Short How It's Done Video on Forging a Rustic Utility Knife...

About: Retired techie that took up bladesmithing to keep busy.

Hi! This is a short video showing you the steps it takes to forge a small Rustic Utility Knife. In all it took about 90 minutes to forge the knife. I do not show the heat treat process as it is over 5 hours of watching 2 cycles in the oven. Not very exciting!

I started with a piece of 3/16 x 1 x 4 3/4" high carbon steel, 1084 to be exact. The resulting knife is 7" long with a 3" blade. The handle material in this case was Horse stall mat with carbon fiber pin and lanyard tube. Sheath was handcrafted from Herman Oak leather, oiled and coated with Aussie to protect it from the weather.

In the next few months I will be producing some more videos showing each step of the process. Hope you now have a better understanding of the process to forge a knife. Total time to make one of these including the sheath is about 10 hours, of which the heat treating process takes 5 hours.

Thank you for watching...

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    9 Discussions


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Nice job! At about 3.30 the blacksmith is putting something on the blade before it gets back in the oven, what is it?

    6 replies

    I use a magnet to test when the temperature of the knife has reach the point of non magnetic. At this point the structure of the steel has changed, now a slow cooling in my vermiculite tank, over 12 hours, will put the steel in an anealed (soft) state. This makes the steel easier to shape and grind. Later you heat treat it to get it hard again.

    Be carefull !! Using the magnet is just "eyeballing" the temperature. Actually the magnet is showing the **START** of the change in the structure of the steel. But, depending on the steel, that point might not be enought for a good hardening. On O1 steel, ex, the non-magnetic point is about 750/780° C, but the perfect point for quenching (and a good cooling path) is around 850° C. Also remember to keep the blank a that temperature longer for thiocker blade s.

    I use a long, cheap "K"-type temperature probe attached to an ellectronic digital multimeter to get sharper reading of temperatures.

    Thank you for that information. In this case we were using 1084 which as you know is a basic carbon steel that is very easy to heat treat. This being a simple how to forge it does not go into heat treating. Each steel has a different HT procedure. O1 tool steel requires a much more carefully executed procedure and temperature is far more critical and the soak time is much longer than the basic steels depending on the cross section of the knife. I have found that a 5 minute soak works best for me based on the small cross section of the knives I make in it. That allows the structure of the steel to change evenly throughout the knife.

    When I do a Heat Treat video of O1 I will keep your information in mind.

    Again thank you, and please keep those informative comments coming!


    I use peanut oil, canola oil, and I have just got some Parks 50. I never have tired used oil personally. My friend 20 blocks away uses it and it sinks to say no more. Also he ends up with more scale to remove.

    I do 3 normalization cycles, then heat to critical and quench. I let it get to where I can handle it, then do 3 tempering cycles on my high carbon steels. Times and temperature depends on steel and use of the knife. Some of my knives are differentially tempered.

    It sounds a lot more complicated than it looks like. Thanx for putting some light on this burning topic and feel free to make a more detailed I'ble about it, I'm sure there's a lot of people waiting for it!


    Planning a 3 part one with 5 to 6 steps each. I need to carefully plan it as trying to do one like this on the fly can get serious quick. My daughter runs the camera and only has 1 or 2 days off a month so, help is limited. A good Instructable I believe should show one actually making the item.

    I could make a couple of shorts in the mean time on specific steps involved. Let me know what you would to see.

    Thank you,


    Summer 2013 KD-KITH.jpg