Padauk marking knife for spring swap

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Project by shampeon posted 04-01-2013 01:06 AM 2312 views 3 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I drew Brandon W in the 2013 Marking Knife/Awl swap. I took a quick look at Brandon’s (very impressive) projects to get a sense of what style he might like in a knife or awl, and saw that he already had made a scratch awl. I confirmed with him that he’d prefer a marking knife.

A while back I picked up a decent sized offcut of rough padauk from MacBeath’s bargain bin, and used it to practice squaring up rough stock with just hand planes.

It was maybe the best $20 I’ve ever spent on wood. It is gorgeous, and easy to work as well. I’ve been using the board here and there for other projects, and had a turning square that was perfect for a knife handle. It got me thinking about how padauk’s color changes as it ages, and I decided I wanted to make that the theme of the knife.

Copper goes well with the red-orange color of padauk, and will similarly tarnish with age. A copper end cap from the hardware store would be the ferrule. I finished the knife handle with some blonde shellac and carnauba wax.

So then I got to thinking about the blade. I could make one out of the 01 stock I bought for my plough plane blade project, but that didn’t really fit with the “change over time” theme. Then I remembered that I had a bunch of twist auger bits that were beyond help, leftovers from an eBay lot of bits I bought a while back.

The head of the auger bit might make a pretty nice, and unique, blade, the shank would be easy to fit in a hole in the handle, and the channels in the shank would hold the glue. I shaped and sharpened the head, but left the exposed shank’s rough patina. You can see the size and makers stamps on the sides of the blade.

And it fit with the theme: an auger bit is now a marking knife blade. This is how the knife looks now, but just like us, it’s going to look different as it ages.

Of course, also like us, it’s not perfect. I wish I had better squared the ends of the ferrule before putting it on. And I added a flat to the handle to keep it from rolling that’s probably a little too subtle to be useful. I only discovered that after I had glued in the blade. But I’m still pretty pleased with the result, and hope Brandon enjoys seeing it slowly age and tarnish.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

12 comments so far

View ShaneA's profile


6358 posts in 1994 days

#1 posted 04-01-2013 01:12 AM

Nice, I like the unique look of the blade.

View waho6o9's profile


7089 posts in 1972 days

#2 posted 04-01-2013 01:22 AM

That’s some clean work Shampeon, and a great looking
marking knife.

View BigRedKnothead's profile


7852 posts in 1377 days

#3 posted 04-01-2013 01:48 AM

Nice work man, you guys are giving me marking knife envy.

-- "At the end of the day, try and make it beautiful....because the world is full of ugly." Konrad Sauer

View jap's profile


1251 posts in 1449 days

#4 posted 04-01-2013 02:07 AM

lovely marking knife, i’m sure it will be enjoyed

-- Joel

View Dave's profile


11394 posts in 2235 days

#5 posted 04-01-2013 03:10 AM

Nice knife and it should last a long time.
Well done.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View bondogaposis's profile


3932 posts in 1746 days

#6 posted 04-01-2013 03:44 AM

That is very unique, using an auger bit. Nice.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Brandon's profile


4151 posts in 2347 days

#7 posted 04-01-2013 06:36 AM

There it is! I appreciate seeing the backstory, too. It’s a great knife and I’m happy to be its owner!

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View boxcarmarty's profile


13284 posts in 1755 days

#8 posted 04-01-2013 12:02 PM

That’s an interesting blade shampeon. Should last a long time…..

-- My mind is like lighting, one brilliant flash, then its gone.....

View a1Jim's profile (online now)


115082 posts in 2972 days

#9 posted 04-01-2013 02:55 PM

Good job.

-- Custom furniture

View Mauricio's profile


7115 posts in 2547 days

#10 posted 04-02-2013 09:04 PM

Very nice Shamp. I like the theme, the wood looks great with the brass and what a great idea for the blade.

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

View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 1571 days

#11 posted 04-04-2013 01:39 PM

Really beautiful marking knife! Like the shape of the handle and the blade, will have lots of use. Great work!

View Rick M.'s profile

Rick M.

7521 posts in 1775 days

#12 posted 04-07-2013 12:30 AM

The blade makes it very unique and interesting.


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