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I don't know if I could carve or whittle without my gouges and knives. Deep V cuts and round cuts would be my down fall.
 

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Discussion Starter #23
hi SJB - and welcome to the forum !!
it is refreshing to see brand new members with their profile
filled out appropriately and posting photos in the correct format.
well done !!

I cruise the internet looking at hundreds of carving knives and sort of
make my own design on paper. then use that as templates to be cut
out on the bandsaw using a 1/4" blade.
I feel that carving knives should fit the carvers hands to be comfortable.
when you buy those expensive knives from the supply houses, it is the
"one size fits most". well, I want to do better than that.
there are huge hands, there are big hands, and there are small hands.
these knives fit MY hands. (for the most part).
I use a 1/4" quarter round on the router. I made a special plate for this project.
of course, a router table would be nice. but mine has a 2" hole and no inserts.
so that would be pretty dangerous for the fingertips.
I also bought a spindle sander just for this project to help cut down on hand sanding.
I got the assorted wood from my local WoodCraft store. some, I don't
even know the species, I just think they all look nice.
I used a 4" angle grinder to cut the metal to shape.
it is STRONGLY recommended that you have at least some experience with
the power tools before attempting this project. you can lose a finger quicker
than you can say OOOOWWWWWWWW that HURT.

Knife Patterns.JPG

router plate 003.jpg

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John, what style handle feels best for you carving or whittling for a while? I want to make some more knives but want to find the right handle that feels comfortable and doesn't wear my hand out.
 

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Discussion Starter #25 (Edited)
Jim - I haven't really done any serious "whittlin" lately.
I just found it interesting to make some knives that fit my hand.
once I found where my fingers and palm fit on the handle,
I just sort of went in that direction.
I guess for advice, I would suggest to get some modeling clay
and sort of hold it in your hand to shape then try to reproduce that shape
in bass wood or soft pine and refine it from there.
when I was shaping the handle on the spindle sander, I kept holding it
and removing wood until it was comfortable to hold.
what I did find that was a game changer for me is to put the little "dish"
for the thumb on the top of the handle. I probably spent more time shape - hold,
shape - hold, shape - hold it until it felt comfortable.
(notice the cut fingernail. I bumped the bandsaw blade TWICE in the same spot
8 days apart. the first time didn't get my attention - the second time definitely got it.
the 1/8" brass rods are available at Home Depot or you can use 1/8" copper grounding wire.

handle style 008.JPG

handle style 009.jpg

handle style 010.jpg

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I like the design of the top knife handle in John's photo, and it gave me an idea. I have a pizza cutter turning kit sitting around. Instead of the usual round turned handle, A pizza cutter handle shaped like John's design might sit flatter in the drawer and feel more comfortable in the hand. Thanks!
 

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Jim - I haven't really done any serious "whittlin" lately.
I just found it interesting to make some knives that fit my hand.
once I found where my fingers and palm fit on the handle,
I just sort of went in that direction.
I guess for advice, I would suggest to get some modeling clay
and sort of hold it in your hand to shape then try to reproduce that shape
in bass wood or soft pine and refine it from there.
when I was shaping the handle on the spindle sander, I kept holding it
and removing wood until it was comfortable to hold.
what I did find that was a game changer for me is to put the little "dish"
for the thumb on the top of the handle. I probably spent more time shape - hold,
shape - hold, shape - hold it until it felt comfortable.
(notice the cut fingernail. I bumped the bandsaw blade TWICE in the same spot
8 days apart. the first time didn't get my attention - the second time definitely got it.
the 1/8" brass rods are available at Home Depot or you can use 1/8" copper grounding wire.

View attachment 397007

View attachment 397009

View attachment 397011

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The knife in the top photo here is the one I really like, it has both thumb and index finger indents which is perfect when flipping the knife when in use. I flip my knives, as I make push and pull cuts. Those indents are really comfortable and make the handle fit perfect for me.
 

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Day before yesterday I received five of the beautiful knives John made and sent to me. He also sent me three blanks so I could make a few of the knives for myself. Believe me when I say these knives are more beautiful in person than in the photos.

The knives aren't sharpened and I like that. I am weird the way I sharpen my carving/whittling blades. Most people will sharpen a blade for a working blade that will withstand tough cutting. I taper the edge like a straight razor, it is more delicate but it is sharper, IMHO.

I am having a ball polishing the handles to a high sheen and removing any micro scratch there may be on the handles, I will sharpen the blades and mirror polish them soon. I can assure you I will use these knives a lot but I will baby them also.

Thank you John, for these fantastic knives, I really do appreciate them a lot.
 

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Discussion Starter #30
well, I've run out of things to do that I can safely do in my "den" work area.
I narrowed down the style of handle I like (and Big Jim likes too). refined
the pattern a bit, cut some blanks, set up the fence on the bandsaw so they
will all be the same thickness. the last batch I made, I just knocked them out
without paying too much attention to the grain pattern or color. or even how
the blade fit into the slot. this time, I put a little more effort into seeing how
it will look after it is made.
I just picked some blade designs - with no particular use in mind.

420210


420211


then traced the blade designs out on the plate of tool steel and with the metal cutting bandsaw.
after the dry fit, I numbered each one with corresponding "dots" to match the handles. the dots were
punched in the metal with a sharp metal punch because a marker would eventually wear off. the top
of the handle tail will be the last to be sanded, so a pencil mark will do okay there.

420212


then dry fit the blades to the handles and everything looks pretty good for the next step.
on to the grinder to remove most of the excess metal. then sharpen and heat treatment.
after the handles are shaped to the final design, the blades (that have been buffed to a high shine)
will be permanently affixed to the handle with epoxy and brass rivets.
then a lot of sanding on the spindle sander and other sanding methods.

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420214


.I guess you could call this project "Phase One".

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