Hand-Forged Damascus Knife

About: I enjoy the outdoors. Camping, fishing, canoeing, all of it. I love working with my hands. I take on any project. I love to work on cars. I have been making knives since 2011. My skills slowly increase. Knif...

The process of forging a knife can be broken down into several steps. The picture are just of the finished project, but for those who want to know more here it is.

First is hammering out the steel into the rough shape desired. I started with a bar of Damascus steel about 1/2 in thick.

(Damascus steel is a type of patterned steel and is actually alternating layers of high carbon steel and nickel all forged together.)

I used a coal forge for almost all of the work. After bringing the steel up to a yellow heat I started to work the front end of the steel into a tip.

Keep all hammer blows flat, in order to keep the steel flat. (Rocket science right? ;)

At all times I tried to keep the steel flat and level on both sides. After the tip was formed I started to finished the blade profile and after that I

moved onto profiling the handle part.  When it was looking more like a knife :D....I cut it off of the bar.

The next step is grinding out the profile. I used a 2x72 belt grinder to refine the knife shape into what I wanted. I grinded the sides of the knife flat a got sanded it from 60 up to 400 grit. 

Next step-grinding gown the bevels for the edge. I did this by using a file instead of a grinder because it is a much finer way of working with
less possible failure. Sharp hand tools are a great thing. I got the blade edge down to about 1/32 of an inch. I again sanded the whole thing
to 400 grit. Heat treatment followed. I brought the knife temperature past the nonmagnetic point and quenched it in oil. I then tempered it at 400 degrees or so. 

Following that it was time etching out the true look of the steel. I re-sanded the 400 grit because the heat treating re-blackens the steel. For that I used a Radio Shack etching solution. It was half etcher, half water in order to have the steel be darker.

Next was the handle work. To attach the handle I drilled holes in the hardened steel with a carbide bit. DRILL HOLES BEFORE HEAT TREAT. The handle scale material is Bloodwood. I cut the wood scales with much excess material on all sides. I drilled holes in the wood to match the steel and cut sections of brass pins to fit.

When everything fit snugly together I used a two part epoxy to glue it all. Before gluing I wrapped the blade in paper towel then with masking tape.

I let the glue set then started shaping the handle  with a 1x30 inch sander on 80 grit to the desired size. After it was achieved I sanded it with 120 grit and then by hand, 220 , 400, and 1200. I then finished it with linseed oil to protect both the blade and the handle.

Any questions?? well happy crafting everyone,


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    8 Discussions

    I don't recall the exact dimensions, however I started with a much larger piece and forged it down, so I lost size in the end.

    Nacho Drew

    5 years ago

    Can you tell me the exact measurements of the raw Damascus stock you used?


    5 years ago

    I have sold many of my original knives, before the steel was that good. I was hoping that my knives are getting into that range of price I know they are of good quality. The only thing I need to learn is brass bolsters and guards. Thank you for the compliments--BC


    5 years ago

    Thanks now i can improve my knife making skills.


    5 years ago

    I got the steel from a local blacksmith who makes it himself. Luckily he gave it to me, since a piece that size normally runs over 70 dollars


    6 years ago on Introduction

    nice work good looking damascus knife    i have made knifes years ago out of old files hand forged

    thank you for sharing this
    keep up the good work
    god bless

    1 reply