Make a Handle for a Marking Knife’s Blade, Part 1

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There are many high-quality marking knives on the market. Some have plastic handles, others come with wood chips, and a third type is just a simple thin piece of steel that has been ground to an arrowhead geometry. I recently found another option: a kit consisting of a blade and two brass pins that allow you to create your own handle by choosing and forming scales to your liking and then gluing them onto the blade.

Building your own custom marking knife is a fun project that I’m sure will interest many, including those who already have a marking knife.

The blade

I took my blade from Taylor ToolWorks who imports high quality blades from Mikov, a legendary knife company from the Czech Republic. Taylor carries some models that vary in blade thickness and tip geometry. The knife that I decided to “scale” has an arrowhead geometry preceded by two grooves to allow a comfortable interlocking of the fingers.

stairs

Like many carpenters, I too have a huge supply of scrap pieces, including many pieces of fine wood that I have saved for future projects. One of them, a strip of mahogany, was a bit wider than the blade, which made it the perfect butt for making the new scales.

After I cut the strip to size, I tore it out in the center and used the two halves as scales.

Use the “Knife wall” technique to cut the scales to size. With a square and a marking knife, mark on the piece. Then hold a chisel at an angle to the wood and scrape off a thin sliver of fibers to the right (or left) of the scored line. Put a saw in this trench and saw.

I used a marking gauge and marked a line to guide me as I tore the butt in half.

Planing the stairs

To successfully plan these fine scales and eliminate saw marks, I made a miniature planing stop from a wide nail.

Clamp the nail in a vice and file a flat inclined veneer on its circumference; Alternatively, you can partially hammer it into the makeshift schedule board and then file the head.

You can leave the nail for future use or take it out.

After you have planed the scales, form a bevel at their two ends. A sanding block is very useful for this job.

Instead of sandpaper, you can use a plane to smooth out the corners.

Drill the balance

Fasten the first ladder to the blade and use the holes provided as a drilling template. Drill the two holes with a ”size drill bit.

Remove the first ladder and attach the second to the blade with a clamp, then drill the remaining two holes.

It is always advisable to rehearse before the performance, then do a dry test to verify that the parts are all aligned.

Glue the scales

Clean the steel blade with alcohol or acetone to remove any oil residue.

Mix some epoxy and spread it on the scale (or the blade), whichever is more comfortable for you to handle.

Place the scale and the blade on a piece of corrugated cardboard. Spread some adhesive over the pins and carefully guide them into the holes (be sure to push them through and into the cardboard). Lift the knife and fix it along the scale.

The pins provided by Taylor Toolwarks are very long and can be cut in half to fit a thin handle like the one I made.

Next time I will show you how I finished this project.


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