Steak Knives

Published Sunday, December 18, 2022 by Bryan

We don't cook a lot of meat at home, so sharp knives aren't generally required at the table. But every once in a while, something irresistable shows up at our local butcher. It's time we had the utensils to enjoy such things properly.

I learned my lesson from the kitchen knife that I made as a Christmas gift a couple years ago, and ordered pre-made knife blade blanks instead of grinding my own. That meant I could start with the handles.

A build story in image captions...

A half-inch thick plank of wood strips glued together. A one-inch strip of maple is on the left side of the block. The rest of the block is six alternating strips of half-inch walnut and cherry. The strips are offset in a stair-step pattern.
I started by ripping strips of scrap maple, cherry, and walnut, and then gluing those strips into planks.
Six pieces of wood, striped as the plank had been. Five of the pieces have their end grain facing up. The six has the side grain facing up, and shows the parallelogram shape of the handle.
When the glue had dried, I cut across the strips at a 30 degree angle.
Three chevron patterns are now visible, as the parallelograms were sliced, and then opened like books. The tips of the other three handles are just barely visible at the bottom edge of the picture.
I sliced each of the pieces along the grain, to create left and right halves of each handle.
A knife tang sticks out of a wood clamp at 30 degrees. A hand is holding one of the parallelogram strips behind it.
I traced the shape of the tang, onto one side of each piece.
One parallelogram piece sits in a wood clamp, showing a pencil tracing of the knife tang. Another sits next to it showing a mirror-image routing of the tang shape.
I carefully routed out the tang's shape, to a depth that is half the thickness of the tang.
A wild tangle of knife blades and bar clamps is strewn across my benchtop. Closer inspection shows blue tape wrapped around the base of each blade, preventing glue from running onto it.
I then glued the matching halves back together around each blade.
Four knives sit next to one large hand plane and one small plane. The corners of the handles of each knife have all been beveled at approximately 45 degrees.
I shaped the handles with sandpaper and hand planes.
An up-close shot of one of the knife handles shows a rich color and grain pattern brought out by the oil finish. A second handle and the bottle of Tru-Oil are out of focus in the background.
I lost count of the number of coats of Tru-Oil I applied, but it was int the range of six to eight.
Four knives lay on a white dish towel. The handles are fairly glossy, but glare from overhead lights shows that some wood texture comes through the surface.
I resharpened the edges on diamond plates after the finish had cured.

A quick project finished just in time to enjoy a bit of winter grilling with friends visiting this week.

Categories: Woodworking