Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Bushcrafting: Making My Woodlore Style Knife

I have been an avid member of various outdoor forums ever since the internet became available to me.  Currently, I am a regular contributor and supporter of BushcraftUSA. I have always been a tinkerer with my outdoor gear and this forum has inspired to be much more.  I admire the custom works of many of the knife makers on BushcraftUSA.  Those who make the Woodlore style knives have had me wanting one of my own. 

This is an original Woodlore knife made for Ray Mears
The prices of these knives are reasonable from the makers  (~$300 to $500 US) but the wait times/lists are long and it could be two years before one can get a custom knife made.  There is also a thriving secondary market of regular resellers who charge or auction off these knives for about double what the makers are asking.  The reselling is a bit of a scam and I find it distasteful.

As I am an impatient sort and not  interested in filling opportunists pockets with cash I don't have, I decided to make my own Woodlore style knife.  I should say that I am actually putting a handle on one, the blade blank can easily be purchased for a small amount of money.  My blade blank comes from the reputable UK  knife maker, Bernie Garland.  It is a traditional Woodlore blade made of hard 01 carbon steel and has a Scandi grind.  The wood scales are bird's eye maple and come from Nova Scotia, the liners are brick red G10, and the mosaic pins and lanyard loop I ordered from a knife supplier online.

It took me about a month to gather all my knife parts and the supplies I would need to put it all together.

Having no experience at all other than the making of of some of my other little bushcrafting projects, I watched how to videos on Youtube and read instructions off various sites on the internet.  Once I got down to work, the process didn't take that long although there were snags along the way.  Having limited power tools, basically a circular orbital hand sander, a cordless drill, and a Dremmel rotary tool, it was a challenge.  What I would give for a drill press, band saw, and a belt sander!  Here are a few pictures taken during the construction.

I often had to improvise like using my palm sander upside down clamped to my workbench.  This project was often physically demanding (I spend five hours just filing and hand sanding the profile of the knife handle).  In the end, it came out better than I thought it would.  I posted my own "how to" instructions thread on  BushcraftingUSA in the hopes that it would inspire others lacking the skill set and tools just like I did.   The knife will soon become my inseparable companion on all my future bushcrafting trips.  Here is the finished product.