If you have completed a year of high school metal shop, a semester in a community college metalworking class or have just done a bit of metalworking, you should have the basic tools and material knowledge to make your own Russian style throwing knives. While there are many different Russian throwing knives, the Lider design is indigenous to Russia. It is an extremely good design that is moderately easy for experienced metalworkers to execute.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Things you need
- 1 12-by-1 3/4-by-1/4 inch piece of prehardened 01 tool steel or other prehardened blade steel of your choice for each thrower
- White glue
- 4-inch right angle grinder with cutting wheel
- 24-grit grinding wheel
- 80-grit mop disk or flapper disk
- Fine wire wheel
- Mounted bench vice
- Electric drill or drill press and 1/4-inch drill bit (optional)
- Wrap-around eye protection
- Heavy leather work gloves
- 5-gallon bucket of water
- Propane torch
- Large metal coffee can of vermiculite
Download the blade template that accompanies this step. Resize the template to 12-inch blade length. Print one copy for every knife you intend to make.
Lay the pieces of hardened, 01 tool steel in your oven and heat it to 287 degrees C for 1 hour. Make sure none of the steel blade blanks are touching each other or the sides of the oven. Allow the steel to cool to room temperature in your oven. Repeat this process three times. This is called "triple drawing the temper" and will give your knives a stronger, more complete temper.
Cut out all your paper blade templates with scissors. Glue one to each steel blade blank that you tempered in Step 2. Allow the glue to dry.
Use your abrasive saw on a 4-inch grinder to cut all of your blade profiles. Keep the steel cool to the touch by sprinkling it with water during grinding any time the steel begins to change colour. This will also prevent you from being burnt by the "rooster tail," which is the shower of sparks coming from the grinder.
Grind the profile of each blade using your 24-grit grinding wheel until the blade you are making resembles the photo in this article.
Use a torch to heat the end of the tang (handle) to glowing orange. Allow it to slow cool in vermiculite. Do not allow heat to run into your blade.
Drill a lanyard hole in the tang with a 1/4-inch drill bit, if desired. The lanyard allows you to hang the blades from your belt or backpack.
Grind the bevels of the blade with a 24-grit grinding wheel. Repeat with your 80-grit mop wheel or flapper disk. Keep the blade cool to the touch with water. Use a wire wheel to give each blade a wire brush finish.
Tips and warnings
- According to 20-year veteran industrial blacksmith, sword and knife maker Gypsy Wilburn, "Bevels should be no less than a 25-degree included angle between the front and back of the knife."
- Different types of steel will require different tempering procedures.
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