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.
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.
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.
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.
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.