Newbie: Finally finished my knife

Pedro G.

Well-Known Member
This is T-304 steel. Same as your average walmart 5$ kitchen knife so as a strong tool it's not very good but I think it turned out ok. I didn't work out every single knick and scratch because it was for practice anyways. Any advice you could give me would be great!

This was a first time plasma cutting accident. It ended warping but I just bend it back.
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This is what I got after cleaning up the metal with my belt sander. and some files.
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I used a blue sharpey to paint the blade and make as best scribe lines as I could with a drill bit the same width as the stock.
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This is the beginning at my first attempt at flat grinding. It started to get bad after this point. But it wasn't too bad for my first time.
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This is what I got after I finished the first side. It had a bit of a roundedness to it but it's not noticable unless you're looking for it.
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Here I tried to make one of those spine designs just to see if I could do it.
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I tried to make it so the grooves got further away as they got further from the blade. I only did the top though.
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This is where you can kind of see the roundness of the blade but it wasn't half bad. I'd say it's my best one.
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Here I'm trying to add the whole mirror finish look for the first time. This is also the first time i'm not using home depot mild steel :p Thank you junk yard.
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Right here is what I made the handle of. Since I don't have a bandsaw and no good woods I thought something natural would be nice so I took a nice chunk of branch form a log I had in my back yard and used as much of the heartwood as I could.
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Here is the knife after I epoxied the wood and rounded it out a bit and drilled the holes for the pins.
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Because the pins were such a tight fit I tried to force them through (bad idea) and it chipped of a bit of the wood so I missed saw dust from this wood and some epoxy and filled in the gaps.
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These a few pictures of the finished knife after polishing and adding some Feed n Wax to the handle and I used mild steel pins since Brass is too expensive for me.

So these are a few steps of the process. I was too focused to remember to take more.
Please give me your advice.

Thank you- Pedro G.

Pedro G.

Well-Known Member
I don't know why most don't show so sorry if you might have to click on all the links. I'll get the hang of this forums as I post more often :)

James Terrio

Well-Known Member
Looks to me like you've tackled a lot of the basics and some advanced techinques as well. Get some proper cutlery steel and keep working! :)

Pedro G.

Well-Known Member
James: Thank you :) I think i'm going to finish using my T-304 off before I spend money on any more steel. I'll keep working!


Well-Known Member
looks like a pretty darn good start better then my first,just keep at it and with each 1 things start to jump forward at a faster pace and your work will improve greatly with each one good job


Well-Known Member
I think it looks darn good. I would get some good blade still and use the 304 for bolsters and gaurds.


Well-Known Member
Hmm, lets see... First knife and you mirror finished, did file work, and have a pretty good design. I'd agree with the others, quit practicing on the steel you have and start making some blades with another steel. GREAT WORK IMO for a first.

Now, one thing I will add... The finish is a major part of a knife. You can make a beautiful piece of work and it's all for nothing if someone is concentrating on sand marks or scratches. Slow down and take care of the small detail work. Other than that, all I can say is that I'm looking forward to your next knife!


Pedro G.

Well-Known Member
Jaysmith10: Thank you! I have a big chunk left of 304 but I already cut out some "Shapes" with the plasma cutter when I was practicing and I don't want to let the steel go to waste. I just have to bend them back straight because they warped from the Cutter... But I will try to get some better steel for the knives soon to come. What knife steels would be best for me right now(so I can ask the junk yard owners if they have any in stock)?

Pedro G.

Well-Known Member
Charlie: This is my first knife "with a mirror finish", I have made 2 or 3 other knives, if you want to call them that :p. This is the first one I've sanded and made the handle material from something natural and sturdy. This is also the first time I have't used mild steel. So technically this is my "First knife". On the next one I will work on all the small details! Thank you very much Charlie!

Doug Lester

Well-Known Member
Looking very good. If you like working in stainless, 440C is an old standby that has given a lot of good service and is rather echonomical also. You might also consider some plain steels or even some simple tool steels. They do have some advantages over stainless but stainless is quite servicable within it's limitations. A whole lot of very good knives have been made from it. A mirror finish looks nice but you might also consider doing a satin finish with a Scotch-Brite pad.

One disadvantage of using a plasma cutter on a stainless steel is that you are going to get some air hardening around the cut lines with resultant martensetic steel. That can give you some brittleness problems and make your work with hand tools harder. If you have experienced your files not wanting to bite into the blanks around the edges that may be what's going on.


Pedro G.

Well-Known Member
Doug Lester: Thank you Doug.
Stainless steel is alright, I'd rather prefer a mix of both right now. Toughness is more in my realm of attraction when it comes to metal. What are some cheap but decen't tool and plain metals?
The fact that it hardened the edges wasn't too bad i mean it didn't really feel any different and the belt sander ate pretty easily. My only concern is that the metal warps when I use the cutter and I don't know how to fix this.

Josh Dabney


That's a FINE looking knife for a newbie !!!

Help us help you by answering a few questions-

What are your plans and tools for heat treating your blade. OR Do you plan on sending blades out for professional HT ?

What tools do you have to work with besides your 4x36 ? Drills, Saws, Grinders, sanders, torches, forge, oven, etc.

I know how much time it took me to make my first knives so if your in a similar boat then a small quantity of steel will keep you busy for awhile.
For the ultimate in SMALL quantity low cost blade steel check this out-

1084 is a fantastic steel AND is very forgiving during heat treating if your gonna do it yourself. The only downside here is that's it's 1/4" thick which is thick for stock removing. IMHO If you could swing $40 for 4 feet of steel Shipped (guestimating) then you'ld be better served ordering some 3/16 stock from Aldo-


Pedro G.

Well-Known Member
Josh: Thank you very much :)

I wish to learn how to heat treat myself (I like doing every process because it all comes with the experience). I have a make shift forge made of loose firebricks, Not very much space in it and I have no way to get Coal, just charcoal and thats expensive with the way it burns it. It's also pretty uneven. But it will have to do. I have my kitchen oven for tempering too.

I have a craftsman (I'm pretty sure 1 speed) drill press, right now it's jammed and I can't get the 1/4 bit out, but i'm going to take it back and get some help from sears or something unless you guys can help me somehow. I have a couple hacksaws. A jig saw somewhere. I also have a sawzall which is what I use to cut my stock down to length. I have a bench grinder with a buffing wheel and a grinding wheel on it (I have two more grinding wheels somewhere). I have a good amount of files. Many needle files too. (Many antique hand tools). I have 2 hand sanding machines which I rarely use. I have my bench vise which is in good shape. I have many other various hand tools. I have my electric plasma cutter with no tank yet (If i'm ever going to buy one because after what I saw it do to the steel, i'm not use if it suits the purpose I bought it for). I also have a dewalt drill but it's tough to get an even whole for me using that one. I have a special sanding block made by my great uncle that I use to sand (The way he made it is pretty useful). I also might have a circular saw somewhere. So far that's about all I can remember for main tools i'd use, but I never use half of them. I mainly use my belt sander, drill press, hack saws, grinder, and the hand tools to make knives.

Yea it used to take a week or two. This last knife took a good three days because I was trying to figure out thing's online while I did them.
Today i'm going to try to make a hidden tang knife and see how that goes.

There is not 1/8" 1084 at all? I can spend maybe around 20$ for a bar at the moment.
1084 sound pretty good. What are it characteristic when it comes to hardness and stainless...ness?



Well-Known Member
a bar of 1095 from jantz 18 inch long 1 1/2 wide 1/8 inch thick is only 6.95 plus shipping but little trickier on the heat treat but if all works well you could send to peters to treat they allso have o-1 and others in the 1/8 inch cat. or you could just read heat treat section on it and give it a wherl


Well-Known Member
peters heat treating i would offer to do it for you for free but if it warped or something weird happend i would feel awfull, your doing fine as for grinders i used a 1x30 delta for 6 years untill yesterday when i bought a 2x42 craftsman for 129.00 if you cant do that the 1x30 is 65.00 its slow but you can do pretty darn good with it. your first looks good cant believe im going to show this but 6 years ago this is what my first looked like,the 2nd one using same 1x30 a couple months ago so whatever you use practice and now each one gets way better.


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Pedro G.

Well-Known Member
Franklin: Haha thank you, that gives me a great amount of hope to becoming better. By the way thats pretty good for a first compared to mine.

Cameron Wilcox

Well-Known Member
for good steels you can use 1084 from aldo
he sells 1 1/2 x 48 bars at 1/8 thick for under $14 + shipping which is around $16-$18 I can't remember which. next time I plan to buy 2 or 3 bars to save on shipping, in the end steel doesn't expire just make sure no rust starts. aldo has a good selection of high carbon, tool, stainless and CPM steels. though if you doing your own HT better to stick with high carbon.