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Forging a knife part 5 -- Finishing it

This is part 5 of the knife forging tutorial. In this part we clean it up, mount the handle and grind the blade. We finish it.

If you came directly to this webpage you can start this tutorial on page 1 right here: Forging a knife part 1

I also have a pair of videos that show this whole process. You can watch them here.



The knife is drilled

Clean the knife with emory paper. Get it nice and good looking. Next we are going to mount the handle.

Sand the knife handle insides

Now prepare the handle pieces by roughing up the inner edges on sandpaper or emory paper.These are the edges that will actually glue to the knife.

Cut the brass rods

Cut your pins out of brass rod. I used a hacksaw. Use the temporary wooden pins as a guide for how long to cut your brass pins. And make them just a little bit longer. Once these pins are installed in the handle we will file them down.

I cut two 1/8 inch pins and two 1/16 inch pins.

Test fit them in your handle holes and knife holes. You don't want to struggle with them while everything has wet glue on it.

You can sand them a little bit for an easier fit.

And, I am using brass but you could use wood dowels instead if you prefer.

Mix the epoxy

Mix up a two part epoxy glue. I use five minute Gorilla glue. This stuff works great. If you are unsure of the whole process you could use a twenty minute epoxy glue. It will give you more time to tinker with things.

apply the epoxy

Apply a liberal but even coat of epoxy to all four pieces of handle.

Assemble the handle

Carefully apply all four pieces to the knife and insert all the pins. Use a small hammer or mallet to tap them in.

Clamp the knife down and let it dry for the recommended period. This two part epoxy recommends 90 minutes for handling and 24 hours for complete cure.

When you clamp it try not to clamp on the pins. Avoid them. This could cause it to not actually clamp.

extra wood

My wooden handles were a bit bigger than the tang on the knife so I put a small piece of wood in there before I clamped the whole thing down for the glue to dry. If your handle is the same size as your tang you don't need to do this.

File the Brass rods

Once the glue has completely set you can clean it up with acetone. Then carefully file down the brass pins with a file. Do this in conjunction with any final shaping of the handle that you want to do.

I did a little work on the belt sander. I also trimmed and sanded down the extra piece of wood I had placed in the handle.

Polish handle with Tung oil

Now polish the handle. There are a few different products you can use but I like the finish that Tung oil creates. Put several coats.

Sharpen the bladeSharpen the blade and your knife is complete!

The Completed Knife

The knife



Custom Knifemaking: 10 Projects from a Master Craftsman

Spanning the gap between pre-cut and 'art' knives with step-by-step illustrated instructions for unique and beautiful knives. Learn how to make projects, or designs of your own: Kitchen paring knife; Full-tang all-purpose knife; Partial-tang carving knife; Through-tang skinner; Wilderness knife; Forged camp knife; Kitchen chopper; One-blade pocket knife; Lockback folding knife; Damascus steel dagger.


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