Handmade Knife

About: lets just say I'm the coolest 14 yr old out there...

PLEASE NOTE: I made this tutorial post-creation of the knife. I will try to go into detail on the important parts.

if you have any questions about things i did not cover please ask and i will try to answer them.

Step 1: The STEEL

so for the steel of the knife, i used 1095. it is a very common steel used for knife, and sword making. the steel can be purchased from knifemaking.com.

Step 2: Shaping the Material

to start, i always draw the outline of what i want the knife to like when its done. from here i cut it out using a bandsaw. you could do it with a hacksaw or an angle grinder though. just remember to be careful not to cut inside the lines. from here take it to your belt grinder or file set. (if you don't have a belt grinder you can buy some cheap 1' by 30' belt grinders and that will suffice.) once you have the blade EXACTLY the shape you want it, we will start the bevel.

Step 3: The Bevel

so the bevel is easily the hardest, and most frustrating part of the knife. if you get an uneven bevel you can mess up the heat treat and ruin the whole knife, ETC. really what I'm trying to say is don't be afraid to use a jig, it can't do much more than help, it won't lessen the quality of your knife at all. I personally try to free hand my bevels, works in most cases, but in some cases i end up with sloppy work and have to toss the knife. you can file in a bevel or you can grind it in with a belt grinder. just don't try to use an angle grinder. it will be a bad bevel and it will look terrible.

Step 4: The Handle

for the handle. i start by drilling two holes for the pins. pins don't have to be any special material. mine are just some old nails in this knife because i ran out of brass ones. once you have the pin holes drilled you can cut out your scales, i used morado wood for mine, but you can use whatever kind of material you want. once you have the scales ROUGHLY shaped to the handle, ALWAYS leave a bit of material on the edges so you don't make them too small. now that that is done, mark where the holes should be drilled in the scales and then drill them.

Step 5: Heat Treating the Blade (and Tempering)

now its time to heat treat the blade. although i may have a bit more experience than others, i still have pretty simple tools. to heat treat my knives i use a charcoal forge. you can make a makeshift one out of garden bricks and a hair dryer to use temporarily, or you can make a more complex one yourself. the choice is yours. once you are actually heat treating the blade, and your blade is in the fire, you want it to be A: no longer magnetic, and B: completely even heat. to get an even heat you can move blade back and forth over the hot spot of the forge. for the quench, make a big bucket or container that you can fully submerge your knife into. i just used some tupperware. fill it with water, then add at least half a cup of salt. once that is all ready, heat up some spare metal in the forge and repeatedly quench it in the water until it reaches 120-140 degrees, or until it starts to steam. before you quench your knife, preheat your oven to 425 degrees. this will make sure we can temper it as soon as possible. once you quench the blade, do it quickly, and then hold it in the water until it has fully cooled. or in my case once the water stops boiling. from here check if it warped, if it did clamp it straight on a piece of angle iron and then throw it in the oven.

Step 6: Finishing the Blade

once the blade has come from heat treating, we will sand it to a nice satin finish. mine was an extremely rough satin, because the blade was an experiment. (which tested positively)it should be easy enough to sand the blade. i start with 120 grit until all the scratches from the grinder or file are out, then i work my way up. for a perfect satin you will want to go too 600 or 800, i think i only went to 220 or 320. doesn't matter what you pick really.

Step 7: Attaching the Handle Scales

once the blade has been finished, its time to attach the scales. start by mixing up some epoxy. then slather all the inside surfaces up the handle scales and pins in epoxy, from here assemble them, clamp them, and let them dry.

(make sure you have finished the top part of the handle scales before glueing)

Step 8: Shaping the Handle

once the glue has dried, pull out your rasp and start to more accurately shape the handle, contouring it wherever you want. once you like the shape of the handle, pull out your sandpaper again. start with a lower grit like 120 or 220, then work your way up to 1000. from here you can coat the handle in whatever kind of finish you like, then take it the buffer.(optional) and then re-submerge.

from here the knife is finished, let me know if you have any questions or i missed anything!

Thanks :D



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    3 Discussions


    2 years ago

    For 1095, brine is a bad idea, its a harder quench then plain water, and ypu are more likely to crack the blade.

    2 replies

    Reply 2 years ago

    Although brine is a faster quench than water, I actually find that it is less stressful on the blade. The salt in the water reduces the vapor jacket and causes less bubbling and popping around the blade resulting in a more even quench. If you've ever quenched a blade before, you can tell the difference just from holding the tongs while the blade is in the water vs brine. The only other option is oil, but since 1095 is a hyper eutectoid (shallow hardening), canola oil is generally too slow for it. The only really good oil option is parks 50, but it is rather expensive