Posted by: woodbeecarver   in Knives

The WOOD BEE CARVER begin whittling as a farm boy in the late nineteen forties and early nineteen fifties.  Every farm boy had a pocket knife and if one had a pocket knife one tried to whittle.  So when wood carving became a passion in the early nineteen seventies it was natural to use pocket knives as the main carving tool.

So much of wood carving and its related activity is to learn by doing along with reading books on wood carving and talking with other woodcarvers.  It was at this growing interest in wood carving that I read over and over again Andy Anderson’s book “How to Carve Characters In Wood.” In that book Andy described how he made his own carving knives out of old straight razors by mortising in a piece a wood an area to receive the tang part of the razor and glue a matching piece of wood to complete the handle.

While I did not have access to old straight razors I did have access to old pocket knives that were beyond repair and yet the blades were still usable if they could be placed in a solid handle.  Using the idea of Andy’s method with a straight razor, is was easy to do the same only using just the blade from a worn out pocket knife.  The result has produced several carving knives over the years as depicted in the following photo.

KNIVES MADE FROM OLD POCKET KNIFE BLADESThe two small knives at the top left were some of the first ones made along with the two at the bottom.  Some utilized plumbing brass compression rings as ferrules while most were assembled by mortising an area in one half of a piece of wood to receive the tang of the blade while the another piece of wood became the other half of the handle which was epoxy glued to the other half with the tang of the blade in between the handle halves.

HARVESTING BLADESThe easiest way to harvest blades out of a worn out pocket knife that is beyond repair, take an old knife, slide its blade between the blade and the bolster of the knife where the blade pivots, tap with a hammer the back of the old knife through the knife handle to cut the pin holding the blade and knife together and then remove the blade off the pin.  The tang area of the blade should be sanded to remove rust and dirt build up so epoxy glue will adhere to the tang of the blade.

MORTISE IN WOOD HANDLE TO RECEIVE BLADETwo thin pieces of wood about a quarter of an inch thick cut in a rough outline of a handle to be whittled to a shape to fit the hand later are made ready to be the two halves of the knife handle.   Lay the tang of the blade on one half of a handle, mark around the tang and then cut a mortise indention to receive the tang in preparation for epoxy glue.


EPOXY BLADE IN MORTISEFive minute epoxy is mixed according to directions and applied to the mortised half of the handle and the tang of the blade is seated in the mortise and receive epoxy on top of it in preparation for the other half of the handle to be applied.



ASSEMBLED BLADE IN WOODEN HANDLEThe knife has been assembled and the epoxy has cured leaving the handle ready to be whittled to a comfortable shape to fit the carving hand.  Following the whittling to shape, the handle can be sanded smooth ready to receive a finish.  The finish can be Boiled Linseed Oil, lacquer, varnish or in this case a product called “Birchwood Casey Tru-Oil Gun Stock Finish,” was used.

FINISHED CARVING KNIFEThis is the finished carving knife with mahogany wood handles.  The blade has been shaped and sharpened and the gun stock oil has cured making the knife ready to be used.  The blade came from an old Boker knife but the name of the knife does not matter.  What matters is that the blade be made of carbon steel (if it will rust it is carbon steel) and it is always the sharpening that makes the blade into a carving tool.

Making one’s own carving knife is not necessary although it is a fun project for the wood carver who likes to experiment and tinker at making one’s own tools.

This entry was posted on Friday, May 16th, 2008 at 8:18 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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