After months of work on the Japanese Step Chest, I needed to take on something a little simpler – and smaller. I saw an announcement from Woodcraft about their kitchen knife blanks. I’m a ‘kitchen guy’ before I’m a ‘shop guy’, so I thought it would be fun to have a go at putting handles on a couple of them.
Kitchen Knives – Bird’s Eye Maple Handle
I bought a bread knife and a small Santoku chef’s knife. I also picked up a block of bird’s eye maple – I love the way it looks and thought it would make a great, hard, distinctive handle.
They both have 3 holes for rivets and had steel rivets with them. I used some brass ‘dowels’ on the step chest and really like the way that looks, so I decided to go with brass instead.
I cut the maple into quarter inch slabs about the size of the handle and then roughed out the shape on the bandsaw. Then I matched them up to the handle and drilled holes for the brass rods. I used a 2-part epoxy to attached the handles and the brass to the knives.
Then the shaping began. I used my spindle sander and files and rasps to get a shape I thought was comfortable and looked good. I sanded all the way from 100 grit to 1500 grit and those last few grits are really like polishing – smooth as silk!
I decided to use a finishing tip from my woodworking buddy Rob Bois (theboisshop.com). I warmed boiled linseed oil up to about 130 degrees and, since these a small handles, actually soaked them for a few minutes in the oil. I did that 4 times, smoothing with 0000 steel wool in between. Man, are they pretty and smooth!