Whinge, Knives, Whinge

It took me four months to finish the batch of knives that I started in July. I have documented every hour that I have worked on knives, and the results are not good. I have only managed to work about 20 hours a week. Plus some hours that I have not counted, like when I was making new tools, repairing or improving them, etc.

Please allow me to whine a bit about the causes of that.

I either have chronic fatigue or I am a chronic hypochondriac. I am reluctant to go to a physician right now, partly because of the ongoing pandemic and partly because of last year when after several months of pain, I never got a conclusive diagnosis – and the pain only subsided after a course of steroids that I got for a really bad but unrelated virus (possibly flu) that snuck up on me right before Covid hit Europe. So I am not all too optimistic about our GP being able to help me with this.

I have been more or less tired ever since that possible flu. You remember that short walk in the forest in August when I brought home two full shopping bags of ‘shrooms? It took me three days to get over that, and one of those days my legs hurt so much I was barely able to go to the loo. After just several hours of hand-sanding knife handles my back and hands hurt for two days. Etc. etc. ad nauseam. Add to that the necessity to spend time carting my parents to/from doctors, stacking firewood to the cellar, caring for my trees, and the result is that I do a lot less work than I want to.

I have never seen the point of exercise because my body never reacted to it the way other people’s bodies seem to. I did get stronger, but only in relation to my starting point. In high school, when I could exercise under professional supervision free of charge, after months of work I was barely getting just below the level where my schoolmates have started. This year is that – only worse. I am not going exactly downhill, but just barely. Plus my hands started to hurt again two weeks ago. With the sun gone, I have at least looked at what safe dose of Vitamin D I can take in supplements and I am taking that because it seems to help a bit.

Whining over. I hope it gets better. At least it is not getting worse.

The last knives I have finished are four universal kitchen knives from a batch of five blades. One of those blades was not suitably hardened after all- near the tang was about 2 cm soft part. I do not need to toss it, but I do need to try and quench it again with the next project.

These are a bit heavier and thicker (3mm) than my previous knives of this type because they are made from what was left over from the slabs for chef knives. I have also changed the geometry of the handle a bit – instead of a rounded rectangular profile it has a rounded trapezoid profile. They are also about 2-4 mm thinner overall and 5 mm thinner and shorter at the front to better allow a choked-up grip with thumb and index finger on the blade. And they are pointy this time.

One knife has the handle from apricot wood and I have tried tubular pins filled with the same wood. I think it looks good and I will use that idea in the future again.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Two knives have the handles from pickled black locust. It is perfidious wood, in the future, I have to be more careful – the scales were probably not fully dried when I ground them to final size and they shrunk on me a tiny bit when I was finishing the surface with resin. So the tang does exceed the handles a tiny bit. That can happen due to a bad shaping job too, but that was not this case – they were perfectly flush originally, I swear. Lesson learned I have to put this wood in the oven for an hour or so before glue-up and grinding the outline. Now I can forget the lesson before finishing the next batch.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

And last was fitted with padauk wood that I have again got for free with steel shipment. A prime example that there really is no need to use tropical woods, it does not look that much better than the black locust.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Knives are a bugger to shoot, I will have to build myself some better lighting system. Either the blade is over-exposed, or the handle is under-exposed, or the colors are off, or all three.

If you are interested in knife making, on Sunday I will start a detailed series about my next knife-making project. Not because I am qualified, but because I want to.


  1. voyager says

    Your symptoms sound a bit like mine and I have fibromyalgia. It’s a very misunderstood diagnosis and it took me 5 years to find a qualified Dr to treat me.
    Once Covid is under control, I encourage you to find a specialist who can properly diagnose your condition.

    I also am interested in watching a video about your knife making.

  2. Jazzlet says

    I love the tubular pins, they look very smart.

    I agree with voyager, your health problems do sound rather like fibromyalgia, my understanding is that there is some evidence that it can be a post viral syndrome*, which would fit with you having had a nasty virus beforehand, and it is also associated with depression.
    * I say syndrome because there is also evidence that there are several different diseases that are currently being lumped together under fibromyalgia, it is not well understood, but there is research being done.

  3. says

    From what I read about fibromyalgia on the interwebs, it can be a lot worse than my current situation. I took a course of over-the-counter non-steroidal antirheumatics last week and I feel a lot better now than I did for about a month, although still not splendid.

    @Crip Dyke, voyager, I would love to make a video, but there are several major hurdles in the way. I would have to make it with my phone since I cannot afford to risk possible damage to my (for me) rather expensive camera. My shop is small, cluttered, and dusty, and the fine magnetic dust would damage it even if I somehow manage not to bang/drop the camera on some hard surface. I would have to shoot the video with my phone, so both picture and sound quality would be questionable. Then there’s time. Experienced craft-YouTubers say that a project with video making takes about three-times longer. I expect this project to last about a month without video making. Also skill. I am a moderately skilled presenter and explainer, but not at all skilled videomaker. I have some experience with video and audio recording and compression, but that is not the same. Also my English accent might offend your ears. I would really love to do it, but I am highly skeptical of my abilities in this regard.

  4. lorn says

    Half the people I know pushing 60, or better, are receiving monthly B-12 injections. Seems it is well accepted that B-12 absorption flags at about 50. B-12, even in the best cases, isn’t really absorbed very well and we can’t make it ourselves so a minimal decrease in uptake can lead to deficiency. None of this was too much a problem because people didn’t so often live long enough to have this problem and people tended to regularly eat more foods with higher B-12 content.

    Your doctor can check B-12 with a blood test and newer guidelines have shifted people previously thought to have marginal but acceptable levels into the category of suggested supplementation. As far as therapies go B-12 shots are cheap, easy, and largely without serious side effects.

    Used to be shots were a much bigger deal. Needles are now tiny and relatively painless compared with what was used in the 70s, much less the brutally huge needles people used to have to manually sterilize and resharpen in the 50s.

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