How to Forge a Knife

How to Forge a Knife

If you’re feeling apprehensive or confused about how to forge a knife, look no further. Many blacksmiths need to learn how to forge a knife, which basically means taking a piece of steel, placing it into the forge, and then shaping it on top of an anvil to create a knife. Along with blacksmiths, this could also be useful for campers who use a variety of knives from camping to hiking knives! It is a much simpler process than many people believe, and as long as you have the right tools and equipment, you also can become an expert blacksmith.

Step 1

Before you begin preparations for learning how to forge a knife, you need to make an outline of the dimensions of your knife design. A good rule of thumb is to use a 6-inch long blade that is 2-inches in diameter, but you’re more than welcome to use a slightly different length, with the keyword here being “slightly.” Whether your knife is longer, thicker, smaller, or any other size, the basic outline of this article remains the same. As mentioned before, it is vital to get the proper tools before you start.

The four primary objects (or tools) are a forge, a forging hammer, some metal, and an anvil so you can pound the metal. You wouldn’t need to buy new tools; a used tool for forging a knife will work just fine. You should try to get a used anvil, as long as the anvil is in good condition.

You should get a hammer in the 1-1/2 to 3-pound range, which is ideal. If you are just starting out, it is recommended to get a peen hammer because it makes the metal flatter.

cutting metal

Step 2 

Now it is time to heat the metal of your forge so that it can be properly worked. You want to also consider what type of fuel you should use. If you choose propane as fuel, for example, you can directly heat the metal so it becomes workable.

Coal, on the other hand, will successfully fit into most forges, although the main negative of using coal is that it smokes you out if you don’t have the proper ventilation. This could be a potential disaster waiting to happen, so make sure you take the proper precautionary measures before performing any of these steps. Propane is the preferable and proper choice, but if you do decide to use coal, make sure you check your ventilation.

Step 3 

You would then need to check the color. You should heat the area of your metal to the colors of either orange or bright yellow. The steel needs to be around 2,100 to 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit. How do you recognize when the steel has acquired 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit? Well, you would have to use the color guide, which is the best way to accurately tell you the temperature for your steel. For instance, when your steel becomes red, it usually has a 1,400-degree temperature.

When it becomes orange, however, it is a definite representation that it is hotter and possesses a temperature of around 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit. You need to make sure your metal/steel is not turning white; because it is the extreme temperature.

Step 4 

Next up, you would move to your anvil. Using your forging tongs, take off the metal from the fire, and put it on the anvil.

Grab your tongs firmly. Although it is not required, you should beat the metal from the sides. This provides you with the curves that you will need and you can even hammer out the metal thin, that’s required for the knife. We recommend working at slower paces, in order to prevent injury. You would then perform the ‘Annealing’ process. Annealing simply means heating the steel and letting it cool at a slow pace.

Step 5

You’re hitting the home stretch, as you’re almost done. Take a short breather because you’re just about finished. Now you would start to shape the grip, cut the grip to length, and start to poke holes in the grip part of the handle. To grip the correct way, you would have to file the wood to shape. Some more good news is that it is quite easy and doesn’t require any prior knowledge of woodworking. Next, sharpen the blade on the file.

Last but not least, you need to apply the polishing paste on the blade and then clean the blade with some leather. This removes any rough edges and gives your blade an attention-grabbing shine. Now you can step back and admire your work for your knife. Your knife should be smooth and refined now, and you should be proud of your work. 

How to Forge a Knife: Conclusion

So there you have it. It was a lot easier and simpler than you would have thought, right? The key to learning how to forge a knife, as you have just read, is having some basic tools and the right mindset. Now you know how to forge a knife.

Written by: Brian Carr

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