Sunday, March 13, 2011

Tool making - first knife.

For me a minimum carving toolkit consists of one axe for roughing out, one bushcraft style knife for shaping and finishing and a spoon knife for carving bowls etc. These can be easily carried into woodland and used to carve while there.  But when working at home thing are different, there is a huge range of knives, spoon knives and other cutting tools available and my toolkit is slowly growing.

Because of the kindness of some local greenwood workers I have tried a large variety of tools, as I used more tools I started to appreciate the skills of the tool makers so I decided to try to make some basic tools to see how the process works.

An incredibly talented young knife maker, James Wood, invited me to try his forge an invite I was very pleased to accept. His workshop was a wonderland of traditional tools and forges. James lit a forge and talked me through hammering a steel rod into a knife blade with tang, the hot physical process was very satisfying and all too soon I was finished. James proved himself a patient teacher. Looking at what I had made reinforced my admiration for his skills.

The next stage will be a lot of polishing with wet and dry paper to polish the blade and then carving some seasoned ash into a handle shape (done).  Although it is not pretty the process was both fascinating and satisfying, I hope to do more forging. The knife is very sharp and receives heavy use.

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