Upcycled Foraging Knife
By Mike on Thursday, August 4, 2016, 23:09 - Permalink
I wanted to make a one-off little knife to use when I go foraging for mushrooms. I made this one out of cheap junk.
My foraging knife began life as a worn and broken decorator's knife that I picked up for 75p at a car boot sale - it had a thin and beautifully springy blade. I could see the potential.
I removed the old handle and ferrule and I ground the blade, rounding off the tip where it had been broken.
For the handle, I selected a piece of scrap hardwood that came from an imported pallet.
I don't know the exact species of wood. It smells like black pepper when cut - it's hard and fibrous, but sands to a very smooth finish.
I cut a rectangular section of the timber and drilled a hole in one end.
Then I glued the tang into the handle using epoxy thickened with some of the sawdust from the drilled hole.
The glue cured and formed a very firm bond between blade and handle.
Using a coarse file, I shaped the wood to form a proper handle. I didn't really have any idea what shape I wanted at first - I just sort of 'found' it within the wood.
I ended up with something that's actually lovely to hold - tapered in the middle and with a curved back, it fits the hand very nicely.
Using an 80 grit sanding flap wheel, I took off the file marks and did some initial smoothing.
There were still some imperfections, but I decided I actually like them. The blade isn't new or perfect, so it is in keeping that the handle looks a little lived-in.
Once the handle had taken shape, I quickly realised the blade looked too rounded and dumpy - so I did some more grinding - mostly along the back side, to introduce a slight curve and bring the tip to a point.
I finished sanding the handle down to 400 grit - event though the wood is just scrap pallet timber, it finished quite flat and silky.
I rubbed on a little Linseed oil to finish the handle. It brought depth and shine to the wood grain.
It also did highlight some of the imperfections, but I am resolved to keep those.
I intended to put a layer of shellac varnish over the oil, but in the end, decided against it - I actually really like the soft sheen of the oiled wood handle. It will take on more colour and character as it ages, and as it is handled.
The End Result
This knife turned out much nicer than I hoped or expected. I'm really pleased to have taken what was essentially a workman's tool, fit for disposal, and given it a new life where it will be loved and cherished. It makes me feel good.
I've a mind to do some more things like this. In case you can't tell, I've been watching Trollskyy's channel on YouTube, and finding it quite inspiring.
I can't ever hope to be an expert knifemaker like him, but I do intend to explore a little more. I like the idea of upcycling an old file into a strong bushcraft knife - that might be coming soon here...
Here's a video that goes into a little more detail of this upcycling project.
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