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Experimenting with marking knives

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Forum topic by BlasterStumps posted 06-08-2017 01:18 PM 670 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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BlasterStumps

397 posts in 275 days


06-08-2017 01:18 PM

This is a little monkey see – monkey do exercise here. After some exhausting reading online about different marking knives, I set about making and/or trying a few knives myself. Nothing fancy, was just trying to make them functional or try one that I found.
Some ideas I copied and tried were: Making a spear point from a spade bit with a wooden handle that has flat sides so it doesn’t roll off the bench. I even copied someone’s idea of finger indents. This knife is okay and should reach in to mark dovetails. I don’t think I would use this one for marking with a square so probably won’t be keeping it on the bench. I’m going to have to make a protective sheath for this thing. Way too easy to cut myself with this without a cover over it on my bench.

The next one over is made from a fork that I found in the Restore. It is carbon steel. It has a bevel on the right side. I tried to get the bevel approximately 55º. I tried to cut the tip at close to 1-1/4” in length. It is easy to hold but a little too vertical for my liking. Also would prefer a longer blade. It works well and will hold an edge. It was a pain to make because the steel is very hard. Also need to make a sheath for this one.

Then my old favorite I have had for some time now. It began life originally as a putty knife. It is very old. I simply ground it into a slightly different profile and it now has a bevel only on the right side. I don’t know the angle of the blade but should be close to 60º. This is by far my favorite because it is easy to mark with and comfortable in the hand. My go to knife when using a square. Just feel right. I have already made a wooden cover for it when not using it.

The one on the right in the picture is a Whittlin’ Jack probably made by Flexcut in the day. When I found this knife, it was unused but the tip had been damaged slightly. I tried to get the bur on the tip out with light sharpening. It is now very sharp but I am not too fond of the angle of cut and fixing the tip made the angle worse I think. I’m going to keep this one at hand and give it more use so I can figure out the blade angle more. It may turn out with use that I actually will like it better. After I slightly rounded the back of the handle, it is now pretty comfortable in the hand. It came with a cardboard blade guard but I will keep it stuck in a hole in the back of my bench for now.

Anyway, just thought if there is anyone else out there trying out knives, this might either help you or give some ideas. I found that comfort in the hand is important and the angle of cut is part of that. If you have to hold a knife too flat or too vertical, it will make you bend your wrist which takes away from your control somewhat. This is all somewhat knit picking I know but it is what I was trying to figure out on marking knives.


8 replies so far

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LittleShaver

207 posts in 455 days


#1 posted 06-08-2017 07:12 PM

I have one just like your one on the right. Handy bench knife. I’ve also made a few marking knives. No pictures available today. Never occurred to me to use an old fork. Clever.

My favorite started as a semi-pencil shaped turning with a 1/4” end bore about 1” deep. Then cut a 1/4” by about 2 1/2 ” long strip off an old saw plate, sharpened to a spear point. Next , split a 1/4” dowel 1” long with the saw of your choice. Slip the blade between the dowel halves and epoxy the whole thing into the hole in the handle. I’m sure I stole this idea from someone much smarter than me, but it is my favorite and was the simplest to make.

-- Sawdust Maker

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BlasterStumps

397 posts in 275 days


#2 posted 06-09-2017 12:20 AM

Would you be willing to share a picture of your knife that you described above?

Mike

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AlaskaGuy

3645 posts in 2144 days


#3 posted 06-09-2017 12:45 AM

Maybe it’s because I’m just a hack. I have used a few commercial marking knives including a 3 knife set from Garrett Wade.

I keep coming back to This. Very easy to keep sharp.

A few years back fine woodworking did an article on marking knives and chose this as one of there favorites.

Video: http://www.finewoodworking.com/2008/04/01/tool-review-video-marking-knives

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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Rick_M

10613 posts in 2215 days


#4 posted 06-09-2017 02:16 AM

Coincidentally I was thinking about this today. I have a number of knives and the one I reach for most often is this one:

Click for details

I like it so much I’m going to make a new, improved, version. The idea of having a flat side is okay but tilting the knife a few degrees is no big deal and more accurate than a pencil.

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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AlaskaGuy

3645 posts in 2144 days


#5 posted 06-09-2017 02:44 AM



Coincidentally I was thinking about this today. I have a number of knives and the one I reach for most often is this one:

Click for details

I like it so much I m going to make a new, improved, version. The idea of having a flat side is okay but tilting the knife a few degrees is no big deal and more accurate than a pencil.

- Rick M


I like it.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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BlasterStumps

397 posts in 275 days


#6 posted 06-09-2017 03:12 AM

I got one of those, in fact a couple and they would make a good marking knife but I don’t like using them all that much because once when quite a bit younger, I cut my forefinger on my left hand to the bone just back of the nail. I haven’t forgotten about that incident and just don’t feel comfortable with that knife. Totally my fault for being reckless with it. But you are right, they are a good knife to have.


Maybe it s because I m just a hack. I have used a few commercial marking knives including a 3 knife set from Garrett Wade.

I keep coming back to This. Very easy to keep sharp.

A few years back fine woodworking did an article on marking knives and chose this as one of there favorites.

Video: http://www.finewoodworking.com/2008/04/01/tool-review-video-marking-knives

- AlaskaGuy


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BlasterStumps

397 posts in 275 days


#7 posted 06-09-2017 03:19 AM

That looks nice. Now if the Whittlin’ Jack knife I have had that blade line it would be perfect I think. I hesitate to keep messing with it though, I’m afraid I will really mess it up. I guess I will live with it the way it is.


Coincidentally I was thinking about this today. I have a number of knives and the one I reach for most often is this one:

Click for details

I like it so much I m going to make a new, improved, version. The idea of having a flat side is okay but tilting the knife a few degrees is no big deal and more accurate than a pencil.

- Rick M


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Rich

1977 posts in 425 days


#8 posted 06-09-2017 04:04 AM

The X-Acto blade marking knives reminded me of something. This is a little out of left field, but it is a marking tool. The 3-in-1 Brass Marking Gauge from Veritas is cool because it has three marking heads. The one that I keep in the tool is the cutting blade. It’s nice because it uses a single segment from a 9mm snap-off utility blade. It performs beautifully and you can replace blades for literally pennies to always have a sharp point.

It’s not a big workhorse like my JessEm, but it’s the one I pull out for quick jobs.

-- No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

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