I need to find info. someone please help.

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Forum topic by 1978 posted 01-16-2011 09:01 PM 956 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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167 posts in 3634 days

01-16-2011 09:01 PM

Ok, here goes. I have looked all over for information on how to make woodcarving knives and came up with nothing. I have search the libraries and online, all I come up with is how to forge steel into knives. I’m looking for information on how to make carving knives like Helvie or John Dunkle. I have talked to both of these gentlemen that make these knives so I know they use grinders, sanders and buffer wheels. They don’t forge there own steel. They use steel that is already heat treated. I would like to try to make my own woodcarving knives but have no idea where to start. Any help or is this a trade secret that is passed down to father and son?

4 replies so far

View Servelan's profile


39 posts in 2806 days

#1 posted 01-16-2011 10:07 PM

Go here and scroll to the bottom. Ready-made woodcarving blades, just need handles and sharpening.

This page: has information on using scrap steel to make a blade if you want to start from scratch.

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1520 posts in 4150 days

#2 posted 01-17-2011 12:32 AM

I went to a grade school that was… uh… not exactly part of the mainstream.

One of the projects in 4th grade or so (I think, may have been 5th) there was making our own whittling knives. We used a coping saw and rasp to shape the handle, and then cut a kerf in the handle with a hand saw.

To do the blade I think the procedure was roughly: Anneal a piece of old hand saw blade. Take a torch, heat the old blade up ‘til it glows and let it cool slowly. Cut the blade out with a hacksaw. Do some shaping on it with a file, temper it (heat it with a torch ‘til it glows, then drop it in a bucket of water), epoxy it into the handle, and then use a grinder to put the initial shape and edge on the blade and sharpen it normally.

If I were to do it today I’d arrange to pin the blade in place, not just depend on epoxy. But other than that, I think I’d stay pretty close to that procedure, probably with a little experiment on the annealing and tempering.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View helluvawreck's profile


31393 posts in 2892 days

#3 posted 01-17-2011 12:44 AM

Magicman, check out Alexander Weygers. Among other things, he was an artist, woodcarver, and sculpture. He made many of his own tools, including woodcarving and stone cutting tools. He wrote a couple of books about toolmaking and they are still in print. If you’re interested in this sort of thing they will make a good read for you. Just Google his name. I love his books. He was actually quite a remarkable man.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View gljacobs's profile


76 posts in 2712 days

#4 posted 01-17-2011 03:21 AM

I really like the previous advice and think it is very valuable.
I would like to add to it that any venture in something unknown and working toward an origination or approximation of an exact replica of an item, procedure, or process, is trial and error and the first place I like start is with my goal and experience level.

Have you ever made knives before or is this a new venture?
If it’s an on going working process and your stuck you may consider the avenue of instruction, which depending to your personal standards may involve another process in choosing the proper instructor tailored to your needs. Originator or the student of (i.e Krenov or any one of his successful students. Tage frid or Hank Gilpin.)
Another avenue or starting point is the further involvement of the science behind the sticking/starting point. (i.e metallurgy, the geometry of differing sharpening angles and their uses, form and shape of the knife blade and it’s function in regard to the specific sculpting need, knife handle shape and form in regard to the comfort of grip in regard to it’s intended use and pressure points, etc.)

I’m leaving out a bunch of things that can be taken into consideration for the continuation or start of a craft. but this is where I like to begin my process and thought it may help you think in a direction not yet considered.

Good luck and enjoy your work.

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