How to Make a Basic but Effective Knife

How to Make a Basic but Effective Knife

All you need for this project is some scrap plywood, a blade of some sorts and a saw or survival knife. You can also use a small fastener such as a screw, bolt or rivet to anchor the blade into the handle for some added strength.

Preparing the Wood

The first step is to cut the plywood to an appropriate size.  The width of the wood should be at least three times the width of the blade.  However, you can install the blade before cutting down the width of the plywood as well.  The length of the knife is up to you, but it should be somewhat proportional to the length of the blade as it sticks out from the end.  The handle should be between 1 ½ and twice the length of the blade as a general rule of thumb, but you can make variations as necessary.

Once you’ve decided on the dimensions of the wood, you want to cut a horizontal slit along the middle of one of the ends.  Center it so that it does not go all the way to the sides of the plywood.  The slit must be wide enough for the blade as well as deep enough to anchor it in place.  Try to make the depth about two thirds the length of the blade.  However, you can use shorter lengths as long as you are able to anchor the blade into the handle and don’t expect to exert a lot of force on the blade while cutting.

The easiest way to make the cut is by using a thin chisel or sharp blade.  Simply work your way down, gently wiggling the tool to open up some space.  The nice thing about plywood is that the area around where you are making the hole will compress so you don’t have to worry about removing shavings.  However, there is plenty of room to improvise based on your preferences and tools that you have on hand.

Installing the blade

You want to be careful not to cut yourself while installing the blade as it may require a little bit of force to get it seated properly.  Take all necessary precautions and use common sense during this process.  Chances are that you will be able to get a good portion of the blade into the handle without much difficulty.

However, there will be a point where you need to wiggle, tap or use other necessary means to get the job done.  One trick is stab another piece of plywood with the end of the knife and tap the handle with another piece of wood, hammer or other blunt object.  This should provide enough force to secure the blade without damaging the tip.

Test the fitting by wiggling and bending the blade with one hand while you hold the handle in the other.  You will be able to quickly determine if the hole is tight and deep enough to anchor the blade enough to be useful and safe.  Keep in mind that more wiggling will occur over time as repeated or intense use compresses the wood around the blade inside of the handle.

Installing the Anchors

You can also attach anchors in order to maximize the strength of connection between the blade and handle. Screws, bolts and rivets are just a few examples of things that you can use to penetrate through the handle.  You can also hammer in few nails and shave off the ends so they are flush against the handle as well.  Use your imagination and available resources, and there’s a good chance that this extra step will make the knife stronger and useful for a longer period of time.

Finally, cut down the handle to size based on your needs.  Just make sure to leave a little room on either side of the blade in order to avoid weakening the structural integrity of the handle.  Also, remember that you can use any type of blade or metallic strip that you have available as long as it can be modified to suit your purposes.  You can even use a disposable razor blade in order to create a simple, yet effective carving or shaving knife.

You can build the knife in just a couple of minutes and start using it right away. You don’t need a forge, specialized tools or a lot of experience.  Try this trick out for yourself, and see how easy it can be to make a decent knife that will get the job done.


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