Decorative wooden knives made out of laminated wood
After a lot of wooden furniture projects I decided to take a break, so I played a few hours in the workshop, building a set of decorative wooden knives.
With all the play I can say that this project is not as simple as it seems to be. I used as much as possible woodworking tricks, to share them with you and in the same time to get in the end a beautiful set of knives.
I decided to build them out of ash wood. I wanted to combine ash wood and thermally treated ash wood. These two types of wood have the same texture, but different colors. Using them together brings a lot of charm to any wooden project, but mostly to decorative objects. You can see here how nice a set of square decorative trays can look, for the simple fact that I used this combination of wood colors
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Besides the look, it was easier for me to chose this combination because I have a lot of small thermally treated ash scraps, left from an old project of deck reconditioning. These scraps were cut out from some decking boards, that’s why they have a lot of channels. But for my project they were very good, because I needed thin and narrow strips.
Building the laminated plank to make the knives
I started the project by building the 2,6 cm thick laminated plank. I wanted to use:
- 5 strips of 2 mm thick thermally treated ash wood
- 4 strips of 2 mm thick ash wood
- 1 strip of 2,2 cm thick ash wood
1. First of all, I took the thermally treated ash plank and I planed and squared both edges. I didn’t need to straighten its faces as it was already planed.
Then I took a short piece of ash wood. For this one:
- I planed one face
- then I planed the other one with the thicknesser machine and I got it to 2,6 cm thick
- after that I planed it and squared its edges to be able to cut thin strips
2. I cut 5 mm thick ash wood strips with the bandsaw. I cut only one strip from each planed edge. Why? This way the very thin strips would have one face planed.
I repeated the process: I took both boards and squared their edges. After that I cut another set of strips. I repeated the process until I got all the pieces needed for lamination.
3. But that was not all. To be sure all pieces would be very well glued, I had to plane the second face of each thin strips. Metabo DH330 is not able to plan such thin pieces. So, I had to improvise:
- I took a varnished beech wood panel. In order that the thin strips to slide well on it, I wiped the panel with furniture wax.
- I secured the panel to the tables of the planer thicknesser with a clamp, to be sure it wouldn’t move during the planing
- I planed the other face of each thin strip. This way I’ve got them at a thickness of 2 mm.
This is a very useful trick. When you need to plan a thin piece, you can use a panel to rise the height of the thicknesser tables.
4. All the thin strips had the contact faces planed, so they could be well glued. I was sure that the laminated plank would be very strong. So, I arranged them and I applied the adhesive
5. I tightened the laminated plank very well and I waited for the glue to dry.
6. When the glue dried:
- I planed one face of the new laminated plank
- I planed the other face until I had got a 2 cm thick laminated plank
- I cut the ends of the board, so in the end the laminated plank had a length of 37 cm
- I cut it into two pieces (one laminated board for each decorative knife)
These are the two laminated ash wood and thermally treated ash wood planks.
The shape of the decorative wooden knives
Now, I was able to draw the shape of my decorative wooden knives. I chose that they should have the cutting edge on the light side of the knives.
After I drew the shape on one of the laminated boards, I cut the shape with the bandsaw. Then I drew the shape on the other board, using the first decorative knife as template.
I sanded the blade of the knives using the belt sander. For that, I first secured the belt sander to the workbench with clamps. This position of the sander allowed me to control very well the moves, so I couldn’t have sanded too much or too less.
The guards of the wooden knives
I chose to make the guards of the knives out of thermally treated ash wood, so I can use the ash wood for the handles.
1. So, I took an 1 cm thick and 2 cm wide thermally treated ash wood board.
- I measured and I marked 2 cm from one edge of the board
- I marked the distance between the first and the last hole (2 cm)
- I drilled 3 holes, inline, with a 5 mm diameter drill bit
2. Using a chisel, I removed the excess of wood between the drilled holes
3. I needed small pieces of wood as guards for my knives, so I chose the best solution to cut the board safely:
- first I cut the end of the board into two pieces of 1 cm thick, without finishing the cut along the plank
- then, I cut the other end of the board to get two pieces of 1 cm thick and 6 cm long
These are the two thermally treated ash wood guards.
They fit very well in their position. I also engraved the initials of my boys’ names to be sure they won’t fight over which knive is who’s.
After checking that the two pieces of wood fit, I finely sanded them and I rounded their edges.
The wooden knives handles
For the handles, I used a 1,5 cm thick and 3,5 cm wide ash wood. I wanted to route a 1 cm depth channel in the middle of the board. But this kind of channel was almost impossible to be done. So:
- I routed one channel on each face of the board (of 15 mm width and 5 mm depth). I used a top bearing router bit and the router guide to do it. I had to make two passes because the router bit had not such a diameter to make the slot from a single pass
In the end I’ve got the board as you see in the following picture.
- then I cut the board into two pieces
- after that, I cut them again to get 4 pieces at 11 cm long (two pieces for each handle)
I glued all the pieces together with the blades and I let the adhesive dry. Before gluing them I put some power tape on the blades to be sure that the glue wouldn’t stick on them.
The next day I took the knives and I drew the handles shape. I cut the shape with the bandsaw.
To complete the project, I also wanted to insert some rivets. They had to be made out of thermally treated ash wood:
I built a wooden jig to make custom round sticks. For that I made a hole into a block of wood, I secured the block with a clamp to the workbench and a chisel to the block of wood.
I cut an 1 cm by 1 cm thick strip.
I secured it into the drill mandrel and I made a 7 mm diameter round stick.
I drilled 7 mm diameter holes into the wooden handles.
I inserted into those holes short pieces cut from the round thermally treated ash wood stick.
The final steps were to sand the wooden knives with 120 grit sandpaper and to protect them with mineral oil.
After a lot of small steps, I got two beautiful decorative wooden knives and the boys are very happy to have them!
Some photos with details of the guards, handles and rivets:
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