Simple Knife W/ Little to No Power Tools




This is my first ever Instructable and any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Now to the knife.

This Instructable is designed to work for people who have less tools in their arsenal. Power tools can be extremely expensive however you can get a decent hacksaw and file for a couple of quid.

This knife may not be the prettiest looking thing out there but it sure gets the job done.

Enjoy :)

Step 1: Gather Materials and Tools

Here i have found a scrap saw blade.

The blade has to be made from a high carbon steel.

This means that the steel can be hardened. To test if your steel is high carbon, simply use a grinder/sander and see if the sparks are long and like a sparkler.

For the handle material, you can choose what ever you want as long as it stays on and doesn't rip your hands up. A handle has to be comfortable as there isn't much point to having one.

In the end i chose a different handle material has i had no way of attaching the nylon to the knife. So i went with string and i am glad i did.

Step 2: Designing the Shape of Your Knife

The shape of the knife is a crucial step:

Too small - Knife could snap or be awkward to use/sharpen

Too big - You will have a lot of unnecessary weight that doesn't actually help the performance

Do not forget that your design needs to fit on your material. If it doesn't fit then you will be a bit stuck.

On my knife i used the hole in the centre in my design. It became a nice space for my finger to sit as i hold it.

Step 3: Cutting Out the Shape

Here i cut the knife out.

I will admit that even though i show a hacksaw in the photo, i used an angle grinder just to be a bit quicker. A hacksaw would would just as good but it will just take longer.

Step 4: Refining the Profile

Refining the profile simply means smoothing out the shape and making it look much nicer. The yellow paint on this saw blade wasn't really much of an issue as i was going to sand it later anyway.

When refining the profile you have to remember that you are going to put a handle on. You will have to keep in mind the handle material as it may not allow for a comfortable grip on the knife.

To refine the profile you could use an angle grinder but you will have to be extremely careful not to overheat the steel. These can cause unwanted tempering which could have annoying effects on the blade such as it not holding its edge for as long. A file works great for refining as it doesn't get hot and it is usually quite a quick method. But really use what ever is best suited for you, as long as it gets the job done why should it matter?

Step 5: Grinding/Filing the Bevels

This step is very critical to get right and may take a bit of time, but be patient as a straighter edge will cut better and look nicer.

To file the bevels what i did was i clamped the knife onto a piece of scrap wood and simply filed at a 20 - 30 degree angle.

This step could be done on a belt sander or anything like that but i would advise not to use a grinder for this. A grinder takes off big chunks of steel which is a nightmare when it comes to thin metal.

The bevels need to be central. I didn't mark mine when i did it as i did it by eye. This isn't very accurate but it works for a quick knife. I wasn't planning on a razor sharp knife, i was aiming for a quick DIY knife. If you are adamant that you need perfect bevels then find a drill bit/ screw that is the same size as the width of the material. All you have to do is draw a line down the edge of the blade with a marker and score the blade with the drill bit. This will put a line down of it that is pretty much central. Once you got the line then all you have to do is file/grind your way down to it on both sides.

Step 6: Cleaning the Blade and Preparing for Handle

This step isn't totally necessary but i thought it would help with the handle. What i ended up doing is giving the knife a quick coat of matte black paint to protect it from rusting a little bit. You don't have to do this but it would help the durability of the blade. Also i really like the matte black look on a knife so it was an added bonus. But any paint/coating would work. Paint it pink if you really desired it.

Step 7: Handle

I couldn't really take any photos of me doing the handle as it was string and i had to use both hands to wrap it round. But really its straight forward. I started at the back of the knife and tied a loop. I then proceeded with wrapping the knife very tightly as a loose wrap looks as bad as it feels. Also it could come undone when you are using it.

You could use wood for the handle. Drill some holes through both the wood and metal and put a brass/copper rod through and epoxy the whole thing together. Once the epoxy is dried you would cut the rod and clean it up and it would give it a very nice look.

How ever that method would take too long for me so i went with a simple yet effective string wrap. You could use paracord for this and do different style wraps. Its entirely up to you.

Step 8: Finishing the Knife

If you have a sharpening stone then this is the time to use it. This would obviously make it sharper but also make it look nicer as a sharper edge is also more fine grained.

Wet and dry sandpaper could also work. Clamp a bit of wet and dry onto a piece of scrap wood and use it as if it was a sharpening stone. Putting the knife at a 10 - 20 degree angle and making small circles. To help with sharpening you could apply a small amount of oil to help lubricate the abrasives which will make it sharpen faster and cleaner.

Like i said at the beginning this is my first ever Instructable and any feedback would be great. I hope you have enjoyed this instructable and i look forward to posting more in the future. Hopefully better quality.

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    2 Discussions


    1 year ago

    Good for you having a go. Next time try to get a used steel hacksaw blade to start with. If you can hacksaw through the steel it won't hold an edge later.


    1 year ago

    That looks nice, you did a great job! You may want to wrap the hilt with leather, it'll be more comfortable for your hand. :)