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Make a Sub-hilt Knife

This is a tutorial on how to make a type of knife called a subhilt knife. You can see that it has the usual guard. But it also has the smaller guard in the handle. Your index finger goes between those two. This prevents the knife from being pulled out of your hand.

The template for this knife is right here

I have a video tutorial on this at the bottom of the page. You can watch that video without leaving this page.

I also have a tutorial on how to make this knife with foam board. So, if you can't work with steel you can still make this knife. Check it out here

Will has a youtube channel with over 700 videos on projects you can make including dozens of blacksmithing videos. Check it out right here



Sub Hilt Knife


About a Subhilt knife:

Close up of the sub hilt

This picture gives you an idea of how this knife works.You would put your index finger in there between that small guard and the full sized guard. More in a full grip though. This would make it very difficult for someone to pull the knife out of your hand.






Materials Used to make this knife:

Tools Used:

Mill file A Mill File -There are lots of different types of files and two of the most common types are mill files and bastard files. We use a mill file not a bastard file. And when we use the file we only travel in the forward direction with it. We don't go back and forth with it. The mill file (upper one) has cut lines that are parallel. The Bastard file has a cross-hatch pattern in it (lower one).





  • A Hacksaw
  • A belt sander
  • A wood rasp for shaping the handle
  • Sandpaper for the wood parts
  • Emory paper for the steel parts. For general work something around 80-120 grit. FOr polishing I used 80, 120, 220, 400, 600
  • Gorilla Two part epoxy glue for gluing the handle in place Gorilla Epoxy
  • Tung Oil for polishing the handle parts
  • Electric drill and two bits: 1/4 inch and 1/8 inch
  • A variety of small files and a small saw for drawing out the slots in the guards
  • Paint thinner for cleanup and rags

Heat Treating:

  • I used a home made forge to heat the steel up to hardening temperature. I also used the forge to heat it up to tempered temperature. You can use a blow torch for hardening temp and the same torch for tempering or you can use your oven for tempering.


This picture below shows all the pieces we will make. It includes six wooden handle pieces, three steel pieces and six brass pins.

The parts of the knife


Okay Will says enough with all the introductory stuff!!! Let's get to the knife making!!!


Or you can watch the video tutorial below




REbar knifeForge a Rebar Knife

Rebar is a cheap and readily available material. It is easy to forge and in this tutorial I show you how to make a knife with it. I also show you some new techniques like how to bend the steel into curves. Make a Rebar Knife


Railroad spike hatchetForge a Railroad Spike Throwing hatchet

Fun and easy little project and I show you a technique that all blacksmiths use but very few talk about. How to forge a railroad spike hatchet/throwing axe.


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