind. Do not make your quench tank out of anything flammable like wood in case the oil catches on fire. Also, don't use anything that could give off toxic and harmful fumes if exposed to heat, such as PVC. The kind of quench tank I use is an ammo can, because it has a lid that can be closed if the oil catches fire, and it won't give off toxic fumes if exposed to heat. (I recommend using corn oil to quench because it is non-toxic and cheap.)

Step 5: Adding the Handle

Picking a Handle Material

Picking the right handle material while making a knife handle is very important because some materials are stronger and better for knife handles. There are a lot of different types of handle materials to choose from. I usually use walnut because it has a good balance between strength and looks. One of the best materials you can use though is micarta because it is very strong and looks nice. A downside of micarta is the fact that it is expensive. The reason I don't use micarta in my knives is that I don't have any.

Assembling the Handle

To assemble the handle you will need your handle material, a 3/16 inch brass rod, and your 5-minute epoxy. First, you mark out the shape of the handle on your handle scales and mark the holes on the tang. After cutting the handle scales out, (you can use a band saw or a jigsaw) drill holes out on the markings that match the holes on the tang. (Make sure to use a 3/16 inch drill bit) Then, cut two pieces of brass rod to about 25 mm each. After that, put the two pieces of the brass rod through the handle scales and tang, and glue it together with 5-minute epoxy. (If you clamp it while the epoxy is drying, it will hold together much better and be stronger.) After the epoxy dries enough to hold the handle together, use a belt sander or an orbital sander to round off all of the uncomfortable edges until it feels nice to hold.

Step 6: Sharpening

Knife sharpening is very tricky to get right at first but is also a very important step in the knife-making process. I usually use a belt sander or angle grinder to taper the edge down until it is sharp enough to cut through paper. Although using a belt sander is the easier way to do it in my opinion, you can also use a tool called a sharpening stone. A sharpening stone Takes longer to learn to use but can produce a much sharper edge. I don't know much more about sharpening stones, so I recommend looking up how to use one on youtube, as there are plenty of people there who know more about them than I do.

Step 7: Finish Work

You don't have to finish your knife, but it is always more satisfying when it looks nice. Here are two things you can do to finish your knife.


One way to finish your knife is by polishing. I usually polish my knives by starting with about 120 grit sandpaper, and slowly working my way up until I reach a polish that I am happy with. (If you don't polish your blade, it will rust very easily.)

Handle Finishing

Another thing that needs finishing on a knife is the handle. To finish my handles, I usually hand sand with high grit sandpaper (120-220 Grit) until it is smooth. I then use olive oil to stain the handle and make it look better. Another way you can finish it is by charring, which is where you use a heat source to char the handle and make it look better. (The charring method can damage the handle and burn up the epoxy if you aren't careful though, so I recommend you just do it carefully at first.)

Once you finish this step, you are done!

Thanks For Reading, and I hope you enjoyed reading!