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Home Bushcraft Kit / Reviews The Basic Knife Making Process

The Basic Knife Making Process

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A guide to basic knife making by Ashley Cawley.


If your interested in learning knife making your in the right place! You can learn to make knives out of old recycled steel like old steel-files etc. First I would recommend watching GreenPete's video its a superb start and introduced me to making bushcraft knives. Also you can see my first knife project that I documented here.

  • making a bushcraft knifeObtain a suitable piece of steel; you can use either an old file of a suitable size or purchase some 01 ground flat-stock tool steel which is ready for working.
  • If you are using an old file the steel will be very hard, we need to anneal (soften) it. This is done by raising the temperature of the steel to 800 degrees centigrade, or red-hot.
  • Allow the steel to cool down slowly, this will allow the carbide to turn back into carbon and then the steel will be workable.
  • Grind the file/steel clean, ridding the steel of file-teeth etc.
  • Draw the shape/template of your knife out on the steel and then cut off any excess steel with your grinder.
  • Start the bevel-edge with the angle grinder, but finish it by hand-filing or by making a file-jig.
  • Mark out three holes and drill through the steel.
  • Hone the blade on a oil stone, make it very sharp.
  • Harden the knife by heating it to 800 degrees centigrade (red-hot) in the forge and then quench the blade in oil (engine oil).
  • Clean the blade using wet-and-dry (180) and the oil stone if needed.
  • Optional but recommended: Make the spine of the blade a little softer than the cutting edge, by heating the spine with a blow-torch watching the colours to run through the blade and then quench in water.
  • Cut out two slats of your chosen wood, about 1cm thick. Draw the shape of your knife handle on the wood and cut it out.
  • Sand the two faces of your handle-wood that will be against the steel of the knife, so they are perfectly flat and sit flush with the steel.
  • Clamp the handles in place on your knife and drill through the holes.
  • Take the handles back off the knife, fit them together with brass-bar and then sand edges even so they are flush.
  • Fit the handle to the knife, use epoxy-glue (araldite) and brass-bar.
  • Finish and shape the handle with sandpaper.
  • Soak the handle in linseedoil (or Danish oil) for a day
  • Re-hone and sharpen the knife.

I am no experienced knife maker, if you are and you think you've spotted a mistake in my basic guide please get in touch.


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UK Wild Food - Jan

Listed here are Wild Foods that should be available in parts of the UK in January.

Daisy leaf

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