How To Make A Homemade Hunting Knife
Wondering how to make a homemade hunting knife? Making knives is a fun past time, which can become addicting. Perhaps the best place for the new comer to start is by making a knife using one of the excellent kit blades available. This way you learn the process of putting a knife together without the frustrations of learning heat treating and hardening steel at the same time.
Tools needed to make a homemade hunting knife:
- Handle materials
- Guard or bolster material
- Pin stock
- Files and wood rasps
- Duct tape
- Sand paper in various grits
- Drill bits
- Metal polish
- Soft cloth
- Birchwood Casey's Gunstock wax
- Buy blade and materials. There are a lot of blade makers out there, look around and find a quality one. The quality of the blade you buy will make or break the end product. Buy matching pin and guard or bolster materials, and handle material.
- Shape guard or bolsters. Using your files shape the guard and bolster as close to finished as possible. Make joints where it slips on if it does, as tight as possible.
- Attach guard. Put the blade in a vice, always work from the vice if possible. Slip the entire length of the blade close to where the handle is in the vice, as much as possible. The vice will act as a heat sink and protect the heat treating and temper of the blade. Use your torch, flux, and solder to solder the guard or bolster in position on the blade.
- Wrap blade in tape. After the blade cools wrap the blade in tape to protect your hands when you work with it. Replace it in the vice.
- Drill pin holes. If using pins in the handles mark and drill the pin holes in the handle tang and handle materials. Work slowly and carefully to insure the holes match up in all three pieces. If you are going to peen the pins in place you will need to make small countersinks on the outside of each pin hole.
- Assemble handle. Mix your epoxy and coat the handle and inside of the handle materials. Use clamps to hold them in place, they will have a tendency to slide for a while. If you are peening your pins put them through the handle and lay the handle on an "anvil" and work both sides of each pin down into place. If you are not, dip each pin in epoxy and lightly tap them down through the handle materials and tang of the blade.
- File down handles and pins. Using your wood rasps and files file down the pins and handles until you are satisfied. The trick with handles is to make them proportionate to the overall knife. Meaning they need to be thin and graceful, not thick and chunky, yet not so thin as to be delicate. This sometimes takes a "learned" eye.
- Sand handle. Use the sand paper and sand the handle and pins. When it is smooth, dip it in water and let it dry. You will feel whiskers when it is dry. Sand with a light grit paper until they are gone. Repeat this "whiskering" until none occur when it is wetted and dried.
- Polish the blade and guard. Wrap the handle in tape so you do not stain it with metal polish. Then use the soft cloth and metal polish to polish the blade and guard to your desired level of gloss.
- Finish handle. Use the stain and varnish to finish the handle and then let it dry overnight.
- Final finish the knife. Sharpen the blade, and then put a coat of Birchwood Casey's Gunstock wax over the entire thing and polish it off gently. This will protect the blade and handle from the elements.
That is how you make a handmade knife. The first few will probably look good to you, until you make a few more and see all the errors you made. But, that is part of the learning and fun of it all. Enjoy the process.