It’s not that hard to find ideas for new carving projects. There are a ton of options on carving community’s forums, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, carving websites – you just need to start looking and you’ll get a queue of the projects waiting to be executed.
But what if there is a more creative thing waiting around the corner? Have you ever thought of doing carving tools yourself? Wooden handle and metal blade, nothing more and nothing less. Something to be proud of as you carve with it. It’s going to be difficult to call them quality wood carving tools, but nevertheless it will be something you’ll have use for.
So how to do your own wood carving tools? You can do anything, starting from the usual carving knife to chip carving knife and chisels. It will certainly take more time than buying tools, but it brings a level of satisfaction that purchased knives can’t.
Let’s create a chisel. For that you’ll need cement nails of different sizes, a container of propane and a propane torch. These things can be easily bought in any local hardware store, but if you are not so sure, you can simply ask a friend to lend them.
You’ll also require pliers, a hammer (quite heavy one), railroad iron and water as well as the wood for the handle (it can be a part of an old broomstick or anything else from your carving workshop).
Hold one of the nails with the plier and turn on the propane torch to heat the head of the nail red-hot. The pointy end of the nail is going to go into the wooden handle of your tool. Grab your hammer and beat the head of your nail into a concave curve. Repeat the heating and beating process until you get the shape you need for the chisel or gouge. Let the steel cool off and then file it into the perfect shape that you want. You might also like the idea of epoxing the nail in a previously drilled hole in your future handle before shaping it.
Now get the same metal orange-hot. If it won’t go any further then red, put the gas container into hot water for a minute or so. Remember: that water shouldn’t have the temperature hot enough to burn your skin, so make sure it’s not too hot. After getting the metal orange-hot, put it into the water to harden it. Don’t file the blade after quenching or you may damage the file.
For the handle grab your piece of wood, drill a hole in it and epoxy the blade inside (if you haven’t done it before). If you feel like it, you can also shape the handle until it feels nice in your hand.
DIY wood carving knife
Doing a wood carving knife with a similar technique isn’t very different – instead of a nail for the blade take a piece of steel that you want to use. Saw a place for the blade in the handle, deep enough to hold the blade inside. Consider how long you want the outside part of the blade to be – that is how you decide how deep to make the place for the blade in the handle.
Now shape the handle and the blade as you like. You can do it with a file or any other tool like saw, for example. After shaping them polish the blade with the sandpaper to get rid of the filemarks and the handle to get a more smooth finish. When the blade is pretty and shining, you need to harden it by doing the same thing as before – heating it up to red-hot and then putting it into water. After the heating scrub the blade with sandpaper. Be careful to not overheat the blade or that will make it softer than you need.
To get the blade inside the handle and keep it there you’ll need to use epoxy as well as some pins. Put your blade inside the handle and drill two small holes into the each side of the handle where you want the pins to hold your blade. Smoothen them out with sandpaper. Cut and file the pins so that their length is perfect to penetrate one side of the handle and come out of the other. Now take the blade out of the handle. You are ready for the finishing line. Put the epoxy inside of the handle, add it evenly. Then put your blade inside. Stick the pins where you drilled the holes. Gently beat your pins down into the handle with a hammer.
Now you can do some final filing and shaping if you want. After that finish off the handle with some natural oil or wax to give it a nice shine.
DIY chip carving knife
Chip carving knives won’t alter much – you’ll simply have to adjust the shape and size of the blade more specifically for chip carving needs. I believe that making your blade a little smaller than for a general knife and changing up the shape so it’s easier to chip corners will do the trick.
To sum up, doing your whittling knives yourself isn’t an easy thing to do. In my personal opinion, it’s much easier to purchase the quality wood carving tools that are already prepared for nice woodworking. It also can be less expensive to get tools somewhere than to spend money on quality steel, wood and tools to create your own. If you are looking to save up money on carving tools by doing them yourself – better find out more about inexpensive tools like BeaverCraft.
Enjoy the carving process and your handy tools!
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