My First Knife | Learning Metalworking




Introduction: My First Knife | Learning Metalworking

Inspired by the Beyond the Comfort Zone contest, I decided to try something that I had always wanted to do: to make a knife! I have extremely limited experience with metal and in this one project I have already learned so much. I'll go over exactly what I've learned at the end of the instructable.

Step 1: What You'll Need

For the Blade of this knife I used an old saw blade from my circular saw. There are tons of videos online about making knives from these blades so I thought I'd have a lot of reference material.

For the handle I used some hardwood that I had lying around. I have no idea what this wood is.

To attach everything together, I used CA glue and wood glue.

To cut the saw blade I used a Jigsaw and a hacksaw.

I used a bench grinder and a file to shape the blade.

I used a cheap set of sharpening stones to sharpen the blade.

I used a Rasp and Sandpaper to shape the handle, which was finished with Boiled Linseed Oil.

Step 2: Draw Your Blade!

I drew out the shape of the blade I wanted using a permanent marker.

Step 3: Cut That Out!

I cut out the blade using my jigsaw and hacksaw. I prefer using the hacksaw as I kept dulling my jigsaw blades.

Step 4: Final Shaping

I finished up the shaping of the blade using a combination of my bench grinder and a file.

Step 5: Getting a Handle on It

I chiseled out a small area for the tang of the blade to sit in and I secured this with CA glue. Then I glued the two halves of the handle together with wood glue.

Step 6: Shaping Up

I shaped the handle using a rasp and sandpaper.

Step 7: Finishing Up!

To finish the handle, I used Boiled Linseed Oil. This is one of my favourite finishes and really makes the grain pop!

Step 8: The Final Product

So now that the project is finished, I have a pretty darn nice looking knife! I really enjoyed this project, and learned a lot!

  • I should have gone more slowly with the jigsaw, as I dulled quite a few blades in the process of cutting the metal.
  • The metal I used is not suitable for a knife as it cannot be hardened. This is something I learned after the fact, and will bear it in mind for the next project.
  • I would like to use epoxy to attach the 2 halves of the handle next time as it would set up faster and allow me to get working more quickly.

This project was a huge learning experience for me, and I feel a lot more confident about working with metal now. Thank you for reading this instructable. If you've enjoyed it, I'd really appreciate a vote in the Beond The Comfort Zone contest.

Have a great day!

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    15 Discussions

    Why is it that important to be able to be able to harden the blade? Won't it just make it harder to sharpen? :)

    1 reply

    Hey, thanks for the comment! :) From what I understand, hardening the blade means that it holds and edge better and stays sharper for longer!


    2 years ago

    Get yourself an angle grinder. They're really handy for hobby metalworking. You can cut, grind, sand, and brush with an angle grinder. They're just one of those really handy tools that everyone should have. Even a cheap angle grinder is good for starting out with too. If you manage to kill it then get a better one. Some of the cheap grinders really put up with the punishment though.

    When you cut metal with metal, like say with a jig saw, then you need to constantly cool the blade. Like spritz it with water, or just dunk it in a cup of water periodically while you are cutting with it. Cut for a moment (a few seconds), then stop, and dunk, then continue on. Some cutting oil helps too, but I would not rely on it alone for all of the cooling needed. You do have to have the blade traveling approximately the right speed while you are cutting too. Which is slower than you might run cutting wood. Half the speed really. HSS tools on low carbon steel is 100 surface feet per minute. But figuring that out on a jigsaw would be tricky.

    3 replies

    Heating and then cooling does not work . For knives and chisels and planer blades , very lightly and slowly grind the edge . patience gives a long lasting edge . Heat does not.

    Thank you so much for the tips! An angle grinder is definitely on my wish list!

    Yeah everyone can use an angle grinder. You can sharpen lawn mower blades with it if nothing else. Trim bear claws, something. Everyone should find some use for such a universally useful tool.

    Nice first go at it!
    what metal was the circular saw blade made of?
    I am going to make some throwing blades from a saw blade so it is good to hear your lessons learned.

    1 reply

    Hi, it's a carbide tipped blade, as I;ve recently learned, which means that the centre can't be hardened, so I don't know how much use it would be for throwing blades!

    Best of luck though!!

    Hi! Looks like you have a carbide-tipped saw blade. The main part of that blade is not made to be sharpened, just the carbide. Next time use an old fashioned steel saw blade. The steel saw blades are made to hold an edge. High speed steel or molybdenum, or some such metal. Do get an angle grinder. First knife is a great trophy! Congrats!

    1 reply

    That is really helpful, thank you so much for the information and the lovely comment!

    well done!! the first of many of them, keep on tour way!! (sorry for my written english).

    1 reply

    I would use heat treating if possible to harden they blade but apart from that you got yourself a nice blade!

    1 reply

    I would use heat treating if possible to harden they blade but apart from that you got yourself a nice blade!