Knife Making Tools

Creating knives requires special equipment, depending on the type of knife that will be made. Typically, the tools used are grouped into different categories, depending on how they will be used.

Some knife making tools have been around for centuries.
Some knife making tools have been around for centuries.

The most commonly used metal for creating knives is carbonized steel; although bronze, titanium, ceramic and iron are also being utilized. Pointed with one edge sharpened, knives are created for varying purposes, the most common one being for kitchen duties. Once the carbonized steel is available as well as the wood that will serve as a handle, the tools necessary include the following:

Tools for Cutting

Cutting the carbonized steel is the first step towards knife making. Homemade knives are often cut using a power jigsaw for the hard type. Soft types, however, will yield to a hacksaw for cutting. Steel with a very tough outer layer can be ground with a power grinder to make it easier for cutting. The shape will depend on the individual creating the knife, and how they intend to use the finished piece.

Tools for Sharpening

Sharpening the knives require extensive work on the part of the smith. It often necessitates several tools ranging from files, whetstones, grinding stones and more. Typically, the edge should be slowly sharpened using coarse abrasives before going to the finer ones. Start off with 100-grit before going to the 300-grit type. A 600-grit abrasive should offer the needed fine sharpening of the knife, making it thin and efficient. Experienced knife makers may prefer a dual belt sander to do the job. In order to maintain the angle of the sharpening, a bevel is often needed for precision purposes. This can be the longest point of knife-making and will require patience and precision on the part of the maker.

Tools for Heating

To sufficiently heat the metal, individuals would require the temperature to be between 900 to 1500 degrees Fahrenheit. Blacksmiths often use a welding torch and a furnace to get better results with their blade. Homemade knives, however, can be forged using an open fire that is well-fueled to reach the necessary temperature. Heating the steel helps with keeping it hard, ensuring that it will pierce through the material without suffering from a break. The metal is often cooled using castor oil, motor oil or olive oil. Once heated and hardened, the knife would be tough to sharpen, making it necessary to obtain maximum sharpness before starting with the heat.

Workbench and Vise

These two materials are used to make the creation process easier. The vice works by keeping the knife in place and ensuring the precision of the sharpening process. The vice also helps the smith maneuver tools and use multiple accessories as necessary, depending on the type of knife being made. The workbench should have a wide expanse of area to allow movement.


A knife is not complete without a handle for efficient use. There are several types of handles that can be used to finish off the project. Most smiths use wood for this, but the need to be thorough is crucial. This is because wood tends to dry up, shrink, and produce cracks when utilized fresh or even with a bit of moisture in them. In order to avoid this from happening, the wood has to be thoroughly dried before it is used.


As individuals create more knives, they will find themselves perfecting the technique and creating finer and finer blades. Most of the tools needed to make knives may be hand tools but those who want something fast can use power tools to achieve the quality and precision they want. Note that the property of the knife material will indicate the type of tools used. For example, it would be impossible to sharpen annealed steel using a whetstone. If you enjoyed this article, check out our review on machetes, pink folding knives, pocket knives, and survival hatchets and survival knives.

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