Nailsworth Community Workshop

Knife making weekends

Our knife making weekend starts 7–9 on the Friday then all day Saturday and Sunday and you will make a beautiful knife and sheath ready to take away with you.

You will work to your chosen design to create a blade out of high-carbon steel. You will learn how to harden and temper the steel in order to achieve an excellent cutting edge. The handles will be made of variety of woods, to meet your aesthetic sense and to fit your hand. Finally we will make sheaths by moulding veg-tanned leather.

General info

Our attitude towards knife-making is to produce something individual, beautiful and useful, in equal measure. We have no interest in weaponry and aggressiveness. Knife is a tool, not a weapon. We hope you will agree.


The Friday slot is to confirm our designs and cut out and begin shaping the blades. We can do all that on Friday but, if you have some time before, you could begin to plan for it. First question will be: what sort of a knife you want to make, and for what purpose. Basically, there are 3 scenarios:

1. An 'all round' knife useful for variety of uses. This would have a blade 3–4 inch long, wooden handle and a sheath

2. Bushcraft knife – more specialized for outdoor work, blade approx 5 inch, generally larger tool with correspondingly more work involved.

3. Specialised knife: e.g. for woodcarving, leather cutting etc- these are normally shorter blades, with particular blade shapes, and excellent for one purpose but less so for others. Recently, some participants have opted to make a kitchen knife, this is a possibility as the increased amount of work on the steel bevel was offset by not needing a leather sheath.

Have a look at: for some examples and design ideas.

The steel stock we will use comes in 2 or 3 mm thickness and 30mm width – this sets the size limit, which is plentiful for most purposes and our time scale.


-completing the shaping of blades, and heat-treating them to a right hardness
-shaping and fitting the handles, this is glued to set over night
-we also wet-mould veg-tanned leather, this is dried to shape over night


-we complete handles, and polish and oil them to a high finish
-we cut the leather sheets to final shape, and complete by stitching and dyeing
-finally, we sharpen the blades to a fine cutting edge 

If you have time to draw some of your ideas please do. We will need to make a 1:1 paper pattern first, to then translate onto the steel.

Or just come on Friday and we'll do it all then.

Saturday and Sunday we will start at 9am, until 5pm. I will provide refreshments at break time. For lunch you can bring something and eat in the workshop, or there are plenty of cafes and shops in Nailsworth so you can nip out and buy something. (The fish and chip shop near the workshop is highly recommended!)

18 and over unless accompanied by an adult when it is 15 and above.

The course would make an excellent present and gift vouchers are available. Please contact Pam if you are interested in the course on 07971 737626 or