RWL34 Stainless Steel Kitchen Knife

I need to get myself some kitchen knifes so I figured I’d make some myself. The material I have chosen to make them out of is RWL34 Damascus stainless steel from Artisan’s Online after I found it is one of the most recommended stainless steels in the knife making community. While it is labelled as a Damascus, it doesn’t have the cool patterns that most commercial Damascus knives do as it is actually a pressed powder which allows for a very fine grain. I plan on making the scales from Tasmanian oak and attach them to the handle with epoxy and Corby screws.

The process I have to make the knife is as follows:

  1. Draw design for knife
  2. Drill holes in handle
  3. Cut out the profile of the knife and bring to size with files or a linisher
  4. Grind main bevels
  5. Wrap knife in heat treat foil
  6. Harden knife at 1080C for 50min inside foil
  7. Clamp knife in aluminium to achieve a clamp quench
  8. Deep freeze knife for 2h in dry ice + metho to complete austenitizing of steel
  9. Temper for 2h at 200C for a final hardness of ~60HRC. This hardness is a good compromise for a relatively thin knife.
  10. Clean oxidisation off knife
  11. Bring all faces to a 240grit finish (polished knifes are not great for kitchen use as things stick to them)
  12. Sand 20deg cutting edge on belt sander
  13. Cut stock for scales into oversized rectangles
  14. Drill holes in scales
  15. Cut oversized profile of scales
  16. Epoxy scales to knife and install Corby fasteners
  17. After epoxy is cured, sand scales to final shape
  18. Oil scales
  19. Sharpen bevel using scary sharp method up to 4000 grit

So far, I have started shaping the stock with a hacksaw and files but need to drill the handle holes before continuing further as it will be difficult to clamp in a vice after being cut to final shape. I have attached a picture below of my sketched design and cutting progress so far.


I drilled the holes and finished cutting the knife out using a grinder with a cut off wheel and bringing to final size using files. As the stock came with a mill finish, it could do with a surface grind to remove the divets in the surface of the knife while ensuring it is flat but this would require a magnetic chuck. I also need to work out a way to mark the center line of the blade for grinding the bevels as I lack a surface plate and surface gauge which would be ideal. I have time to sort this out due to a bottleneck of requiring heat treating foil which I ordered from the states 2 weeks ago but it hasn’t been sent yet. So far I am thinking of making a marking gauge jig much like one for woodworking. Photo of progress below.

As for an alternative to surface grinding, I have a lapping plate set up for lapping plane blades and chisels which I may use to lap the knife. This method will work for flattening, it will just take a very long time and doesn’t ensure parallelism like surface grinding does.