Nailsworth Community Workshop

Knife making weekends

As the country starts the long journey to opening up again we will be restarting our courses in July with new social distancing and smaller numbers.

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. We are delighted to say that we have been awarded a gold star by Craft Courses for our knife and bow weekends.

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


Hi Pam,
I was lucky enough to attend the workshop this weekend,  to make a knife.
Please pass on my thanks (again) to Arian.  The whole setup was fantastic, but as for Arian, what a great bloke.  Endless patience, wisdom and wit.
I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience and got so much more out of it than purely making a knife.  Anyone with an interest in this or even just testing the water would benefit greatly.

Regards and best wishes, John.

 "I would like to say how much I enjoyed the knife making course this weekend taught by Arian.The  atmosphere at the Nailsworth Workshop is very pleasant and as a group of 6 people learning, there was the right amount of space, tools and materials for us to work and not get in each other's way.I found Arian to be a knowledgeable, patient and encouraging teacher.  He wanted us to produce something practical, creative and beautiful.He gave us license to challenge ourselves, and I ended up with something much better than I thought I would be able to achieve.The course was also complete, in that we created the blade, created the handle, and created a sheath to keep it safe.

  I am very thankful to Arian for his instruction. I would definitely recommend this course. You will learn a lot, and have good time doing it in a great environment.At the end of the weekend, you will take away a tool that you will be able to use for the rest of your life."

"My son and I have just finished this wonderful course. We were both complete novices to knife making and we started off with a certain degree of apprehension as to whether we would achieve anything vaguely resembling a knife! However this was soon put to rest by the very relaxed.and informal atmosphere in the workshop.
Arian is an excellent (and very patient) tutor with a wealth of knowledge and skill which he used to guide us through all the stages of producing our knives. Our confidence soon rose and we became completely immersed in the whole process and enjoyed the plentiful supply of tea and biscuits!

Special thanks to Arian for helping my son to incorporate a lambs horn from one of our own sheep into the handle of his knife- a real personal touch.
Would have no hesitation in completely recommending this course to anyone no matter what your ability level. You will not be disappointed!!!
Many thanks."