We have all heard about boning knives, the pointy knife that’s used to separate bones from meat and filet fishes. The exclusively popular bone knife, on the other hand, is completely different from that in both sense and application. Although they are often misinterpreted as the same knife by people who are unfamiliar with the latter.

So, what is a bone knife? As the name indicates, bone knives are knives that use sharpened bones as blades. Thousands of years ago, in the stone age, our ancestors turned to use bones as weapons solely out of the urgency to survive. Out in the wilderness, when the neanderthal hunters felt cornered by nature, they must have looked around to make use of whatever resources available to them to defend themselves. Carcasses were one such great source. Large bones could be shaped and sharpened to make the most wonderful knife, which comes in handy in both hunting and defending themselves by the primitive men. And such knives are still being used now, needless to say, with an upgraded build and design and much more versatile applications. Let us learn more about these exquisite knives!


Overview of Bone Knives

Bone knives can be distinguished by their pretty demeanor and ivory flashing white blades made of bone. To have better balance, longer bones were chosen from dead animals. Preferably from the leg, are used for the construction of a bone blade. Elk bone, antlers, buffalo, or any animals having similar size were used for the purpose.

The origin of bone knives dates way back to 1.5 million years ago, during the stone age. The Neanderthals from the African continent were said to have been the first users of bone weapons and tools. The bone knives in those periods were wielded by high-ranked individuals and hunters. Such bone-made artifacts found had decorative rings, beautiful patterns, and additional inlays to strengthen the blade’s core.

Modern bone knives have evolved plenty from that point; they are much less heavy and more compact in comparison, much sharper too, thanks to the current technology. The bones are also much easier to shape than stones, so that’s one of the reasons bone knives still survived even after a million years and more. The bone knives available nowadays, feature a short blade with a noticeably symmetrical design. Single or dual sharp age is usually up to the customer’s preference. Therefore, the range of a bone knife is meant to be small, although making it pretty effective in close-range combat. The handle is often made from similar bone to ensure consistency in aesthetics.


Making A Bone Knife Yourself

If you’re experienced and dedicated enough, it is possible to craft a bone knife yourself! The upside of making it yourself is you can customize it as you wish, and hone your creativity too.

In order to make the knife, focus on the blade first; after you have the bone you want to make a knife from, you can go two ways from there. Remember that the bone should be wide and long enough for its core to be shaped into a blade as explained earlier, experts go for leg bones from large animals for a suitable piece.

To get the raw piece to shape, you can either shatter the bone with a rock or use a bone sawing machine to saw off the unnecessary parts to get to the usable core. The shattering technique is what the primitive men used while making bone knives.

Now that you have the bone all ready, run it through an abrasive belt sander to smoothen the piece and shape the blade accordingly. Then use sandpaper to sharpen the edge, resort to the similar sharpening method when resharpening the knife afterward.

For the handle, you can choose bone or wood, leather, or whatever feels comfortable to hold on to, from your POV. While shaping the blade, keep the tang a few inches longer. That will go inside the handle, and create a base for the knife, and ultimately enhance the balance and control.


How to Choose the Best Bone Knife

If you would rather get a ready-made one than make a knife, that’s cool too! There’s always the option to buy from the countless choices presented in the market. That’s why those knives exist in the first place! To be chosen by you. Because of the professional design and construction, it’s unlikely you won’t love your pick. Although there are a few aspects that need to be considered; this segment is aimed to discuss them.

Size and Weight: The overall length of bone knives available in the market ranges between 5 to 10 inches. Proportional to the size the width of the knife will also vary. For chores set at home, it’s better to get a shorter bladed version and also if you’re planning to carry it everywhere with you. The longer bladed bone knives are suitable as a hunting knife or as a collector’s piece. Since they are quite heavy to carry around.

Blade Length and Type: The type of bone used to make a blade affects the durability and flexibility of the knife altogether also the weight varies based on the material used. Bladesmiths opt for leg bone, horns, etc. from large mammals.

The length starts from 3.5-7 inches in length, and it typically uses a pointy tip to puncture the skin or dig, and the flat edges make efficiently clean cuts.

Handles:  The handle of a bone knife usually fashions leather or paracord winded handle as it offers better grip and control to wield the knife. The handle can also be carved from the original blade material, although full tang bone knives are a little heavier than other options. Wood, gemstone composites, ivory, jigged bones or resins, etc. People tend to emphasize more on the visual of the handle when the knife is bought for decorative purposes. The ergonomics and slip-proof grip are other angles to look into when you want to put the piece for use.



Q: Are bone knives durable?

A: Depends on how it’s gonna be used. Since bones are raw, you may find them hard enough to be called strong but also very prone to brittle under stress. These knives are also likely to lose edge after using a few times; this is why they aren’t the first choice for doing regular chores.

Q: Can bone knives be sharpened?

A: They can for a few times. Bone knives aren’t meant to be reusable to that degree. Use regular gritted sandpaper to sharpen the edges. Although, after a certain number of sharpening sessions, the blade may lose its original shape and advantage. You can also put serrations on the edge, but a plain edge works better with bone.

Q: Where to buy the best bone knife?

A: Off the shelf, bone knives are sold on Etsy, Amazon, and other online marketplaces. The designs are all eye-catching to pick from. Another option is to contact a bladesmith of your preference and have them customize a bone knife for you. Either choice is worth considering depending on your budget.


Common Uses of Bone Knife

As the sharpness of a bone knife is on par with that of a stone or flint knife, you can have a myriad of tasks to be done successfully. The blades of the bone knife have a thin and flat edge, so it can produce a clean and smooth cut; it’s said to be one of the reasons they are so adored in the kitchen. Bone knives are used to prepare salad, dressings, chop fruits, vegetables, also meat and fish. Since bone is a life-based resource, they don’t react to food’s chemicals and are completely safe to use in food.

The usefulness of bone knives is not only bound in the kitchen but also outside. Due to its dagger-like appearance, this knife can easily be carried with a sheath. Enabling it to accompany you to your hunting, camping, and fishing ventures. Despite their appearance, bone knives are quite sharp. So, these can be used to prepare food in camps, skin and debone small game animals, and as a reliable self-defense weapon before hitting the road.

Lastly, most handmade bone knives are a joy to look at. The gorgeous designs and original appearance enhance the elegance of any environment it’s in. The ivory white blade with a suitable wooden or bone handle is bound to attract attention.



Bone knives are an elegant choice for anyone. They are equally suitable to use indoors and outdoors. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking to add a bone knife as a collector’s piece, or as a hunting knife, kitchen knife, even a survival one, like it was initially created for; we have your back. This post aims to enlighten you about bone knives, their features, uses, ways to make one even or where to get them, and how to choose the best one out of the lot. Hopefully, we have succeeded in the cause. Good luck in your quest!



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