How do you make a homemade hunting knife? The process of making your own hunting knife is actually harder and more involved than many people believe. It takes skill, patience and a fair amount of special tools to accomplish. The entire process to make a homemade hunting knife from scratch is a very detailed process and to include every step and detail in one small article would be impossible. This will be an overview and you will have to do further investigation to get the finite details if you wish to continue.
Tool and materials needed to make a homemade hunting knife:
- Handle material
- Bolster/guard material
- Pin stock
- Files and rasps
- Saws – metal and wood
- Drill press
- Sand Paper
- Emery paper
- Water bath
- Wood finish products
- Oil bath
- Heavy Paper
The process of making a homemade hunting knife will go something like this:
- Gather materials. Buy all materials needed to make the knife. This will include the blade steel, the most important part. Choose a steel that is around 3/16" for most medium to large knives. Buy handle materials, pin stock, bolster or guard materials, epoxies and any tools you do not have.
- Design the knife. Use a paper and pencil and design the knife in full size. Then, cut the knife out of the paper and make a template. Take the time here to feel as best you can the size and shape of the knife.
- Transfer design to steel. Copy the template of the knife onto the steel using a marker or grease pencil.
- Cut out knife. Using a metal saw, slowly cut out the knife from the steel. Use the vice to hold the material while you cut it.
- Profile knife. Use the bench grinder, if you are good at using one, or the metal files to profile the entire knife. Give it the general shape you wish all the way around. Put the basic bevel to the edge but go super slow and take small amounts off both sides, equally working back and forth from side to side.
- Make guard or bolsters. Cut out and file the guard or bolsters to your design. Make them as close to finished as possible so that all gaps and joints are as perfect as possible.
- Drill holes in blade. Drill holes for guards and bolsters and pins for handles. Do this now before the blade is hardened.
- Harden and temper the blade. Using the torch and possibly the oil or water, depending upon steel type, harden, temper and quench the blade. Take care if using oil quenching as it can flare up fire and cause burns.
- Sand and finish blade. Using emery papers, sand off any scale, discoloration and file marks in the steel.
- Attach bolsters or guard. Using pins or solder, attach the guard or bolster in place.
- Cut out handle material. Cut the initial shape for the handles. Leave them slightly oversized.
- Drill handles. Drill holes for pins matching the holes predrilled in the blade.
- Attach handles. Using epoxy, pins and clamps, put the handle all together. Take care to clamp it in place carefully as epoxied parts tend to slip and creep until it sets up.
- File and sand handles. Using wood rasps and sand paper, file and sand the handle until it is finished. For a perfect final finish, dip it in water and let it dry. Then, sand off the "whiskers" with fine sand paper. Repeat the whiskering until no whiskers appear.
- Finish handle. Stain and varnish or finish the handle to your taste.
- Sharpen blade. Using the proper stones and care, put a final edge on the knife.
That is the basic process of making a homemade hunting knife. Obviously, there are a lot of details left out to be studied before jumping in. Go slowly and work carefully, and you can make a knife which will serve you faithfully for a lifetime.
McCreight, Tim. Custom Knifemaking. Stackpole Books, 1985. pages 82-97.