Knifemaking is an ancient craft that has been practiced for thousands of years in different parts of the world and by people from all walks of life. The process dates back to the Stone Age, where flint was used as a form of metalworking. Knife-making techniques improved over time with bronze, iron, and steel becoming more prevalent materials for blade shaping.
Today there are many styles you can choose from when it comes to forging a knife. However, today we will focus on how to forge a knife, especially for beginners.
The following are the materials and tools necessary to start forging a knife.
- Blank knife
- Blacksmiths leather apron, gloves, and eye protection.
- Metal file
- File or sandpaper on emery cloth
- Bench vise
- V-block and holder (or hardwood block) at least 12″ long with a slot cut out of the end
- Firestarter (charcoal)
Things to Remember
For a beginner, it is important to keep the following in mind.
- Safety first
Wear a long sleeve shirt and some work gloves. If anything does happen to spill on your clothing, it’s much easier to wash off than if it’s on your skin.
Do not use gas fires as they can be dangerous. Use tongs when handling metal on the anvil to avoid burns from steam that may come off the steel.
Always wear glasses when working with metal because problems can arise from a possible chip in the eye. Moreso, it is recommended to wear a face mask as you work in order to protect yourself from all the dust and metal fumes that can be present.
- Learn from experts
Before forging your own knife, you may want to watch a few YouTube videos or read some articles on the topic. It is important that you know what needs to be done before beginning this project.
It would also be very helpful to ask for an expert’s assistance and guidance as you start forging knives.
The following procedure is something a newbie can follow to ensure success.
- Start by gathering the tools and materials needed. This includes a hammer, anvil, or an equal surface to use as support for the blade being hammered out on, tongs to hold hot metal while it is not in use, coal ashes from burnt coals (to keep steel pieces cool), fire starter material (charcoal), a bucket of water to keep the metal cool while heating and cold during quenching, as well as emery cloth or sandpaper for smoothing out rough edges.
- Next is the preparation stage. The steel must be heated before working with it by using a fire starter material (charcoal) in an area where there is a lot of airflows to start the fire.
- Then you can quench it by dunking the metal in water and removing any remaining ashes from its surface.
- Next comes drawing out the shape with blows using a hammer on an anvil or other equal surface for support. In order not to deform your blade, you should begin off-center (near the tang) and work your way towards the tip.
- Lastly, using a metal file and/or sandpaper on an emery cloth, you can shape the blade to a fine point and remove any rough edges.
- You may want to apply iqué a guard to the knife (a metal plate that sits between the blade and handles) for extra protection.
- Now, it’s time for tempering. Finished blades are then heated to a high temperature and tempered with heat treatments.
- Afterward, you may now proceed to test your new blade.
Although this process may seem like a daunting task, we’ve broken it down step-by-step so that you can forge your own knife with just a few simple tools. Our goal is to make the forging experience as accessible and empowering as possible for any beginner who wants to give it try.
Whether you’re looking for an affordable way to spend time with your family or want something fun and new to do on weekends, consider giving knife-making a shot!