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The Newbies Arena Are you new to knife making? Here is all the help you will need.

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Old 11-23-2018, 12:58 PM
Randi Strunk Randi Strunk is offline
Join Date: Nov 2018
Posts: 3
Brand new

Hi everyone I'm brand new to the hobby of knife making was wandering if anyone could tell me the bare necessities that I would need to make a full functional knife
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Old 11-23-2018, 01:34 PM
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M&J M&J is offline
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: So. Cal
Posts: 517
Welcome! What type of knives do you feel you'll be making, fixed blade or folding? Any tools or machinery presently on hand? Many options available: The least $ investment starting from near zero would be files, sandpaper and a drill.

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Old 11-23-2018, 02:28 PM
Randi Strunk Randi Strunk is offline
Join Date: Nov 2018
Posts: 3
I was figuring fixed blade as I like the look of the finished product and as of current I have a bench grinder and an older drill press
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Old 11-23-2018, 04:16 PM
Doug Lester Doug Lester is offline
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Location: Decatur, IL
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Just about any reliable drill press will do but one specifically set up to drill metal would be best. One where you can get the speed really low. Bench grinders are not all that good though some have learned to use them. Then, as mentioned there would be a good selection of files from a large bastard file to seconds and smooth files. Of course this assumes that you are planning to make knives by the stock removal method. If you want to forge your blades then you will have to add a forge and anvil of some type.

Actually you may need a forge if you are doing stock removal to heat treat the blades. To keep the cost down it would be best to build your own. An alternative would be to send your blades out to a heat treater but most of them only so air quenching steels.

If you do heat treat your own blades you will also need an oven to temper the blades in. This can be the kitchen oven if you are using simple steels, with the Chief Cooks permission. Or you can use a toaster oven.

For shaping the handles I would recommend cabinet makers rasps.


If you're not making mistakes then you're not trying hard enough
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Old 11-24-2018, 08:35 AM
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Ray Rogers Ray Rogers is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Wauconda, WA
Posts: 9,797
The best way to know what tools you need is to try to build a knife in the first place. The easiest way to do that is to do it in steps. The easiest steps are found with kit knives. Go to and look at the blades they have and pick one. Buy some handle materials from the same site and assemble the knife. This is a fairly cheap method of learning the processes of making a knife and you're guaranteed to end up with a usable knife which is always a good morale builder. Once you have confidence and the tools to attach and shape a handle you can think about making your own blades. It is a stone cold be-atch to stumble through making that first blade - which will be very challenging - only to discover that the "easy" part you were ignoring (the handle) turns that first blade into a clunky mess.

And Doug is right about the bench grinder, they are basically useless for knife making. You'll need a belt sander eventually. For now, do a couple of kit blades. Then make a couple using files and sand paper. All the hand tools and processes you acquire while doing these things will be needed on every knife you make in the future even after you have all the power tools you can imagine. Power tools make the necessary steps go faster but they don't give you the skills you need. Knife making is an art and a craft that takes years to learn properly, be patient and learn to walk before you try to run ...


Your question may already have been answered - try the Search button first!

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Old 11-24-2018, 01:55 PM
Randi Strunk Randi Strunk is offline
Join Date: Nov 2018
Posts: 3
Thanks for the replies it's good to know people are willing to help
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Old 11-24-2018, 04:05 PM
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cnccutter cnccutter is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Dorena, Oregon
Posts: 188
Randi, you’ll be amazed at how helping the knife community is. You might fill out your profile a bit so we know where you hail from. There might be a maker pretty close to you that could be willing to have you over for a few hours to help you get going. Two hours with some one would be worth a 100 hours of struggling.


Erik Land
Dorena, Oregon
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Old 11-24-2018, 05:53 PM
epicfail48 epicfail48 is offline
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Springfield Mo
Posts: 95
All you really need to make a knife is a somewhat abrasive brick and a bar of steel, everything after that just makes the process a little easier. We really do need more information for a better recommendation of tools, what you need varies a lot based on what youre planning to make and how. If you plan on doing kit knives you can get by with just getting a hand drill and a couple files.

Stock removal knives, youll need something more along the lines of a belt sander/grinder, files, drill press, possibly an angle grinder or two, and this is all assuming you send your blades out for heat treatment. Forging, all of the above, plus a forge, anvil, hammers, etc.

If youre planning on doing pocket knives, folders and the like, it muddies the water even more. Depending on what style folder youre making and how you plan on getting the hardware, you can add anything to that list from a disc grinder to a milling machine. Theres a lot of unknowns going on there
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