How-to Make Your Own Bushcraft Knife

With just a handful of items, making a functional bushcraft knife of high quality is an easy task. Dependent on the metallurgy equipment and skills that you have, the process of making a bushcraft knife can prove to be exhausting as well. Hence, the first step to start making a Bushcraft Knife is by collecting the things you need to make it on your own.

What Items You Should Prepare

  • File: Even an old one will do!
  • Hardwood: For making the handles of your bushcraft knife, apart from wood, you can also use Rubber or plastic as well.
  • Oven: For tempering the blade, you will need an oven that can raise 350- 6660F
  • Forge: you can use another fitting substitute to burn the coal in
  • Coal: For heating up and many other metallurgical processes of making a bushcraft knife at home.
  • Epoxy Adhesive: For the final assembly of the knife, use 2-Sided Epoxy adhesive.
  • Oil: Protects the wood and most importantly, for quenching the blade.
  • Hacksaw: To cut the blade as well as shape it, you need a power saw or a hacksaw;
  • Clamps: While filling the grind of your bushcraft knife, clamps better the procedure.
  • Caliper: Beneficial to the stage of profiling the knife, also sued to mark or pattern the rough outlines;
  • Vice: When filling the grind or creating the bolsters, you must secure it within the vice.
  • Lubricant: Used to have smooth drilling on the file without friction;
  • Drill: In order to drill the file as well as the handle, you must acquire compatible drill and nails.
  • Hammer: Apart from beating the file, manual hammering is required to straighten the file on the bushcraft knife at many places.
  • Tongs: For use when shifting the hot blade during knife-making;
  • Scriber: To mark the pattern, you can use a permanent marker or a scriber.

Who Needs to Make a Bushcraft Knife?

Ranging from outdoor fanatics to backpackers, hikers, RVers as well as any blade lovers, the art of making a bushcraft knife is enthralling and fulfilling a skill to possess. If you know how to make a bushcraft knife, making varied types and variations of custom knives is effortless!

When Do You Need A Bushcraft Knife?

A bushcrafter needs a bushcraft knife. In addition, if you’re an outdoor enthusiast or traveler, knowing how to make the bushcraft knife will help your hunt as well as your survival in the wild. Prior to starting your hunt, draft a knife that suits your target as well as the environment. You can also make your own self-defense or tactical knife if you prefer a customized bushcraft knife too!

Challenges Faced When Making a Bushcraft Knife

There are many things to keep in mind when indulging in the complex armory like the bushcraft knife. To keep yourself safe, if you are using power tools, make sure to wear the safety masks and follow the guidelines to keep yourself from getting injured on your half-done knife. If power tools are uncomfortable, use hand tools, which is also perfect for accuracy and efficient drilling as well as sawing.

Filters On How to Make a Bushcraft Knife

After collecting your choice of raw materials to make a bushcraft knife, the next step is to find your comfort zone and start making the bushcraft knife. To do it, follow the below 8 steps on DIY: Making a Bushcraft Knife.

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Design The Dimensions of Your Bushcraft Knife

Make a compatible bushcraft knife prototype that you like. Also conduct spark, hardness and break tests to check if your steel is susceptible for the knife you have in mind. Use a permanent marker or scriber to mark your choice of dimensions from the design, onto the file.

Preparing Your Files

Annealing your knife is mandatory because, in order to work on your file, you need a tool that is harder than the file. As the better choice is to decrease the strength of the file, you must heat the file at an austenitizing temperature, preferably until it is red-hot. As the files would lose its magnetic properties due to the aforementioned process, heat it up after 3-5 minutes. Repeat the heating and cooling process for a few times after.


You must superimpose the print-out or prototype of your bushcraft knife onto the annealed file, now. Then, enclose the file in a vice, add oil and make a vertical cut on the knife with a three-tooth hacksaw or compatible power tool.


Also known for refining the file conforming to the prototype, filling to eliminate the rugged edges due to the hacksaw cutting is an important stage of DIR: Bushcraft Knife;

  1. Cross-Filling or Straight Filling: Filling Direction- 900, Work-piece 1800 within the vice.
  2. Draw Filling: Used for the fineness of the surface-finish of the blade, it flattens the edges.

Sharpening the Edge of your Blade or Grind-Making

Denoting the shape of the knife’s cross-section, the grind is also referred to as bevel. The golden tip is “Less material does you have behind the edge with a steeper grind, sharper your blade will be”.
To get started, mark the grind boundaries on your knife and calculate grind width b using, b= T (2tanα) with a thickness (Blade) as T of the angle α, with a permanent marker. Secure it into the vice and begin filing in the grind equally on both the sides.

Hardening and Tempering

Conducted through the process of ‘quenching’, hardening the knife up to austenitizing temperatures is necessary to harden it. As the file’s color denotes the temperature it was heated on, and it is ideal to heat the file up to 3500-6600F for up to 1-2 hours in an oven to temper it.

Bolstering and Handle Making

Take the remnants of the file and make two oval bolsters, with the front bolster in a rectangular shape and the rear one, as a smaller rectangle. To make the handle, use wood or rubber to after marking the location and size of bolstering needed. To polish your blade, use a refined shaping and grit with sandpaper.

The Verdict

Determining what type of file, you need for your bushcraft knife will help you understand that these differences of the steel will also judge the firmness, sharpness, and efficiency of using the knife. Knowing how to make a bushcraft knife on your own is the stepping stone to efficient DIY Metallurgy!


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