How I make knives

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Blog entry by Bluepine38 posted 08-16-2011 07:29 PM 18813 reads 3 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Having entered the Spoontaneus collaboration/class I needed some carving knives. Since my hands are
rather large and I have arthritis in my thumb joints, I needed special knives made. To make knives you
need good steel, saw blades have good steel, so lets see what I have.

A short chunk of bandsaw blade 8” by 4’ and some 23” table saw blades, no these are not from my
shop, my oldest daughter Mari is a saw filer at Pyramid Lumber and these are worn out cast offs.
First I cut off strips with an abrasive cut off blade in my grinder, then I rough shape them with the
same blade. Then to the belt and disc sander to further refine the shape and put a rough edge on
the blade. I found that I can not drill through the bandsaw blade, so I have to heat it up and punch
my holes I then used juniper wood and 3/16 brass rod to form the handles and rivets. All this was
epoxied together and rough shaped on the grinder, then hand finished to fit my hand.

These two knives are my basic carving knives. I needed something to carve spoon bowls, so I decided
to try making some curved blades for cutting the bowls.

You can see how the knives fit my hand, I use my fingers and palms to do most of the gripping. These
knives work great for shallow curved cuts and scraping surfaces smooth, but do not make it easy to
do deeper cuts. I decided I needed a curved gouge. This was formed by heating and beating the
strap of metal into half pipe using a piece of 1/2” black pipe to form the curve and then rolling one
half of the blade into a circle and using epoxy to secure into a hole in a piece of sugar maple for a
handle. Here is a picture of the gouge and a man in the spoon made with the carving knives.

These knives were sharpened on a 3m scotchbrite wheel and the stropping wheel shown here.

I can not get a shaving edge on the knives yet, but give me another year or two. I am in no
hurry. Thank you for looking. Here is a picture of the gouge in action, it works similar to the old
spoon bits of yesterday.

-- As ever, Gus-the 79 yr young apprentice carpenter

12 comments so far

View SASmith               's profile


1850 posts in 3010 days

#1 posted 08-16-2011 07:47 PM

Great blog Gus. I will have to give this a try.
Thanks for sharing.

-- Scott Smith, Southern Illinois

View Maveric777's profile


2693 posts in 3100 days

#2 posted 08-16-2011 07:58 PM

It is so crazy seeing this today…. I been asking around lately trying to find someone local who makes blades. My plan was trying to make my own chip carving set and a nice collection of marking knifes…. This wonderful blog just made me an extremely happy future knife maker….lol

Thank you so much for sharing… This makes my day!

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

View MShort's profile


1790 posts in 3441 days

#3 posted 08-16-2011 08:16 PM

Thanks for posting. This is very interesting.

-- Mike, Missouri --- “A positive life can not happen with a negative mind.” ---

View helluvawreck's profile


31351 posts in 2890 days

#4 posted 08-16-2011 08:32 PM

This is a great post and I enjoyed it very much.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View sedcokid's profile


2733 posts in 3621 days

#5 posted 08-17-2011 03:50 AM

I am not a carver but I enjoyed your blog very much!

Thanks for sharing

-- Chuck Emery, Michigan,

View WayneC's profile


13754 posts in 4120 days

#6 posted 08-17-2011 07:12 AM

Thanks for the info on making your tools.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3357 days

#7 posted 08-17-2011 07:58 PM

Great work. I especially liked the curved blade ones for hollowing spoons. I have made some chip carving knives too. They were made from hacksaw blades which work very well too.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Mauricio's profile


7144 posts in 3174 days

#8 posted 08-17-2011 08:38 PM

Nice, good job, shop made tools are the best .

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View smithy's profile


95 posts in 2351 days

#9 posted 02-12-2012 11:04 PM

like it!

-- Kevin, Indiana

View woodmaker's profile


321 posts in 2714 days

#10 posted 01-03-2013 05:31 PM

Gus, those are cool! I bought a set of small carving tools from Wood River, I think they’re too small. I need bigger tools to get those nice curves and circles.
I to have arthritis in my hands, so gripping handles a long time is not easy.

-- Mike

View JoeinGa's profile


7736 posts in 2030 days

#11 posted 01-03-2013 07:54 PM

Very cool. Might hafta give a try at making a few of these. ALl I gotta do now is get one of my daughters a job as a saw filer at a lumber company and I’m IN!

Thanks for sharing.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View rick1122's profile


1 post in 1722 days

#12 posted 09-13-2014 11:55 AM

Very cool got to make some marking knives myself.Thank’s for sharing GUS.

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