Monday, January 31, 2011

in praise of the knife

Making a few cleats began with me using the tools that I've been working with on site, but it felt all clumsy and wrong-handed. Nasty, gritty, vibrating things didn't feel good in making such a humble and simple device, so I resorted much more comfortably to my little planes and then my violin making knives. What a difference! Silence and comfort at the bench.
The knife shown has a long taper and so it could be considered similar to a skew chisel, but with two bevels. The beauty of it is that it slices across a contour, so that instead of cutting down as with a chisel, you cut across, and as the blade gets wider, the cut progresses deeper into the work. Slicing slivers from hardwood is much easier than pairing it or cutting it across the grain. With this simple tool, cutting small radii is a pleasure.
The knife is simply a piece of German tool steel set into a pair of facing grooves in the handle stock before they were glued together. The blade can be removed for honing.

Incidentally, the navigator book is now available on Kindle from Amazon. I'll put a link on the book's blog page sometime...


  1. nicely shaped cleats robert - much better than my plastic things - um - green with envy....and thinking - gosh they'd look nice on Arwen......but can I be bothered....ah the plague of apathy.....the boat is looking really good rob!

  2. Cheers Steve, they are a nice little project to do sitting down, when you should be doing something sensible instead.
    Loved your exploration of the boat tent BTW.

  3. that boat tent is beginning to cause me nightmares - its a diversion tactic.....I should be focused on writing five new curriculum units and around 500 assignments to! guilt will take over as will pressure of the meantiume - getting a tent sorted for the summer just seems to be occupying my few spare moments