Knife making class

So I wanted to start this conversation for some time now. Almost every one of my classes in blacksmithing someone if not a few have asked about how to make a knife. With this being said I’d like to make a class coming up in the next month or so that will be a multi part class. I will go over the basics and aim to get one finished with everyone in the class. Let me know who is interested and we can make a class happen.

This will be a paid class due to time and materials. Once I figure out the details we can get it on our calendar!



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Knife mailing is a regular discussion in blacksmithing. There is so much to discuss about making a knife. These include but are not limited to: materials, types of steel, shapes, cutting out patterns, shaping on the anvil, finishing on the grinder, selecting and making handles, bolsters, types of tangs, overall heat treatment and of course damascus steel. There are many books on the subject. It is a fascinating subject and there are as many opinions about the best knives as there are blacksmithing.

Years ago a professional knife maker came to DMS and offered to teach a class. He was a friend of another member. It was a mutltpart class, 6 sessions as I recall, and each session was about $60 per person. He had a number of knives he showed us and they were all beautiful. The class never made for various reasons, not the least of which was that we didn’t have a KMG at the time.

As you can see from this category the subject has been around for a long time:

The usual inhibitors to a class are 1) people don’t really know how to use the forge and make a knife from a blank piece of steel, You have to teach them how to at least do the basics of blacksmithing before you can teach them how to make a knife 2:) everyone wants to make a piece of Damascus or use an old railroad spike to start with and neither are good choices for different reasons 3) It is difficult to teach the subject in a short amount of time. People learn and perform tasks at their own speed. As usual mistakes will be made and if they have to start over if can be expensive and time consuming.

Having said all of this, if you decided to teach a class you’ll probably have a lot of takers. How much would you charge for your class? Are you going to provide the steel, handle pieces, pins, adhesives etc?

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Interested for my son, 30, who is not a current member……

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Agree with Dan. My suggestion would be to teach material removal and provide the blanks in the price of the class. The best DMS knife makers I have met aren’t really blacksmiths so much as they are really good at grinding. People don’t have any idea how much work really goes in to making alloy steel/forge welding/Damascus. It’s much more metal fab work(cutting and welding) than actual blacksmithing. YouTube and instagram as usual have created unrealistic expectations.

In reality people just want to go home with a nice knife and tell their friends they made it. So provide a class that does that.

Also railroad spikes are trash mild steel I haven’t the foggiest why people are so obsessed with them. A leaf or coil spring from a car or truck is 100x better from a carbon standpoint (although still not hard enough). Honestly I think we should make science teach an actual metallurgy class.


Do we have a heat treat oven now?

Vaguely recall setting something about that coming…

I call dibs :joy:

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Yes still waiting to finish building it needs new coils which are on back order. Depending on the steel you have exact temperatures aren’t as crucial. If you want to get into that more that’s on you and the steel. Most carbon steel like 1084/1095 aren’t super picky on the temp as some super steels.

Wanted to give the class with materials such as affordable carbon steel like 1080 which will be paired with a common handle material and pins. Knowing how to forge and do material removal both are manageable for a class just depending on where else we want to jump to in the space. I think the first class will start with the what we need some lessons on how to design and forge or remove material. While the following classes we can either draw to blade we are aiming for and execute both material removal and forge. Depending on what tools we can have and the amount of students. While giving some time in between classes for homework to make sure all are up to speed. The move to a heat treat day and after more fine details. This will most likely be a few person classes set and then we can move on to different classes that focus on Damascus building and more if y’all would like.

Talked a bit about what I’m shooting for and depending on the material cost and member amount the cost will very

that knife maker was Dave McDearmont. I am not a knife guy, but many of knives were pieces of art.

One of his knives here McDearmont, Dave | Arizona Custom Knives

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We have like 10 of them that will fit knives.

interested for sure.

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I’m interested too.

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There are a few members that were in todays class that are interested in getting this started! We are thinking of dedicating Saturdays to making this a for-sure thing. I ordered some books on blacksmith/bladsmithing that will help us on the path to becoming great blade makers. I will set up this upcoming month on the calendar that will add some of these days so we can get some teachings in and start making some awesome events for knife making and sword making classes. These class will be growing and filling fast so keep an eye out for Saturday events on our calendar.


@Mrholthaus , Max, are you saying there are 10 heat treat ovens? Not sure I understand. Only one I know of is in the one blacksmith shop that I wired up. And it was my understanding from @raceman1590 's post above it needs repairs? If we have other ways to heat treat, how about quenching? That’s in a trailer locked up outside from what I understand from Joe Brown, and the tank has parks 50 oil in it, yes?

If help is needed repairing the oven when the parts arrive I don’t mind helping as an electrician. Also, I am a novice stock removal knife maker. Do I need to be signed off on the 2x72? I have one at home I use, but the one in the blacksmith shop has some small wheel attachments and speed control I would like to use occasionally. What do I need to do to get signed off on the 2x72 and any heat treating ovens and quenching tanks/fluid we have so I can use them?

Also, @raceman1590 If it is open and not being used I plan on being there Saturday around 12-12:30 to use the surface grinder in the machine shop to surface grind some blades that have been heat treated. I just got signed off and I am not qualified to teach a class for it, but if you want to show anyone at the end of your class Saturday that is interested in knifemaking what this tool is about, I’ll be able to at least demonstrate the machine being used on blades.


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Sounds good I will be glad to come by and see Saturday. Feel free at anytime to come by the blacksmith shop Saturday and I can teach you a bit more on those machines you asked about. As far as what max is saying we have a large black box kiln which works but I haven’t used it much and the smaller one on the table when you walk in that is the one that is needed new coils. The coil set up should be an easy plug and play kinda deal but I will let you know if need be.

We do have ways to heat treat as far as perfect temps and accuracy on heat temp would have to have a laser gun to test the temperature when heat treating if you need really accurate heat. We do have quenching set up and yes that is in the trailer so we keep quenching to outside.

As far as stock removal knifes that would be a good start to a knife making class. Except for the fact if there are 3 students only one can grind at a time which is why I’ve been leaning towards hand forging knifes and going that route. I will place a starting class for prep on the building side. For those interested please let me know if Saturday doesn’t work and we can play with a couple days of the upcoming weeks.

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We used to have a bunch of knife sized kilns but maybe we auctioned them? I haven’t paid that much attention to be honest. I did build a kiln that can also be used. It’s in machine shop.

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