I made this stuff.

First, buy books and join the forum.

There is a sort of "canon" of books that have been written on knifemakeing and bladesmithing.  I always encourage those new to the craft to buy and read these books before attempting to make their first knife.  Here they are:

How to Get Started

Step-by-Step Knifemaking, David Boye
This is a great book that will walk you through the full process of making a stock removal knife.  What's "stock removal?" you ask.  See below in the next section where I define and explain a few basic concepts.

I first learned how to make knives in high school reading this book.

A few things that the book encourages that I do not:

  • Boye encourages using scrap steel from old saw blades, etc. for your blades.  While many good knives/swords are made from "mystery steel," I strongly encourage those new to the craft to buy steel.  Why? Because basic tool steel is so inexpensive and easy to order on-line, and knowing what kind of steel you are working eliminates a ton of variables when trying to figure out what happening when something goes wrong.  I'll talk more about steel below.
  • Boye has a great section on acid etching designs on the blade.  If you are artistically inclined, it's a very nice way to add ornamentation to your work.  However, I would strongly encourage you to use an acid other than the Aqua Regia he recommends in his book.  That stuff is like alien blood, very nasty and dangerous.  Use a 4:1 mix of water and Ferric Chloride instead.  Ferric is much safer, available on-line from Amazon, and is used by most bladesmiths to etch their pattern welded steel.

I promise I'll get around to finishing this article someday . . . Sept 2015

In the meantime, go join http://www.BladesmithsForum.com  You'll learn a ton there. 


On the forum I help run, Bladesmithsforum.com, the question is often asked by new members: "I'm a complete newbie, where do I start?"  I've answered it so often that I thought it might makes sense to put a permanent version of it up here.