My Best Mirror Finished Forged 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...

This is probably my best knife I have made so far.

I used high carbon 1065 steel and Walnut for the wooden scales and 1/4 brass. no real reason for 2 pins i normally do three this was just different

The steel started out as a cylindar an inch thick and approx 2.5 long.

I forged it out in a coal fire, followed by grinding on a belt sander. It is a convex grind, which was just easier for me to do.

i grinded it down into the handle section unintentially which made gluing less successfull. Even with strong epoxy and clamps it didn't work.

I mirror polished the blade by slowing increases sandpaper grind from 80, 120, 220, 400, 1200 ending with car polish stuff. You can see the camera reflection on some pics.

I burned in my touchmark with a screwdriver red hot

Comments appreciated. Any questions? just ask

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    8 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    This looks awesome, I don't know how I stumbled across your instrucatbles but I think they're great.

    I've been working on my first knife. I want to do something similar to this a really long and slim knife with dark wood handles.

    I had a few questions, how thick is the blade handle? I was thinking about grinding mine down a bit more but I think they are about the same thickness now. How long did it take you for the mirror finish?

    Right now I am trying to grind down my knife before I heat treat it before I do my final edge, do you recommend using a bench grinder or should I just work it with sand paper?

    I attached progress photos from my blade, thanks for the inspiration, I set it down for a couple of weeks but this motivated me to finish the blade. Thanks!

    2013-01-03 18.50.16.jpg2013-01-03 18.50.39.jpg
    6 replies

    Alright well first of all im happy hear this is helpful to you!

    as for you questions first by "blade handle" thickness im guessing you mean the thickness of the steel in the handle portion. Generally a small to regular sized knife is 1/8 inch thick. As for grinding down the steel im not sure what you started with. If it is factory thickness as in you didnt change anything then you should leave it alone. The worst thing that could happen is to have an unlevel surface.

    About grinding down the knife profile, what you need to do is simply secure the knife and use a file to get the job done. check out this link i stumbled upon a couple years back

    If you want you can work on the beveled grind you made ( you know the thing that turns into the sharp part) the way its shown in the video. You will need patience but it is worth it. FYI everything is about practice. recently i found a old khopesh (egyptian sickle sword) i had made and it is so beyond crude i couldnt believe it.

    Now to mirror polish. Okay what you need to do is start with about 100 grit sanderpaper to get out all deep scratches and marks. Its takes so unbelieveably long but i find it relaxing. As soon as the only scratches are from the sandpaper move up to the next grit say 220. repeat the process and sand until theres only the 220 scratches. i sand simply with a small piece in between my thumb and first finger. it works for me. next go with 400 grit then 800 then 1200 and maybe 2000. the general rule is double the number as you go up. i finish the polishing with a car finish or like wax. you can use car polishing compound too. just smear some on a rag and go at it. THIS WILL TAKE HOURS! I RECOMMEND WORKING ON THIS WHILE IN THE PRESENCE SOMETHING TO ENTERTAIN YOU.

    About the heat treat. what i would recommend is to try to only heat the blade edge with a mapp gas torch or propane. hardening is the hardest thing. (no pun intended) dont bother to temper it back down like they say you have to. the reason for this is because people like you and me can rarely get a perfect heat treat. the steel is harder but not immensely. ik this will probably bring up disagreement but if anyone disagrees then heat treat a metal and try to shatter it liek some claim. if it shatters then you are a master at your craft.

    Im glad i motivated you. Happy crafting - BC

    When working with a file its best to just leave the heat treating as it, you wont be able to recreate it because you dont have an industrial kiln.

    Here's a sandapering tip- every time you change the grit of the paper, change the direction you are sanding in, by 90 degrees. This really shows any mistakes/imperfections and makes it less likely that you reach the final grit, see some 100 grit scratches you'd missed and get really annoyed. Heat treating isn't that complicated, as long as it's not a fancy steel. Heat to non-magnetic, quench in oil, see if a file skates on the surface. If not, repeat with a water quench, or brine if that doesn't work.then you can either make it shiny and temper by colour with a blowtorch and quench, or whack it in the oven at 200ºC(I might be wrong with temp there) and leave it for about an hour. if it's still too hard, repeat tempering, possibly with a higher temp.

    I think this is the third instructable I've commented on by BC. much more and he'll think I'm a stalker...

    First of all, more comments help me out haha. i am always eager to hear more opinions from others. Your sandpaper hint will help me alot. i do run into problems with that. However i am still not sure where i stand with the second part of the tempering steps.happy crafting-BC

    hmm...I think "greenpete" on youtube was pretty good at explaining knife-making. he did his bushcraft knife from an old file with a bonfire, a DIY charcoal forge, blowtorch and hand tools. He used an angle-grinder and a belt sander too, but just for speed...


    4 years ago

    Very nice