How to Make a Knife

About: Hi, I enjoy making knives and other stuff of the sorts. I play airsoft and paintball and im actually painting guns for people. I enjoy being outside and riding my dirt bike.

Hi all, this is my first instructable. It tells you how to make a knife. I have been making knives for a few years and thought that I would share my experience with you! I don't really know what else to say, I had it all planned out up until now... haha

Please note that I will not be held responsible for any injuries of any kind that may happen to you or and one. If you are not responsible enough to HAVE a knife, you are not responsible enough to MAKE a knife.

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Step 1: What You Need

What you will need, and what I used:

Grinder (Ryobi 8'')
Grinding wheel for Dremel
Sanding wheel for dremel
High Grit Sand paper (400 and 800)
Drill (Hitachi)
Metal Drilling bits (Don't remember...)
Metal Rod (Stainless steel 1/4 '' thick)
Buffing wheel and compound
Stain (Gun Stock)
Paint Brush for stain
Bolt Cutter
Wood slabs (Red Oak)
Something to use as an anvil
Metal (1/8'' But I would have preferred thicker, but my stocks were limited.)
Wood shaper
Saw (Coping saw)
Im pretty sure thats it, but please excuse anything missing.

Step 2: Planning

Okay, now for the fun part. It's time to design you'r knife. I chose a nice Bowie design because I wanted a big knife with a classic blade. Some advice for picking a style.
What will you use it for?
Do you want it for Hunting?
Make sure its not to complicated.
Use you imagination!

After you figure that out, get out a good  sized piece of paper, a ruler and, a pencil. When you a first designing it make sure you'r lines arn't to dark, in case you make a mistake. Now, with you'r idea in mind, put it down on paper.

Step 3: Preparation and Beginning of Your Work

It is time to begin. :) Cut out your design and place it onto the metal, put it a place where you wont be wasting much metal. Trace your design with a marker, being careful not to move the paper at all.
Once you do that, get your grinder going and start grinding down! Try to get up fairly close, but leaving about 1/4" outside the border of your design, in case of mistakes, then when you are sure about it, use the fine grinding wheel to finish it up.
You will get burrs of metal build-up on the edges. All you have to do is get one of you'r files and file it down.

Step 4: Making It Look Good

Now that you (Hopefully) have the knife ground down, you can begin on the next step. In my case, the metal I was using had a black coating on it, so I needed to get rid of that. All I did was take my dremel with a sanding wheel and sand it on down, you would want to always go lengthwise, in the second picture, you can see how I messed up in the direction, but it will be covered by the handle so, no worries! 

Step 5: Drilling

So, now you want to drill your holes for the pins to go into. Get your drill bits, get out the one that fits your pin. Make a starter hole. Then once you get that, Start on your full hole. You are going to ant to apply quite a bit of force. Every once in a while you are going to want to clean the drill bit. Then, get your trusty dremel out and clean the edges. You want to ensure a snug fit though, so dont grind to far away, just enough to smooth it out.

Step 6: Handle and Pins

Trace the outline of the knife handle onto the wood, and line the knife up PERFECTLY with handle, then trace the holes. Keeping everything lined up perfectly, put it into you'r vice and start to drill through, taking care not to crack it. Take the steel rod and slide it through all the holes to make sure everything is okay.

Step 7: Getting Your Pins Ready

You want to measure the handle while it has the wood on it so you can get an idea on how long to make your pin. This, though it may seem simple, is actually a critical part. If it is to long you wont be able to hammer it down, and you will have to go through more grinding then necessary. If it is to short... well, I think you understand. Sorry I don't have more pictures of this stage and the hammering, but I was caught up in the moment.
So, you want to put the pin in the handle, making leaving a bit of an overlay. Put it on you'r anvil (I used the back part of my vice which has a nice little anvil built in.
Then you want to take your hammer and start tapping it down, to form a nice little dome. 
Flip everything over (Except for your hammer) and hammer down the other side. I had to grind part of mine down and, if you have to do that, you want something to hold it with, because it can get very hot. Burned through my glove.

Step 8: Handle Making Time!

I could have sworn I had more pictures of this, but Im sure you will get the point. So, with your handles securely attached, Take a saw and cut of excess. You may also want to use a wood remover. After you get most of the extra off, take the dremel with the sanding wheel and begin sanding it down. You want to make the edges round and maybe also put in nice finger grooves. Trust me, it makes it much more comfortable. 

Step 9: Staining Time.

So you are probably want to make the blade shiny, and give the handle a nice color. Well here you go. Take you sandpaper and begin sanding it down, then put on a buffing wheel and buff it up. Once all this is done, tape up the blade, get out your stain and paint brush and brush it on. You will want some Q-tips to wipe away the stain that gets on the metal part.

Step 10: Finishing

Nearly done, just spray on your polyurethane, buff it out, maybe put in some decorative filing on the top, and you are pretty much done.

Step 11: Done, and What I Would Have Done.

So, now you have your knife! Take some pictures, post them so I can see, and enjoy! Hope you liked my instructable.
I hope to make more :)
 What I would have done:
Maybe etch the blade
Made a better 'ible
Make the blade thicker



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    15 Discussions


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Hi, thanks for the good instructable. It looks really nice the knife? How long did it take you in all? Also just wondering if you could help me out with something. I really want to make a knife but I can't heat treat it. Is there any way to not heat treat it or get a different material that doesn't need heat treating? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

    2 replies

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Hello, and thank you. I did it over multiple weekends, so if you had a dedicated time, you could probably make one (depending on size) in three to four days. Now, as you can see, I made this one quite a while ago. If I did it now, there are quite a few changes I would make.

    There are many good 'ibles on here on how to heat treat using various techniques ranging from a heat treat set up to a simple coal fire.

    However, if you would be unable to do any of the above, you may be able to get something like a used machete that has a proper steel blade, cut your knife blank out of that and make it if you are careful not to over heat it as that will ruin the steel and it will have to be treated again.

    I once made one from a high tension carbon steel table saw blade. That knife retained it's sharpness for a good while. I still have an inch long scar and a cut nerve in my thumb to attest to that. Just proofs that everyone makes mistakes.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for the advice. I'll have a look for the 'ibles as I've never seen them for heat treating. I can probably do the coal fire one if you can do it in a barbecue thing. I'll probably have a look on Freecycle for old saw blades and things. Rather you than me with the cut, bet it hurt! Thanks again for your advice and time, much appreciated :)

    owlart101Dusk Shadows

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks, yup, made it by myself.
    Well, yeah, actually, I took MMA and Tae kwon do. And some other things, but, no, knife making is just a hobby of mine.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Hi, sorry, I didn't include heat treating in this instructable because there are so many others that have it. But the steel IS heat treated. Sorry for not including


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Haha, yeah. Thanks. Hope you like my instructable, even with its missing heat treating step :)


    7 years ago on Step 7

    Oops, thats not what I call pliers... I call it a wrench...