10 Cool Knives You’ve Never Seen

Jeffrey
February 20, 2022

These cool knives will make you think twice about what you think a “knife” is. Made for very special purposes, these knives are nothing like any normal knife you’ve seen.


Gerber Key Note

Gerber Key Note


At 4 ounces and around 4 inches long, the Gerber Keynote was meant to be your silent and near-invisible companion.  Just throw it in your purse or pocket and forget it.  It’s a keychain, but it’s also a liner lock knife meant for everyday tasks of minor cutting and scraping.  Aluminum handle (scales) is durable and can withstand abuse, and the keyring is removable to better suit your needs.


Gun-Knife

Gun-Knife


There are very cool knives that double as a gun. This is so that if your pistol does not do the job, the knife can complete it. This is a very specialized gun and provides protection from two angles. The pistol knife comes from the Renaissance period. These types of pistol knives are mostly used for decorative pieces now. (Top rated dive knives).


Stainless Steel Locking Folding My First Pocket Knife

Stainless Steel Locking Folding My First Pocket Knife

This Opinel locking/folding knife is a blessing for moms and dads who would like to introduce their young ones to knives for whittling while minimizing the danger of accidental stabs or pokes.  This classic knife locks in both the open and closed position and features extremely high quality steel from an iconic company.  Opinel is a French company based in the heart of the French Alps and was born in 1890!


Shotgun Knife

Shotgun Knife


The shotgun knife is hidden in a shotgun shell. It is mostly a novelty piece. It makes a great outdoor sportsman’s knife. It is a simple design that will fool even the keenest of sportsmen. It has a 1 – 1/2” blade and can be hidden from sight until it is needed.


Shark Knife

Good for self defense.
Good for self-defense.

This shark knife is one of the coolest knives, but highly dangerous to use. It was inspired to look like a shark and be deadly. It is the most dangerous-looking weapon that will help you have the advantage in any hand to hand battle. For the most part it should be used as a decorative piece because it is so dangerous. 


Also check this review of: Best Throwing Knives


Scorpion Knife

Master Cutlery MC-2079 Fantasy Knife Display, 14.5-inch

Another very cool knife, the scorpion knife is scarier than most knives. It can be worn as a wrist knife, like a bracelet. If you come across a person wearing this type of knife it is best to head the other way. This knife can be very dangerous.


Victorinox SwissChamp

Victorinox SwissChamp

The Swiss army knife has just about anything that you want in a knife.  It will operate in most functions that you will need. It’s very practical, so you can get a multitude of functions done with this knife.  Truth be told, however, it’s such a monstrosity, that it may be better suited as a conversation piece on your mantle or coffee table rather than a useful tool in the field.  Still, for the man who has “everything”.


Lipstick Knife

Lipstick Knife

The lipstick knife is one of the coolest knives for women. It’s hidden in a lipstick case and can be a woman’s best friend in the event of an attack. It is compact and elegant. It features a 1 1/4” blade. It has a glossy deep blue finish on the casing. It is discrete and practical.  Unfortunately, it’s not legal in many places, so the closest we could come to something you might like to buy is a lipstick stun gun and pepper spray …. which is kinda just as cool don’t you think?


Impala Knife

The Impala knife is an art deco liner lock folding knife. It features a ladder pattern with an Impala head. It sports 14 karat gold horns in the handle that introduces the rear of the handle. It is a very graceful and flowing knife.


Custom knives can come in many forms. They can be disguised in any form. These are just a few of the unusual knives that can be found on the open market. Custom made knives can be a weapon that could save your life if you are in danger.

Make sure to check our other reviews and buying guides: 

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Are you searching the internet for “best self-defense knife” or “best knife for self-defense“? If you are looking for the best self-defense knife for yourself or a loved one, this article will lead you to the best possible self-defense knife you can buy. Your life (or your loved one’s life) is important and, with the right knife, your well being and security can be preserved. Follow along with me as I reveal what is required in a self-defense knife, the history of the best self-defense knife, reviews of said knife, and a buyer’s recommendation.

Spyderco Civilian Handle Serrated Knife

KnifeUp recommends the Spyderco Civilian as the best self-defense knife. Developed for undercover US law enforcement officers, the Spyderco Civilian has a curved S shape serrated blade that makes this knife extremely versatile. The curved handle allows the knife to be used in a number of different ways without worrying about losing grip of the knife. The thin blade tip gives the knife a great cutting tip that can easily cut through thick leather or jeans and the serrated part of the blade makes cutting through anything effortless.

What to Look for in the Best Self Defense Knife

Ask any martial arts expert and he’ll give you a different view on what you should look for in the best self-defense knife. There is no consensus here because, like most things, you have to find what works for you, your body type, and your environment. Because of that, the following features are most important:

  • The knife must have a sharp, thin blade able to cut through materials such as thick leather.
  • The knife must fit securely in your hand.
  • The knife must be easily carried.
  • The knife must be legal. (Learn about the knife laws in your state).
  • The knife must be easily deployable.

Other features such as fixed or folding, serrated or flat edge, or stainless vs. carbon are individual preferences.

Why Not a Pocket Knife for Defense?

A self-defense situation is much different than many other scenarios where you may carry a knife of some sort.  Without getting overly technical and over-thinking the issue, here’s the idea:

If you are minding your own business and not looking for trouble, and you are approached by someone who appears to be interested in causing you difficulty by physically grabbing/touching/hugging/attacking or otherwise dangerously offending you, then you need a tool that will most easily discourage your attacker.  What is that tool?  Well, it’s not just an all-purpose knife.

It could be if you are a Navy Seal and have lots of experience with a blade.  For the rest of us, it would be a tool that requires no skill and not a lot of thinking or strategizing.  If you have a regular “knife” like a hunting knife (which is way too big to practically carry anywhere) or a pocket knife, you’ll have the potential for minimum damage with maximum effort on your part (that’s not a good deal for you).

In other words, those knives are not meant to ward off an attacker as some other, special-purpose knives are.  The Spyderco Civilian is based on the design of a KARAMBIT knife which has a curved blade that is meant for nothing else but to be swung through the air (much like you’d swing your arms in defense anyway if being attacked) but the curved sharp edge would rip and tear significantly into anything it touches.  Even if only a small part of the blade tip catches anything, it will cause a big hurt!  That is especially true if the blade is serrated because it will tear more than slice cleanly.

karambit knife

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Karambits are so effective, that authorities are concerned the “bad guys” will use them.  Because of this, karambits are most often illegal to carry.  The Spyderco is not “technically” a karambit but its blade is very similar, offering a similar action/outcome.  Other good options for defense knives include the Cold Steel Black Talon II.  It is similar to the Civilian in many ways, but the price is a bit more manageable.  You can see it HERE.

Mini-Review of the Cold Steel Black Talon II

Cold Steel Black Talon II

The Black Talon II’s blade is sinuously curved, needle-sharp blade still features the distinctive down-swept point and pronounced belly of the original, but with all new high-end American XHP super-steel and a re-designed tip for additional strength and durability.

This knife hails from an iconic and very well-respected name in the knife industry.  Cold Steel is offering this knife which is a modified curved Talon blade made from Japanese San mai steel, a sleek titanium frame with G10 scales and a very strong locking mechanism. The original Black Talon was discontinued, but due to some public pressure for such a tool, Cold Steel has announced a newly re-designed knife called the black Talon II.  It’s a design collaboration between Cold Steel president Lynn Thompson and custom knife-maker Andrew Demko.  We think the Black Talon II is one of a few very good tools for personal defense, but only if you have the strength and presence of mind (not to mention composure) to weild it effectively.  If not, it becomes a liability that an attacker could use against you.

By the way, if you question your ability to stand your ground while swinging and wielding the Black Talon or the Civilian, you may be better off with some Pepper Spray!

Pepper Spray

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Reviews of the Spyderco Civilian

Online self-defense experts stated that this knife is one of the best self-defense knives because of its intuitive design. Individuals without prior knife training can easily use this knife. No years of practice are needed. In addition to that, the ATS 55 steel will stay sharp for ages and, given that the blade’s shape limits the knife’s use to only self-defense, the knife will never become dull from day to day use.

Out of the 165+ reviews on Amazon, reviewers gave this knife 4.8 out of 5 stars. This makes the Spyderco Civilian one of the best self-defense knives on the market, hands down.

Other knives for self-defense on the market lack the design, durability, and power of the Civilian. What’s more, the knife’s folding blade mechanism allows for deep carry within your pocket, making the knife invisible from the outside.

Yet Another Option?

The Spyderco Civilian is a pricey investment that is beyond what many would like to (or be able to) spend.  For about half the price, you can get a smaller version by Spyderco called the Matriarch 2.

Spyderco Matriarch 2 Lightweight Folding Knife with Emerson Opener and 3.57" VG-10 Steel Reverse "S" Blade - SpyderEdge - C12SBK2W
  • Game Changer - The Matriarch 2 is the combination of the Civilian
  • Superior Quality - Its SpyderEdge VG-10 stainless steel blade is scientifically designed to maximize cutting performance
  • Dependable -One of the vital features of the Matriarch 2 are its sturdy back lock mechanism, four-position clip, and Trademark Round Hole
  • Ergonomic - It ensures unmatched carry versatility and high-speed deployment with either hand
  • Easy To Carry - By adding an Emerson Opener - a small integral hook on the spine of the blade - the latest version of the Matriarch 2 raises the bar even further by offering the ultimate in high-speed deployment

Conclusion

If you are looking for the best knife for self-defense, check out the Spyderco Civilian. Spyderco is a US knife maker based out of Golden, Colorado and is known for making great, high-quality knives. Developed for undercover law enforcement officers, the Civilian is a great knife designed for only one thing: keeping you safe.

Make sure to check our other reviews and buying guides: 

and more!

 

The Kershaw knife, manufactured by the same name – Kershaw Knives, is one of the most popular tools in the American knife industry. The company has not only established a strong brand in the U.S. and the world over but continues to reign supreme with new technologies and designs.

The firm boasts of a massive product portfolio – it sells knives for a variety of use-cases, ranging from everyday use, the outdoors, tactical, and rescue purposes, to work, fishing, and hunting.

In addition, it manufactures gear, assisted, apparel, and multi-functional knives, in addition to manual, automatic, and fixed-blade knives. Kershaw manufactures over a million knives per year – quite a remarkable feat to meet product demand in its home ground and overseas.

All Kershaw knives are designed, engineered, and programmed with precision, from blade to screws, each one fitting aptly as per functionality and requirement. The company prides itself on its product line – whether budget products or high-end, premium-material ones. Even their budget knives are embedded with high-end technology.

It would be difficult to peg down which one of their products is the best since the firm has something for everybody. For instance, the Kershaw Blur Black is one of their top-rated knives and is very well-known, depicts excellent performance, and is popular for hunting and outdoor activities. The Kershaw Scallion is another reputed product. Made of stainless steel, it is one of the best for EDC (everyday carry) and can be used for cutting just about anything.

In the paragraphs below, you’ll find detailed reviews on some of their best products. Then, you can analyze the pros and cons yourself and decide which one you want to invest in.

About Kershaw Knives 

Kershaw Knives has literally been around since people know the knife industry as an officially recognized sector in the U.S. Pete Kershaw founded the company in late 1974.

Being outdoorsy himself, he understood the significance of outdoor tools such as knives for activities like fishing and hunting. He started the firm at a cement plant located in Lake Oswego, Oregon. In the beginning, Kershaw only manufactured hunting knives.

At the same time, Japanese knife company Kai had been around in the market for a considerably long time, nearly 65 years.

The President, Saijiro Endo II, aimed to export Kai’s products to other nations, including the U.S. The rest is history, as they say. Kai and Kershaw collaborated, and the entity has been together ever since.

In the 1990s, Kershaw bid adieu to the classic knife portfolio and started exploring options. During this time, the company introduced many modern features, some of which are still a part of the latest product portfolio. In 1995, Kershaw launched the Liner Action series – its first liner lock knives.

Within a year, Kai invested in a facility in Wilsonville, U.S., to expand Kershaw’s production further. Pete Kershaw’s successor, Jack Igarashi, the new COO of Kai USA, brought on a series of new, fresh ideas to Kai, focusing mainly on quality.

The efforts bore fruit when in 1998, Kershaw introduced the SpeedSafe® assisted opening mechanism – a technique that forever transformed the industry landscape. Until today, SpeedSafe remains one of the most vital mechanisms of the Kershaw brand.

Kershaw manufactures a score of knives, some of which include the Kershaw Blur Black, the Kershaw Scallion, the Kershaw Aftereffect Plain Edge, Kershaw Barstow BlackWash Plain Edge, the Kershaw BlackWash Launch 1 Automatic Plain Edge, the Kershaw BlackWash Cryo Plain Edge, the Kershaw Clash, the Kershaw Leek, the Kershaw Brawler, the Kershaw Link, and many, many more.

Enlisted below are some of the best Kershaw knives, along with their specifications and advantages, and disadvantages.

Here Are the Best Kershaw Knives:

Kershaw Blur Black (1670blk) Everyday Carry Pocketknife

Key Features

  • The product length is 3.4 inches.
  • It possesses a Drop Point blade made of stainless steel.
  • The knife has a DLC coated handle incorporated with the SpeedSafe Assisted Opening
  • It features a reversible pocket clip.
  • It weighs around 3.9 ounces.
  • It has an inset liner lock for additional safety.

The Kershaw Blur EDC pocket knife is one of the most popular product lines in the company. Being the best Kershaw knife, it offers numerous advantages to the user, prominent among them being the SpeedSafe assisted opening and the Trac-Tec that helps ensure a good grip. In addition, the knife has excellent slicing and piercing capabilities.

The black diamond-like coating (DLC) ensures that the blade remains sharp and hard and gets dull with time. On the other hand, the anodized aluminum handle provides the product’s necessary durability, strength, and safety.

Pros

  • The product is easy to store.
  • It is ambidextrous, safe, and features a convenient one-handed opening.
  • There’s a perfectly placed thumb stud to protect the thumb.
  • The handle grip is comfortable and of high quality.
  • It possesses amazing strength and durability.
  • It is very easy to carry at all times.

Cons

  • The Trac-Tec inserts are not very smooth.

Price:

USD 67.93

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Kershaw Clash Pocket Knife, Black Serrated (1605cktst)

Key Features

  • The product length is 3.1 inches.
  • The blade is made of durable stainless steel.
  • The product features black-oxide-coating.
  • The handle of the knife is made of glass-filled nylon.
  • The handle features the standard SpeedSafe Opening as well as a reversible pocket clip
  • The Kershaw Clash Pocket Knife, Black Serrated, weighs 4.3 ounces.
This durable Kershaw knife works very well for outdoorsy people, such as hunters, hikers, mechanics, gardeners, and more. The black-oxide finish on the stainless-steel blade is meant to ensure toughness, edge retention, and excellent resistance to wear and tear.

As a result, the blade is perfectly capable of handling tasks such as cutting twine and ropes, stripping wires, and opening tough cardboard boxes. In addition, the textured glass-filled nylon handle provides a comfortable grip with a gentle contour.

Pros

  • It provides exceptional quality over many other models.
  • It features a unique butt cap.
  • The product has a sheath with an attached sharpener.
  • The handle is ergonomic.
  • The knife features a steel liner lock frame.

Cons

  • The handle could have been made with slightly more intricate detailing.

Price:

USD 35.34

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Kershaw Leek Pocket Knife (1660)

Key Features

  • The blade length is 3 inches.
  • The handle is made of durable stainless steel.
  • The assembly includes a SpeedSafe Assisted Opening, a Reversible pocket clip, and a Frame Lock.
  • The blade features a line of copper as well.
  • The product depicts good edge retention.

This tough product from Kershaw encompasses a composite design where a line of copper separates a razor-sharp D2 edge and a hardy Sandvik spine. The design enables users to use the knife both for EDC as well as outdoor activities. The lightweight, thin-bladed product comes with a partial serration and can effectively resist corrosion.

This Kershaw knife is crafted from one of the best available premium-grade steels worldwide.

The knife looks quite appealing on account of the full-body-bead-blasted finish on the blade. You can gift it to knife enthusiasts – it’s the perfect present! It also comes with a limited lifetime warranty. 

Pros

  • The product bears a soft, non-reflective, matte look.
  • The knife is partially serrated.
  • It is resistant to corrosion.
  • It features a drop-point blade.
  • It is highly versatile.
  • The product features a Lanyard hole and a stainless-steel handle.
  • The product’s appearance is sleek and posh.

Cons

  • The knife does not feature a very effective opening mechanism.

Price:

USD 49.27

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Kershaw Brawler Folding Pocket Knife (1990)

Key Features

  • The blade length is 3 inches.
  • The blade is made of high-performance 8Cr13MoV Steel.
  • The product finish features black oxide.
  • The handle is made of black glass-filled nylon.
  • The product features a reversible 4-position pocket clip.

This one is one of the most affordable options for knife enthusiasts. It is of above-average quality and features a black oxide finish that protects the blade against corrosion and rusting.

However, you should know that the finish does get affected when the knife is damaged or perhaps is being used extensively. Nonetheless, it is still a good knife for the price and is worth investing in. 

If you are on a budget but require a knife remnant of Kershaw’s proprietary cutting power and ergonomics, the Kershaw Brawler Folding Pocket Knife is the one for you.

Pros

  • The knife features a well-designed thumb stud to protect your thumbs from roughness.
  • The product is reasonably priced.
  • The knife’s black oxide finish makes it corrosion resistant.
  • It’s a very comfortable product and well-performing for the price.

Cons

  • The knife may or may not be durable for the long term.
  • The black oxide finish may come off with, making the knife vulnerable to corrosion.

Price:

USD 25.98

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Kershaw Cryo Folding Knife (1555ti)

Key Features

  • The blade length is 2.75 inches.
  • It is made from highly durable 8Cr13MoV steel material.
  • The handle is made from stainless steel.
  • The product weighs around 4-4.5 ounces.
  • It features a 4-position deep-carry pocket clip
  • It has Kershaw’s proprietary SpeedSafe Assisted Open mechanism
  • The product also sports a secure frame lock
The Kershaw Cryo is one of the most innovative designs in the company. Designed by Rick Hinderer and precision engineered by Kershaw, this high-performance product is extremely tough and has a sharp stainless-steel blade.

It is best used for landscaping projects, electricity-related issues, hunting, hiking, backpacking, and other wild outdoor activities. Despite being on the heavier side, it can be used safely for functions such as self-defense, removing splinters, opening packages, fire kindling, wire striping, and more.

Pros

  • The total length of the knife is 6.5 inches – pretty long and comfortable.
  • The knife boasts of a titanium carbo-nitride coating, which makes it anti-corrosive.
  • It has an extremely precise design and is rather tough.
  • It has great edge retention.
  • It is a reliable piece to be carried around every day.
  • The product is long-lasting, suitable for various applications.

Cons

  • It may be slightly heavy for some people.

Price:

USD 39.51

—-

Kershaw Scallion, Olive Drab Pocket Knife (1620ol)

Key Features

  • The blade length is around 2.25 inches.
  • The total length of the product is around 5.75 inches.
  • The handle is made of anodized aluminum.
  • It weighs around 2.3-2.5 ounces.

The Kershaw Scallion is a remarkable blade designed by custom knifemaker Ken Onion. Slim and lightweight, this knife depicts an excellent finish, is high quality, and is quite affordable.

The aluminum used in the handle is 6000 series aircraft aluminum, which helps keep the knife strong and lightweight. The fact that it is anodized also helps the handle remain scratch resistant.

The handle has been designed to be ergonomic and comfortable.

Pros

  • The product possesses excellent strength and toughness.
  • The product features the standard SpeedSafe Assisted Opening.
  • It also boasts of safety – the knife has a liner and tip lock.
  • The blade is made of bead-blasted 420HC steel, making it super sharp.
  • It is lightweight and highly functional.
  • It features a single-position pocket clip.

Cons

  • Cannot be used to handle very heavy work.
  • The handle may tend to get slippery if you work with sweaty hands.

Price:

USD 43.51

—-

Key Features

  • The overall knife length is around 7.6 inches.
  • The blade is made of 420HC stainless steel.
  • The product features the standard SpeedSafe Assisted Opening.
  • It weighs 4.8 ounces.

This one is one of the most popular Made-in-USA brands of Kershaw. It is a brilliant choice for EDS – it is tough, has great edge retention, and is corrosion-resistant. In addition, the Blackwash finish lends an additional layer of protection to the blade.

The knife features a liner lock, which locks the blade open when in use – one side of the knife’s steel liner moves into position on the other side of the blade to lock it open securely. The handle is sculpted and contoured to fit the hand for a comfortable grip.

The product also features a ‘flipper’ – a protruding component at the back of the blade that helps the user flip the blade out of the handle.

Pros

  • The product features a safety measure in the form of a liner lock.
  • It has a reversible pocket clip.
  • The handle is made of machined aluminum.
  • The blade depicts commendable sharpness and is rather tough.
  • The cool blue color with the blackwash lends coverage to daily blemishes.

Cons

  • Nothing profoundly major.

Price:

USD 43.51

—-

Kershaw Select Fire (1920) Multifunction Pocketknife

Key Features

  • The blade length is 3.4 inches.
  • It is made of 8Cr13MoV stainless steel.
  • The handle is made of black glass-filled nylon.
  • The product features a 1/4-inch hex drive.
  • It has 2 Crosshead Bits and Flathead Bits
  • It weighs around 5 ounces.

This amazing product by Kershaw is precision-engineered by Kershaw and designed by custom knife makers Grant & Gavin Hawk. This series is a little different from other multi-tools – that is to say, the knife assembly does not include a lot of unnecessary tools. The design is rather simple and focuses on making the knife as seamless as possible. It’s a pretty high-quality knife for the price. 

This knife is not, however, the best choice for the outdoors. Instead, it is a great choice for EDC. If you’re not impressed with the assisted opening facility, a standard feature in most Kershaw knives, then this product is for you.

Pros

  • The 8Cr13MoV stainless steel blade helps in making the knife resistant to adhesives and abrasion.
  • The knife has an ergonomic non-slip grip.
  • The product is extremely versatile and multi-functional.
  • The manual flipper is quite a unique alternative to the standard assisted opening and is quite responsive.

Cons

  • It is not very durable as compared to other models.
  • The bit adapter is likely to fall off as it is not welded to the handle.

Price:

USD 32.84

—-

Kershaw Outright Pocketknife (8320)

Key Features

  • The blade length is 3 inches.
  • The blade is made of upswept 8Cr13MoV steel material in a brilliant shade of blue
  • The handle is made of PVD coated steel
  • The handle features a G10 Front Overlay
  • The product is equipped with the standard SpeedSafe Assisted Opening
  • It weighs around 4 ounces and has a deep carry pocket clip

The Kershaw Outright is one of the more innovative series of the Kershaw family. It has a subtle, sophisticated look that makes it very appealing to consumers. It also has a durable PVD coating that makes the blade scratch resistant.

In addition, the Outright has an upswept trailing point blade, making it most suitable for slicing and other functions of daily life.

Pros

  • The product is perfect for EDC.
  • It looks super sleek and sophisticated.
  • It depicts excellent functionality.
  • The blade is extremely sharp and tough.
  • The handle design is very efficient.
  • It has great edge retention, while the G10 overlay provides strength and grip.

Cons

  • The knife may not be very useful in tough outdoor activities.

Price:

USD 29.99

—-

Kershaw Launch 1

Key Features

  • The blade length is 3.4 inches.
  • The blade is made of CPM 154 steel.
  • The blade is coated with black-oxide BlackWash™.
  • The handle is made of 6061-T6 aluminum, and it features a black anodized coating as well.

The Kershaw Launch Series can be considered a unique addition since it is an automatic knife. The Launch 1 product features a brilliant design and finish, while the handle is made of machined 6061-T6 anodized aluminum.

The automatic mechanism has pushed this product ahead in the global market, making it one of Kershaw’s prized possessions.

Pros

  • The product is lightweight.
  • The anodized aluminum handle lends strength and is contoured especially for a secure grip.
  • The knife’s low-profile push-button prevents the blade from accidentally being deployed.
  • It has excellent strength and sharpness.
  • The blade is resistant to wear and tear and corrosion.

Cons

  • The automatic mechanism is not something that resonates with all consumers.

Price:

USD 95

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Best Kershaw Knife – Buying Guide 

You’ll need to consider a lot of factors while looking for the best Kershaw knife (or any knife, for that matter). What is it that you require exactly? What is your priority when buying a knife? Are you looking for a knife to help you fish, hunt, or something you just need to carry for safety?

Once you’re thorough about your needs, you have to start looking at the physical attributes to help you make an informed choice. Always go through the list below to know what to look for in a Kershaw knife while buying.

What To Look in A Kershaw Knife?

Blade Steel & Style

Consider appropriate blade steel as per the job you need to do. For instance, you may need a high-end steel blade for limited knife use. Not all steels are the same; Kershaw blades are manufactured from various steels, varying in terms of sharpness, strength, corrosion resistance, edge retention, and more. You need to consider your requirement and use case and choose the blade steel accordingly.

With respect to the blade style, you may need to consider your job requirement – pull cuts, push cuts, or slice, and choose the style in accordance. For instance, the American Tanto is ideal for push cuts, while the Cleaver is ideal for slicing.

Opening Mechanism & Lock Type

Kershaw knives have several opening systems. There’s a manual opening folder for people who prefer using their hands, while there are assisted openings for others. Some knives are completely automatic – all you need is a button to make it work. 

Also check: The Best Automatic Knife 

Kershaw knives are designed in a way that incorporates a lock built as a conventional detent, next to the opening button or into or adjacent to the handle scale. You may choose whichever suits your requirements.

Folding Vs. Fixed Blade

Best Kershaw Knife - Folding Vs. Fixed Blade

This again depends on what you want your knife for. Do you want a convenient one for EDC? Then you need a folding blade, and it’s the best. This is also one of the reasons why most folding knives are called pocket knives

Do you need the knife for rugged terrains, outdoor work, or food preparation? In that case, use the fixed blade. Kershaw’s fixed blade knives are stronger, easier to clean, less breakable, and are excellent to be used as a self-defense knife in tough situations.

Handle Material

Kershaw believes in quality and has the best material chosen for all its knife handles. For most parts, the company opts for a handle material like glass-filled nylon, G10, or rubber over-mold, as they help strengthen the grip and texture of the product.

Your choice of handle material depends on your hand grip, hand strength, job requirement, and the condition of your workplace (in case you need the knife for professional reasons). Depending on whether you’re in a wet environment, wearing gloves, or outdoors, you can choose the most suitable handle for yourself.

Blade Edge & Sharpness

Blade edge and sharpness are vital parameters to be considered while buying a knife. All of Kershaw’s knives are extremely sharp and well-working.

In terms of the blades, some of them feature a partial serration, while some others have a sharp plain edge. In the case of the former, the serrations stay sharper for long, while the latter holds the advantage of multipurpose cutting and ease of re-sharpening.

Durability & Performance

All of Kershaw’s knives are highly durable and depict high performance. However, some of them may be less durable than others, such as the Kershaw Brawler Folding Pocket Knife. On the other hand, the Kershaw Leek FrameLock Pocket Knife, and the Kershaw Cryo II EDC Pocket Knife are the most durable knives you’ll find.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Kershaw Knives Good?

Yes, Kershaw knives are, without a doubt, one of the best in the industry. The company brings about consistent innovation in its products while maintaining originality. It has been manufacturing knives since 1974 and has a rich history of creating affordable, excellent quality products. Some of its brand names include Cryo, Leek, and Shallot.

What Materials Do Kershaw Knives Use?

Kershaw uses varied steels to manufacture its knife blades. A lot of them are made from stainless steel. However, many use high carbon steel as well. The type of steel used determines the strength, sharpness, and corrosion resistance of the knives. 

Where Are Kershaw Knives Made?

Kershaw knives are manufactured at the headquarters of Kai USA – in Oregon. Although the company was initiated in Portland, post the collaboration with Kai, the knives are manufactured at the U.S. headquarters of Kai, at Tualatin, Oregon. They also seem to have a few production units in China, from where they manufacture state-of-the-art knives and export them to various parts of the world.

How To Find the Best Economic Pocket Knife?

Look out for some major pocketknife brands that are of good quality and cost less. The Kershaw 1776tGrybw Link Assisted Flipper Knife, for example, is an excellent pocketknife at only $48.49. Another example of an economic pocketknife is the Kershaw 3930 Flitch Assisted Flipper Knife, available at $30.49 only. 

What Are Some Cool Knives for Everyday Carry?

The Lucha Blackwash from Kershaw’s range of EDC knives are pretty cool knives that you can carry daily. Furthermore, Kershaw offers Kapsule, Strata, and Platform as convenient options for EDC.

Final Verdict on the Best Kershaw Knife

Kershaw has a cool range of knives to choose from, so analyze the pros and cons of the options mentioned above, understand what you need, and then make your choice. No matter what knife you end up choosing, you’re at an advantage with Kershaw.

Make sure to check our other reviews and buying guides: 

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Spetsnaz Machete, a weird Russian survival tool, has more uses than any US survival knife and can save your life in the wilderness or urban environment. It can hammer, chop, cut, pry, saw, pummel, and you can even use it as a ruler.

Who are the Spetsnaz?

The Spetsnaz is the Russian special forces group. It was created during WWII to meet the demands of unconventional warfare. Their main tasks were covert demolitions, sniping, and recon. The Spetsnaz were distinguished with maroon berets–similar to how US Rangers wear green berets. Today the Spetsnaz does everything from counter-terrorism to civilian and military policing.

Demand for a New Survival Tool

In the 1950’s, during the height of the Cold War, the Spetsnaz needed a tool that could chop, cut, pry, saw, hammer, and do just about every other field duty. It needed to do machete work for the heavy vegetation areas as well as knife work for the camp. It also needed to handle garrison labor.

The tool could be used for downed pilots, field soldiers, and anyone else who needed a good field knife. The tool needed to be small and light because soldiers will be carrying it for long ruck marches (20+ km a day).  Wow, is there any such tool that would fit ALL those criteria?

The Spetsnaz Machete

Up close photo of a spetsnaz survival tool.
This is one monster knife/machete/tool.

The original Spetsnaz machete featured a curved blade that was very tip-heavy. It looks sort of like a Kukri. The tip is flat and can be used as a pry bar. The spine is a serrated edge you can use as a saw. The handle is hollow and can hold stuff like matches.

Downsides of the Original Spetsnaz Machete

The original Spetsnaz machete was made of super hard carbon steel that is insanely hard to sharpen. Russian environments were usually not moist so rust was not a big concern. Also, a softer metal would degrade the pry bar function.

The hollow handle made the knife feel very, very tip-heavy. The knife is not well-balanced at all.  It is good if you want to chop down a tree but bad if you want to do more delicate work. The handle is a square shape. It hurts your hands if you use it for a long time. It’s certainly not the most comfortable handle around.

Updated Spetsnaz Machetes

Kizlyar, one of the original manufacturers, produced updated models of the original machete. A popular model today is the BUSH MATE. It features a similar Spetsnaz shape but the steel, handle, and the sheath is far more slender than the chunky Spetsnaz.

It runs for around $150 if you’re buying in the USA. It’s also getting hard to find online. You can sometimes find it for sale on sites like ebay and knife trading sites such as bladeforums.com.

American Versions of the Spetsnaz Machete

There is a small demand for a tool like the Spetsnaz machete in the US. US knife makers Kabar and Ontario have responded with the BK3 and SP8

.


Kabar Becker BK3 Urban Survival Tool

Check Lowest Price Kabar Becker BK3 Urban Survival Tool

The BK3 is a 1.3lb knife that is made in the USA. It is 12.5 inches long and is made of 1095 Cro-Van steel. The knife is designed to smash windows, cut 550 cord, pry open boxes and doors, chop wood, and hammer nails. It’s slightly smaller than an original Spetsnaz machete, but I’d be just as happy to wield it (especially since it’s more compact and I think – practical).

It has a 4.5-star review on Amazon and is available for a lower price than the Kizlyar Alligator or Kayman.


Ontario SP8 Survival Tool

Check Lowest Price Ontario SP8 Survival Tool

Ontario Knife (OKC) makes a lot of great knives and this is another outstanding knife. The SP8 is 1.4lb and 15 inches long. It cuts, hammers, chisels, pry, and chops. It comes with a Cordura sheath and is made of 1095 carbon steel.

It has a 4.5 star rating on Amazon and can be purchased for $60 This is $36 off of the retail price. 


Esee Expat Libertariat Machete

Check Lowest Price Esee Expat Libertariat Machete

This John Armstrong design is a lightweight, tropical survival machete that looks a lot like our other featured machetes in this section.  By the way, EXPAT is a division of Esee knives. 

It features a full-tang SAE 1075 steel blade in a rugged Condor Classic finish. This steel is a top choice for many professional cutlery tools and it’s made for hard use. Because of its chemistry, it will stain and rust if you don’t care for it. It’s not too tough to wipe it clean and dry after use, and every so often when you sense you won’t use it for a while, slap on some No products found. and you’re good!

It has a tapered walnut handle that is more than secure and comfortable.  The length of the whole machete is 14 inches, while the blade is 9 inches long and depth top-to-bottom is 2 inches.  It’s pretty light at only 13 ounces and the whole package comes with a canvas sheath for protection and carry convenience.


Conclusion On the Spetsnaz Machete

If you are looking for a great survival tool that can be used as both a knife and a machete, check out any modern-day Spetsnaz machetes like the SP8 by Ontario or the BK3 by Kabar. You can also buy similar tools from Russia but expect to pay a hefty price. There are a few select machetes that we didn’t mention here but are quite capable, but some have cheap materials and very low ratings. 

These are our very best recommendations that we feel comfortable endorsing (believe me we don’t endorse anything and everything on Amazon just to make a buck). We could endorse and promote hundreds of knives (which we don’t) but we want to bring you the best values we possibly can, with integrity and honesty!

Make sure to check our other reviews and buying guides: 

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Pocket knives need to be razor-sharp at all times because their ability to cut through anything is what makes them useful. But that doesn’t mean throwing your knife away when it gets dull! It just means you need to get a good sharpener. 

And luckily, your search for the best pocket knife sharpeners ends here. In my 10+ years of experience in using, reviewing, and sharpening pocket knives, I’ve come across many knife sharpeners. 

But only a few of them stood out to me, which is why I made this list of the 7 best pocket knife sharpeners on the market now. 

Personally, I highly recommend the Work Sharp Guided Field Sharpener, Gray, simply due to its durability, portability, and ease of use. But if you’d like to go for something else, I have 6 more options for you to pick from. So, let’s get started. 

Here Are the 7 Best Pocket Knife Sharpeners – Tried & Tested

1. Work Sharp Guided Field Sharpener, Gray

Work Sharp Guided Field Sharpener, Gray

Key Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 6.75 x 1.5 x 1 inches
  • Weight: 2.5 ounces
  • Blades: Diamond, ceramic, and leather
  • Sharpening Angle Guide: 20° for the diamond plate & 25­° for the leather strop

In my opinion, the Work Sharp Guided Field Sharpener, Gray is the best pocket knife sharpener on the market; it’s reasonably priced, durable, portable, and easy to use.

Let’s start off with the plates because they’re definitely my favorite thing about this sharpener. The Work Sharp has five different plates: one made of coarse diamond, one of fine diamond, two ceramic rods, and one leather strop.

The coarse diamond plate has a 220 grit and is perfect for damaged knives or extremely dull blades. As for the diamond plate, it has a 600 grit, which is perfect for more precise work or for the maintenance of less dull blades. And both plates are measured at 4×1 inches.

As for the two ceramic rods, they consist of three parts: a coarse grit, a fine grit, and a fishhook groove. The ceramic rods are perfect for serrations, fine sharpening, and finishing. So they can be used for multiple tasks besides pocket knife sharpening. 

The leather strop is a welcomed addition that you can use to finish off the blades after you’re done sharpening them.

Portability-wise, this sharpener is just 2.5 ounces in weight, and the diamond plates can be removed and flipped over, so it wouldn’t cause any harm to your bag or other gear.

You’ll also find a 20° angle guide for the diamond plates, so you can easily maintain a consistent angle of sharpening. There’s also a 25° angle guide on the leather strop to easily remove the burr.

Pros

  • Portable and compact
  • Replaceable plates are easy to work with
  • Offers a five-stage sharpening process
  • Very versatile and easy to use

Cons

  • Not the most comfortable to grip

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2. AccuSharp Knife & Tool Sharpener

AccuSharp Knife & Tool Sharpener

Key Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 5 x 5 x 5 inches
  • Weight: 2 ounces
  • Blades: Diamond-honed and tungsten carbide

The AccuSharp Knife & Tool Sharpener is another budget-friendly option. The biggest selling point of this sharpener is how speedy and easy to use it is; it can get your knives from incredibly dull to razor sharp in just a few strokes of decreasing pressure.

The blades in AccuSharp sharpener are made from diamond-honed tungsten carbide, providing incredible hardness and an impressive ability to sharpen any dull knife.

Besides, such material guarantees that the sharpener will stay as good as new for years to come. Moreover, this sharpener is also very easy to clean and maintain, so it’ll surely last you a long time.

Furthermore, I found this sharpener to be easy to use and comfortable to hold. The full-length guard, especially, is a great addition because it ensures that your fingers will be nowhere near the newly-sharpened edges of your blades.

However, I don’t recommend using this sharpener for tools besides pocket knives, as it’s a bit too harsh and can take off a lot of metal at a time. Of course, that makes it perfect for on-the-go sharpening, but it isn’t ideal for your high-quality kitchen knives.

Key Specifications:

Pros

  • Comfortable to hold with an ergonomic handle
  • Incredibly affordable price point
  • Lightweight and easy to use
  • High-quality diamond-honed and tungsten carbide construction

Cons

  • A little too aggressive for some knives

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3. Work Sharp WSKTS-KO-W

Work Sharp WSKTS-KO-W

Key Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 5.5 x 10 x 6 inches
  • Weight: 3.1 pounds
  • Sharpening Angle Guide: Adjustable from 15° to 30°
  • Belt: Flexible 3/4 x 12-inch belt with 6000 grit

Because the world just doesn’t stop evolving, electric knife sharpeners are now a thing, and they might get better results than the traditional stone methods. And this Work Sharp WSKTS-KO-W is one of the best electric knife sharpeners out there.

This knife offers great customizability, so you can adjust it to the task at hand in order to get the best results possible. In addition, the sharpening guide angle changes from 15° to 30°, so you can control just how sharp you want your pocket knife to be.

As for the motor itself, it uses 120 volts, and you can easily adjust its speed from 1200 to 2800 SFM, depending on how dull the knife is. So you can go for high-speed grinding if you want to work quickly or for slow-speed honing if you’re looking for precision.

The convex edge of the belts here ensures that they’ll stay as good as new without suffering a scratch. Besides, the convex shape is perfect for pocket knives because it helps increase the knife’s lifetime.

And if you’re new to electric knife sharpeners, it’d be a good idea to put some masking tape around the knife. That way, you can protect the blade from getting scratched by tiny pieces of scraped-off metal from the edge.

There’s definitely a learning curve when it comes to using this type of sharpeners, so test it out on cheaper knives first until you’re familiar with its operation.

Pros

  • Versatile sharpener
  • Adjustable angle guide
  • Different motor speed options
  • Flexible belts
  • Requires minimal set-up

Cons

  • Relatively pricey
  • Has a learning curve

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4. Victorinox VN43323

Victorinox VN43323

Key Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 5 x 5 x 2 inches
  • Weight: 1.4 ounces
  • Blades: Grinding stone and ceramic discs

If you’re constantly on the go and use your pocket knife often, you need to look at this Victorinox VN43323 because its compact size makes it the perfect outdoor knife sharpener.

This sharpener is around the size of a pen with dimensions of just 5 x 5 x 2 inches, so you can easily fit it into your pocket.

Besides its unmatched portability, this knife sharpener offers dual sharpening functions. On one side, you’ll find a grinding stone for quickly shaping your dull pocket knife into the perfect shape. After that, you just need to slide the knife on the ceramic discs on the other side to get an incredibly sharp knife.

Keep in mind that both sides come with a pen-shaped cover to ensure safety and keep the stone sharp over time. So all you have to do is uncap the side you need, and your pocket knife will be sharp after just a few passes.

Pros

  • The compact size makes it perfect for on the go
  • Dual-function sharpener with a grinding stone and ceramic discs
  • Easy to use 

Cons

  • The pocket clip breaks easily
  • A little pricey for what it offers

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5. Smith's CCKS 2-Step

Smith's CCKS 2-Step

Key Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 0.88 x 2.71 x 2.33 inches
  • Weight: 1.6 ounces
  • Blades: Tungsten carbide with ceramic rods
  • Sharpening Angles Guide: Preset angles

If you’re on a tight budget and you want a sharpener that’ll easily and quickly get the job done, you need to take a look at this Smith’s CCKS 2-Step tool. 

Don’t let its low price fool you into thinking this is a low-quality sharpener because that’s far from true. On the contrary, this unit offers excellent value for the money.

The Smith’s 2-Step sharpener has two tungsten carbide blades that you can use on dull knives to bring them back to life. After that, you can use the incredible ceramic rods to finish off the knife.

The ceramic rods are, by far, my favorite part about this sharpener because they allow you to get that perfect sharp edge to finish things off. On top of that, they’re perfect for quick touch-up for already somewhat sharp pocket knives to give them that extra edge without much effort.

Moreover, the sharpener has preset sharpening angles, so you’re guaranteed flawless sharpening every time. Besides, this sharpener is perfect for beginners who aren’t very familiar with how to properly sharpen knives.

For your safety, the sharpener has rubber feet to keep it in place and prevent it from slipping while you’re getting your work done.

However, I have to mention that the coarse side is a little too harsh; the tungsten carbide construction takes away too much metal at a time, decreasing the lifetime of your pocket knife. So, make sure you’re applying as little pressure as possible when using it.

Pros

  • Budget-friendly sharpener
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Has rubber feet to prevent slipping for safety
  • Comes with preset sharpening angles
  • Perfect for touching up already-sharp knives

Cons

  • The coarse side might be too harsh for some knives

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6. Work Sharp EDC Micro Sharpener

Work Sharp EDC Micro Sharpener

Key Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 2.11 x 2.31 x 0.38 inches
  • Weight: 1.6 ounces
  • Blades: Diamond rod with 400 grit and ceramic rod
  • Sharpening Angle Guide: 25 degrees
  • Torx Bits: T6, T8, and T10

Work Sharp makes another appearance on our list with the Work Sharp EDC Micro Sharpener. Besides its budget-friendly price point, this sharpener is one you can rely on and will always produce razor-sharp edges for your pocket knives.

This compact-sized sharpener offers diamond and ceramic rods that you can use on any dull blade to bring it back to life. The diamond rod can quickly sharpen your knife; then, you can use the ceramic rod for finishing and ensuring that the ultra-sharp edge is achieved.

And, for beginners, the sharpening angle guides of 25° could be incredibly helpful with getting the knife perfectly sharp.

Further, this is more than just a regular knife sharpener because it also offers knife maintenance tools. These tools include a 1/4-inch bit driver and bit sizes of T6, T8, and T10. That way, when you’re out and about, this sharpener could come in handy in many different ways.

Sadly, though, the bits are a bit too loose, and you might lose them easily. If only they were magnetized, this would’ve been a whole different story. However, I can’t complain too much, seeing how this sharpener comes at a very affordable price point.

Pros

  • Affordable 
  • Offers excellent value for the money
  • Durable construction
  • Comes with Torx bits holders of sizes T6, T8, and T10 and a 1/4-inch bit driver
  • 25° sharpening angle guide

Cons

  • The bits are a bit too loose and not magnetized

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7. Spyderco Tri-Angle 204MF

Spyderco Tri-Angle 204MF

Key Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 10 x 10 x 2 inches
  • Weight: 16 ounces
  • Blades: two sets of ceramic stones; medium-grid stones and fine stones
  • Sharpening Angles: 15° and 20° on each side

Another high-quality pocket knife sharpener on this list is the Spyderco Tri-Angle 204MF. This sharpener has an interesting design that’d be very helpful for a beginner who’s not yet familiar with the correct sharpening angles.

This sharpener has an ABS plastic base where the sharpening components are kept protected, so you can easily travel with this sharpener in a bag. To use the sharpening rods, all you have to do is snap them out of the plastic container, and they’ll be set up at the perfect angle.

The stones snap at two degrees: 30° where you get a 15° sharpening angle on each side, or 40° divided as 20° on each side. That way, all you have to do is hold the knife vertically and let the sharpener do all the precise work.

The 204MF sharpener also comes with two sets of high alumina ceramic stones. One of the sets is a pair of brownstones with medium grit to quickly sharpen any dull knife. And the other set is a pair of white stones perfect for professional-grade finishing tasks. Each stone is 7 x 0.5 inches in dimensions.

Pros

  • Easy to use with preset sharpening angles
  • Offers two sets of ceramic sharpening stones

Cons

  • Relatively pricey for what it offers

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Benefits of Using a Pocket Knife Sharpener

You probably already know the fact that sharp knives are much safer to use than dull knives because you apply less pressure when trying to cut something. Well, it’s quite the same for pocket knives.

Pocket knives are used on a lot of materials, not just food; it’s very likely that you’ll use your pocket knife when camping or hiking to cut through wood or cardboard. Because of that, pocket knives are likely to get dull quickly when compared to a regular kitchen knife.

Therefore a dull pocket knife isn’t just useless; it’s also dangerous because it’s more likely to slip out of your hand due to applying more and more pressure to actually cut through anything. 

And that’s where a pocket knife sharpener comes into action. Pocket knife sharpeners are usually small in size, so you can easily carry them around. Also, pocket knives’ blades are quite small, so you don’t need large sharpening blades. 

So, not only are pocket knife sharpeners quite necessary, but they’re also convenient and easy to use.

Buying Guide: What Should You Look For in a Pocket Knife Sharpener?

If you’re unsure what to look for in a pocket knife sharpener, here’s an in-depth guide with everything you need to keep in mind before making a final buying decision. So, stick around to learn more.

Materials Used

The most important part of any sharpener is the material of its blades because that’s what makes the difference. There’s no one perfect sharpening material that you need to opt for, as each material has its own purpose and use cases.

For starters, tungsten carbide is incredibly harsh and scrapes off large pieces of metal at a time. That can come in handy when your pocket knife is very dull, and you want a sharpener to quickly bring it back to life. 

But even though this material saves you a lot of time, it also decreases the lifetime of the knife because of how much metal it scrapes off. So, to keep it simple, don’t use tungsten carbide on expensive or high-quality knives.

On the other hand, ceramic is perfect for maintenance and finishing knives to get that razor-sharp blade. As you’d expect, the downside of ceramic rods is that it’ll take you a long time if you’re sharpening a dull knife, so ceramic is better for maintenance or touch-ups.

To get the best of both worlds, find a sharpener that offers both materials or some sort of combination of more than one plate. Make sure one plate is coarse to quickly get the sharpening done, and the other plate is fine to perfect the results of the coarse sharpening plate.

Handle

Sharpening is a process where you’ll need to use your hands to hold the sharpener steady in place. So, make sure you opt for a sharpener with a comfortable handle and some sort of slip resistance.

You’ll be working with incredibly sharp pocket knives, so safety should be your priority, and it all starts in the handle.

Size and Weight

Because you’re seeking a sharpener for a pocket knife, it’s probably safe to assume that the sharpener needs to be lightweight, compact, and portable so you can use it on the go.

You can find sharpeners as small as a pen or a little bigger than that, so keep looking for a compact sharpener that doesn’t take up too much space.

FAQs

What Is the Best Degree to Sharpen a Pocket Knife?

The perfect range of angles to sharpen a pocket knife is anywhere between 25° – 30°. That way, you’ll get a razor-sharp blade that can cut through anything, which is what you need in a pocket knife.

What Is the Best Knife Sharpener for Hunting?

Choosing a knife sharpener for hunting means you need a sharpener that’s portable, lightweight, and with both a coarse and a fine plate to really get you to the razor-level of sharpness. So, any sharpener with these characteristics should be perfect.

Final Verdict

You should now have a clear idea of what to look for in your next pocket knife sharpener. In case you need a memory refresh, here’s a recap of my top three picks and what I like most about each.

First of all, the Work Sharp Guided Field Sharpener is one you can’t go wrong with. It offers a five-step sharpening function, so you can easily get any dull knife to that razor-sharp state very easily.

Secondly, the AccuSharp Knife and Tool Sharpener is another excellent pick for many reasons; the diamond-honed tungsten carbide blades can get any knife from dull to sharp within just a few passes over the sharpener.

Lastly, if you love electric knife sharpeners, the Work Sharp WSKTS-KO-W is the one for you. It’s a very versatile sharpener that you can use for many different tasks, including pocket knife sharpening.

As a knife enthusiast and an aspiring knife maker, I’ve always wondered what the best knife steel is. Do I go for something high-end like the CTS-XHP, or is it better to go with something that’s more widely used, like the 1095? 

As it turns out, you can’t choose one type to rule them all. Each steel has its advantages and disadvantages, and accordingly, each has its uses. However, if you’d like steel with the best edge retention and corrosion resistance, I suggest you go with the CPM S110V steel.

Still, many other types are worth looking into, especially if you’re looking to use or make a knife with a specific function in mind, be it cooking, utility, etc. 

So, that’s why I’ve gathered and listed below 6 of the best knife steels in the market nowadays, as well as a helpful buyer’s guide that’ll help you choose the best knife steel for you. So, let’s dive straight in.

Here Are the Best Knife Steels – Tried & Tested

Below, you’ll find the best knife steel types present within the knife community. All these types will perform well under most conditions, but some are more suited to specific jobs than others. So, read on to know which one will work for your needs.

1. CPM S110V – Best Knife Steel Overall

CPM S100V from USA-based company Crucible is arguably the best knife steel available nowadays. This steel is the top of the top when it comes to its hardness, wear resistance, and edge retention. As such, you won’t find a knife that’ll hold its edge better and longer than one made of CPM S110V steel. 

This steel is chiefly made of carbon, vanadium, and niobium and is categorized as stainless steel as it has more than 13% chromium. As such, it’s got excellent corrosion resistance, which makes it perfect for knives that’ll become in contact with a lot of moisture, such as fishing knives, diving knives, and hunting knives

However, this steel isn’t that great at resisting chipping, so it’s not preferable for EDC (everyday carry) and survival knives that may be used in an aggressive and potentially damaging manner while camping or hiking. Moreover, the CPM S110V is still relatively rare within the marketplace, so it’s not as readily available as other types of steel, and it costs a pretty penny to acquire. 

Additionally, while knives made of this material hold their edge for extended periods, there will eventually come a day when they’ll need to be sharpened. When that happens, you’ll find the task to be highly challenging due to the steel’s high hardness, and it’ll test your patience.

Key Specifications:

  • Chemical composition: 2.8% carbon, 15.25% chromium, 2.25% molybdenum, 9% vanadium, 2.5% cobalt, and 3% niobium
  • Tempering temperature: 200-400°C (400-750°F)
  • Hardness: 63.5 HRC
  • Toughness: Decent resistance to chipping, but not all that great
  • Wear resistance: Top-notch
  • Corrosion resistance: High 
  • Edge retention: Excellent
  • Ease of sharpening: Very hard
  • Machinability: Incredibly hard to machine and grind

Chemical Composition

Composition For CPM S110V
Carbon2.80%
Chromium15.25%
Molybdenum2.25%
Vanadium9%
Cobalt2.50%
Niobium3%

Pros

  • Holds its edge for a long time
  • Extremely hard
  • Has excellent wear and corrosion resistance

Cons

  • Can easily chip away with forceful usage
  • Unpleasant to sharpen
  • Not easily obtainable

Recommended CPM S110V Knife

Spyderco Para 3 CPM S110V Signature Folding Utility Pocket Knife

About this Knife

  • Handle Material: Stainless Steel, Fiberglass
  • Color: Midnight Blue
  • Handle: CPM S110V Steel Blade
  • Blade Material: Stainless Steel
  • Style: Midnight Blue – CPM S110V Steel Blade

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2. CTS-XHP – Best Knife Steel for Moisture Exposure

Application-wise, CTS-XHP is the best knife steel for making kitchen and outdoor knives that come in contact with water due to its high hardness, edge retention, and corrosion resistance.

This high-end stainless steel isn’t that far off from CPM S110V in terms of the above properties. Thankfully, though, it’s considerably easier to sharpen, though it’ll still require some elbow grease.

The CTS-XHP gains these remarkable properties due to its unique manufacturing process (powder metallurgy) and chemical composition, with high amounts of carbon and chromium.

That’s why the CTS-XHP is also known as the high-corrosion resistance D2 steel and the high-hardness 440C steel. However, as you well know by now, the higher the hardness and edge retention are, the more brittle and more prone to chipping the steel will be.

However, if you’re looking for outstanding knife steel that’s more readily available than the CPM S100V, then the CTS-XHP steel from Carpenter will be your best option.

Key Specifications:

  • Chemical composition: 1.6% carbon, 16% chromium, 0.8% molybdenum, 0.5% manganese, 0.4% silicon, 0.45% vanadium, and 0.35% niobium
  • Tempering temperature: min. 204°C (min. 400°F)
  • Hardness: 61-63 HRC
  • Toughness: Decent resistance to chipping, but not high
  • Wear resistance: Excellent
  • Corrosion resistance: Superb 
  • Edge retention: Great
  • Ease of sharpening: Hard
  • Machinability: Not excellent, and also difficult to weld

Chemical Composition

Chemical Composition For CTS-XHP
Carbon1.60%
Chromium16%
Molybdenum0.80%
Manganese0.50%
Silicon0.40%
Vanadium0.45%
Niobium0.35%

Pros

  • Excellent edge retention and will remain sharp for a long time
  • Top-notch corrosion resistance
  • Excellent hardness and wear resistance
  • Easier to come by than the CPM S110V

Cons

  • Hard to weld
  • A bit brittle
  • Generally difficult to sharpen

Recommended CTS-XHP Knife

Spyderco Chaparral Lightweight Prestige Folding Utility Knife

About this Kinfe

  • Handle Material: Fiberglass Reinforced Nylon
  • Color: Gray
  • Blade Material: CTS-XHP Steel
  • Style: Lightweight

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3. CPM S35VN – Best Knife Steel for High-Impact Use

CPM S35VN, also referred to as S35VN, is the go-to metal for high-quality kitchen, survival, and pocket knives.

That’s because this steel’s toughness is so good that it can withstand impacts quite well. Moreover, similar to the CPM S110V and CTS-XHP, it also has excellent edge retention, high hardness, and excellent wear and corrosion resistance due to its high chromium content.

What makes this steel perform so well is the addition of vanadium into its composition. The vanadium increases the steel’s hardness quite a lot, and this, fortunately, leads to better edge retention and wear resistance. 

This steel has an older version called S30V that was a bit hard to work with. This led the manufacturers to look for a way to improve the steel’s machinability. They were able to achieve that by adding niobium into the steel’s composition, and thus, the CPM S35VN was invented. Not only did the machinability improve, but also so did the ease of sharpening and toughness. 

However, the edge retention of S30V is slightly better than that of S35VN, which makes the former steel more popular among knife makers. However, it would be best to base your choice on which property is more critical for your knife to have

Key Specifications:

  • Chemical composition: 1.4% carbon, 14% chromium, 2% molybdenum, 0.1-0.4% nickel, 0.5% manganese, 0.5% silicon, 0.4% tungsten, 0.03% phosphorus, 0.03% sulfur, 0-0.5% cobalt, 3% vanadium, and 0.5% niobium
  • Tempering temperature: 540-550°C (1000-1025°F)
  • Hardness: 58-61 HRC
  • Toughness: Great resistance to chipping
  • Wear resistance: Excellent
  • Corrosion resistance: Great 
  • Edge retention: High
  • Ease of sharpening: Hard but easier than S30V
  • Machinability: Better than S30V

Chemical Composition

Chemical Composition For CPM S35VN
Carbon1.4%
Chromium14%
Molybdenum2%
Nickel0.1-0.4%
Manganese0.5%
Silicon0.5%
Tungsten0.4%
Phosphorus0.03%
Sulfur0.03%
Cobalt0-0.5%
Vanadium 3%
Niobium0.5%

Pros

  • Resists rust and corrosion quite well
  • Easier to sharpen than S30V
  • Can withstand high forces

Cons

  • Reduced edge retention compared to S30V

Recommended CPM-S35VN Knife

Cold Steel Recon 1 Series

About this Knife

  • Handle Material: Fiberglass
  • Color: Tanto Plain Edge
  • Blade Material: CPM-S35VN Steel
  • Style: Recon 1 Series

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4. 154CM – Best Knife Steel for EDC

If you’re a knife enthusiast, then you’ve probably heard of the 440C steel, and you know how good it is. However, you probably also know that it doesn’t have the best edge retention or corrosion resistance, and that’s why the 154CM steel was created. 154CM’s improved qualities are what make this steel stand out for EDC.

It’s the better version of 440C, which is all due to the addition of molybdenum into the metal’s components. Not only does this element increase edge retention, but it also enhances corrosion resistance. As such, any knife made of this steel won’t rust for years, even if it’s not impeccably maintained. 

Therefore, if you want to make or purchase the best hunting knives, best pocket knives, or cutlery, 154CM is the best knife steel for you. While it won’t stay razor sharp for long, it’ll hold a moderately sharp edge for a good while. And once the time for sharpening comes, you won’t have too much difficulty accomplishing the task as long as you have the right tools. 

You should note that there’s a powder metallurgy version of this steel called CPM 154. This version has improved edge retention and toughness, but I would be hard-pressed to report a difference between the two types. 

Key Specifications:

  • Chemical composition: 1.05% carbon, 14% chromium, 4% molybdenum, 0.5% manganese, 0.8% silicon, 0.03% phosphorus, 0.03% sulfur, 0.4% vanadium, and 0.4% tungsten
  • Tempering temperature: 149-232°C (300-450°F) 
  • Hardness: 60-61 HRC
  • Toughness: Notable toughness and high resistance to impacts
  • Wear resistance: Excellent
  • Corrosion resistance: Prominent
  • Edge retention: Great
  • Ease of sharpening: Relatively easy
  • Machinability: Hard to machine due to high carbide volume

Chemical Composition

Chemical Composition For 154CM
Carbon1.05%
Chromium14%
Molybdenum4%
Manganese0.5%
Silicon0.8%
Phosphorus0.03%
Sulfur0.03%
Vanadium0.4%
Tungsten0.4%

Pros

  • Great for EDC, kitchen, fishing, and hunting knives 
  • High corrosion resistance 
  • Holds its edge well
  • Handles heavy use well

Cons

  • Hard to machine

Recommended 154CM Knife

KATSU Folding Pocket Japanese Knife

About this Knife

  • Handle Material: Carbon Fiber
  • Color: Carbon Fiber Handle & 154CM Blade
  • Blade Material: Alloy Steel
  • Style: Carbon Fiber Handle

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5. D2 Stainless Steel – Best Knife Steel for Outdoor Activities

D2 is the best knife steel for making outdoor and utility knives as it’s very durable due to its considerable hardness, wear resistance, and edge retention.

If you want steel that’s a bit harder than the 154CM, then this should be your first pick. This steel falls into the category of tool steels, hard and heat-resistant steel alloys. However, it’s not considered stainless steel as it fails to meet the chromium requirement. As such, it’s sometimes referred to as semi-stainless. 

Nevertheless, it holds its edge better than the 154CM due to its superior hardness. Its edge retention is even comparable to that of the powder steels. 

Unfortunately, it’s not as tough as the 154CM, and it’s also much harder to sharpen. Moreover, it needs regular care and maintenance since its corrosion resistance isn’t the best.

It’s worth noting that if you’re looking to increase the toughness a bit, you can raise the standard tempering temperature to 482°C (900°F). Take care that the hardness will regrettably decrease in this temperature, but it’ll provide you with a much better balance between the two properties. 

Still, this steel is quite popular within the knife community, and any knife made from it is considered high-end.

Key Specifications:

  • Chemical composition: 1.5% carbon, 12% chromium, 0.9% molybdenum, 0.5% manganese, 0.4% silicon, 0.03% phosphorus, 0.02% sulfur, 1.1% vanadium, and 0.35% niobium
  • Tempering temperature: 150-204°C for max. hardness (300-400°F) 
  • Hardness: 55-62 HRC
  • Toughness: Decent resistance to chipping, but not the best
  • Wear resistance: Great
  • Corrosion resistance: Good but not ideal
  • Edge retention: Substantial
  • Ease of sharpening: Hard to sharpen
  • Machinability: Not excellent, and also difficult to weld

Chemical Composition

Chemical Composition For D2
Carbon1.5%
Chromium12%
Molybdenum0.9%
Manganese0.5%
Silicon0.4%
Phosphorus0.03%
Sulfur0.02%
Vanadium1.1%
Niobium0.35%

Pros

  • High wear resistance
  • Stays sharp for extended periods

Cons

  • Painstakingly hard to sharpen
  • Edges will chip and rust if not regularly used and maintained

Recommended D2 Knife

Kershaw Emerson CQC-4KXL Folding Pocket Knife

Key Specifications:

  • Handle Material: G10 Front, 410 Stainless Steel Back
  • Color: 6055D2
  • Blade Material: D2 Stainless Steel
  • Style: CQC-4KXL D2 Frame Lock

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6. 1095 – Best Knife Steel for Heavy Use

1095 is used in survival-based knives that undergo some significant use and abuse. This is mainly because this steel is so resistant to chipping. Moreover, it’s relatively simple to produce and heat-treat and therefore not that hard to find in the market for a reasonable price.

However, the main disadvantage of 1095 steel is its low corrosion resistance due to the lack of chromium. As such, knives made from 1095 have to be coated in order to slow down the eventual corrosion or, at the very least, be treated with a simple oil. This will help make it perform well for longer.

Another aspect to consider is its edge retention that’s only average due to the carbon and manganese mix in its composition.

1095 steel is one of the most popular carbon steels among knife makers, especially beginners. While it may not be the best knife steel type out there when it comes to certain aspects, it still has its uses, and it’s still good enough for most knives.

Key Specifications:

  • Chemical composition: 0.95% carbon, 0.5% manganese, 0.03% phosphorus, and 0.05% sulfur
  • Tempering temperature: 372-705°C (700-1300°F)
  • Hardness: 55 HRC
  • Toughness: Good
  • Wear resistance: Higher than average
  • Corrosion resistance: Low
  • Edge retention: Average
  • Ease of sharpening: Very easy to sharpen
  • Machinability: Not great

Chemical Composition

Chemical Composition For 1095
Carbon0.95%
Manganese0.5%
Phosphorus0.03%
Sulfur0.05%

Pros

  • Inexpensive compared to other types of steel
  • Very tough but has sufficient hardness and good wear resistance
  • Incredibly easy to sharpen

Cons

  • Will easily rust
  • Doesn’t have the best edge retention
  • Not that easy to shape

Recommended 1095 Steel Knife

ESEE-6 Fixed Blade Knife

Key Specifications:

  • Handle Material: Fiberglass
  • Color: Desert Tan Blade, Coyote/Black G10 3D Handle
  • Blade Material: 1095 Steel

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Buying Guide: What to Look for in the Best Knife Steel?

Various characteristics influence how the steel will be; however, the following 5 are the most important when choosing the best steel for a knife. So, let’s take a look at what those properties are, shall we?

Blade Hardness and HRC Ratings

First off, we’ve got the blade hardness. In simple terms, hardness refers to a material’s ability to hold out against deformation under stress. This is different from toughness, which is the ability to resist chipping or cracking when subjected to a sudden impact, such as a fall or a throw. 

As you can probably gather, a material’s hardness is directly proportional to its tensile strength but inversely proportional to its toughness. This means that the more robust and harder the knife is, the less tough it’ll be, i.e., the more prone to cracks it’ll be when subjected to a high impact force. 

Typically, the hardness of knife steels is measured by the Hardness Rockwell C Scale. This scale is based on a specific test that sees how deep of a mark an indenter will make in the metal. 

Accordingly, you’ll find that any steel will have an HRC rating that corresponds to the results of this test, and the higher the rating, the harder the material and vice versa.

As such, if you’re looking for the best knife steel that’s hard enough to survive for a significant amount of time, look for one that has a 60 HRC rating or more.

Sharpening and Serviceability

From my point of view, the most important thing you should look for in a knife is its ease of sharpening. In general, this quality is inversely proportional to hardness, wear resistance, and edge retention. 

Naturally, all knives will eventually dull away, no matter how high-end. Once this occurs, a knife will need to be sharpened as soon as possible to restore its optimum function.

That being so, when you come to choose the best knife steel, you should look for one that’s easy to sharpen, or else you’ll have a hard time restoring your knife’s cutting edge.

One more trait you should look for is a knife steel’s serviceability. This means that the steel should do you well in whatever you need it for. Of course, for this to happen, your knife steel has to match its intended use. Now, what do we mean by this?

To give you an example, carbon steel is typically used for machetes and survival knives that need to be tough, durable as well as easy to sharpen. 

However, carbon steel shouldn’t be used in EDC knives as they tend to rust quite quickly. EDC knives are usually made with stainless steel (and occasionally tool steel) to resist corrosion and deformation. However, the tradeoff here will be the knife toughness.

In a nutshell, for your knife to be serviceable, it should be made of a material that’s capable of doing what you need it to do with little to no trouble. So, choose the metal that’ll work best for you, and it should preferably be easy to sharpen as well.

Edge Retention

Edge retention is the ability of a metal to maintain a sharp edge, aka cutting angle, after use. Generally, chemical, thermal, and mechanical factors can dull the metal’s edges. However, when we come to talk about knives specifically, the mechanical factors are the ones that come to the forefront. 

For instance, repeated use can cause dulling of a knife’s edge. Interestingly, so does infrequent use, but the problem will arise from not using a knife correctly or for something other than its intended purpose.

Now, a knife’s edge retention is determined by many factors, such as the type of steel it’s made of, as well as the edge geometry and how the blade was manufactured. Of course, the better edge retention the knife steel has, the less frequently you’ll have to sharpen your knife. 

However, as nice of a concept as edge retention is, there’s currently no way to assess or measure it accurately. As such, when you find someone talking about the edge retention of a particular metal, know that their assessments are mostly subjective. 

Still, since edge retention negatively correlates to toughness and a positive correlation to hardness and wear resistance, look for a knife with the last two properties so that the edge is hard enough to resist deformation and will not wear away after a handful of uses. 

Corrosion Resistance

Corrosion resistance indicates a metal’s ability to hold out against corrosion, or in simpler terms, rusting. Generally, rust forms when a metal is exposed to factors like moisture, salts, acids, etc. Now, for metals to resist rusting and corrosion, they need to form a superficial oxide layer that’ll protect them from the previous damaging factors.

Accordingly, you need to pick steel with good corrosion resistance, especially if you’re planning on using your knife in areas of high humidity and moisture. 

Stainless steel is usually praised for its corrosion resistance due to its high chromium content. Here, the chromium particles react with the surrounding oxygen to form a chromium oxide layer that protects the blade from corrosion. 

Nevertheless, keep in mind that the more a metal’s corrosion resistance is, the worse its edge performance will be. So, look for a knife with a good balance between the two. 

Grind

The grind you want for your knife will influence the type of steel you’ll choose. A knife grind is what makes the knife thin enough to cut through things. This means that without a proper grind, the blade will get wedged in its target. 

There are various types of grind, but the main four usually used for knives are hollow, flat, convex, and Scandi. Each grind has its advantages and disadvantages, and therefore specific grinds are better applied to suit particular purposes. 

For example, Scandi and convex grinds are ideal for jobs like bushcraft and woodwork as they provide the knife with good strength but still allow it to have a good cutting performance. Meanwhile, hollow grinds are more suited to EDC knives, giving them an excellent appearance but making their edges more vulnerable. 

Alternatively, flat grinds are excellent for kitchen knives as they’re much stronger and easy to produce, but they’re thicker than a hollow grind, and they’ll continue to get thicker the more you sharpen them. 

The critical point here is that not all grind types can be applied to any steel type.

To clarify, if you want your knife to have an extremely thin grind, the knife steel has to have sufficient hardness to support that grind. Alternatively, if you don’t need that thin of a grind, but you need the knife to be able to withstand some impact forces, then the steel shouldn’t be too hard, or else it’ll crack. 

Again, the key is finding a balance between the two qualities and choosing the correct grind for the metal type.

Verdict

We’ve covered 6 of the best knife steels out there and what we can conclude with is that, to make a good knife, its metal needs to have a good balance between edge retention, hardness, ease of sharpening, corrosion resistance, and toughness. So, just because one type of steel has a higher hardness or wear resistance than another, we can’t say that it’s the best.

Nevertheless, if you’re looking for a knife that’ll maintain its sharp edge for a long time, then I highly recommend looking for ones made from the CPM S110V, closely followed by the CTS-XHP and the CPM S35VN. They all have excellent edge retention and corrosion resistance, so they’ll all make high-quality, durable knives that’ll last you a long time.

If you’re looking for something best for heavy use, then 154CM is the way to go. With its superior resistance to chipping, this steel will withstand what you throw at it.

Make sure to check our other reviews and buying guides: 

and more!

Bokashi knives are standing out in the industry with their innovative designs, unique handcrafting, and relentless care. This is impressive when you consider that Bokashi Steel has only been around since 2013.

Bokashi knives use low-temperature tempering to enhance the crystal structure of the steel and elevate its sturdiness.

If you want to cut to the chase, BOKASHI STEEL Chef’s Slicing Knife is arguably the best Bokashi Knife you can get. It’s an excellent addition to your kitchen utensils, and you can read along to learn why.

In this article, you can read about the top 3 Bokashi Steel knives, who should purchase them, why they should buy them, and more.

This guide is based on a meticulous research and selection process that we’ve conducted, having taken into consideration the crucial features and the common complaints that knife geeks and beginners have. So, tag along if you don’t want to miss out!

What Is Bokashi Steel?

What Is Bokashi Steel

Bokashi Steel is a knife-making company that was established in 2013. It manufactures chef’s knives, knife sets, fillet knives, sharpening tools, knife rollers, aprons, and other products.

The goal of Bokashi Steel is to enhance the cooking experience of chefs and cooking enthusiasts with Damascus knives at reasonable prices.

This vision is evident in its manufacturing process. Bokashi knives are designed in Japanese tradition. The company imports the steel blades from Japan to China, a knife-making hub. This is where the assembly of the knife parts happens. Bokashi Steel handcrafts every piece to ensure top-notch quality.

Here Are the Bokashi Knives – Tried & Tested

1. BOKASHI STEEL Chef’s Slicing Knife

BOKASHI STEEL Chef’s Slicing Knife

Key Specifications

  • Item Dimensions: 15.5×3.5×1.25 inches
  • Item Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Blade Materials: Hand-Crafted AUS-10V 45 Layers
  • Blade Edge: Plain

As a slicing knife, the BOKASHI STEEL Chef’s Slicing Knife razor-sharp edge allows you to cut through fruits and meat. Its design preserves that edge so that it’ll be a long time before you need to sharpen it. And you’ll find honing super easy!

Furthermore, the knife is forged according to Japanese tradition and is handmade from stainless steel, AUS-10V 45 layers, to be exact. This metal is a highly refined, high-carbon, vanadium type of stainless steel.

The high-carbon content gives the Bokashi Steel knife incredible strength and durability. It also contributes to its ease of sharpening. Also, the vanadium and stainless steel layer decreases the risk of corrosion and increases the overall lifespan of the knife.

In addition, this knife’s brown Pakka wood handle is ergonomic and easy to control. Of course, it helps that the impressively wide blade makes for a larger surface error, which means you get to slice slippery food items easily.

Moreover, the wide blade gives you an additional push to tackle challenging meat pieces. Not to mention, its light weight of 1.1 pounds makes it even easier to control the knife without hurting your wrist.

If we were nitpicking, we’d say that the metal line that runs through the handle might slightly undermine the comfort of this knife with extended use.

Pros

  • Has an incredibly sharp blade that can slice through fruits and meat easily
  • Easy to sharpen
  • Made of sturdy and durable stainless steel
  • Resists corrosion because of the stainless steel layer
  • Has a high lifespan
  • Ergonomic handle for optimal control
  • Lightweight knife

Cons

  • The handle’s metal line might cause slight discomfort with extended use

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2. BOKASHI STEEL Chef’s Knife

BOKASHI STEEL Chef’s Knife

Key Specifications

  • Item Dimensions: 15.5x4x1.5 inches
  • Item Weight: 1.25 pounds
  • Blade Materials: Hand-Crafted AUS-10V 45 Layers
  • Blade Edge: Plain

BOKASHI STEEL Chef’s Knife is the knife you want for general kitchen usage. It’s created using the traditional Japanese methods as part of the Kasai collection. The knife features a 6-inch blade with a full tang design and unique scorching patterns that display the artistry that went into creating the knife.

You’ll find that its blade is made of pakkawood, much like our previous Bokashi knife. It’s sharp enough for smooth cutting. It’s made of handcrafted AUS-10V 45 layers. Its unbelievable durability is also a valuable feature, which is the work of the AUS-10 steel. After all, this steel type is probably the strongest kind in the AUS series.

As we’ve said, stainless steel is highly refined high-carbon and vanadium, ensuring high performance and impressive balance. Also, the vanadium and stainless steel reduce and elongate the knife’s lifespan.

Even the knife’s sharpness will last long, meaning that you’ll only have to sharpen it every several uses. And it’ll be so easy to hone. The blade is so wide that you get a significant surface error, giving your wrist more control. It’s even much wider than the previous slicing knife’s blade.

As for how lightweight the knife is, it isn’t heavy by any means. It’s, however, heavier than the Bokashi slicing knife, weighing 1.25 pounds.

Pros

  • Excellent for general kitchen use
  • Highly sharp blade for smooth cutting
  • Unbelievable durability with AUS-10 steel
  • Yields high performance and balance
  • Has a long lifespan
  • Unlikely to corrode
  • Easy to sharpen
  • Very wide blade to ensure more control

Cons

  • Not as light as other knives from Bokashi

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3. BOKASHI STEEL Set of 4 Serrated Steak Knives

BOKASHI STEEL Set of 4 Serrated Steak Knives

Key Specifications

  • Item Dimensions: 11.14×7.17×1.18 inches
  • Item Weight: 2.05 pounds
  • Blade Materials: Hand-Crafted AUS-10V 45 Layers
  • Blade Edge: Serrated

Do you want a complete set of 5-inch quality knives? The BOKASHI STEEL Set of 4 Serrated Steak Knives might be what you’re looking for. It’s probably the ideal knife set and has the perfect measurements for meat cutting.

Like other Bokashi knives in the Kasai series, they’re manufactured of AUS-10V 45 layers. Accordingly, the blades are of maximum performance, strength, and durability, and you can use them to cut through tough chunks of meat.

As for the control, you won’t be disappointed with the precise control these knives offer you. Like our former picks, the wide blade gives you a larger surface error, maximizing control, support, and durability. We also appreciate the comfort that the pakkawood handles offer us.

Speaking of durability, the knives are forged using vanadium reinforced, German-sourced stainless steel in the Japanese tradition, and we can’t forget the vacuum treatment of the steel. With such construction material, your knives will last long. So, they won’t suffer any corrosion with heavy use for quite some time.

Moreover, you’ll find that the serrated blades remain sharp for long. And when they need sharpening, that’ll be easy, which is uncommon in serrated blades. With such optimal quality, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that this set of 4 knives isn’t cheap, but we believe it makes for a good investment.

Pros

  • Excellent at cutting tough chunks of meat
  • Offers precise control
  • Features comfortable pakkawood handles
  • Long-lasting
  • Blades remain sharp for long
  • Easy to hone

Cons

  • On the pricey side

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What to Expect From Bokashi Knives?

We’ve already discussed the features of Bokashi knives in depth, so here are some additional perks for investing in Bokashi knives.

Firstly, the 100% satisfaction guarantee, also known as the money-back guarantee, ensures that your purchase is risk-free. Your knife isn’t what you’d hoped it’d be? Just return it! Just be sure not to use the knife to be refunded for the purchase via the same payment method within 10 to 20 business days.

Secondly, the lifetime warranty also speaks volumes about Bokashi Steel. It only shows how confident the brand is in its knives, knowing that they’ll remain undamaged, sharp, and without corrosion for an extended period. So, if you encounter any manufacturing defects in the year following your purchase, you can return the knife.

Thirdly, Bokashi Steel knives arrive in luxury packaging. So, you’ll know you’re investing in quality knives.

Fourthly, the knives are manufactured according to Japanese tradition. Bokashi Steel uses low-tempering to create the knives, which means better steel and razor-sharp blades.

Verdict

Ultimately, Bokashi knives can make the perfect addition to your knife set! You can choose one according to your specific use. Our favorite is probably the BOKASHI STEEL Chef’s Slicing Knife, which can cut through fruits and meat smoothly, allowing you optimal control. So, don’t waste a minute, and order your Bokashi knife, now!

When you’re new to knife making, the number of tools and components that go into the process can be overwhelming.

Even if you’ve been reading on knife making for a while, it’s hard to apply this knowledge practically if you have no previous experience, and you’ll likely find yourself looking for help.

And that’s why we like to help our clients with the process like we did in our guide on making a knife, our roundup of the best forge, and more. And in this article, we’ll talk about one of the essential components of the process, and that’s steel.

To start, we tried various steel types and shortlisted the six we’ve had the best experience with.

We favored the 1084 knife steel due to its easy heat treatment. However, your situation might differ from ours, so follow along as we review the best steel for knife making!

Here Are the Best Steels for Beginner Knife Makers – Tried & Tested

1. Knife Steel 1084 – Best Overall

Knife Steel 1084

Key Specifications:

  • Rockwell Hardness: 50 HRC at 650°F (343°C) to 65 HRC at 300°F (149°C)
  • Toughness: Average to high
  • Wear Resistance: Depends on heat treatment
  • Edge Retention: High
  • Corrosion Resistance: Low
  • Sharpening: Easy

Knife steel 1084 is one of the most popular types of knife making steel, and every knife maker has probably come across it at least once. It’s also often known as the beginner’s steel, but what warrants it this name?

First, knife steel 1084 contains a lot of carbon and is one of the simpler steels in terms of composition, and it’s widely available in stores, and you can easily find it online also.

Moreover, the simple composition means that 1084 steel is very forgiving with heat treatment, which is ideal for beginners since heat treatment is a complicated process to nail down at first.

The downside of the 1084’s simplicity is that it’s not as strong or tough as other popular types of steel. It’s also not very resistant to corrosion, so you’ll need to take care of your blade and oil it often.

However, the trade-offs are worth it for beginners, in our opinion, since the 1084’s forgiveness will make your life a lot easier.

Composition

Carbon0.8-0.93%
Manganese0.6-0.9%
Silicon0.5%
Phosphorus0.05%
Sulfur0.04%

Pros

  • Beginner-friendly
  • Affordable and readily available
  • Forgiving heat treatment process
  • High toughness and edge retention
  • Allows you to adjust hardness and wear resistance
  • Easy to sharpen

Cons

  • High carbon content making it relatively soft
  • Low corrosion resistance

Bottom Line

Often dubbed the beginner’s steel, 1084 is an excellent choice for beginner knife makers since it’s relatively easy to work with, cheap, and easy to find.

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2. 1095 Steel – Best Soft Steel

1095 Steel

Key Specifications:

  • Rockwell Hardness: 55 HRC, can reach 58 HRC
  • Toughness: High
  • Wear Resistance: Low to average
  • Edge Retention: High
  • Corrosion Resistance: Very low
  • Sharpening: Easy

1095 knife steel has a rich history due to its popularity, simplicity, and effectiveness.

And although 1095 steel is a bit harder to handle than 1084 for beginners, it’s still a good choice since it’s not very challenging. Plus, you should know it either way since it’s so popular!

You can tell that 1095 steel has a high carbon content by the 95 in its name, which refers to 0.95% carbon. Some metallurgists even produce it with up to 1.03% carbon, which is relatively high.

The high carbon content means the blade turns out softer but, in turn, is tougher and retains its sharp edge for long periods.

However, the relatively low hardness means the blade isn’t as wear-resistant as other popular types of steel, but it should still withstand outdoor use for a while.

Still, 1095 is a great choice, and you should consider it if you’re looking for soft steel.

Composition

Carbon0.95-1.03%
Manganese0.5%
Sulfur0.4%
Phosphorus0.3-0.04%

Pros

  • Very popular and widespread
  • Relatively easy to work with
  • High carbon content increasing toughness
  • Great edge retention
  • Easy to sharpen

Cons

  • Relatively low wear resistance
  • Will quickly rust if not coated properly or cleaned frequently

Bottom Line

1095 knife steel is an old and popular type of steel that’s often used for blades that need to be sharp for long periods. It’s also a good choice for beginners looking for soft steel to work with, though it’s a bit harder to work with than 1084 steel.

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3. W2 Steel – Best Hard Steel

W2 Steel

Key Specifications:

  • Rockwell Hardness: 62-65 HRC
  • Toughness: Low to average
  • Wear Resistance: High
  • Edge Retention: High
  • Corrosion Resistance: Low
  • Sharpening: Difficult

W2 belongs to the water-hardening tool steel (W) family, characterized by the high carbon content, often exceeding 1%, which adds strength to the blade.

Generally, steels with high carbon content are heralded for their incredible hardness, and the W2 is no different as it can reach 65 HRC, which is extremely high for a knife blade.

Of course, the downside of having such a hard blade is that it’s generally more brittle and a bit harder to work with and sharpen. However, metallurgists often add molybdenum to increase the steel’s toughness.

Either way, if you’re looking for a hard blade that can retain a sharp edge for a while and can withstand wear and tear, then W2 is a good pick.

Composition

Carbon1.15%
Manganese0.25%
Silicon0.25%
Copper0.2%
Nickel0.2%
Chromium0.15%
Tungsten0.15%
Vanadium0.15%
Molybdenum0.1%
Sulfur0.025%

Pros

  • Very hard type of steel
  • Good wear resistance
  • Good edge retention
  • Excellent for larger knives

Cons

  • Low corrosion resistance
  • Low toughness
  • Somewhat harder to sharpen

Bottom Line

If your focus is on hardness, wear resistance, and edge retention, consider W2 knife steel, as it boasts incredibly high hardness rates of 62-65 HRC.

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4. Knife Steel 80CRV2 – Best for Small Knives

Knife Steel 80CRV2

Key Specifications:

  • Rockwell Hardness: 55-57 HRC
  • Toughness: High
  • Wear Resistance: Average
  • Edge Retention: Depends on heat treatment
  • Corrosion Resistance: Low
  • Sharpening: Easy

In a way, we can compare 80CRV2 steel to several other types that share some of its properties, such as 1084 and stainless steel.

80CRV2 is similar to 1084 in its high carbon content and low alloy structure. The two types are 0.85% and 0.84% carbon, respectively.

However, 80CRV2 has a more complex composition and, more importantly, contains vanadium (the V in its name), which improves the steel’s hardenability and wear resistance.

Also, 80CRV2 has a low chromium content of about 0.6% (in most cases), so we can’t consider it stainless steel either. So instead, we consider it a carbon steel alloy. In comparison, stainless steels typically have 12-18% chromium, at minimum.

With a Rockwell hardness rating of 55-57 HRC, the 80CRV2 isn’t the hardest steel on the market. However, it’s not a terribly low rating either, and the steel makes up for this by being tough, reliable, and balanced.

In our opinion, this makes the 80CRV2 steel excellent for making smaller knives for lighter use.

The downside with this steel is that it can’t resist rust, and you’ll need to use an anti-corrosive coating to keep the blade clean.

Composition

Carbon0.85%
Chromium0.6%
Manganese0.5%
Nickel0.4%
Silicon0.3%
Sulfur0.3%
Vanadium0.25%
Molybdenum0.1%
Phosphorus0.025%

Pros

  • Great for smaller, light use knives
  • Great toughness
  • Good balance between hardness and toughness

Cons

  • Low corrosion resistance

Bottom Line

Due to the relatively low hardness rating of 80CRV2 steel, we believe it’s best suited for smaller knives and light use since it’s very tough.

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5. Small Parts 54305 O1 Tool Steel Sheet – Best for Error-Prone Users

Small Parts 54305 O1 Tool Steel Sheet

Key Specifications:

  • Rockwell Hardness: 57-58 HRC
  • Toughness: High
  • Wear Resistance: Average
  • Edge Retention: High
  • Corrosion Resistance: Low to average
  • Sharpness: Easy

If you’re looking for steel with a slightly different heat treatment process that uses oil instead of water, check out O1 tool steel.

Oil hardening can differ a bit from water in that it allows you to use relatively low temperatures in the process and add more dimensional stability to your final product.

Also, what sets O1 tool steel apart from other popular types is its high manganese content. If you recall the other types we’ve covered so far, none of them exceeded 1% manganese content. But O1 trumps that with 1.2%, sometimes reaching 1.4%.

This high manganese rate increases the steel’s hardness. But with that, brittleness increases, so nickel is used in a small quantity to try and offset that.

One of our favorite traits of O1 tool steel is that it slows down the machining process. So if you’re the error-prone type and have made mistakes during that process in the past, you’ll like O1 steel as it gives you more time to correct your errors before it’s too late.

Composition

Manganese1.2-1.4%
Carbon0.95-1%
Chromium0.5%
Tungsten0.5%
Silicon0.4%
Phosphorus0.3%
Vanadium0.2%
Sulfur0.03%

Pros

  • Good balance between hardness and toughness
  • Good edge retention
  • Gives some leeway to error-prone users

Cons

  • Relatively low corrosion resistance
  • Not the best wear resistance

Bottom Line

What stands out in O1 tool steel is how it acts as an inhibitor during the machining process, slowing it down. This makes it an excellent pick for users who tend to make mistakes or slight miscalculations since you’ll have some time to fix your errors.

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6. 440C Stainless Steel – Best for Corrosion Resistance

440C Stainless Steel

Key Specifications:

  • Rockwell Hardness: 58-60 HRC
  • Toughness: Average
  • Wear Resistance: High
  • Edge Retention: High
  • Corrosion Resistance: High
  • Sharpness: Somewhat difficult

The 4xx family, specifically the 440 subfamily, may not be the oldest in the world of knife steel. However, there was a time when it was among the most popular types in the States since knife makers at the time popularized it.

440C steel is high carbon steel and also a type of stainless steel, boasting an incredible 17% chromium in its composition. This makes 440C a great anti-corrosive steel as well.

And with a high carbon content of 1.1%, 440C gets a relatively high hardness rating of 58-60 HRC, depending on the heat treatment process. Because of this hardness, 440C is great at wear resistance and edge retention.

However, as the inverse relationship between hardness and toughness is natural, high hardness means you must sacrifice some toughness. But fortunately, smart metallurgists often offset this with a decent amount of molybdenum to add some toughness to the steel.

Overall, what stands out the most in 440C steel is its corrosion resistance ability.

Composition

Chromium17%
Carbon1.1%
Manganese0.8%
Molybdenum0.7%
Silicon0.5%
Phosphorus0.2%
Sulfur0.02%

Pros

  • Great corrosion resistance
  • High hardness
  • Good wear resistance and edge retention
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Only decent toughness
  • Hard to sharpen

Bottom Line

440C is on the harder side of things as it can reach up to 60 HRC. However, despite this high hardness rating, its high molybdenum content adds extra toughness, and the 17% of chromium adds a lot of corrosion resistance.

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Buying Guide: What Should a Beginner Knife Maker Look For in a Steel?

What Should a Beginner Knife Maker Look For in a Steel?

No one type of steel stands out as the one-size-fits-all of knife making. So before you go out for some knife steel shopping, here are five traits you should look for before making a purchase.

Hardness

Hardness refers to the material’s ability to resist damage from other materials without getting permanently deformed, and it’s often measured using the Rockwell hardness scale. Steel hardness is precisely measured using the Rockwell C scale, or HRC for short.

For reference, soft steels are around 45 HRC, while harder steels are closer to the 58-62 mark.

You may think the best knife is one with an exorbitantly high Rockwell hardness rating, such as 65 HRC. However, harder steels are more difficult to sharpen and more brittle. So although they may retain their sharpness for more extended periods, they’re susceptible to wear and tear.

On the other hand, softer steels can be easier to sharpen, but they tend to dull faster than their hard counterparts, so they require frequent sharpening and honing.

The trick here is to find the sweet spot on the Rockwell scale that fits your needs.

Toughness

When you first hear about toughness, it may sound like it’s the same thing as hardness, but it isn’t, though toughness and hardness are often inversely related to each other.

Toughness refers to the steel’s ability to resist chipping or cracking upon sudden impact. Therefore, a tougher blade can remain in shape for longer since it won’t chip away easily when you’re using it.

Wear Resistance

Wear resistance is related to hardness since it refers to the steel’s ability to resist abrasive damage, such as cutting, which is normal and a part of everyday knife use.

Even if you don’t use your knife for heavy applications every day, it’ll still wear down with time, as things often do. But you can prolong your blade’s “longevity” (so to speak) using a more wear-resistant steel type.

However, just like hardness, wear resistance is often inversely related to toughness, so you should look for a balance between all of these.

Edge Retention

Most of the time, a knife is as useful as its blade is sharp. After all, why own a knife if it doesn’t have a sharp edge that you can use to cut things?

For instance, a knife may look fancy and dandy at first glance, but it becomes dull when you use it for a while. And that’s why you should look out for edge retention in steel.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a defined standard measure for edge retention in steel, so you’ll have to spend more time studying the materials themselves.

Corrosion Resistance

Steel is essentially an alloy consisting of iron, carbon, and possibly other metals.

However, steel’s composition is mostly iron, which is notorious for oxidizing, rusting, and corroding if you leave it exposed in certain conditions, such as moisture, or if you don’t clean it frequently enough.

To fight this problem, you can use a type of steel with anti-corrosive properties. But unfortunately, anti-corrosive elements are notoriously brittle (relative to other knife making steels), so you’d be sacrificing strength and wear resistance in favor of corrosion resistance.

In the end, it depends on your situation. If you need a tough knife that can withstand damage, then be ready to clean your blade frequently and keep it away from moisture.

However, if you’re not going to be using your knife for heavy-grade work, you can consider picking a more anti-corrosive, softer steel, such as stainless steel.

FAQs

What Steel Is Good for Beginner Knife Making?

1075, 1080, and 1084 steels are often considered the best types of steel for beginner knife makers since they’re all reasonably easy to heat-treat and don’t require advanced tools.

Moreover, many beginners look for these types because they’re cheap and abundant in stores.

Is 1095 Steel Good for Beginner Knife Makers?

Despite being one of the most popular steels for knife making, 1095 steel isn’t the best choice for beginners since it isn’t as forgiving as the 1075 or 1084, particularly when it comes to heat treatment.

What Thickness Steel Should I Use for Knife Making?

As a beginner, you should aim for a blade thickness of ⅛ inch (3.175 mm) or less, as any more than that would be difficult to grind, especially with limited equipment.

Can You Use Cold Rolled Steel to Make Knives?

Most cold rolled steel has too little carbon to make a good knife blade. However, you can find some cold rolled steel types that can, but be careful as they’re much less forgiving with heat treatment than other popular types of steel.

Verdict

We’ll wrap up here with our guide on the best steel for beginner knife makers.

To quickly recap, there isn’t a single type that stands out as the best since your situation will dictate the type you should use. However, as a beginner, we recommend 1084 knife steel, often dubbed the beginner’s steel, as it’s the most forgiving when it comes to heat treatment, and it’s pretty cheap and abundant in stores.

If you’d like soft steel to start with, check out the 1084’s sibling, 1095 steel, which sets itself apart with its high carbon content, moderate hardness rating, and very high toughness.

However, if hard steel is what you’re after, then there’s W2 steel, which has a complex composition that gives it an incredibly high hardness rating at the cost of lower toughness.

When making a knife as a beginner, one of the things that might confuse you the most is the sheer number of different ways you can approach this process.

For instance, some knifemakers like to start with a stock steel sheet, while others prefer to buy forged blade-shaped steel to save time.

In this article, we’ll focus on the latter of these tools: belt grinders, which are a fan favorite among many knifemakers, and you might have seen them before on your learning journey.

Just like you have to pick the best gas forge or best anvil, you need to do your research to find the best belt grinder for knife making, and that’s where I come in! I have been a knife enthusiast all my adult life, and I’ve been making and reviewing knives in my free time for over a decade. 

In my experience as a knife maker, I found the JET J-4002 to be the best overall belt grinder. But you might be looking for something else, so stick around for this in-depth review of the six best belt grinders on the market. 

What Is a Belt Grinder Used For?

Belt grinders are (as their name suggests) primarily used to grind steel, specifically the steel of the knife’s blade.

So, knifemakers use belt grinders to shape the knife’s bevel and outline the knife shape on the blade.

Note that belt grinders aren’t the universal tool that everyone uses to grind steel. Some people prefer to use bench grinders or grinding wheels, and it’s completely up to your preference.

But whatever you pick, you should ensure that your grinding tool can effectively grind your steel in a reasonable time.

Also, when making a choice, you should look for a machine and belt that can survive several grindings without dulling. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself buying several belts to make a single blade, which is a waste of resources.

Some knifemakers also use their belt grinders to shape handles, rivets, or other hard objects in their workshop, so a good belt is a must to keep expenses as low as possible. 

How Does a Belt Grinder Work?

How Does a Belt Grinder Work

To understand how a belt grinder works, you need to know how the components that make up the machine work together. So let’s break it down.

The Frame

Belt grinder frames are simple, but they serve a vital role in the knifemaking process, and that’s stabilization.

When you’re grinding a piece of metal against a rapidly-moving surface, the whole machine tends to vibrate erratically, which we call chatter. It’s hard to craft a blade to your liking when there’s a lot of chatter since it causes you to lose a lot of precision.

Manufacturers try to offset this chatter by making the grinder’s frame larger and more rigid to achieve more stability and accuracy.

The Motor

Once you have a frame with a grinding belt, you need it to rotate rapidly, and that’s where motors come in.

You need a relatively powerful motor that can power up the other parts and move the belt rapidly enough for the grinding process to be efficient. And that’s why good grinders usually have 1-2 horsepower motors, and some knifemakers prefer it to be even more than that!

However, as a beginner or an amateur, you might be comfortable with something less powerful in the ⅓ to ½ horsepower range.

But more important than the motor’s horsepower is its quality.

Since knifemaking can get pretty messy, you need a motor that can withstand all the grit and debris flying around in your workshop without getting fried. And while cheap grinders can endure that for a while, they likely won’t last long.

Once again, though, this might suit your needs as a learner since you’re still getting used to how things work, and you might not want to learn on the best Leeson grinder on the market. And that’s completely fine if it serves your needs.

The Wheels

Once you have a frame with a grinding belt and a motor, you need a way to deliver power to the belt and get things moving. The way belt grinders achieve this is by using multiple wheels arranged in a specific manner.

The most critical wheel in all belt grinders is the drive wheel, which connects the motor to the belt. Once the motor is on, it powers the drive wheel to rotate, which moves the belt in a loop.

You might also see a tracking wheel on a belt grinder, which allows you to fix the axis angle of the grinder during operation to prevent the belt from falling off the machine.

If you can inspect the belt grinder in person before buying it, I recommend you try the tracking wheel (or the device in general) to ensure that it works consistently and efficiently.

Another wheel you might see in some grinding belts is the idler’s wheel, which supports the belt.

What Type of Grinder Is Best for Knife Making?

Belt grinders are mostly compared based on size, and this size is measured in inches according to the width and length of the belts they support.

The industry standard for knifemaking is the 2×72-inch belt grinder. This size is by far the most common in North America since most belt grinder manufacturers know it’s standard and produce it in large quantities.

And while 72 inches might sound like too much length, they’re optimal for heavy use as the wear gets thinned out across so much surface area, allowing the belts to last longer. Thus, 2×72 is a perfect size for professional knifemakers.

The biggest problem with 2×72 belt grinders, though, is their size. If you’re just starting with knifemaking, or are a hobbyist who makes knives every now and then, then 2×72 might not be worth the hefty price tag or the large space it’ll occupy.

In that case, you can consider a smaller belt grinder, such as 1×30, 1×42, 2×42, 2×48, or even 4×36.

Here Are the Best Belt Grinder for Knife Making – Tried & Tested

1. JET J-4002 – Best Overall

JET J-4002

Key Specifications:

  • Belt Size: 1×42 inches
  • Motor Size: ⅓ hp
  • Speed: 3,000 SFPM
  • Weight: 63 lbs

The JET J-4002 isn’t necessarily a budget belt grinder, but it also isn’t as expensive as to be called a mid-range or a high-end machine. Therefore, I believe its price is very reasonable considering the features it provides.

For starters, the ⅓ hp motor turns at 1,725 RPM to power a 3,000 SFPM belt, which is an excellent speed for amateur knifemakers, and it produces good results. Unfortunately, though, this means the motor is often sweating power to the belt, so it tends to make a loud noise.

Moreover, the J-4002 is made of cast iron, and I could tell it’s high-quality just from using it the first time.

The J-4002 also comes with a handy disc sander that helps you finish off your products nicely, which is always a plus in my book!

Pros

  • Good speed
  • Lightweight but not unstable
  • Has a disc sander
  • Good price

Cons

  • A bit loud

The Bottom Line

The J-4002 offers more than enough features to lure hobbyist knifemakers and enthusiasts alike for its price tag; it’s an overall balanced grinder that performs well. 

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2. Kalamazoo 1SM 1 inch – Best for Light Use

Kalamazoo 1SM 1 inch

Key Specifications:

  • Belt Size: 1×42 inches
  • Motor Size: ⅓ hp
  • Speed: 1,800 SFPM
  • Weight: 32 lbs

Generally speaking, the biggest downside to belt grinders is their prices, as a good belt grinder can easily cost you thousands of dollars. But don’t worry, the Kalamazoo 1SM 1″ is here to break down this barrier and give knifemakers the perfect budget solution.

Despite being a relatively cheap belt grinder with a simple design, the 1SM holds up well in terms of features and what it allows you to do.

The 1SM uses two wheels to rotate the belt: a drive wheel at the bottom and an idler wheel at the top. And instead of the tracking wheel, the 1SM has a knob on the side that allows you to adjust tracking.

Beginners will really like this grinder because of its convenient packaging; it has very minimal installation, and you can pretty much use it right out of the package.

Just remember that the 1SM is only suitable for light work as it runs at a humble 1800 SFPM with a ⅓ hp motor.

Pros

  • Affordable price tag
  • Has a work table
  • Very simple installation

Cons

  • Only suitable for light use

The Bottom Line

If you’re a beginner or a hobbyist looking for an affordable belt grinder for some light work, you should consider the Kalamazoo 1SM 1″. It’ll definitely fit your budget while still getting the job done.

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3. WEN 6502 – Best Multipurpose Grinder

WEN 6502

Key Specifications:

  • Belt Size: 4×36 inches
  • Motor Size: ½ hp
  • Speed: 1,900 SFPM
  • Weight: 38.6 lbs

The most interesting thing about the WEN 6502 is that it has two sanding platforms, a belt, and a disc. Better yet, this duality comes at a very affordable price.

The disc sander is designed for sanding and smoothing jagged edges, small cracks, or splinters off woodworks or other materials, so it can’t necessarily handle knives, steel, or blades. However, it’s handy when making a handle or other parts of the knife.

Besides, you still have the 4×36 belt on the top of the grinder, which you can use to grind your blades. You can even adjust the belt’s angle to suit your posture, and it rotates up to 90 degrees. 

There’s also a tracking knob near one end of the belt and some work support on the other end, so it gives you some nifty tools for knifemaking. And although its speed might leave something to be desired, this is still a great affordable, multipurpose option. 

Pros

  • Has a disc sander useful for miscellaneous applications
  • Adjustable grinding belt
  • Good price

Cons

  • Somewhat slow belt speed
  • Not designed exclusively for knifemaking

The Bottom Line

Because of the combination of a belt grinder and disc sander, the WEN 6502T is excellent for multipurpose knife making, especially if you have a cool handle design that you’d like to make yourself.

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4. Happybuy 2Hp – Best for Stability

Happybuy 2Hp

Key Specifications:

  • Belt Size: 2×82 inches, and accepts 2×72-inch belts
  • Motor Size: 2 hp
  • Speed: 2800 RPM
  • Weight: 182.6 lbs

When I think of belt grinders, I often think of longevity. And the Happybuy’s 2Hp belt grinder definitely delivers on that front.

The 2Hp grinder is made of high-quality materials that considerably extend its lifetime. For example, the drive, contact, and tracking wheels are solid aluminum, and the worktable is very solid.

As for grinding, this model undoubtedly stands out. Since the Happybuy 2hp grinder is so massive, it’s stable in a way you won’t see too often in other beginner-friendly grinders, making knifemaking a more enjoyable experience.

Tracking isn’t an issue here either. When the belt starts going out of line, you can use the tracking wheel to fix it right away.

The only problem I noticed is that this grinder runs at a constant speed that isn’t really fast enough to match its other features. However, this speed is still good enough for most people, so it’s an overall great machine.

Key Specifications:

Pros

  • Made of quality materials
  • Very stable
  • Powerful motor
  • Can be adjusted for 2×72 belts

Cons

  • Underwhelming speed
  • Weighs about as much as an adult person

The Bottom Line

The massive size of the Happybuy 2Hp belt grinder makes it an incredibly stable machine to work with, which equals accurate results and good-looking knives. So, if you have the space to spare, definitely go for this one.

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5. Palmgren 2 inch x 42 inch Belt – Best for Beginners

Palmgren 2 inch x 42 inch Belt

Key Specifications:

  • Belt Size: 2×42 inches 
  • Motor Size: ⅓ hp
  • Speed: 4,400 SFPM
  • Weight: 35 lbs

One of the most beginner-friendly belt grinders I found was the Palmgren 2″ x 42″ Belt, a popular pick among beginners and new hobbyists.

To clarify some confusion, this model is also made by other manufacturers such as Dayton, Craftsman, and Norse. I tried Palmgren’s model for this review, but they’re all essentially the same thing.

Despite the ⅓ hp motor, it turns at about 3,500 RPM, which moves the belt at an incredible 4,400 SFPM, which is fast for this caliber.

Moreover, the Palmgren 2×42 has a 6-inch-radius disc sander beside the motor, which is excellent for grinding bevels and other items in your workshop.

These features, which come at an affordable price, make the Palmgren 2×42 an excellent choice for beginners eager to work with a fast grinder.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Fast belt speed
  • Has a disc grinder
  • Tracking wheel works very well

Cons

  • Lightweight so it produces a bit of chatter
  • Comes with a subpar work table, but that’s replaceable

The Bottom Line

Despite its affordable price tag, the Palmgren 2″ x 42″ Belt performs well at a high belt speed and comes with a handy disc grinder, making the machine a great first grinder for beginners.

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6. Grizzly Industrial G1015 – Budget 2×72 Pick

Grizzly Industrial G1015

Key Specifications:

  • Belt Size: 2×72 inches, extendible to 2×76 inches
  • Motor Size: 1 hp
  • Speed: 3,600 SFPM
  • Weight: 60 lbs

When I talked about belt sizes above, I mentioned how 2×72 are the industry standard and that most people who opt for smaller belt grinders do so because they’re limited by budget.

But with the Grizzly Industrial G1015, you get a 2×72 belt grinder at a very reasonable price compared to its competitors. But how does it fare?

While the G1015 is a 2×72 grinder, it caters to amateurs and hobbyists. So, if you’re in that category, expect a reasonably powerful belt grinder that rotates at a respectable 3,600 SFPM, which I believe is a great speed for beginners.

The most significant sacrifice that Grizzly made to cut costs in this machine was tracking. Unfortunately, the G1015’s tracking isn’t the best, and you’ll have to readjust it fairly often.

Still, you can make great knives with this machine. Besides, it can help you transition to a more powerful grinder in the future.

Overall, the G1015 is worth it if you’re fixing on getting a 2×72 grinder without spending a fortune.

Pros

  • Good price for a 2×72 grinder
  • Good motor
  • Suitable speed for hobbyists

Cons

  • Tracking isn’t the best

The Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a 2×72 belt grinder but aren’t ready to fork a few thousand bucks for it, then check out the Grizzly Industrial G1015. It’s a great value for money. 

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Buying Guide: What to Look For in a Belt Grinder for Knife Making?

At first glance, a beginner might look at belt grinders as simple tools without much variation.

After all, the anatomy of a belt grinder is a motor, some torque wheels, and a grinding belt, which isn’t a complicated composition compared to many of the modern machines of our era.

But belt grinders have much more substance than their surface suggests, and it’s essential for any knifemaker, amateur or professional, to get the correct belt grinder for their specific needs.

A good belt grinder is vital in creating an attractive, sleek-looking blade without noticeable imperfections because winging the grinding process will likely result in a jagged edge with holes or cracks.

And since everyone has their own unique needs out of a belt grinder, you should be familiar with what makes a good grinder so that you can buy the right one for yourself.

So without further ado, here are the factors to consider when buying a belt grinder.

Power

Since motor power can make or break the knife making process, most professionals prefer 1 to 1 ½ hp motors, and some even go for 2 hp motors or higher.

But remember that professionals use 2×72 inch belts and work their grinders all the time, so they need significantly powerful motors to accommodate that.

An amateur or a hobbyist, on the other hand, wouldn’t need that much power, especially if they’re using a belt smaller than 2×72 inches.

In my opinion, if you’re on an average budget, you can get a decent belt grinder with a ¾ to 1 hp motor, and even a ⅓ hp motor will get the job done for you if you’re on a tighter budget. 

Thinner Belt Grinders Are Better

Knifemakers and belt grinder manufacturers have come to agree that thin belt grinders are better because we can get the most out of them with the current technology, specifically power and motor sizes.

The consensus with motor power is that it should have 1 hp per inch of width. So if our belt grinders had to rotate a 20-inch wide thick belt, it would use much more power than a 2×72 or similarly-sized belt.

Stability

When you’re grinding an abrasive belt against a hard surface, especially a metallic one, there’s typically so much friction that it starts to cause problems that could possibly ruin knifemaking.

The biggest problem is chatter, which happens when the belt grinder vigorously vibrates due to this friction, and it’s especially more common in smaller grinders. This would result in inconsistent designs with wacky jagged edges, an uneven surface, and more.

The best solution to this problem is to use a larger belt grinder since adding mass to the machine improves its rigidity.

And by stabilizing the belt grinder, you can focus on your precision without worrying about the chatter messing up your artwork, and that’s why bigger belt grinders are generally favored, especially by professional knifemakers.

Round and Flat Grinding Surfaces

There are two ways of laying the grinding surface: round and flat.

To make a round grinding surface, the grinding belt is wrapped around a contact wheel, which can be any of the wheels in the belt grinder, even the drive wheel.

As for flat grinding, the belt is either hung between two wheels (slack belt grinding) or a flat surface called a platen.

Since knifemakers often use belt grinders to grind flat bevels on the blade, you might want to have a grinder that best supports this purpose, and flat platens are the best way to achieve this.

If you try grinding bevels on a round contact wheel, the process will be a bit harder since you have less area to work with, and it won’t even produce the same results since the bevels take the shape of the wheel’s radius.

Slack belts aren’t too bad either; some slack belt grinders enable you to add a flat platen, which is a nice feature to look out for.

Quick and Easy Belt Changes

Since you’ll be changing belts frequently, I recommend looking for a machine that allows quick and easy belt changes.

Typically, smaller machines are easier to change belts on, but if you’re an advanced knifemaker, you’ll probably be able to handle more complicated machines since you’ll already be used to the belt-changing process.

Considerations Outside of Belt Size

Although belts are the most important factor to consider in a belt grinder, there are a few other aspects you should consider. After all, the belt won’t run itself.

Motor Size

While horsepower ultimately determines how powerful the motor is, motor size is also an important factor to consider, as larger motors generally tend to be more powerful.

To find a belt grinder’s motor size, look at the frame label on the nameplate. There should be a 2-4 letter code that signifies the motor’s frame size.

The best motor frames for belt grinders are 56, 143T, and 145T motors since they’re not too small and not overly large either.

Again, this isn’t the most detrimental fact to the quality of the grinder, but it wouldn’t hurt to look it up if you can. 

Belt Speed

When grinding any surface, it’s important to use a suitable speed because going too slow won’t do much, and going too fast might burn the surface.

When grinding knives on a belt grinder, you need to be mindful of the grinder’s speed, which is called the surface feet per minute (SFPM).

SFPM isn’t the rotational speed of the belt or the torque wheels. Instead, it’s the relative speed between the grinding belt and the abrasive object you’re grinding. However, this speed directly correlates with the belt’s speed, so both names can be used interchangeably.

Cheap belt grinders usually run at around 3,000 SFPM and can even dip below 2,000.

Some people like to grind at 6,000-7,000 SFPM, but I think it’s a bit of an overkill unless you’re working with specific types of metal or you really know what you’re doing.

We recommend you look for a balance between those two. A grinder that runs at 4,000-5,000 SFPM is excellent and will efficiently get the job done.

Variable Speed

You can divide belt grinders into two categories based on the speed that their motor moves the grinding belt. Some belt grinders have a single speed that they’ll only run at, while others have variable speeds that you can switch between depending on your needs.

As you might be able to guess, having variable speeds is definitely an advantage over constant speed belt grinders, especially for beginners who’ll want to grind at their own pace.

However, don’t prioritize variable speed over everything else as it doesn’t even come close to being a deal-breaker, in my opinion. Yes, it’s nifty to have, but there are other more important factors to consider when buying a belt grinder.

If variable speed is within your budget, then go for it. I believe it’s worth the investment as it’ll save you a lot of time in the future, and you’ll enjoy pacing the belt grinder to your liking. But if it isn’t in your budget, consider the other factors and look for the best machine accordingly.

By the way, most professional knifemakers would barely use variable speed as they’re used to one constant speed that their muscle memory works best with. Besides, they won’t need to run the machine at a slow pace with their expertise. So, you might not even need it down the line.

FAQ

Is a Belt Grinder the Same as a Belt Sander?

In a strict sense, belt grinders and belt sanders are different in that they run at different speeds, have different components, and grind different materials.

However, most people use both terms interchangeably since both tools are closely related. So if you see a belt grinder marketed as a sander, don’t get confused by the name.

Can You Use a Bench Grinder for Knife Making?

Bench grinders are better suited for knife sharpening. Of course, you can still grind a knife on a bench grinder, but that’s not what it’s designed to do.

If you were to use a bench grinder to grind your blade, you’d have to spend a lot more time learning how to get a proper knife out of it.

Verdict

In conclusion, the best overall belt grinder I tried was the JET J-4002, which was reasonably priced and had plenty of excellent features for the price tag, such as the disc sander and the fast motor. It’s also pretty lightweight (63 pounds) despite being made of high-quality cast iron.

If you’re looking for a 2×72 belt grinder, though, then we’ve got you covered with either the Happybuy 2Hp grinder or the Grizzly G1015.

The Happybuy 2Hp is 2×82 inches, but it can be adjusted for 2×72-inch belts. This grinder was the most stable one I’ve tested as it weighs nearly 200 pounds and has most of the features you want out of a belt grinder.

As for the Grizzly G1015, it’s a budget-friendly 2×72-inch belt grinder that works pretty well with a great speed for beginners and an unbeatable price.

Knife usage dates back to prehistoric times; they have been extremely efficient versatile tools that have helped humans in a bunch of different situations. 

And, believe it or not, the very first knives were made out of flint! They resembled daggers more than anything else, were asymmetrical, and it was quite hard to hold them since they lacked handles. 

Needless to say, we’ve come a long way since then, and knife forging today is more of an art; you don’t just buy a knife these days. Rather, you can join thousands of knife enthusiasts in their hobby of making their own knives!

Certain handmade pieces sell for jaw-dropping sums of money. So, whether you plan to forge knives as a hobby or as a side hustle, this easy guide will definitely help you learn how to forge knife. You can even take it a step further and learn how to throw knives, just be careful!

Required Tools and Materials Needed for Knife Forging

There are a ton of different tools and varieties you can use to participate in the art of knife forging. The more experience you get, the more you’ll know, and the more you’ll explore.

Nevertheless, these are the basics you’ll need when starting and the tools that’ll stay with you no matter how much of an expert you become in knife forging. So, make sure to get all of them. 

Also, keep in mind that tools like anvils, hammers, and whetstones can be pricey, so a good idea would be to get them second-hand. Just make sure that you buy from a reputable source or test them out before purchasing them.

Here are the tools you’ll need: 

  • Steel
  • Workbench
  • Anvil
  • Round or Forging Hammer (also known as Cross Peen / Pein Hammer)
  • Forge
  • Forging tongs
  • Oil
  • Fuel (charcoal, gas, coal)
  • Whetstone
  • Leather strop
  • Sandpaper
  • Bench drill
  • Bench vice
  • Wood
  • Screws
  • Wood glue

Safety First Before You Get Started!

Safety is paramount and must always be your priority. That doesn’t just include “dangerous” hobbies like blacksmithing, but any other physical activity that you intend to participate in, such as woodworking, pottery, and even cooking. 

You must take proper precautions to protect yourself and ensure that your hobby session doesn’t end in the ER. These are the main precautions when it comes to knife forging:

Eye & Ear Protection

Eye & Ear Protection - Learn How to Forge Knife

First, of course, you’ve to protect your eyes from the heat, shards, and the possibility of anything bouncing back towards your face. 

There will be a lot of pressure, a lot of banging, and a lot of heat, so wearing protective goggles is vital. They very well could be the last line of defense separating you from the absolute darkness. 

Additionally, as we’ve said, there will be a lot of banging, and if you’re constantly blacksmithing, investing in professional earmuffs will save you a lot of deterioration in the quality of your hearing over time. If you can’t afford the professional earmuffs, then at least use a pair of earplugs.

Lung Protection

All the heating you’ll be doing means the air around you would be full of fumes, shards, and minute metal particles, and breathing in that air is very harmful to your lungs.

Nowadays, and courtesy of Coronavirus, disposable masks are available in almost every household, and everywhere you go. Hence, you can utilize them for this specific hobby. Still, we’d recommend more durable masks or even a respirator for the benefit of complete isolation.

Wear Gloves

Wear Gloves While Forging

There are no devices included in the art of knife forging. Everything you do, you’ll do by hand. And all of that forging means using hammers, sandpaper, whetstones, and leather strops. Not to mention that installing handles will be entirely made by hand.

Subsequently, wearing welding gloves is definitely the best way to go. Also, don’t forget that you’re working with extreme heat and boiling oil, which makes hand protection not an option at all, but a must!

Cotton Clothing

Again we’re back to the shards and sparks and the damage they can inflict. First of all, you must always keep a distance between yourself and these sparks. Nevertheless, some of them are bound to land on you, and if you’re wearing cotton, things would be all right.

On the other side of the spectrum, other fabrics, specifically synthetic ones, can easily catch on fire. So, stay on the safe side.

Fire Extinguisher

Fire Extinguisher

With all of these flames, heat, and sparks going around you, accidents are bound to happen, even if you’re ultra-careful. 

And, yes, having a fire extinguisher is required at home anyways, but you must strategically place your extinguisher within your reach. That way, you’ll be able to nip anything right at the bud before it turns into a catastrophe.

9 Steps to Follow for Knife Forging

Now, it’s time to discuss the actual steps that follow the preparation we’ve already covered. Keep in mind that this is a complicated, detailed process, and it might take you a few trials before you reach the result you want. So be patient, don’t override steps, or get too aggressive with your materials, as that can be rather dangerous.

Step 1: Heat Until Yellow

Heat Until Yellow

Before you start anything, just make sure that all the tools that we’ve listed above are laid out and within your reach. You don’t want to leave ongoing fire and sharp metal unattended to fetch your hammer or tongs.

Start by holding your piece of metal using the forging tongs, then heating it inside a furnace or a forge until it reaches the temperature of 2100-2200°F (1148-1204°C). Now, the question is, how do you know you’ve reached the required temperatures before moving on to the next step? 

It’s all about the colors. If your steel is shining a red hue, that means that you have a temperature of about 1400°F. When that red hue turns orange, then we’ve reached 1700°F. And, the heat range that we’re looking for (2100-2200°F) produces a bright yellow color.

So, once you reach that, take your steel and move it to the anvil. Keep in mind that you should stay within the bounds of the yellow color throughout this whole step. If your metal starts turning white, it means that it’s way too hot to bend into shape because it’ll be generating too much spark.

By the way, you can use any type of fuel that you prefer or that is available in your vicinity to create such heat. Still, gas is the easiest to deal with, and it provides a more stable source of heat than coal and charcoal.

Step 2: Determine the Mass Distribution

Once your steel is yellow, move it over to the anvil using your tongues and make sure that it’s stable on your workbench. Then start creating the boundaries of your knife. Make sure that you are flattening out one side of it while the other is a little bit curved.

That way, you’ll have a cutting edge and a non-cutting edge. Also, the majority of knives have a tapered end. Hence, when creating the vertical contour of a knife, make sure that it’s narrower on one end than the other.

Lastly, make sure that you’re forging the blades by hammering both sides equally to prevent any side from bulging.

Step 3: Flatten the Blade

Flatten the Blade

Now, once you’ve created the general shape or the first draft of the knife shape, you need to start focusing on the edges, as that’s the main point of any knife. Keep hammering on each side to make the sharp cutting edge and the curved spine of the blade. 

The vital thing here is to carefully and thoroughly go through all of these steps, specifically the hammering, because hastening the process can easily ruin your steel beyond repair. Also, materials aren’t cheap, so you definitely don’t want to be wasting them. 

Also, keep an eye out for any signs of curving or mushrooming, as both do happen quite often when continuously banging the metal. You’ll see such signs towards the edges of the knife, and you need to be quick with restoring them to a flat shape so that your knife doesn’t end upcurved.

Step 4: Heat and Cool

This is known as annealing, which means letting a piece of metal calm down slowly to lose all the stress accumulated in its molecules from the heating and the banging. 

In simpler words, what we’re going to do is let your knife cool to room temperature slowly on its own. Once it does, make sure that there are no yellow, orange, or red traces on it, then place it back in your forge or furnace.

Let it re-heat till it reaches not a yellow shadow but a red one, so you don’t need to bring it all the way up to 2000°F; 1400°F is what we’re looking for at this point. 

This is all done in preparation for sanding the knife to remove any last mishaps or bumps and to accentuate its shape to perfection.

In essence, the process of cooling down and heating the steel should be done three times before you place your knife on sandpaper or a whetstone.

Step 5: Sanding

Now, you need to grab your sandpaper, place your knife on your workbench, and, if needed, use your bench vice to keep it in place as you sand down any last imperfections. 

While sanding, you need to create a demarcation line between the cutting surface of the knife and its tang, which is the bottom of the knife that goes into the handle you’re going to create later on.

The tang is mostly much thinner than the rest of the knife because it has outside coverage. Subsequently, you’ll want to know when the sanding will stop.

Step 6: Strengthen and Sharpen the Knife

Strengthen and Sharpen the Knife

Grab your forging tongs again, and re-heat your knife back to red. Then, quickly dip it in oil. Let’s take a moment to explain what we’re doing here. 

Firstly, this process is known as “Quenching,” and it alters the molecular structure of the metal, making it much more robust and ductile than it would’ve normally been. 

Just make sure that you transport the knife from the forge to the oil as quickly as possible so that you don’t lose the purpose of this process.

Step 7: Re-Heat

This is the last time we’re going to use heat here, and you’ll re-heat your already quenched blade to a much lower temperature. Why? To release all of the stress that must’ve built inside of it from the quenching process.

Step 8: Create the Handle

Now it’s time to use your bench vice, bench drill, and wood to create the handle of your choice. First, sketch the design of the handle of your dreams on a piece of wood, creating a contour that will ergonomically fit your hand, then cut it out on both sides.

Now, you can do some wood art by carving the design and creating any type of artwork to make your knife stand out. Next, fix your knife using the bench vice, and mark where you want your screws to go.

Then, using the bench drill, make the desired holes for the screws, and do the same with your blade tang. 

After that, you’ll insert the tang of your knife between the two pieces of wood and secure them together with screws, wood glue, or whatever it’s that you prefer. Ensure that the knife is screwed rather snug for your own safety while using it.

Step 9: Sharpen

Now, we’ve reached the last bit of our knife forging journey, and that will require the use of either a leather strop or a whetstone to sharpen your new knife perfectly. 

Remember, a dull knife is quite dangerous in the kitchen, and we want to avoid that. Just don’t go overboard with the sharpening, as that will lead to you losing a lot of material.

Final Words

Although the process is rather complicated, it’s fun to learn, and the results are beautiful. Also, remember that the more you practice it, the more accustomed you’ll grow to the steps and the more muscle memory you’ll develop. 

Then you can enjoy your unique knives, learn a few things such as knife throwing, and even start earning money from your hobby. Just make sure that you heed the safety precautions while making and using the blades, and you’ll be good to go.

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