Posted by: woodbeecarver   in Knives

Dragon KnifeDragon II Knife

Dragon Bee and Dragon BEE II knives are the latest edition of the Wood Bee Carver Signature Series knives made by Helvie Knives (765-675-8811). Each knife hosts a scimitar shaped blade in a pistol shaped handle.

The curved cutting edge of the scimitar blade shape is to enhance the slicing action as the knife is guided through the wood in either a push or a pull stroke. A curved cutting edge will make slice cuts in areas where a straight cutting edge cannot reach.

The pistol shaped handle, like the other two handle shapes of the Wood BEE Carver series of knives is designed for function more that aesthetic appearance. Both the handle designs and blade shape designs were developed by the Wood Bee Carver over a forty years period of trial and error of using a knife as the primary carving tool for Whittle-Carving. A comfortable handled knife with versatile slicing blade is essential for carving during long periods of time.

The photographs below show the Dragon and Dragon II  making a variety of slicing cuts in a variety of positions on various carving projects. The longer and larger Dragon blade can reach into areas where other knives cannot reach. The Dragon II with its smaller blade is shown in a variety of positions and slicing actions.

Dragon           Dragon 2            Dragon 3Dragon 4          Dragon 5          Dragon 6Dragon 10         Dragon 11            Dragon 8

Photos  below depict the various ways the pistol grip handle can be held to guide the cutting action of the blade and example of small carving done by Dragon BEE II Knife.

Dragon 7Dragon 9Dragon 13Dragon 12

The cutting edge of any blade shape is made up of very small cutting teeth comparable to the teeth on a hand saw blade. It is these cutting teeth that separate wood fibers when the blade is sliced through the wood. Pushing the blade horizontally into the wood with a wedge cut will crush the fibers of wood rather than separate the fibers with a clean cut.

The analogy of the slicing action is what one does to cut a nice juicy steak by using a slicing action rather than forcing the knife down into the steak. Slicing bread, slicing baloney or slicing vegetables is more efficient than “chopping” with a forced wedge cut.

Learning to use a carving knife in a slicing action takes practice to undo any old habits of wedge cutting which produce ragged surfaces and fuzzy and broken fibers. A carver should practice with a new knife to make slicing cuts while using every portion of the cutting edge for the various practice cuts. Practice learning to use the tip portion of the blade with push and pull slicing cuts. It is this area of the blade that is most versatile for making a variety of shaping and detailing cuts.

A straight cutting edged knife carves primarily in a straight line while a curved cutting edge carves circles around a straight line by being able to approach the wood to be shaped from a variety of angles. The curved blade with a scimitar shape where the back edge is a concave to mirror the convex curve of the cutting edge is able to do slicing cuts in tight areas and carve around corners so to speak.
There is no one knife that will do everything a carver wants to do and each knife has its own merits of usefulness. The key for the carver is to become very familiar with what each knife can do by practicing a variety of slicing cuts. A curved cutting edge knife can be used in both the push and pull slicing stroke as well as upside down, sideways and right side up. A small bladed detail knife is for doing delicate, detail and light carving and should not be used for making hefty cuts. The tip end of a larger blade can be used for making detail cuts and works wonders when making shallow and delicate slicing cuts that produce a shaving action. A long blade can reach areas where a shorter blade would be impeded and carving at the tip end of the long blade produces a different cutting action than a shorter blade does. It is a law of physics on the fulcrum and lever action that is at play in the different properties between the cutting action of a short and long blade. A hefty handle will be more comfortable when carving over a long period of time while a narrow and small handle will cramp the carving hand into fatigue.

The photos below show the beginning process in the making of the Dragon Knives being made by Rich Smithson of Helvie Knives.

Dragon Helvie 2          Dragon Helvie 3          Dragon Helvie

This entry was posted on Friday, May 8th, 2015 at 6:13 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.

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