Sunday, March 9, 2008

Paddling Knife

Here's a little diversion from my regular paddle making routine. I decided on ordering an easy Knife Making Kit from Ray Jardine's online site. Given my new found woodworking skills, the kit seemed simple enough. Epoxy pre-drilled wood pieces to a Mora Knife blank and carve out a handle to suit your fancy. In addition, I ordered the Sheath Kit because of a latent interest in leathercraft as well. My intention was to make a quality knife for paddling trips while also decorating it with a paddling motif.

The kits were well prepared for the novice. Following Ray's request, I will not post or provide specific details of the instructions, but simply show my work in progress in the following pics. Epoxying the knife handle was straight-forward and the handle material supplies (Alligator Juniper from Arizona) smelled absolutely fantastic. After using the template provided, I further shaped the knife handle with some rasps. The sanding was boring as usual, but using the various samples provided (course, medium, fine 320 grit), the handle smoothed out nicely.

The sheath kit had an appropriate sized piece of tooling leather from which the shape had to be cut out. For the decoration, I decided to use a canoeing image and wanted to burn using my pyrography machine. This would be my first attempt at burning on leather but read that burning on cheaper, chromium tanned leather would release toxic fumes. Ray replied to my email request and confirmed that it was vegetable tanned and therefore safe to use with adequate ventilation. Burning on leather was nice because of the absence of any grain (like on wood) but after bending and stretching the leather sheath to accomodate the knife, the image had some obvious vertical cracks.

Epoxied Components and Final Carved Handle

Sheath decoration, clamping, drilling stitching holes with awl bit

Stitching & Final Shaping

Overall, I've quite happy with it and am comfortable that I would be able to carve future knife handles and make appropriate sheaths with materials I have on hand. In fact, I'm seriously considering making my own crooked knife (mocotaugan) after reading a post on Canadian Canoe Routes and re-reading the David Gridmark's chapter contribution in Canoe Paddles: A Complete Guide to Making Your Own. I've already found an old rusty, high carbon steel file to shape into the blade. More on that project later.


Mungo said...

I put a handle on a Mora too - great fun.

The sheath you made is really interesting looking. Did you put a liner in it at all?



Murat said...

Wow...Your knife is fantastic! Love the background shots with the leaves and the idea of using a coin as the knife guard. I've got a bunch of old Ottoman Turkish coins left over from the great grandparents that would be cool assembled up in a knife.

To answer your question, the sheath does have a leather welt sandwiched between the stitched fold. Didn't show it on the post, but the welt was cut out of a narrow piece of tooling leather, glued with contact cement, clamped and then stitched. The welt protects the sheath from the blade this what you meant by liner? I'm a complete newbie at this so apologies if I misunderstood.

By the way, I caught an earlier post of yours about Turkish Pizza (Lahmacun) - my fav place in the city to get some is Pizza Pide at Pape & Gerrard. Lots of selection for a starving stomach.


Mungo said...

Thanks Murat - the knife turned out way better than I expected it to, given that it was my first time doing something like this. My wife is from Istanbul, hence the coin - we spoke to her gran today who is in Istanbul.

Yes, I guess it's a welt (isn't that what you get when someone throws a stone at you?) - something to protect the sheath from the blade - those Mora blade blanks are dangerously sharp!

Oh yes, Pizza Pide is where we go to get our Lahmacun - and other delights (she likes Ayran - the yoghurt drink... I can't stand it).

We've found another shop that stocks Turkish foods including Lahmacun (not as good) at Victoria Park north of Eglinton.

Good to e-meet you - checked out the Ray Jardine site with the sheath kit that you posted. I think I might either get that or get some thick tool leather (any ideas where to get some in Toronto?) and make one that way.



Murat said...

Yup, you've got to have Turkish blood in you to like salty milk flavour of Ayran. If that doesn't agree with you, ask your wife about Boza (a fermented millet drink) that tastes like yeasty bread...sounds gross but highly nourishing.

About local sheath material - best place I know of is Tandy Leather located at 1654 Victoria Park Ave (West side, a little north of Eglinton)...kinda close to that other Lahmacun place you mentioned! They've got thick tooling leather on sale this month. You may also need some waxed thread, some stitching needles, etc all available there. They've even got ready made knife sheath kits, but these are usually for larger bush knives. Ray's site is great for the material but the shipping charges for the sheath alone may not make it worth your while. Hope that helps

Bryan Sarauer said...

Hi Murat,
I picked up a 4 1/4" Frosts Mora knife blade the other day. I'll be making a handle soon and will no doubt be looking to yours for inspiration.

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