Posted by: woodbeecarver   in Knives


This is a story of creative play in the making of the toys for carving in the form of carving knives.  Why does this carver continue to make knives for personal use that far exceeds the accumulation of carving knives?  The answer is the same as to why carve more of the same design of a carving subject?  Why does a carver feel compelled to continue to carve beyond the need for more?  Why accumulate more carving wood when there will not be enough time to use what is already on hand?  The answer is in the meaning of “creative play” for the child within each of us to fulfill our imagination.

“Once a man and twice a child,” is descriptive of what a person can experience in a life time.  As the Wood Bee Carver approaches his 80th birthday in October a reminiscing of memories of life’s journey often reflects upon childhood memories.  The influence of childhood memories is repeated in the second childhood of one’s twilight years since the mold that was shaped in those formative years are reproduced throughout a life time.

It was during childhood play that imagination matured to be a silent guide of creativity along the journey of living. Being the youngest of the family with three siblings, one sixteen years, another fourteen years and the third seven years my senior, which made my playmates primarily imaginary and play was creating imaginary stories with playful design.  This creativity also made many toys to populate these imaginary stories of play as well as drawing pictures to put an image to match imagination.  As someone observed, “all children are artist until they are told that they are not an artist,” creative play simply created what was needed to enhance the play. Making something to enhance the imagined play became the play as much as the play itself.

Creative play learned in the first childhood continued into adulthood as a mature approach to fulfill adulthood by putting aside childish ways in the attempt to be “grown up” by not appearing to be “childish.”  And so, “it is inevitable to grow old while it is optional to be grown up.”  At some point we reach a certain age where it does not matter to allow the “child” within us to become a child again with creative play.

Artist, musicians, poets, inventors, composers, athletes, carvers, hobbyists, day dreamers, writers, actors, story tellers, builders, sportsmen of fish and game, gardeners, knitters, architects, explorers, hikers, walkers, runners are some examples of those who are exercising the option of when they have “grown up” to do “creative play” as their “second childhood” experience of mirroring their “first childhood.”

The Wood Bee Carver admits that his carving experience has been a “second childhood experience of creative play.”  Carving lends itself to creative imagination while making up a new playful story line through the carving process of the carving project.  While each carving project is done for the carver’s own play enjoyment it is also done for the imaginary friends who may see the final result.  While carving, the carver may talk to imaginary play mates about the design, the process and the finish of the project.  The carving project changes from an object into a subjective personality as it comes to life as an imaginary friend. The carver may offer instructional guidance to imaginary friends while making a variety of designing cuts, movement of pose and finesse of embellishment.

The three stories of knives begins with the Cattaraugus butcher knife purchased over twenty years ago as a future resource for making carving knives. The first photo is of the butcher knife and the second photo is of the five knives made thus far from the butcher knife with a strip of the blade remaining to make a couple more knives.  The original butcher blade was cut into strips using a cut off wheel on a Dremel tool.

The next two photos are of a whittled handle and a blade with stainless steel wire wrapped around the stem of the blade that will be inserted into a hole drilled in the handle that will be filled with epoxy glue.

The first photo below is of a second blade with wire wrapped around the stem of blade. And the wooden handle not yet whittled to shape.  The wire wrap is to provide extra gripping for the epoxy glue when inserted into the handle. The second photo is of the third blade with its wire wrap.  The third photo is of the wire with first bend of wire wrapped around the third blade and the fourth blade that will be inserted into a chucked handle.


The nest three photos are of a very old pocket knife that has been held in reserve for thirty years.  In this case, the pocket knife handle was inserted and epoxy glued into a mortised wooden handle that was then whittle to shape and the blade as shaped into serpentine blade shape.

The next series of photos are of a third approach to knife making using an eight-inch Better Tools floor scraper blade cut into strips with a cut off wheel in a Dremel to make narrow blades.  The first two photos illustrate a floor scraper blade and three cut off strips and a scimitar shaped blade being inserted into a whittled handle.  The second photo is a scimitar blade with wrapped wire around blade stem. The third photo is a small scimitar blade with extended tang and wire wrapped around the blade stem. Fourth photo is the completed small scimitar bladed knife.

The last four photos illustrate how the back edge of a scimitar blade is shaped into a concaved shape using the idling wheel of a belt sander for the larger blade and a drum sander in a Dremel for a smaller blade (first two photos).  [NOTE: when using power belt sander and Dremel sanding drum, dip blade in water to cool during the process so as not to soften harness and temper of blade.] The next photos illustrate how the blades are shaped and sharpened by hand using diamond hones with variety of smaller grit in the credit card size hone, a 2 X 6-inch hone, paddle diamond hones and a leather strop.  For a more detailed description, click on this link, Sharp and Be Sharper.


Creative Play session for today has ended, but like all play dates there will be another time to call all imaginary friends together for another adventure of exploring the wonderful world of discovering where day dreams will awaken the creative side of never really growing up.



This entry was posted on Thursday, July 29th, 2021 at 4:00 pm and is filed under Knives. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.