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Final 2015 shop project

Posted by joeabbott on December 27, 2015

I committed to a project a month in 2015; some months I overachieved but only one month was missed: November. I had a lot going on that month and chose to hold out rather than rush something in. I had a lot of months with more than one project so I’m happy overall.

For December, I completed the bat project on a lathe but consider a knife I made from a kit to be the main effort for the month. While it would be pretty cool to have built an entire knife, I really just put the handles onto an existing blade.

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You can get these kits from Woodcraft or any number of other resources: they consist of a folding knife without the “scales” and a thin set of instructions. You choose the wood, cut them to size, and then attach them to the sides of the knife. You can then finish them if you want.

I chose olive wood. It has a fantastic coloring and the grain is nice and tight, making it easy to work with.

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I started by cutting two rectangular pieces of wood about 3/16” thick. Because I was working on my bandsaw and going by eye, some of the parts of the wood were thinker than others; but I was less worried about thicker than too thin!

Once I got them cut off the block of wood, I smoothed one side on a belt sander. The smudges on the wood in the picture above is residue glue from double-sided tape, To avoid burning my fingers off on the belt sander, I used the tape to fix the handle parts (scales) to another block of wood, and then held that as I flattened and thinned them.

That worked pretty well, but I then drew the outline of the knife on one of the scales and tapped the two parts together. I figured that if they were stuck together, I could treat the two handles as one and get both sides done with less effort.

The backfire to my plan came around when I realized the double-sided tape (carpet tape) moved ever so slightly. The difference wasn’t too bad, but it was compounded by the fact that I didn’t realize it was moving and that made some potential problems. I separated them before introducing any irreversible issues, labeled them as “L” (left) and “R” (right), and proceeded treating them as two different parts thereafter.

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Once the parts were cut to size (just a hair over the outline dimension), I sanded down the outer side to about 400 grit and then epoxied the scales to the knife. The epoxy squeezed out just a smidge around the edges, but I used a razor blade to remove it before it hardened. I was happy with how that worked out. Almost no mess!

After the epoxy set, I oiled the scales twice, buffing with #0000 steel wool between coats, and then rubbed with a furniture polish. That just left cleaning up the steel with a bit of glass cleaner, using a Q-Tip to get any wax or oil out from the inner parts, and then pop it into a box and hand it to my nephew David as a Christmas Thank You for helping me with the lathe project earlier in the month.

I have to say, I really liked the quality of the kit and the olive wood; both were very nice and I’d absolutely do a project like this again.

Coda

And that’s it for the project of the month for 2015. I’m not sure I’ll enter another year committing a project a month … it just made for a frenetic time and just a bit less fun than I would have liked sometimes. Maybe that’s the nature of any time-based commitment. But I did like that it got me into the shop a bit more, so maybe in 2016 I’ll just have a list I work down and make sure I keep something going throughout the year.

I have another few days to figure out my commitment, so I’ll let you know how it goes and, as always, thanks for dropping in.

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One Response to “Final 2015 shop project”

  1. […] a local woodworking store and glued some nice wooden handles (scales) on the sides. I write it up here but, being on equally good terms with his father, I decided to make a knife for Stevie as […]

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