Completely new and need help


New Member
I recently became interested in knife making and I was gifted a damascus gut hook knife kit from, I have searched the internet but can't seem to find specific answers to my if anyone is familiar with these kits please help!!
I want to know what steps would be suggested for building with a knife kit, do I need to treat the handle material (ram horn) and what are the best tools to use for beginners without breaking the bank?
Thanks in advance

John Wilson

Well-Known Member
Hmmm. Unless I am reading this wrong, I think you have some misconceptions.

You don't heat treat handles. Heat treatment is to harden the steel blade so that it will hold an edge. Your blade should have come with some information saying which steels it is made from. That will determine the required heat treat and tempering.

A great place to start learning would be YouTube. Walter Sorrels has a fantastic series for beginner knifemakers. He walks through each step. He also has a series for Tools For The Knifemaker.

Ed Caffrey, a member here, also has video tutorials. I would start there.

But to answer your questions:

Tools to begin with:
1. A drill press
2. A good set of files
3. A hacksaw. A bandsaw if you can afford it.
4. A vise
5. A grinder if you can afford it.

If you want to forge: a propane forge, anvil, tongs, and some hammers.

Dennis Morland

I have heard of boiling horn to straighten it. Specifically, deer horn. I have never tried it. I have made numerous horn handled knives.

So, it may be unnecessary. If possible, post a picture or two of your horn handle material. That should give us a solid basis to form an opinion about whether boiling your horn is required.


Well-Known Member
With a basic knife building kit you should only need minimal tools and materials. I haven't used ram's horn but I would think wax would be fine after sanding to the grit of your preference.

Sean Jones

Well-Known Member
I took a look at your kit and you shouldn't have to boil the scales. They look ready to go. You will need to drill some holes for the pins though. Did the kit come with any epoxy? I didn't see any in the photos. Your scales will stay on better if you glue them on with epoxy.

That's a pretty nice kit. I'd go slow and take your time putting it together. You will need to shape the handles. But that's about it.

Chris Railey

I took Sean’s lead and looked at the kit too. Do not boil that material it is not needed in fact boiling horn is not a great idea in general. All you lack is a little basic knowledge on building a knife handle. I suggest you go to you tube and search “how to put a handle on a knife”. Watch several of the full tang examples and you will know what to do. As John said above Walter Sorrels has some great into videos. That is a nice kit made with good materials take Sean’s advice and go slow, study first then build your knife. Good luck to you.
Blue painter's tape, or similar. When you get your handle glued on and pinned, during the handle-shaping process you'll "booger up" the blade if you don't have it protected with painter's tape. "Booger up" is a technical term that you'll learn pretty quickly if you don't already know it.

FWIW, it sounds like I'm only perhaps 4-5 knives ahead of you on the learning curve. No metal work for me, just finding beautiful scale material, attaching it properly, shaping it like I want it, and to not booger up either the scales or the blade in the process.The only major tool I've bought so far is a Harbor Freight 4x36 belt sander. You can get it for around $50-$60 if memory serves.You want belts from 80 grit up through 120, 220, and 440. If you buy that HB sander, there are several YouTube videos showing some minor modifications that make it work a whole lot better, so watch those.