My personal flow activity these days is wood carving. So far I’ve purchased all my tools, but in a step towards mastering the whole of the craft I recently ordered some unhandled knife blades.

I’ve always admired woodware that has tastefully done kolrosing or chip carving. At the recent Spoonfest, I was unfortunately unable to go along to Janharm ter Brugge‘s engraving class. I have however purchased a chip carving blade and a stab blade from Nic Westermann. I’m aware that engraving, kolrosing and chip carving can all be done with regular wood carving knives I wanted something I would feel comfortable with. I can’t think of a better way to ensure that a knife is comfortable to use than making the handle myself.

Using a piece of hawthorn, I carved out two handles, both styled on the handle my Ben Orford sloyd knife has. I’m quite pleased with the results and surprised at how quick they were to make, busting out each on them in an evening after work. With the handles and blades ready I just had to fit them. Oh his site, Nic recommends drilling into the handle then moving the bit side-to-side to create a space for the blade’s tang to slot in, then epoxying it in place. Since I don’t have a drill I popped over to my folks’ place to borrow theirs.

The drilling was fairly easy once I managed to find a drill bit small enough. Without a proper workbench I had to clamp the handles to the armrest of the bench in their garden. Here I learned my first important lesson: don’t let the clamp sit directly on the knife handle as it’ll dent it. I took my time drilling and ended up with a hole a little wider than needed, but I whittled a few slivers of wood down to wedge the blade into the gap. In the end I used super-glue and my mini-wedges to fix the blades in place.

The final result is one I’m happy with as a first attempt at handling knife blades (something that could become addictive). The biggest flaw in my work is that the blades aren’t set perfectly square into the handle. This might not be an issue as I get used to their position in the handle through frequent use of them, but it’s definitely an aspect I could improve on if/when I put together another knife.

My next tool-making project might be either to handle an axe, or make myself a knife blade. Seeing as I’m pretty well stocked for tools at the moment it may be a while before either task comes to fruition.

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