|Project by mpounders||posted 09-06-2010 06:40 PM||6586 views||28 times favorited||16 comments|
One of the first things I learned about carving was that you have to have sharp tools. (this was closely followed by learning that you need a carving glove and a supply of bandaids). Many carvers struggle with sharpening their tools, so it is somewhat easier to start with a blade that is already sharp and then just stropping and honing it to keep it sharp. The Stanley utility knife might seem too ungainly for carving, but it is really a great knife. The blades are sharp and can be made sharper by stropping and they are cheap to replace if you nick the edge. The thin blade also slides through wood very easily. Although I use the Stanley extensively, the blade is too big or too wide or the wrong shape to do certain things or fit in certain places on a carving. So I made my own knives for about a $1 a piece. I purchased Excel blades (http://www.excelhobbyblades.com/index.php?cPath=46_82 ) at Hobby Lobby. They were already sharp, but I tired quickly of changing blades in their handles, so I made my own handles in various styles and shapes. Making your own handles allows you to experiment with shapes and sizes to find what you like. I am currently fond of the Mike Shipley style handles that are long and straight (they are surprisingly comfortable). Simple get a small square of wood and drill a 3/8” hole in the end about 1 1/2” deep. Cut a slot in the end of a 3/8” dowel and cut it off so that it fits in the hole. The tang of the blade fits perfectly in this size dowel! I use belt and drum sanders to shape the handle and then use epoxy to glue the dowel and blade into the hole. Very simple to make and the blades are already sharp and easy to keep sharp. The blades are about $1 each in a package of three, so if you don’t like the handle or you want to reshape the blades, you are not out a lot of money. I have used the knives quite a bit over several years and they have held up well. You could easily use the same process to make marking knives for dovetails or other purposes.
-- Mike P., Arkansas, http://mikepounders.weebly.com