Making a Survival Knife Out of a 16'' Saw Blade




About: Hello there! Thanks for stopping by! I'm Elias and I'm addicted to Making, Building and Creating any kind of things, producing free DIY videos and showing you How it's done, step by step! Here you can see s...

In this instructable you will see how I made a survival knife from a 16 inch saw blade, with a handle made out of walnut.

Step 1:

Always keep in mind that woodworking & metalworking are dangerous activities that demand various safety precautions to be taken. So, be sure that you have the right PPE equipment and that you know how to use any of your power tools or other industrial machinery before you attempt to do anything on your own.

Step 2:

Firstly, I designed the shape of the knife on the blade and then I started cutting it.

Step 3:

After that, I grinded it, to give it the desired shape.

Step 4:

Then, I started the sharpening of the knife. At first with an 80 grit sandpaper and then with 120.

Step 5:

Now, I cut this little piece of metal, to use it as a stop, so that my hand won’t be touching the blade when I will be using it and also to give it a more beautiful appearance... and I formed it into the oval shape, while sharpening it.

Step 6:

I screwed it on a piece of wood and I started making a slot in the middle, to put the blade in it later.

Step 7:

Now, I started making the handle for the knife which is made out of walnut. Firstly, I rounded all the edges of this piece and then sanded it, to give it the desired shape.

Step 8:

To make the handle look even better and less slippery, I raised the blade up 3mm and very carefully created these slots.

Step 9:

I painted these gaps with a black marker, to have better contrast and then I sanded it again.

Step 10:

Then I drilled the handle in the middle from both sides, using a drill bit as thick as the blade, so that it has a hole at each end, in order to put the blade in it.

Step 11:

Now, I took these two metal tins and stacked them together, in order to put the blade inside and placed it on the gas, resulting in the blade warming up without losing any heat.

Step 12:

After the blade was warm enough, I dipped it into the oil, in order to harden the blade and make it stronger.

Step 13:

Then I sharpened the blade again and I placed it in the oven at 205°C for one hour, in order to achieve the right hardness for it to be more durable.

Step 14:

And I checked that all the pieces fit together without any problem.

Step 15:

Now, I cut this little piece of metal that I’m going to use for the bottom of the knife. I grinded it and sanded it into the right circular shape.

Step 16:

Then I painted all the metal parts with a matte black paint.

Step 17:

I placed them again in the oven at 205°C for one hour, in order to make them bake together, so that the paint won’t come off easily.

Step 18:

I placed them together one more time to see if everything is fine.

Step 19:

I sharpened the blade for one last time with a 220 & 400 grit sandpaper and tested it to see that it cuts like a razor.

Step 20:

I placed all the metal parts for one last time in the oven at 205°C for one hour.

Step 21:

And then I started the assembling. I put a very strong construction adhesive into the handle, I placed the blade in it and the little piece of metal at the bottom.

Step 22:

After I screwed down this little piece of metal, in order for it to fit tight on the handle, I sanded it, so that all the parts (the blade and the screws) will get to same level. Then I installed polyester putty (two component putty), to bind all the parts together, in one solid piece.

Step 23:

After the polyester putty dried up, I sanded it and painted it.

Step 24:

I applied oil on the blade and the handle and the knife is ready for use.

Step 25:

Thanks for reading! I hope you liked it!



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    15 Discussions


    2 months ago on Step 25

    Great looking knife. Like the instructable, probably not for the beginner. If you can get a file to skate over the blade, it is hardened and will do the job. It looks like from the grinding and cutting you initially done, giving off white sparks, that it probably will do the job.


    2 years ago

    Nice knife but sadly wrong material used. saw blades with tungsten teeth are no good for knife blades, the metal is to soft and will not hold an edge, and no amount of heating and quenching is going to change that. the only saw blades that can be used are the old type without added teeth, and some older hand saws as well, but any hand saws with blue teeth or bymetal, these use wrong material also. easy mistake, lucky for me im an engineer and blade smith so know my materials. will be posting an instructable soon, just finishing a blade made from accessible tools and materials that are 100% recycled.

    1 reply

    2 years ago

    what is ". Iron putty" called, and where do you get it?

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    I believe he is referring to 2-part Steel Epoxy. I usually purchase it at Ace Hardware -- any good hardware store should have it or an equivalent.


    2 years ago

    How do you draw the shape of the knife on the saw blade so it will be good?


    2 years ago

    This is one of the coolest things iv'e seen on Instructables, i hope you make more stuff like this. However, even though this is an amazing project it cant make, since I lack the tools. Thanks!


    2 years ago

    Very nice! I too would love to see an instructable on your belt sander? Cheers


    2 years ago

    Very nice fit and finish. Regarding steel quality comments from some, ignore that. Too much emphasis is dedicated to engineering the hardest or the bestest. Truly if it functions as well as it looks, then it is a fine knife to be proud of. Nice work.

    Prof. A. Z. O_Trope

    2 years ago

    The build is very impressive, and the Instructable is well done.

    I have to object to calling the product a "Survival Knife," though. First of all, a knife like this, plus the sheath you need to carry it safely, are larger and heavier than a MUCH more effective survival kit consisting of multiple useful items.

    Secondly, a knife like this, although certainly a useful tool, will be seen by private citizens and law-enforcement personnel alike as the dangerous weapon that it is. A much smaller knife or multi-tool, combined with a lightweight folding saw will be both more useful for survival purposes and less likely to be seen as weapons.

    Real survival is NOT fighting off grizzly bears or squads of heavily-armed terrorists -- Rambo and Revenant fantasies do not play well in the actual wilderness.

    (Actually, the Revenant was reasonably realistic, but the bear attack in the beginning is not only a very rare event, it's one for which a loaded gun, a large knife, AND a belt ax proved to be inadequate protection.)


    2 years ago

    I didn't like it, I love it. Holy hours in the mancave !

    To be honest, when you started cutting the 5 slots, I thought you meant to put

    five O-rings in there.

    They come in handy as well in a "real" situation.

    I'm working on a knife myself, right now, but it's customizing an existing one.

    I'm planning to cover the whole grip with O-rings.

    Chapeau, again


    2 years ago

    Very good. Can you do an write up on your belt sander?