Introduction: Carve a Wood Cooking Knife

I made this knife to chop up ground meat in the pan while cooking.

It's made from a sycamore branch. Sycamore has a nice, closed grain that is suitable for food utensils. I have also made spoons and other things from various logs that I've collected over the years.

Step 1: The Tools

The main tools I used for this project are as follows:

  • Pencil
  • Coping Saw
  • Dovetail Saw (Optional)
  • Chisel
  • Mallet
  • Carving Knife
  • Spokeshave
  • Card Scraper
  • Sandpaper

Step 2: Cutting and Marking the Timber

I cut the bark away and squared everything up to make the blank. Then I marked the general shape with a pencil.

Keep in mind that you may have to alter the design throughout the carving due to grain direction and the feel in your hand. Comfort usually wins out on things like this. You'll notice that I had more of a blunt end on the knife, but as I started to hold it, it didn't make sense with how I planned to use it, so I rounded it down more.

Step 3: Cut to the Marks

I was able to follow the line closely with the coping saw. I left a little bit of the line so I could shave to the line later.

At some parts, I used the dovetail saw to create reliefs for the saw and chisel. You really need to watch grain direction here. This sycamore had an interesting grain structure that left a few digs.

Step 4: Final Shaping

From here, the spokeshave is your best friend. I was able to get the main shaping from it and clean all my knife marks with a card scraper. A finely tuned card scraper can take off quite a bit of material and will help make your piece feel complete.

In some parts, I used sandpaper, but the card scraper can leave a good enough edge to go ahead and finish. I'd recommend butcher block oil for something like this. I'd stay away from vegetable oils as they can go rancid over time. I'd also wash by hand and oil whenever needed.

This is a quick project and there is a ton of information out there.