View Full Version : Wanting to make my first knife

10-10-2010, 08:06 PM
Hello Everyone,

I am very new to this forum and knife making. I have been reading a lot about how to make knives and I have come up with a design (see picture) The picture is a 'Print Screen' of a Google Sketchup model I drew.

I want a good full tang knife thats good for shaving wood but also strong enough for hitting it with a stick to split wood. I want it to be a good outdoor/camping knife.

For the steel I really dont know what to use. I have seen that people use files and tablesaw blades. I also see that a steel that is used frequently is 01 tool steel but I dont know where to find that at. I would rather not buy the steel off of the internet so I dont have to pay for shipping. Is there a common store that sells tool steel? Also is this an okay metal to use http://www.lowes.com/pd_44165-37672-11686_0__?productId=3057605&Ntt=flat+stock&pl=1&currentURL=/pl__0__s%3FNtt%3Dflat%2Bstock ? I was thinking the thickness should be about 3/16" or maybe even 1/4" I really dont know being that this will be my first endeavor into homemade knives.

Any help or any advice will be much appreciated,

10-10-2010, 08:49 PM
I am in the exact same boat and I am looking to make a similar knife. I am looking for the right type of steel as well and have no idea where to get it. I am in Tuscaloosa, AL if that helps.

Doug Lester
10-10-2010, 09:20 PM
Anything that you are going to get at Lowes is going to be structural steel without enough carbon to make a good blade. It's tough but it won't hold an edge. I take it that you are wanting to do stock removal. If so, you will need to start out with flat stock that is slightly larger in length and width than the finished blade that you want to make. Unless you are wanting to send out your blades to be heat treated, I would suggest that you start out with something like 1080, 1084, W1, or 5160. I very much doubt that you are going to find a local store that will carry that those types of steel. I've dealt with Admiral Steel and their shipping isn't too bad. Go to www.elliscustomknifeworks.com and click on the bar for steel for knives and damascus. That a link to Kelly Cupples site. He carries a small sellection of steels but, if you order over $100 worth, he ships for free. Another place to find steel is at the New Jersey Stell Baron. You can google him up. Also has a bigger sellection than Cupples but I don't know his shipping policy.

Quick question. What reference material do you have? If you don't have any you need to get some; it can save you a lot of mistakes and heartache. The $50 Knife Shop by Wayne Goddard is highly recommended whether you want to forge or do stock removal. Loveless also put out a book but it's mainly stock removal. There are some good videos also on knifemaking. It's also a good idea to try to get out to a knive show in your area to make contact with craftsmen. Most are going to be more than happy to talk to you but it helps of you do a little homework first so you have some idea of what you're talking about.

Doug Lester

10-10-2010, 09:50 PM
I've gotten 0-1 from https://www.egroundstock.com/. Their prices include shipping. The $50 Knife Shop really saved me a lot of $$ when I started and got me thinking about using stuff that I had laying around to make knives.

Have fun!


10-11-2010, 07:51 PM
Today I went to the library and got a book called Step by Step Knife making: You Can Do It! by David Boye and I found online a pdf version of the $50 Knife shop that a few of you guys mentioned.

right now I dont know wether I will be doing the stock removal method or the forging method but I am going to read the $50 knife shop and see which will be best for me.

Unless you guys have a suggestion on which is best for a beginner I will probably choose whichever method is easier/cheaper for me.

Thanks everyone for all the help so far.

Bob Warner
10-11-2010, 08:25 PM
Forging, to me is the better way to start. The reason I say this is you can make a small propane forge or a brake drum forge for coal very inexpensively and then you can forge steel that may be to thick or not wide enough for stock removal into a usable knife. Then you have the added bonus of being able to do your own heat treating without spending more cash on anything since you can heat treat in the forge. Forging also gets you closer to the final product before going to the grinder or files or however you plan to finish the knife.

10-11-2010, 08:34 PM
Re-read what Doug said. Good stuff. If you are going to use the wrong steel, you might as well use wood IMHO.
An old file or rasp can be made into a serviceable knife, cook it to get it soft, work it and shape it, harden and temper.
Some decent videos on youtube, green something or another did the video, british I think?
Can be a pretty low cost way to go, a local welding machine shop may have a steel Doug mentioned too.
Have fun, wear your protective gear. Dozier

10-11-2010, 08:50 PM
Pyroman...I'm really new to knife-making myself and for my first knife I went to Lowe's and got a length of the exact steel you show. It provided some learning experience but the blade I made won't hold an edge...

For my next knife I bought a couple 18" lengths of 1095 from Admiral Steel and I think it came to around $30.00 total including shipping. And I have enough steel for three to four knives. That's pretty cheap I think.

10-11-2010, 10:33 PM
If you want quality steel at great prices, check out the New Jersey Steel Barron. Aldo will take good care of you. If you want to buy local, look for a local tool and die supplier and pick up some O-1, A-2, or D-2. Since
it is your first blade, I would strongly advise you sending it out for heat treat. Once you make contact with someother makers who can help you heat treat a couple of blades, you'll be more comfortable doing it yourself with more reliable results.

Don't be afraid to ask questions! Alot of us have learned most of what we know from bugging the daylights out of fellow members here.

Indian George
10-12-2010, 08:00 AM
To the new Guys. You should tell us where you are located. Now if you lived in my area, I would help you to get started.:ridesafe:

Mike Carter
10-12-2010, 12:34 PM
What Indian George said. Odds are that there is a knifemaker living near you. Find them, give them a call and visit their shop. It will save you a lot of time, trouble and expense compared to learning by trial and error. Most knifemakers are very willing to share their knowledge and help a newcomer get started.

McClellan Made Blades
10-12-2010, 02:20 PM
I am in the exact same boat and I am looking to make a similar knife. I am looking for the right type of steel as well and have no idea where to get it. I am in Tuscaloosa, AL if that helps.

I'm in Alabama too, if you can make it to Autauga Co., let me know and I'll set aside some time to show you everything I know, which shouldn't take a long time, I'm no expert, but I've made a few servicable blades that have performed above my expectations. Come on over, and I'll send you home with the materials to get you started on a nice blade that you can make, I'll even HT it when you're ready! I do both, forge and stock removal, and I really do enjoy sharing my passion with anyone who will slow down long enough for me to talk to them about it! So COME ON!!!! Yeah, I'm a bit of a nut, but we'll have a good time, and in the end we'll both learn something, and you'll have a nice new blade that you made yourself. Which I have to admit is a feeling like no other!!! Let me know if and when you can make it, Rex

10-12-2010, 02:25 PM
Just be carefull, Rex will talk your ear off about knives.

10-12-2010, 09:21 PM
PyroMan I just got some 1080 in the mail pm me with your address and I will send you a piece to get you started it is 1/8 x 1 1/2

McClellan Made Blades
10-13-2010, 09:22 AM
Just be carefull, Rex will talk your ear off about knives.
THANKS MURPH!!!! I take that as a compliment, I very well could be the nuttiest knife nut there is! A title I would wear proudly! You know me, I love to share what I've learned, with ANYBODY, and it's so nice when they want to hear what I have to say, instead of having to tie them up! It's fun either way!

10-13-2010, 01:29 PM
You ain't right Rex.

10-13-2010, 08:50 PM
Hey everyone,

My dad works at a college and they have a welding shop and another metal shop with lathes,mills, etc. and I asked my dad to talk to some of the instructors in the metal areas if they had any 'scrap' steel good for making knives. So my dad brought me home a piece of steel. I think he said that it was bandsaw blade steel but I am not for sure. All I know is that the instructor said that some guys used to use this steel for making a few knives for fun.

The piece of metal is roughly 1/16 x 2 x 15" in size. Im thinking that I can make a small knife with this to kind of learn how to do things and then later buy some steel and make the knife I mentioned earlier with it. What do you guys think of that idea?

If there is an easy/beginner knife design that will work for the piece of metal I have please mention it (pictures would be nice::1:)

The metal I have is pretty strong and doesnt flex much, will I have to soften it to work with it? How do I do that if needed? I guess with this piece of steel I will do the stock removal method.

RodneyJ, Thank you for the nice offer, but since I am fourteen I am not allowed to give my address out to people I have never really met/over the internet. But thanks so much again for the offer, I really appreciate it.

Thanks again to everyone for the advice so far,

10-13-2010, 08:57 PM
I Googled knife making clubs and the two closest ones to me are a couple hours away. One of them is the club that Mike Carter mentioned in the 'Knife Clubs' Forum area. Link to it > http://knifedogs.com/showthread.php?3820-Kentucky-Cutlery-Association

10-14-2010, 09:17 AM
PyroMan not a problem that is a very wise thing. I did not realize your age. The band saw blade should make you a good knife. The band saw blade if you work it as is should not have to be heat treated as long as you dont over heat it while working it into shape. if your using a grinder of some sort just keep a bucket of water near by and give the blade a dunk to keep it cool. Try to do a google search for knife makers under the name of your town. I found some that way in my area but did not have any clubs near by. Good luck to you and if you run into problems along the way just ask for help the guys on hear have plenty of know how and can point you in the way to go.

10-15-2010, 10:51 AM
Have you seen this ?

The Standard Reply to Newbies v6

The answer to a 13 year old student is different than to a 40 year old engineer, and you may have a helpful neighbour.
We can often recommend a local supplier, but that depends on where you are.
Fill out your profile with your location (Country and State at least), age, education, employment.

Look at the stickies at the top, many are expired, but not all.

The basic process in the simplest terms

This is a very detailed set of instructions by Stacy Apelt.


A list of books and videos on the KnifeDogs Forum

BladeForums - E-books or book previews

I like:
David Boye-Step by Step Knifemaking
Tim McCreight-Custom Knifemaking: 10 Projects from a Master Craftsman
These are clear and well organized, widely available and inexpensive too.

Knife Design:
On the google books thread, you can find
LLoyd Harding drawings
the Loveless book with large variety of proven classic styles.

Forging Books:
Lorelei Sims-The Backyard Blacksmith
A good modern book with great photos for forging in general - no knifemaking.

Jim Hrisoulas- has 3 books on forging knives, Check for the cheaper paperback editions.
The Complete Bladesmith: Forging Your Way To Perfection
The Pattern-Welded Blade: Artistry In Iron
The Master Bladesmith: Advanced Studies In Steel

The $50 knife shop
It is popular, but it confused me for a long time.
Forging is NOT necessary, you can just file and grind everything away to create a knife (stock removal)

The goop quench is total Bull, commercially made quench oils are cheap and easily available. Even a grocery store canola oil works much better.

Junkyard steels require the skills of an experienced smith to identify the steel and heat treat it properly.
You can buy proper steel like 1084 very cheaply.
(Mentioned in the new edition)

I like cable damascus, but that is an advanced project for an experienced smith and has no place in a beginners book.

The home built grinders are the best thing, but there is now a huge amount of info on home built 2x72 belt grinders on the web.
The revised edition of this book should have included this.


Heat Treating Basics Video-downloadable

Many specific how to knifemaking videos are available.
Some are better than others, but all better than nothing.

The best overall Knifemaking video I have seen is
“Steve Johnson-Making a Sub-Hilt Fighter”

The best video on Leather Sheath making I have seen is
“Custom Knife Sheaths -Chuck Burrows - Wild Rose”

You can see a list of some older videos and their reviews at this rental company.
They are not the quickest on getting new titles, but some videos are worth buying, some are worth renting…
Rental wait times are measured in months, buying is MUCH faster, but more costly.

Green Pete's Free Video
Making a Mora style bushcraft knife, -stock removal, hand tools, and a neo tribal / unplugged heat treat.
"Green Pete" posted it for free distribution here for those who can use torrent files.

You can also find it on YouTube broken into 4 parts.

The “welding steel” at Home Depot/Lowes… is useless for knives.
If you want to ship out for heat treating, you can use ATS34 or 440C, plus many others.

If you want to heat treat yourself, find some 1070, 1080, 1084,
1084 FG sold by Aldo Bruno is formulated just for knifemaking.

You can find lists of suppliers here

Aldo’s website inventory is unreliable, call instead.

Heat Treating
You do not have to buy a lot of equipment to start with.
You can send out for heat treating, 10 or 15 $ per blade
This is a PDF brochure which gives good general info

and others

Grinder / Tools

Hand Tools
You can do it all by hand with files and abrasive paper.
The Green Pete video does it this way.

Photo of a nice bevel filing jig .

Entry Level Grinders
Many makers start with the Sears Craftsman 2x42 belt grinder.

DIY 2 x 72” belt grinders

KMG Clone
Free Plans

NWG No Weld Grinder

EERF Grinder (EERF =“Free” backwards)
Free plans

Buy the kit