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How to Make a Dagger

This is a tutorial that shows you how to make a real dagger. I take you through all the steps from start to finish. It is just a small dagger but it does look good.

I have tutorials on how to make knives but that process is a little bit different because most knives are edged only on one side. The dagger is a very centerline weapon and it is sharpened on both sides. The primary purpose of a dagger is not slicing but stabbing.


Here is the knife that we make in this tutorial

The dagger we make in this tutorial

Step One Choosing The Steel

There are a lot of different types of steels and the distinctions revolve around a few basic additions variations. The most important part of the definition of steel is how much carbon has been added to iron to make it a certain grade of steel. The addition of carbon makes it much harder and the more carbon you add the harder the steel will be. But there is a point where the steel is so hard that it is brittle. And we don't want a brittle knife.

So here are a few quick guidelines for choosing steel:

O1 SteelIf you are purchasing steel you can go with something in the medium to high carbon steel range. Common steels for knife making include 01 steel, W2 steel, L6 steel, or D2 Steel. I have more information about these steels here and there are also links to good knife steel that you can buy through .

The picture to the left shows two pieces of 01 Steel that I purchased through They are two inches wide, eighteen inches long and one bar is 1/8 inch thick and the other is 3/16 inch thick.

The piece that we use for this dagger is 1/8 inch thick and 1 inch wide. The knife will be 8 1/2 inches long.



Step Two Designing your Knife

Before you start making your knife you have to know what you are going to make! This means drawing it out on paper and figuring out the size, handle, shape, bolsters, pins, ricasso, size of the tang and more. This all has to be decided upon before hand. Then you draw yourself a pattern on a piece of paper in the exact size of the whole knife


Pattern for the daggerHere is the pattern that I drew for this knife. It is a pdf and you can download and print it up if you want to make the same knife.

The Dagger Pattern




Cut the steel to length

I cut off a piece of steel the correct length.







Glue the paper pattern to the steelNow cut out that paper pattern and cut the knife right out. Then glue it down to your piece of steel.





hacksaw the tip

Next use a hacksaw to rough cut the shape of the knife out. The goal here is to cut away as much excess metal as possible. Get it roughly to the shape of the knife.






Fine cut the shapeNext use a variety of tools to get the knife to its final shape. Files work well, belt sander, small belt sander, jewelers saw. In this picture I am using a belt sander.






finish filingOnce I get real close to the final shape I move to files. This way you have good control to get it right to the exact shape you want.







File the Bevels

Next it is time to bevel the blade. This picture shows the beginning of the beveling. You want to bring both sides in to the middle. And you flip it over and do those two edges too.






File the bevelThis picture shows you how to do it. You mount the blade on the edge of a table and file it. Always file in just the forward direction.

You want to bring each bevel in toward the centerline of the dagger. Just keep changing the position of the clamped knife and file.





The bevels almost meetThis picture gives you a good look at how the beveling is progressing. The bevels are almost to the centerline so just a little bit more. This whole part of the dagger making will take you a few hours of careful filing.






NextOk, Let's continue on with the making of this dagger

Watch the Video Tutorial on how to make this dagger

The Wonder of Knifemaking The Wonder of Knifemaking

Master smith Wayne Goddard is an icon in the field of knife making. As a full-time maker, teacher and writer, Goddard works as hard to teach knife making skills as he does to acquire them. His affiliation with BLADE Magazine has brought new and interesting information, tips and tricks to thousands of would-be knife makers. Other popular titles from Goddard include The Wonder of Knifemaking (2000) and $50 Knife Shop (2001 and 2006).


Basic Knife Making:Basic Knife Making: From Raw Steel to a Finished Stub Tang Knife

Learn the craft of knifemaking. 205 color images and step-by-step instructions provide for all stages of construction, from selection of the steel, to forging the blade, assembling the handle, and constructing a holder.





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