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How to Make a subhilt knife part 6: Beveling the blade

In this part of the tutorial we work on the steel of the blade. We put in the bevel and we harden and temper the steel so it is knife worthy.


Part 1 of this tutorial is here


Beveling the edge

Beveling the blade edge

Ok, There are four edges on this knife. Two on this side and when you flip the knife over there are two on the other side. You use a mill file to do this work. And you only bevel in the forward direction. You don't go back and forth with it. Just forward strokes.

Note that I like to bevel the blade late in the process, after most of the handle work is done. This protects it from damage while working on the handle.

When taking the handle apart you should save those wooden pins. You will need them again as a measurement.

Continue cutting the bevel

Continue doing this work. And it is going to take you several hours. I usually watch a movie while doing this.

Note: The steel I am using is annealed which means it is soft and workable. If you are using unknown steel or found steel it may be hardened. So.... if your steel is difficult to work with and it doesn't file well you might want to anneal it before doing this step.

The bevels are done

Okay, the bevels are done.

A note about the sharpness of the blade and the bevels. You will be tempted to bring those bevels all the way in so the blade comes to a sharp edge. This is okay but it makes it tricky to heat up for hardening and tempering. A sharp edge along that knife means there isn't a lot of steel and it will be easy to over heat that edge. I leave a bit of bulk on the edge of the knife then heat treat it. Later, when finishing the knife I bring it down to its final edge. It's more work with the files but it is safer. There is less risk of ruining the knife by melting the cutting edge.


The Purpose: The steel of a knife needs to be heat treated very specifically for a couple of reasons. First off we want it to be very strong so it can take abuse and so it can hold a nice sharp edge without dulling quickly. But, we don't want it too hard! That is because the steel, if too hard, is also brittle. It can snap like glass. So there is a two step process that we use to heat treat the blade.

  1. First we harden the steel by bringing its temperature up to around 1500 degrees fahrenheit.
  2. Then we soften the steel up a bit by bring it up to about 450-500 degrees fahrenheit

NextLet's do the heat treating