The art of Making knives is a very rewarding hobby if you are a hands on kind of person. And one of the great things about this hobby is that you end up with something that is very functional when you are done making it.
And just like any other hobby there are a lot of different ways to go about making knives. For some ways you need a forge and anvil. This is where knife making would overlap with the hobby or craft of blacksmithing. (I have an introduction to blacksmithing here).
But you can make knives without a forge and anvil. And you can make perfectly professional knives this way. In this introductory tutorial I will explain to you this method of knifemaking and show you the tools and materials needed. I also have two videos right on this page that you can watch. They show the complete knifemaking process. They are at the bottom of this page.
The two major methods of knifeMaking
Knife Forging Method– When we think of making a knife this is how we most often think of it. As a blacksmith forming out a knife with a forge and anvil. This is of course a great way to make one but it can be time consuming and rather expensive. In this method the blacksmith takes a piece of steel and hammers out into the shape of a knife. It is brought to just about the finished shape then finished with a few tools like a grinder and sharpeners.
The Stock Removal Method – This method is much more basic and requires less of a financial commitment. Although it still take some time. What happens is that the knifemaker gets a piece of steel in the correct thickness and in a size larger than the knife desired. He then uses cutting and grinding tools to get the completed shape of the knife. You just remove all the excess stock until the only thing left is a knife. From there the steel is hardened and tempered then it is polished and sharpened.
Handles, Grips, and More
There is also an aspect to knifemaking that I particularly like. It is the aspect of handle design and making. In this aspect of the hobby you have a whole lot of choices and you can have a whole lot of fun. This aspect is pretty much independent of how you made the actual blade of the knife. So whether you smith it or stock remove it you can make any kind of handle you like.
A Quick overview of the process
(This process is for the stock removal method) The knife pictured at the top of this page was made using this proces.
- You draw out the exact pattern of the knife you want to make – to scale
- Transfer this pattern to a piece of steel
- Cut out the steel with a variety of tools including grinder, hacksaw, jewelers saw until the profile or outline of the knife is correct to get best finist use some of the best sanding belts for knifemaking.
- You use files to get the bevel of the blade and do any detail and fine work
- Harden the blade with a heat source
- Temper the blade with a heat source to soften some parts of it
- Make your handle out of wood or other material
- Attach your handle and finish it by shaping and sanding
- Polish the blade and the handle