Knife Making Kits Review

DIY Knife Making - Terran Marks
*NOT from a knife making kit.

Brown County Forge’s Knife Making Kits Review

In general, kits are a fun way to start on a new hobby.

They are generally inexpensive and have easy-to-follow instructions.

Whether it’s beer-making or open fire cooking, many kits meet or exceed expectations.

One type of kit that has become pretty popular in recent years is the “knife making” kit.

One kit in particular seems to stand out above the rest:

Man Crates Knife Making Kit

In today’s post, I’m going to break down what’s bad and what’s good about Man Crates’ Kit (and other kits like it).

“Not Knife Making” – Customer Review on Man Crates’ website

If you go through the reviews on Man Crates Knife Making Kit, you will see a cascade of five stars.

Many customers had a great time handling their knives.

BUT that’s really all it is.

The steel portion of the knife is already shaped, sharpened, and heat treated.

All you need to do to “make your knife” is attach your wood pieces and pins with epoxy and shape the handle.

From that review above:

“This isn’t a knife making kit, it’s simply a knife handle making kit. The blade comes already shaped and sharpened. Just not as cool.”

You should be the final judge of the quality and value of the kit, but at $149.99 it just doesn’t seem worth it (in this professional’s opinion).

Note: Their Folding Knife Kit (Amazon affiliate link) seems to fair better in terms of Reviews. This could be due to the added skill involved in attaching the handle and dealing with the locking mechanism. Folders are more complicated than fixed blades.

Other Knife “Making” Kits

Jantz Supply in Oklahoma also offers knife making kits through their website:

Most of their kits range from $5.95 to $19.95 with a few rare exceptions over $100.

These are usually large specialty blades. Example: Their 13-inch long Carina Chef blade in V10 Damascus.

With that knife kit, you’re paying for the quality of the material more than anything.

But again, if you want to actually make your knife from start to finish, this is a Knife Handling Kit.

Nothing against Jantz Supply and their well-crafted products. They have been a leader in knifemaking education and supplies since the mid-1960s.

How to Make Legitimate Knives from Start to Finish

Making a Stock Removal Knife - Brown County Forge

In DIY Knife Making – Bushcraft Knives, we start by selecting our steel by carbon content. All information about where to find the right steel is provided.

Scandinavian Grind Bushcraft Knives - DIY Knife Making

Together, with step-by-step instructions, we go through how to cut, grind, shape, and sharpen a knife blank.

Bush Knife Tempering - DIY Knife Making

We’ll go over how to properly heat treat knives – Hardening AND Tempering.

Using a Rasp to Make a Knife Handle - DIY Knife Making

You’ll learn the necessary steps to make handle scales and attach them with an easy method.

DIY Knife Making - Terran Marks

And, if you’ve followed the guide from front to back, you will end up with a knife you made from start to finish.

Over the course of 108 pages, 60 Full-Color photos, multiple examples, and a printable knife template, you will gain the ability to truly make a knife.

It’s available for 86% less than Man Crates’ Knife Making Kit. And you’ll have the added opportunity to find your own steel, your own wood, and make your own knife still for less than a kit.

Pick up a copy on Kindle or Paperback here:

DIY Knife Making – Bushcraft Knives

DIY Knife Making - Bushcraft Knives - Terran Marks


Blacksmith Starter Kit

Blacksmith Starter Kit - Brown County Forge

Looking for a blacksmith starter kit with exactly what you need and nothing you don’t?

You’re in luck!

I talk about the basics of blacksmithing every week in class at Brown County Forge.

We go over skills and techniques, but spend real time talking about essential equipment. That’s what we’ll cover in this post.

*I’ll also offer to put together a kit for you and make it available for pickup at the blacksmith shop (mainly for Indiana residents, but everyone is welcome).

The Four Items in the Blacksmith Starter Kit

The equipment you need to get started blacksmithing comes down to 4 items:

  • Forge – How you heat the metal.
  • Anvil – Where you shape the metal.
  • Hammer – What you shape the metal with.
  • Tongs – How you hold the metal.

How Much Should a Kit Cost?

Let’s break down the items in the kit by price.

Forge – $249 (free shipping) – $325 (plus shipping)

Blacksmith Starter Kit - Brown County Forge

Your forge will be one of the most expensive pieces to buy.

The forge I use is the Knifemaker Economy forge by Majestic Forge.

It costs $325 and ships for around $50 depending on how far you live from Sugar Grove, Ohio.

Why I like it:

  • Two burners – It gets up to heat quickly.
  • Compact – It doesn’t take up a lot of space.
  • Easy to set up – Takes about 10 minutes right out of the package.
  • Ships fast – I ordered it on a Tuesday and had it 2-3 days later.

A second, less expensive option (over 1670 sold) is Hell’s Forge Double Burner:

Blacksmithing Starter Kit - Brown County Forge

Anvil – $285 – $400 (varies by retailer)

The anvil I use in the shop is a 70 pound NC Tool Company brand anvil.

I own two of them and they’re each responsible for hundreds of projects.

Why I like them:

  • Movable – You can move one of them on your own. No need to call a friend.
  • Inexpensive – At under $300 or $4 per pound, it’s a steal.
  • Durable – Mine have seen heavy use over the years and they keep on truckin’.

Hammer – $28

Your hammer really doesn’t need to cost a whole lot.

Blacksmith's Hammer - Brown County Forge - Terran Marks

If you find a hammer that weighs between 2 and 3 pounds at a flea market or yard sale for a dollar, buy it.

Your main concern is overall weight and then handle length preference.

For my money, and the hammer I use every day, I go with a 2.5-pound Vaughan Cross Peen. I bought the one you see above on Amazon for $28 in 2011. (Find here on Amazon)

I could lose all of my other equipment, but if I lost that hammer I’d be very sad.

Tongs – $38.50

I use Centaur Forge’s 3/8-inch V-Bit Bolt Tongs nearly every day.

They’re good all around tongs useful for flat stock, square bar, and round bar.

Total Kit Cost (before shipping): $604$680

Where to Buy Each Item

Your forge can be securely purchased on eBay from Hell’s Forge or directly from Majestic Forge for the forge I use –

Your anvil should be purchased from Centaur Forge to get the best price on shipping – Also available on Amazon here.

The hammer can be picked up on Amazon.

Your tongs will come straight from Centaur Forge as well –

Blacksmith Starter Kits Available for Pickup

I’d be happy to arrange for kit pickup at Brown County Forge in Bloomington, Indiana.

A few things to consider:

  • Shipping times for each item can vary so we’ll need to schedule at least 2 weeks in advance.
  • There is a convenience fee added to the total purchase price to cover my costs.
  • In general, it’s difficult and expensive to return large items like anvils and forges. It pays to be sure this is something you really want to do.

If you’d like to set up a blacksmithing kit order for pickup, please contact me at

We will go over your anvil options (size, brand, etc.) and final costs (to be paid in advance).

If you’re not quite ready to take the plunge into blacksmithing, I recommend taking an in-person class or taking advantage of the Online Course below:

Want to Learn How to Use It All?

I’d be happy to show you the basics of blacksmithing.

The online DIY Blacksmithing Course I created covers everything you need to know to get started.

  • What to look for in an anvil and where to buy one.
  • 50+ video lessons.
  • Everything hammers and tongs.
  • Proper metal temperature.
  • Knife making – forged and stock removal. (Includes handling.)
  • Answers to common questions from years of teaching blacksmithing.

Check out the Free Preview by Clicking Below:

DIY Blacksmithing Online Course - Blacksmith Classes

I’m also happy to answer any questions you might have:


Terran Marks - The Blacksmith - Brown County Forge

Terran Marks – owner, Brown County Forge