Posted by: woodbeecarver   in Knives


As a boy growing up on the farm in the early 1950’s a pocket knife was my constant companion  being used to whittle toys and other boyhood interests.  When in the early 1970’s I met wood carver David Monhollen http://www.monhollen.com/ who showed me the A-B-C’s and the 1-2-3-‘s of how to get started in carving, the pocket knife continued to be my carving tool of first choice. 

So it was natural for me to scour junk and  antique stores as well as flea markets and garage sales for old pocket knives that could be rescued and made over into a carving knife.

The kind of knives I looked for and accumulated over the years were knives that were not worth much as collectible knives.  They were well worn with broken handles, broken or worn down blades and often considered “junk” knives.  But I saw in each one the potential of a functional carving knife with the blade reshaped and sharpened into a carving knife.

The knives in the photographs above represent some that have recently received a make over by filling in the open space between the blade liners with whittled to shape thin strips of wood. Five Minute Epoxy was used to permanently bond the wooded strips to fill in that open space as well a secure the  blade permanently in the open position.

When using a pocket knife as a carving knife it  is very important for comfort purposes to have a handle that does not “cut” into the inner part of the hand.  In multiple bladed pocket knives, when one blade is open and the others are folded into the inner liners, the back edge of those blades folded into the handle will become uncomfortable to the inside of the hand.  In one kind of a make over, those unused blades are removed from the knife all together leaving only one blade that will be the carving blade.

This leaves an opening between the blade liners which also can “cut” into the inner part of the hand.  It is this inner opening that receives whittled to size thin wooden strips to fill in that opening.  Using epoxy glue to permanently bond the wooden strips with the inner part of the knife handle will also secure the open blade permanently into an open position.  Once the glue has cured, the wooden strips are whittled down flush with the handle and sanded smooth.


Three knives in the photo with the green background have received wooden strips epoxied in-between the inner liners.  Their blades still need to be reshaped and sharpened.  The photograph with the gray background shows the three same knives.   The handles including the new wooden strips received two applications of Birchwood Casey Tru-Oil Gun Stock Finish.   This gun stock finish provides a smooth protective finish as well as “brightening up” the knife’s appearance.

The blades have been reshaped and sharpened with the cutting edge curving with an up sweep of the cutting edge meeting where the tip of the cutting edge meets  the sloping downward of the back edge of the blade.  The back edge of the blade has a slight sway back design which aids in the blade coming out of a slicing action in a tight area.

Make over knives may not be pretty but they are comfortable and functional as a carving knife and after all, that is all that is important by having a sharp cutting edge to slice through the wood to carve out a carving project.

This entry was posted on Thursday, May 7th, 2009 at 5:21 am 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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