I blame Derek Cohen for inspiring this project. He’s a woodworker that I admire a lot but if I hadn’t stumbled across this post on his website I wouldn’t have thought that I could easily take an old plane blade and turn it into a chip carving knife.
Turns out the easy bit wasn’t quite correct but I did manage it!
I started with an old blade. I’ve bought and been given and got rid of more planes than I can count so there’s a few blades sitting around unused. This didn’t have a brand on it but a quick test on the grinder showed the steel was good.
I marked up the blade shapes I wanted. I wanted a pair of knives for chip carving so one is the chip knife and the other a stab knife.
I tried to cut then out with a hacksaw fitted with a hard steel cutting blade but it would barely touch the blade
Instead I ended up using a cutoff wheel in my dremel rotary tool. The wheel was a lot larger when I started than finished!
I got one blade free of the original blade
Then the second. Cutting a curve with a dremel is quite hard
They had a lot of rough edges so I put them in a little model making vice that belonged to my dad and using a combination of files and a grinding wheel in the dremel got them to a decent shape.
They cleaned up quite well, and I also roughed in a bevel for the chip knife. It still has a small hump on the back of the blade in this shot, I removed it with a course file before the next step.
I tried to cut a slot in a single piece of Tasmainain oak to fit the blade but couldn’t get a tight enough fit so ended up using two pieces of what is probably Meranti to form the body of the knife. I used a router plane to cut out the spot for the blade and glued the whole thing together with a glue called Weldbond which is meant to glue anything to anything and so far has done as claimed.
Once the body was glued up I drilled two holes through the blade to put pins through. The first drill bit I tried just wouldn’t go through the steel, this one I used is called a viper bit and went through it without effort.
Then I traced one of my existing knives as a pattern for the body
and glued and hammered two Tassie Oak dowels through the body and blade to hold it in place
Using a small flush cut saw I trimmer them to the same level as the body
and using a carving knife and rasps started shaping the body
You can see it get progressively closer to the final shape
then it’s finished and sanded.
I gave it a couple of coats of shellac with a stain in it and finished with beeswax.
While I wish I’d found a nice wood for the handle this was the only thing I had in the right size around the workshop and it feels fine in use. I’ve only begun chip carving so I’m not getting perfect results but I am pretty happy with the result. I’ll finish the other knife later on and post a picture showing them in use.