Introduction: Hammered Steel Leaf-Bladed Knife

In this Instructable I make a... knife? People keep telling me it's more of a short sword, but either one works for me. This particular knife is a leaf-bladed hammered steel knife. I hope you enjoy the step-by-step process of how to make this knife!



  • Stainless steel metal strip-- Mine was a piece of flat welding steel from a local hardware store. This piece was 3/16" thick and 2" wide. (Picture included)

  • Wood (For the handle)-- I used a nice piece of oak, about 2" wide and 1" thick.

  • Some kind of bolts-- I used 2 copper ones from my scrap bucket. These are for the pins to hold the handle together. (Picture included)

  • Leather (optional)-- I wrapped my handle in leather, well... mostly because it was my first time making a knife handle and it looked kinda shabby. I used scrap strips of leather for this.


  • Wood glue
  • Belt Sander
  • Metal cutter/grinding wheel
  • Ball-peen hammer
  • Drill press
  • Hacksaw
  • Round chainsaw files (or other round files)
  • Clamps

Step 1: Design the Blade

To begin, measure out the width of your metal piece onto a piece of paper, and cut it out. Draw a line down the middle, and sketch out half of your blade as shown in the pictures above. Fold the paper in half and cut out the half-blade design. When you unfold the paper, you should have a symmetrical blade design. I made my total length about 15 inches.

Now, glue this design onto your metal strip using any kind of glue. Then, sketch out the handle, making sure it's the width you want it to be for the final handle.

Step 2: Cut Out the Blade

Using a metal grinder/cutting wheel, make two cuts into a point at the tip. For the curved sides, make several cuts in towards the blade, then cut them off individually. Make sure to give yourself a little room for sanding later, as you don't want your blade to be too small. Finally, cut out the handle. Make sure the top of the handle where the guard goes is the same width as the base of the blade.

Step 3: Bevelling

Draw out where you want the bevel to be on the blade. It might be difficult, but try to get the same position drawn on both sides. For the first bevel, I used a grinder and a belt sander. Mostly the belt sander. Following your lines, slope down from the flat of the blade into a semi-sharp edge. Make sure to sand equally on both sides, having the slope meet in the middle.

Step 4: Forging...ish

Okey dokey. For this step, I threw the knife into the fire. I don't have a forge or anything, so I had to make do with regular, less hot fire. I built a log-cabin style fire and waited till the embers got real hot. Then I put the knife in, with the handle sticking out a little. I poured charcoal on top of the knife and let it get hot. When the wood and charcoal was glowing red and white, I started to add air. I pumped air into it with a little hand pump until the knife was reddish and glowing.

Then I carefully took the knife out with tongs and placed it on the anvil. Using a ball-peen hammer, I textured the flat part of the blade on both sides. When this was done, I placed it back into the fire.

This time, keep the blade in the fire until it's red hot, adding air as it heats. When the blade is done, grab it out with tongs and quickly dunk it into a bucket of water. This will temper the blade, making it strong and able to keep an edge.

Step 5: More Sanding

Using the belt sander, begin on 60 or 80 grit. Sand the edges and reform the edge, keeping it even throughout. Keep sanding with smaller and smaller grit, eventually ending on 800-1000. The blade doesn't need to be sharp at this point, just beveled. I also used steel wool and fine sandpaper on the flat of the blade to really bring out the hammered texture.

Step 6: Guard

For the guard, use a little strip of metal from the same piece you cut your knife from. This way, they are the same width already and it will fir perfectly. Using a ruler, draw a symmetrical design on the piece of metal. I made mine in a sword-ish style. Make a mark in the center of the guard that is the same width and thickness as the base of your blade.

Now, using the grinder/cutter and a belt sander, cut out the shape. try to get it as symmetrical as possible. As you can probably see from the pictures, mine is kind of wonky, but when it's all put together you don't really notice it.

To cut out the middle slit, I used a drill press. Choose a drill bit size that is the same or slightly smaller size as your mark. Press holes all the way down the mark, as shown in the pictures above. Next, using a round file, file down all the holes into one big oval-shaped hole. Now you can test fit the guard by putting the handle through it and pushing it all the way up until it stops at the base of the blade. If it's a little loose by itself, it will be fine. We're going to use the handle to secure it later.

Finally, I gave the guard the temper-treatment as well. This is optional, as it doesn't need to be extremely tough, but I wanted it to match the blade. After it was fired, I used steel wool to clean it up a little bit, still keeping some of that darker antique look.

Step 7: The Handle

For the handle, I used a piece of oak wood I had lying around. This piece was about 1 inch thick, so I cut it into 2

1/2 inch pieces. I sanded it on the belt sander down to a size that fits the metal handle, and shaped it a little. I sloped the wood down towards the blade on the top, and made sure it fit nicely with the guard.

Step 8: Put the Handle Together

To hold the handle together, we'll need pins and glue. For the pins, I used two copper bolts that were the same length as the handle thickness. To make them into pins, I used a hacksaw to cut the heads off, and then sanded the threads down flat.

Now, using a strong wood glue, glue the two wooden handle pieces to the metal part. Make sure you put the guard on before you do this, and push the wood pieces up into the guard, making a tight fit. Clamp this together and let the glue dry completely.

When the glue is dry, use a drill press to drill holes into the handle. Choose a drill bit that is just barely smaller than your pins in circumference. Press two holes into the handle, evenly spaced. Make sure to drill all the way through both the wood pieces and the metal. Make sure the pins will fit tightly and squirt some more wood glue into the holes for extra reassurance. Then hammer the pins in all the way and let it dry.

When the handle is completely dry, use the belt sander to shape the handle. Sand the edges down to the metal inside and round the edges nicely. When you have a shape and feel you like, move on to the next step.

Step 9: Finish the Handle

To finish the handle, I cut a long, thin strip of leather to wrap around the handle. I smeared a little wood glue on the surface, then tightly wrapped the leather around, leaving just a little space at the bottom.

When the glue was dry, I used the drill press to drill a little hole near the very end. I then used a little leather strip to make a loop.

The final step is to sharpen you knife just like any other knife, with a sharpening kit or a whet stone.

Step 10: DONE!!

Done! This was my first time making a knife, so it doesn't look the best, but I'm happy with it. I hope you found this Instructable helpful, and I hope you are inspired to make your own knife!

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