Blacksmithing from a woodworkers perspective #4: Crooked and hook knifes - from steel to tool II

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Blog entry by mafe posted 05-05-2016 11:09 AM 1949 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Crooked and hook knifes - from steel to tool I Part 4 of Blacksmithing from a woodworkers perspective series Part 5: Anvil stand from a solid block of wood. »

Crooked and hook knifes
from steel to tool II

(part two).

Last blog ended with the crooked blade in the forge, so we better start here by getting it out.

But first I heated the oil that will be used for quenching the blades, just up to a little over room temperature.

Simply by dipping a red hot piece of iron into it a couple of times.

Taking of happy, this was a happy way to start the day.
Filiz brought croissants and just baked sour dough bread and put fresh strawberries on top.
Ok I know it, I enjoy life way too much here.

Now time to heat the blades to red hot.

The way to test the temperature is to put a magnet on the blade when red hot, once hot enough it will no longer be magnetic and it’s time to quench it.

Here you see my magnet tool, will post about this at a later time.

Here the hook knife blade are quenched.

Then the crooked, as you can see keep your head away from the oil as it sometimes catch fire.

Blades out of the oil.

Yes I sure think that forge will be a joy in the shop.

Here the hardened blades.


Crook looks fine.

The hook knife also seems to have hardened well.
I test it with an old file and it leaves no marks.

Now time to bake some bread or at least temper the blades at 200 degrees C in a oven.
This will remove the brittleness from the blades.

For the crooked knife handle I had a piece of antler.

It should give a good grip.

Something like this.

But then realized I had this wonderful piece of wood in the shop.
Since I thought my crooked knife should be basic like they would probably have been normally in the native American way, this was what I went for.

Yep, that’s a perfect match.

Do you get it?

Time to fit the blade.
First sawing to length and then a flat surface to the cutting side.

After drawing the blade onto the handle, the bed for the blade are hollowed out.
Try to make a fair fit.

Drilling a hole for the blades tangs bend to fit in.
This will make the knife able to take great pulling force.

Now simply put in place.

I make a leather string.

Ohhh was on a walk in the forest today, brought home some handles for later knifes…
Closed the ends with lacquer now they will rest for at least six months.

Coffee time.
Also making a glass of hot water with baking soda to soak the leather sting in.

This is how the blade looks fitted in the handle.

I use rawhide glue to make the blade get a perfect fit.
This will just make the fit better, the glue will not stick to the metal.
(You can use epoxy, but I wanted to keep it authentic).

Also I glued a thin strip on top to hold the blade in place.
Like this I feel sure it will be strong enough for most use.
I have seen different versions on the Natives, some are with no top.

Then sanding it a wee bit to fit the handles shape.

The soaked leather string are attached I do this by drilling a small hole and wedge it in place.

Then wrapping as tight as I possible can and secure it in the other end also.

A Native American crooked knife.

I will keep the rough look, no more shaping, imagine this is how the normal workmans knife would have looked.

Then sharpen it.
I use the stones and grid 1200 sandpaper.

The handle are finished with a coat, just to preserve the bark a wee bit.

Ok back to the hook knife.
First drilling a hole in a piece of Kenyan ebony.
Then mounting the blade by holding a cold cloth around the blade while heating the tang and then putting the tank in the wood while it was hot.
No glue.

The shape are roughed out on the band saw.

Then sanded to where I like it.

After sharpening, it’s time to test.
It really works well, I am more than happy.

A good grip.

That wood really makes a fine match for the blade.

Happy to give it my brand.


Sharpening are done with Arkansas stones and grid 1200 wrapped.
Then finally polished on a loaded leather strap.

Home with the family.
I think it fits right in.

Hope this post can inspire others to make their own tools, after all this is why I take a detour out the black road now.

Best thoughts,


-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

6 comments so far

View lew's profile


11616 posts in 3423 days

#1 posted 05-05-2016 02:48 PM

Wonderful knives, Mads. You are getting quite a collection.

Hope you were careful and drank from the coffee glass and not the leather soak ;^)

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View shipwright's profile


7562 posts in 2465 days

#2 posted 05-05-2016 02:53 PM

Nice work Mads but I have one question.
How do you get that pattern on your bread? It looks too good to eat …... almost. :-)
Keep this up. I am enjoying you enjoying it.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

9760 posts in 3720 days

#3 posted 05-05-2016 07:06 PM

Very GOOD! Mads!

Very informative… COOL!

Thank you!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View mafe's profile


11515 posts in 2757 days

#4 posted 05-05-2016 10:48 PM

Hi Lew, thanks, yes it grows now… But I think that’s a thing I will have to accept, tools seems to grow where I am… Laugh, I did have some gas the other day… so perhaps I was wrong…
Paul I use bread baskets, they give this beautiful texture to the bread. Thanks.

Joe thank you happy if it can bring some light.
Smiles and best of thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View shipwright's profile


7562 posts in 2465 days

#5 posted 05-06-2016 12:25 AM

Thanks, I’ll look for them.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View Boatman53's profile


1022 posts in 1864 days

#6 posted 05-06-2016 01:06 PM

Wonderful post as always Mads. The native name for the knife is Mocotaugen and there is a wonderful book that one can download on line called ‘Mocotaugen : the Story and Art of the Crooked Knife’ I made one from a file a couple of years ago, but just used a torch, I really need a forge. If you do an image search for Mocotaugen you get different pics than crooked knife.

-- Jim, Long Island, NY home of the chain leg vise

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