Make a Handle for a Marking Knife’s Blade, Part 2

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Last week I showed how to make wooden ladders for the blade of a marking knife, then glue them in place, and this week we will see the culmination of this project.

After removing the clamps, I held the knife between the jaws of a vise and filed the brass pins until they were flush with the scales.

Important safety note!

Don’t forget to mask the exposed blade, or you might cut yourself, which is exactly what happened to me!

Pinch the tip of the file between your thumb and index finger and middle finger to gain full control of the filing process.

Two-finger downward pressure on the tip is another common way to support filing.

After masking the blade, I finished filing the pins on both sides of the handle and turned to the edges. The edges show the wood-steel sandwich and are a bit difficult to work with.

You can use a file and carefully file the access wood and epoxy, but be careful when approaching the steel. The blade of your marking knife may have been fully hardened which means that a typical cutter file will not cut it and may even get damaged. Your options here are two: switch to the sandpaper block or use an extra reinforced file like the GROBET INOX manual file.

Grobet Inox files are Rockwell 72 hardened and can handle most blades. However, if you feel the file is slipping and unable to cut (it might even make a sharp noise) switch to sandpaper immediately.

Once the wood and all metal parts are leveled, use a file or sandpaper to round off the sharp edges, then smooth the long edges of the wood scales. Continue sanding with progressive sandpaper and finish with 220 grit.

I ended up applying an oil paint finish, but any finish that complements the wood will work here.

Making a handle for a knife is a fun project that will teach you some basic metal skills. By working with brass, steel and wood you could spark some future ideas of original hardware or details to augment your designs. Brass (but also aluminum) combined with dark woods such as mahogany or walnut can add a touch of style to any piece of furniture, utensils and more.

I hung my knife using a recessed magnetic cap next to my chisels. The intermediate steel edge of the knife is perfect for magnetic attraction.

Six years ago I wrote and illustrated a blog article about knife marking and how to use them. You can read it here.

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