Making your first knife is a daunting task.
There are so many steps involved, and so much can go wrong if you don’t know what you’re doing.
This article will cover some of the most common mistakes beginners make when making their first knives.
If you take on this project, it’s important to avoid them.
4 Top Mistakes To Avoid While Making First Knife
1. Using the wrong kind of steel
Using the wrong kind of steel is one of the most common mistakes people make when they first start making knives. Before you begin, research which type of steel is best for your needs and budget.
When choosing your steel, avoid using recycled steel or steel that has not been properly hardened. Also, make sure your knife is made of the right kind of steel for the type of knife you are making.
For example, if you’re making a hunting knife, don’t use high carbon stainless steel because it will break under pressure. A survey of knife makers found that 72% of knife makers prefer high carbon steel as their favorite steel of choice.
Finally, be sure to use steel that has been properly ground. Using inexpensive steel may seem like it will save you money, but it won’t hold up as well in the long run.
2. Overheating your blade blank
If you overheat the steel, it can warp and become less than straight. Overheating will also make your blade more brittle and prone to breaking, so you’ll need to start from scratch with a new piece of steel if this happens.
If you don’t heat up your blade long enough, however, you’ll have problems getting it sharp because there won’t be enough carbon in the metal to be hardened properly.
You may also not get enough hardness or strength in your knife if there isn’t enough time spent at high temperatures.
3. Using bad quality grinding tools
A good quality grinding tool will allow you to make a smooth, even grind. Its teeth are sharp enough to cut through the material being ground easily.
You should also be able to do your grinding in a shorter amount of time with a good quality grinder, saving yourself precious time.
If you’re unsure if your grinder is up to snuff, check for any burrs along its teeth and see if there’s any visible damage on them (like chips or cracks).
If there are any issues with your grinder’s teeth, it will likely result in an uneven finished product when it comes time to grind down the blade of your knife.
4. Neglecting to quench your blade
In the world of bladesmithing, quenching is an integral part of the process. Quenching (or tempering) is a step that comes after forging or grinding your blade, where you plunge it into some kind of liquid to cool down and harden it.
If you don’t properly quench your knife, it can warp or crack—not what you want when making something that’s meant to be used for everything from opening boxes to cutting meat.
If you are going to make a knife, it’s important to understand what it takes.
You can’t cut corners on this project, or you will end up with a poor-quality product that is not worth anything.
We’ve given you some tips about avoiding common mistakes when making your first knife, but these things should also be kept in mind when making any other kind of tool out of steel.