Kitchen Knives Set – Part 4: Getting Some Serious Wood

Since I have spent more time making the blades than I originally intended, I have decided to go the full hog and NOT make the handles out of some plain wood. Instead, I have decided to kill two birds with one stone – to get some fancy wood for this project and to reduce the clutter in my raw material storage. I have decided to use the apple stumps that my neighbor gave me.

First I had to cut the stumps into smaller logs of course.

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That was not fun. Like, at all. I hate working with a chainsaw because the work quickly exhausts my meager strengths. Luckily the battery in this small saw gets drained after about half an hour of serious work, so with two batteries, I can get in about one hour of work before having to take a long break. Which is about the duration that I can do this without trouble.

Even so, before I was done it did actually happen once that the batteries held longer than I did and I got unpleasant mild hypoglycemia. That did not happen to me for a long time, but it was a reminder that absolutely must not skip or delay meal breaks.

I also blunted and had to sharpen the chain at least three times because there were small stones embedded in the wood.

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Next came cutting the logs to a smaller size on a circular saw. Another not-favorite work of mine, since my circular saw is small and not exactly up to the task. I am also afraid of it most of all my tools. But I managed it mostly, although I too blunted the blade again by hitting an invisible stone inside the wood. That was not a happy week at work. I can tell you that. This I cannot sharpen myself, I have to pay for it and it ain’t cheap.

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Aaand more cutting! This time on my Crappola bandsaw. I “only” broke three saw blades before cutting most of the wood down to workable size and shape. And whilst these are cheap on an individual basis, three at once cheap ain’t no more.

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And these are the pieces that I have decided to use for the actual project – there is plenty more for future projects, including some smaller pieces of burl. So I did get some value for the destroyed sawblades, only not as much as I would like to.

On the left is some partially rotten but still reasonably hard and strong root wood. It still gives a nice resonating “clonk” when struck. I do love the stripey coloring, given to it by the decay.

In the middle is some mostly healthy wood, still completely hard and strong, but with a few cracks and occasional woodborer-holes. I hereby declare that those add to the character. They are inevitable parts of wood harvested from a tree that stood dead for several years.

And on the right is some really fancy looking spalted wood. This is so decomposed (by a fungus), that it is significantly softer and less-dense than healthy wood. It sounds a bit dull when struck too. But it is still not so soft and spongey that it would be unworkable on its own. That is important, otherwise I could not do my next step.

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

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

I have cut the slabs and I cut and ground rough outlines of the handles, with a few mm to spare. This will save me some resin later on and it will also mean I won’t have to grind away as much resin-soaked wood as I would otherwise. Which is good, because working resin stabilized wood sucks. Majorly.

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

And now the wood is drying up on the heating radiator in my living room. Not only does it need to be completely dry before I proceed, but it also has to wait until my ordered vacuum pump arrives. I do hope it does arrive next week. It is already delayed a bit. I also hope it works OK and that I have not thrown 100€ out of the window.

I do love that I have got three sets of different woods, all from the same species but each with its own unique character. I do not think I will dye the resin for these and I will just infuse them with a clear resin, leaving all cracks and holes distinct and visible. I think there is real potential for beauty here.



  1. Jazzlet says

    One of those pieces of drying wood is not like the others, what is it for please?

    Sorry about all the chain sharpening, the blunt disc and the broken blades, it must have got deeply frustrating. I think you are right that the handles will be interesting with visible holes. Hope the vacuum pump arives jolly soon and is in tip top condition.

  2. Tethys says

    That is already some gorgeous grain. I hope the rest of the process goes smoothly. Damaging blades due to hitting rocks is often adrenaline inducing, not to mention expensive to replace and generally annoying.

  3. says

    @Jazzlet I do not know which piece you mean. There are 14 handle scales for the knife handles and 2 one-piece handles for the honing steels. One piece that really stands out to me is the very dark one (6 from right) and that is just burnt due to the blunted circular saw blade.

  4. voyager says

    It’s wonderful that you have stock that you’re excited to work with. That’s some good looking wood.

  5. avalus says

    Uh what lovely grain patterns! The chainsaw picture made me cringe a bit though to be honest.

  6. says

    @avalus, the circular saw is a lot more dangerous and there were a lot more cringe-worthy moments in that footage. The chainsaw has a kickback brake, so it cannot hurt me that way, and my foot is a lot further from the blade than it seems to be in the picture. There is actually really no way the chainsaw could hurt me in that picture and it does not have enough strength to throw the wood around.

  7. says

    circular saws are beasts.

    I still want one. A stationary one I mean. I do h have a handheld one. Or better said, my FIL has stored his handheld one h here.
    I’m currently suffering from acute tool envy.

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