Folding Knife From an Old File (w/ Basic Tools)




About: -----------------------------------------------------------------16 year old, sick with a deadly disease called DIY-itis!-----------------------------------------------------------------Hi FTC! My I'bles con...

This Instructable is (not!) sponsored by all of those useless, old, rusted files that are wasting your precious pegboard space.

Why not turn them into knives?

I recently built my own Homemade Drill-Powered Knife Sharpener, so I thought I'd try making my first knife. I thought I could make it from a really old file that I've never used, because its steel is is probably hard enough to hold a good edge.

I don't have any of those fancy metal-working tools, so I tried making it with the basic tools that I have.

Let's get started!

*Pssst! Don't forget to check out more info about the giveaway in the comments!

Step 1: What You'll Need

Hardware & Materials:

Folding File

Sharpening/Buffing Compound

Chemicals & Adhesives:

Water (Coolant)

Tools (+Attachments):

Wire Brush


Dremel Sanding Stone/Drum

Abrasive Dremel Cutting Wheel

Permanent Marker

Electric/Power Tools:

6-in-1 Woodworking Machine (It contains the Mini Bench-Grinder)

Drill-Powered Tool/Knife Sharpener



Why: I need a knife!

Recommended Safety Equipment: Earmuffs, Respirator, Safety Goggles,

Cost (for me): FREE!

Difficulty: Pretty Hard

Approximate Time: ~3 Hours

Step 2: Choose Your File

Choose the file that you want to ruin! This should be an old file that you rarely use. Preferably one that is slightly wrecked.

I used a really old folding file that was made in England.

Step 3: Clean the File

My preferred tool for cleaning the file was a wire brush. Make sure to scrape only in the direction of the cutting lines of the file to avoid ruining the wire brush.

I made sure to add water, which would help the sawdust fall off.

Step 4: Mark and Grind the Shape of the File

I started by imagining the way that I wanted the knife to look. After that, I used a permanent marker to color over the parts of metal that I wanted to remove.

I secured an abrasive cutting bit in my Dremel, and started cutting, while making sure that the steel stayed cool with water. I didn't allow it to get hotter than the Dremel itself :)

Step 5: Square Up the Grind

I'm probably using the wrong term for this, but I used my mini bench grinder to make the grind totally perpendicular, as if the knife was never sharpened.

I tried it, and the sanding stone that was in my dremel worked well too.

Step 6: Make the Bevel

In order to make a sharp knife, you need to grind a good bevel.

I started by freehanding it with the Dremel, but later realized that it was easier to clamp it in the vise, and move the knife.

Step 7: Polish the Knife, for Making It RAZOR SHARP!

I'm sorry for the awful pictures. My camera can't adjust the brightness when I try showing how shiny it is :(

I used My Homemade Drill-Powered Tool/Knife Sharpener to polish the bevel. BEAUTIFUL! If you'd more instructions on how to use and build it, please click on the orange link.

Step 8: Use It!

Congrats! You've made your first knife!

I finally know how to ruin the balloons that ruined my motto... ;)


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    12 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Do you want a FREE PRO Membership?

    I'm giving a FREE 3-Months PRO Membership to the first member that makes a Folding Knife from an old File!

    What you have to do to be able to receive the free membership:

    1. Follow me on Instructables

    2. Reply to this message with pictures of the end result (And any explanations, If you want)

    3. Nothing! I will PM you the free code!

    Come-on, Let's make something!

    4 replies

    Reply 2 years ago

    i made the knife, can i get free membership?


    Reply 2 years ago

    Can you please show me pictures of YOUR knife?


    Reply 2 years ago

    it took me a long time, but it worked out

    Orange robot

    2 years ago

    And if you want it to be even sharper, you could use a knife sharpener. Nice project btw and its nice that you made it without a bunch of fancy machinery and equipment

    1 reply

    2 years ago

    Can I find out more about how the folding works? I can't find any information on the file.

    3 replies

    Reply 2 years ago

    Those are fixed pins, I was wondering about the sliding pin in the c shaped channel. Is it just to limit how far the file can open and close? the channel is on both sides but I don't see a hinge pin.


    Reply 2 years ago

    That part locks it in place, so it doesn't open up accidentally, and so it stays locked once I open it.

    The locking mechanism that's in my Victorinox pocket knife is way better then this.


    2 years ago

    i in fact have made this awseome knife