When you enter a hardware store to buy bolts, chances are you want to use them to connect or repair something. But if you’re sculptor and woodcarver Bobby Duke, you look at these fasteners as raw material with which you can craft some really small weaponry:

YouTube video

Bobby takes a Bowie knife design made by Gil Hibben for The Expendables 2 film and miniaturizes it so it can fit onto a tiny piece of metal. Before shaping out the knife however, he has to first cut and grind away at the bolt head to flatten it out with the shank.

Turning Bolt Into Workable Material

bolt Bowie knife

With the top part of the bolt at a uniform size, he can now heat it up to make it more malleable. Seeing as there isn’t a small enough forge for a bolt this size, Bobby uses a blowtorch to superheat the bolt so he can hammer it into a flat, workable piece of metal.

Shaping Miniature Knife

bolt Bowie knife

This flat part is what he’ll be using to make his miniature Bowie knife. Using a paper cutout as a guide, he marks the bolt accordingly and begins cutting and filing away. You can see that while Bobby doesn’t make use of the bolt thread, the excess metal helps him hold the bolt steady with his vice grip and bench vise.

bolt Bowie knife

Bobby Duke must have really good eyesight. Not only does he constantly stare at you throughout the video, but he also works with the smallest metal cutters and drills to carve the knife’s tiniest details without the aid of a magnifying glass.

Crafting the Wood Handle

bolt Bowie knife

But carving the knife out is only half the battle, as there are still a couple of small recesses which need to be fitted with a wooden handle. To make them, Bobby cuts out two pieces of dark wood and glues them onto the handle’s sides. After leaving the knife in his bench vise to dry, he cuts and files out the handle using his small tools before drilling in two small screws to connect the wood to the metal.

Giving the Knife Some Bite

bolt Bowie knife

After some grinding and smoothing, the only thing left to do now is sharpening the dull knife. Bobby uses multiple whetstones, starting with the lower grade stones and finishing with the higher ones.

bolt Bowie knife

With enough grinding and honing, this miniature knife is sharp enough to shave off the hairs on your chest or legs. It’s a far cry from the normal-sized Bowie knife, but Bobby Duke wanted to make a piece of art, not a weapon that could kill a small rodent.

Bobby Duke’s YouTube channel, Bobby Duke Arts, is the man’s haven where he can freely express himself using different materials and turning them into pieces of art.


Carlos wrestles gators, and by gators, we mean words. He also loves good design, good books, and good coffee.