Over the summer when I was living in Austin, Texas, I had the amazing opportunity to learn some metalworking skills from a master metalsmith, Kit Casati ( https://kitcasati.com/ ) Kit mentored me through various skills, including welding and soldering. However, the hardest and most time consuming project I ventured through, was designing and crafting my own knife.
I started with an iron railroad spike that Kit had picked up for us (left) and transformed it into a completely custom, full tang knife (above).
Here is a short synopsis of the process I went through to create my knife.
First, I heated my railroad spikes in a gas forge. Then I heat treated the iron as I hammered it down flat. Once it was fairly flat, I switched to the hydraulic press to speed up the process of flattening (photos above).
Next I drew the shape of my blade and handle and used a metal grinder to cut out the major shapes. Next I used a burr to refine the shapes I had already cut (photos below)
Next I took my knife to the belt sander, and sanded it down smooth on all flats and edges.
After it was sanded I drilled holes in the handle, and started on the handle.
Once the handle was in place I let the glue adhere, then came back and sanded it down as well.
At the same time I began working on the blade, this was the hardest part of the whole process, and I needed a lot of Kits help to get it flawless.
The whole process took several weeks. A small recap does not do the process justice. It was labor intensive, sweaty and dirty, physically exhausting, dangerous, but so beyond worth it. I still have shards of metal embedded in some of my clothing.
I could not have had a better teacher as well, I value everything I learned from Kit and his patience and help through out the entire process.