giving knifemaking workshop


Well-Known Member
hey guys

recently guys from the local Fablab (and few others) showed interest in learning how to make knives.

I finally have a chance to start spreading the craft here in Egypt, which is something I was looking forward to from day one of knifemaking

problem is I can talk knives all day but never taught it in a class room environment with ALL the technical details. and I definitely don't want to do this wrong and get them disinterested...

any suggestions or advice?


Frank Niro

Well, ShokrBlades you will find helping the one or many can give you a tremendous boost. So there are great returns. As well, you will end up with more friends. Something to help take that "I may not know enough" attitude away is that no matter how much these "students" know or learn, there always seems to be something in the making thing they end up giving you. It's all normal and of course helpful. Just go with it. The students will soon enough find out there is no end to the learning that can be there in knife making. Perhaps to explain at the beginning that there are many ways to approach the making of a knife, and this is how you do it. Those that want to do it different in class are asked to do that at home.
Congratulations on going with this. Frank

Self Made Knives

Well-Known Member
I'd say after you show them some of your work, they'll be interested! I'd also recommend, if possible, to keep the class size small if your doing this by yourself. If you have to split students up, try to separate them by how much skill they're bringing in to it. Some people can make anything, some people can't use a screwdriver. Sounds like fun for you and your students.

BossDog & Owner
Staff member
Expect any task, every task when teaching to take at least 3 times longer than doing it yourself when teaching so plan your time accordingly.

they are all new and haven't experienced all the ways to hurt themselves in a knife shop yet. Cover everything about safety in the smallest detail. watch them doing the task cause they will still not be safe.

don't cover every way to make a knife. Cover just one way. Don't even mention the others, it just confuses things for a newbie. One thing at a time. If they come back, show them another way.

Have everyone make identical knives, they will help teach each other.


Well-Known Member
Ether provide plastic safety glasses or make it mandatory for all that attend to bring their own. Someone getting their eye put out while you are running the grinder will put a real damper on the rest of the day!

Gather up all that you need as far as supplies goes.
Make an outline for your self. On a pad of paper jot down every thing you want to cover in some umbrella categories.

Like this,

Grinding the blade.
1) Scribe out the chosen pattern on a piece of steel.
2) With a worn 36 grit belt grind the profile.
3) Measure and mark your blade center grind lines and holes to be drilled
4) Drill all pin and holes to lighten tang.with dykem.
5) with a Fresh 60 grit belt grind your bevels etc

Chose your set of scales and liner material.

1) Trim you set of scales and liners to the tang profile
2) Clamp you scales to the tang and drill your pin/connector holes.
3) ETC

I've skipped HTing and a few others but you get the idea!

I used a sheet similar to this for paying students in the past handing them one saying that there are many ways to make a knife. I am going to show you how I make them.

You can lay out some of your knives in various states of completion to condense things and have a visual for them to see.

Most importantly! Have fun!


Well-Known Member
Thanks a lot all

You gave me really good tips, some things I definitely wouldve missed!

Tracy, why one design though? It probably would lessen confusion, but I was thinking give them all same piece of steel and have them design their own *basic* knife

I am creating a list with requirements and the main points to discuss.
I was thinking one full day workshop would suffice and then they would complete work by themselves and just meet another time to review. but the more i think about it that wont even come close to enough if i plan to explain grinds, shapes, some uses, etc. And actually have them all finish the knife!

Brad Lilly

Moderator and Awards Boss
Another thing to consider (I don't know how the legal system works in Egypt) is a waver or something. Last thing anyone needs is to get sued. Safety is another thing to think about as well. I have seen people who could hurt themselves with a feather let alone a grinder.


Well-Known Member
Not everyone will finish ny friend, There are many fast starters and even faster quitters! Out of 4-6 students I usually have half or less really get into it!

Most after they have had the face sprayed with grinding dust and burnt their fingers seem to lose their enthusiasm.

BossDog & Owner
Staff member
Tracy, why one design though? It probably would lessen confusion, but I was thinking give them all same piece of steel and have them design their own *basic* knife

I've done it both ways with groups. (I have to hold regular classes for my employees so they know how to make knives) when I let them design & build what ever they want, they lose themselves in the creative side of the process and miss the techniques and shop skills that are required to execute the creative process. If five people all make the identical knife, they will help teach each other the essential skills. If five people make different knives, they will not help each other and will be enitirely focused on the end product instead of learning how to make it.

I always tell newbies to copy the most popular knife design they can find when they start. They concentrate on duplicating a proven, classic design and the only way to do that is learning shop skills. This stresses out noobs every time. They want to design "their knife" right away but don't have the skills to do it. It's like wanting to play concert piano because they have a tune in their head but they don't want to learn how to play or basic music theory first.

My experience has been people will be more engaged if they make a good looking "copy" knife vs. making a rough looking original design for their first few knives. Once they get the basics down they will have at least some skills to get them closer to making thei dream design.
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Dealer - Purveyor
I second Bossdog's idea of having everyone do the same design, at least for the first knife. pick something simple with a straight edge, maybe have a rough blank cut out ahead of time. pick an easy to heat treat steel, O2 or 1.2842 should be inexpensive and is very forgiving in heat treat. is a European source for you to try. the steel for a basic 4"blade and 4" tang should be about 3 euros. you may want the students to do basic shaping with a file rather than grinder. some ideas of shape. these are knives for cooking not weapons.
i would do about 45 minutes of lecture to start. what is steel? what is edge/bevel? what is heat treat? if there are enough grinders, the students should have basic grinding done in 2 hours or so. i think 3 hours should be enough time to heat treat, 1 hour to harden, 1 hour for first temper, 1 hour for second temper. temper all the blades together, use the time for lunch and discussion. 2 hours to grind and attach handles. use 5 minute epoxy for handles. 1 hour to sharpen. maybe have everyone buy a basic sharpening stone so they could finish sharpening after class.
the times are just a guess, although the 3 hours for heat treat should be about right.
just some ideas. i hope you are successful.
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Well-Known Member
thank you all very much for the input

you guys raise some very valid issues!!
and I understand what you mean Tracy, when I started I spent a lot of time designing and overthinking instead of actually making!

thanks Scott, will be too expensive to import the steel, and I think I will go with basic utility sort of design.


Well-Known Member

Here is a picture of my small kitchen paring knife that has a 3" blade with a 4" handle. 3/32" thick.
Keep the project small as well as what Bossdog has said about having everyone make the same knife.

This small simple knife is easier to complete and also with all of the crazy problems we had when I shipped that etching machine to you and everything else you have going on over there you don't want the Egyptian military police show up at your door because they heard a rumor that you are giving some kind of weapon making class??:gunsmilie::gunsmilie::gunsmilie::gunsmilie:

Just a simple little kitchen knife
One that they can give to the wife or mother or maybe use as a desk knife.
No daggers, Bowies or Scimitars here Officer! Just showing my friends how to make a present for Mama!:biggrin:


Well-Known Member

thanks Laurence
you bring up another good point! however I dont have a good handle on culinary knives, I actually met a famous local chef and I think I ended up being more confused

but now i'm wondering too, is 3mm K100 easier to work with, or 5mm 5155 (which I was planning on using since its the easiest one to work with around here as far as I know)