Introduction: Marking Knife on the Cheap

Picture of Marking Knife on the Cheap

I have been slowly getting into woodworking and decided I would start with a few small project to build my skill.  So i looked in the normal places for projects and plans.  I subscribe to Chris Schwarz webpage and often receive his emails about the things he is working on.  One of his emails was about creating your own marking knife out of a drill bit. 

I decided this seemed easy enough and was a pretty good skill builder.  So with an old drill bit and some simple tools I set out to build a marking knife. A marking knife makes measuring and cutting wood cleaner and more accurate. So it will be a great addition to my growing inventory of tools. Enjoy

Step 1: Tools and Supplies

Drill or Drill Press
Dremel and assorted accessories
Draw Knife
Sand Paper
Some sort of finish

Some sort of wood
A spade bit

Step 2: Pick Your Poison

Picture of Pick Your Poison

I had a few old spade drill bits laying around so I had a few to choose from. Also some choices to make. Did I want to attempt a single bevel of a double bevel. I opted for the single out of ease and a smaller bit to start with.

Step 3: Cut the Bit and Shape

Picture of Cut the Bit and Shape

I decided on a single bevel and picked an angle at random to cut the bevel. To cut the bevel I used the cutting wheel on my Dremel tool.  It wasn't to hard to get through the metal. I took my time to insure the metal did not get to hot. I was worried about effecting the blades ability to maintain a sharp edge. I then used the small sanding drum for my Dremel to sand the shard edge down.  I also used a stone wheel on my Dremel at the end, but I didn't get a photo of that.

Step 4: The Handle

Picture of The Handle

I had purchased, a long time ago, some blood wood pen blanks.  I have a bunch of them, so i figured this would be a good handle to use. 

I marked the top of the wood with an X. I just ran a straight edge from one corner to the other.  Not perfect but it works.

Then I drilled a 9/32 hole into the wood. I went about 2 1/2" deep. I used a drill press, but honestly you could use a hand drill.

I then clamped the piece up in my bench mounted shave horse. Basically it is a horizontal vice. 

**If there is any interest in the vise I will make an instructable on it.

Once clamped in place I used my draw knife to shave away material. I had not real plan, just started slicing away at it.

**A note about the draw knife- I got it at a flea market for dirt cheap. I paid like $5 for it or less. It had some nicks out of the blade, so i sharpened it up. It works like a dream. I love it.

I eventually got the desired shape and used the sanding drum on my Dremel to bevel the opening by the blade.

Step 5: Finishing the Knife

Picture of Finishing the Knife

I decided to use an amber colored shellac for the finish and propped the piece up in a vice with a Styrofoam bowl to catch the run off (there wasn't any).

Once the finish hit the blood wood I was amazed at the color transformation. It turned out great.

I put two coats on it and fixed the blade inside with super glue. I was going to use epoxy, but didn't have any readily available and wasn't going to run to the store.  It was a snug fit anyways.

Thanks for viewing the instructable.  I hope you enjoyed it and it inspired you to design your own. I plan on making a couple more. I will most likely make the handle much thinner on the next one.  I am open to suggestions and any comments.


The Vise used in the instructable.


TheBlueRoseKnight (author)2013-03-12

Thanks a bunch!

flamesami (author)2013-03-12

I'm now curious as to what this knife would be used for...I can see it being used for kolrosing/barkrosing, but that's obviously not what you made it it for marking where to cut?

Ray from RI (author)flamesami2013-03-12

This is what a marking knife is for primerily sp?, to help mark your measurements on wood as to where to cut.... !

But yes you are right it could be udes for other things as well...!

gilleseg (author)flamesami2013-03-12

You got it. It is used in place of a pencil. The line is thinner and more precise. Also if cut deep enough it can help the saw stay on the line. I am sure one could use it for many things though.

Ray from RI (author)2013-03-12

Excellent project... Very Nice!!!

TheBlueRoseKnight (author)2013-03-10

I'm interested in how you made your vice, it looks like a fairly simple, yet effective, design. I hope you make an Instructable!

All done. Not much to it. Enjoy

I will work on that tonight. Should be up by tomorrow or the next day. Unless I get distracted. LOL

wstarvingteacher (author)2013-03-10

I like this and will try it. One thing I have that most don't is a real good handle. We never cut out crape myrtles and they are 30-50 ft tall. The small sucker limbs make good handles for a variety of things. My woodworking hammer is an old landscape timber part with this type handle glued in.

Very much enjoyed the article.

chasv (author)2013-03-10

broken files work good too

Barb37 (author)2013-03-06

Very, very nice. You're Dremel-driven process reassures me that my own use of such is credible, and I don't need to be in a hurry to graduate to the big-league cowboy-killer tools. And, hey - I'm interested in an instructable on your vice!

pfred2 (author)Barb372013-03-06

Cowboy killer tools? A little rotary tool is all fine and dandy sometimes, but other times you need to break out the heavy hitters.

gilleseg (author)pfred22013-03-10

I have a die grinder I hardly use and a couple cheap black and decker angle grinders that serve me well.

gilleseg (author)Barb372013-03-06

I love my Dremel and use it often. I have range of tools and accessories for it. I find I use it all the time. As for the vise I will make an instructable in the next couple days. I love it and will probable end up modifying it, but the Mark1 version of it has helped a lot. Thanks for the post.

chuckyd (author)2013-03-10

You are right to use a single bevel for the marking tool. With that you can place the flat side against your guide and get a precise mark. However, with your tool you can only mark from left to right with the cutter on the top side of the guide. I purchased a cutter at a tool sale that has a vee point, so it can cut in both directions. With your great skills, I know you can make that adjustment.

Great work. By the way, I did turn my own handle from a small scrap of Yellow Wood.

gilleseg (author)chuckyd2013-03-10

Next attempt will be double edged. I have seen them before and have an old 1 1/2 bit to try it out with. Thanks for the comment.

kmac1 (author)2013-03-07

Really nice instructable. Beautiful finish, and that is a gorgeous draw knife. Thanks for sharing.

gilleseg (author)kmac12013-03-07

Thanks, it was fun and easy to make.

pfred2 (author)2013-03-06

If you want a thinner handle remember it is made out of wood, so whittle it down some more! I have often overestimated handle sizes myself, and had to tune them up some. Well, tune them down I guess. One, I didn't like the balance, so I put a hole in it. Made a big difference!

gilleseg (author)pfred22013-03-06

Most likely I am going to make a couple more of them. So the next one will be a little thinner. Thanks for stopping by to look!

carlatkinson (author)2013-03-06

This is great information that you have provided with us and i hope you would again share something like this again...

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