How to Make a Tanto

Introduction: How to Make a Tanto

Hey Guy's and Girl's, Josh back here with yet another Instructables, so without further a-do, let's begin, so for off all a word off common sense, don't use this for being a tw*t. this blade is not for "shanking people" it is a work off Art, don't be a dou*he, and wear you're PPE, now we are done with all the common logic we can begin.

Also very tool free, great huh?

If you would like to watch the How-To the feel free. :)

Material's list

30 X 250 X 5mm piece of Steel

40g Zirconia Belt.

Fine Sanding block.

Paper Template.


Tools used

150mm Digital Calipers. (Recommended for Accuracy but optional)

Belt sander. (Optional)

Angle Grinder. (Optional)

12" Double cut File. (Or use other tool's listed)

Permanent marker. (Preferably a Black Sharpie)


Machining Square. (Or some other sort of Straight-Edge)

Sharp Blade.


Vice. (Optional)

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Step 1: Making the Template.

So using Geometry i make this design 30mm thick blade (about 5 3/4" Blade) then measure in for the 1/8" Ha-Machi & Mune-Machi (front notch & back notch in English) then measure a line out straight about 30mm or so for the Habaki (Collar) then taper the Tang, all simple to do, if you're struggling to get the concept just look at a Japanese Tanto Bare Blade you will catch on in no time.

Step 2: Marking the Steel

So the template will be cut out now? Fantastic, so you need to keep the template for reference all throughout the build, so let's start by drawing it onto the steel, proposing you have bare steel and it all true and clean, if not, drop back and step, grind, file, sand the mill scale off down to bare steel and draw the template on.

Step 3: Cutting Out the Steel

Now for cutting out the steel and shaping it to the marks, so this is simple enough, grab a cold one (not literally) and get Grinding, or Filing, or what ever, the aim is just to get the Shape roughed in, we will finalize this finished Shape later on.

Step 4: Finalizing the Shape

So this part i recommend doing with a File for accuracy and being a Perfectionist, Control. etc. but feel free to use a Belt Grinder, Angle Grinder, with a steady Hand and pace if you like, i just prefer a File, so get down to you're final marks and lines, and go to the next step.

Step 5: Ha-Machi & Mune-Machi

So i decided to take this a step off it's own through obvious confusion so these notches, should be in-line with each other, square and true for the Habaki (Collar). The Ha-Machi (Front notch) i do 1/8" and the Mune-Machi (Back notch) i do slightly under 1/8" for the Habaki to stick out a little on the Mune (Back) side, i like the look personally, but might not be for You're taste so do this however you like.

Step 6: Marking the Bevels

So now everything is flat, square, even and straight we can start the difficult and Nerve-wreaking stage off roughing in the Bevels. Let's try to make this simple even thoe nothing it's simple about Japanese knife making, i marked my bevels 8mm from the Mune (Edge) and went all the way from the tip to the end off the tang obviously minus 3mm on the tang, the tang bevel's will be addressed later. then use a marking gauge or same size drill to draw 2 center lines down i recommend leaving 0.7mm (a dime's thickness) if you are heat treating, but if not to a final edge thickness off 0.1-0.3mm (0.001-0.003")

Step 7: Roughing in the Bevels

So Grind-lines established, Fantastic, we can begin Grinding, so at this stage i used my Angle Grinder to rough in the bevels, but you can use a File, Angle Grinder, Belt Grinder to do this, but i used my noble Angle Grinder, so here we go, grind 1/16" (1.5mm) of each side of the tang, right up to the the Ha-Machi (Front notch) then straight up to you're center lines on you're blade, slowly removing metal, at a nice shallow angle, not overheating the blade anywhere, making even smooth passes on either side.

Step 8: Shaping the Bevels

So here we are more or less finishing the Bevels, so, Grind, File away the access steel to get the lines even nice and crisp and symmetrical with one another so all the way up and down to you're grind lines.

Step 9: Flattening the Bevels (Optional)

So this is done with a file so more than likely you're bevels won't be flat check with a square, so grab you're file and get the bevel's flat by draw filing, fairly easy step.

Step 10: YOKOTE (Optional)

This is done by filing at an angle at the tip, refer to the video for more information, this isn't necessary, but it definitely is a great feature, and not something you see often, well a real one anyway.

Step 11: Finished

So, if you did this, well done, if you have any question, feel free to comment or drop me a message, link's are in the description, i definitely had a lot of fun, making this, i hope you do, if this is you're first time Knife-making, be prepared to catch the Bug, feel free to share, comment, favorite, follow, sub, rate. :) I hope you enjoyed the Instructable and learn't something new.

You Guy's and Girl's rock.

best to you,


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