Introduction: Making a $3.25 Striking Knife

A striking knife is a very traditional tool used by woodworkers to mark-out lines on a board. It allows exact measured placement of lines to be cut or chiseled. It also allows the transfer of a measurement from one piece of wood to another.

Most striking knifes these days are just a thin bladed knife. Traditionally they were made from a single piece of steel with a knife edge on one end and an awl point on the other.

This one is made from a X-ACTO knife and a darners needle.

It is very inexpensive end easy to make.

Step 1: Unassemble X-ACTO Knife and Drill Fixture Holes

You will need to buy a X-ACTO knife. The one I bought was $3.03 with a 40% coupon at a local craft store.

X-ACTO Knife

It is important that whatever hobbyist's knife you buy that it has a solid handle.

Drill a hole into a thick piece of wood the same diameter has the knife. Remove the blade holding mechanism and place the handle into the hole.

Step 2: Mark Hole for the Awl

In the exact center of the bottom of the handle use a punch to mark the place to drill.

Step 3: Obtain and Modify Needle

You will need a yarn darning needle to use as an awl point. A packet of seven was $1.48 with a 40% coupon at a local craft store. (22 cents each.)


Take the needle to a grinder or sander and remove the eye of the needle.

Step 4: Measure Needle Diameter and Drill Hole

Measure the thickness of the needle and find a drill bit that is close as possible to this measurement. Then drill the hole. You will be drilling into aluminum so it is easy for it to grab the bit and break it. You will need to drill slowly using oil as a cutting lubricant. Drill the hole no further then 1".

Step 5: Insert and Fix Awl Point (Needle)

If the needle diameter is larger than the hole then press it in by placing it, needle down, onto a scrap wood piece and lightly hammering it into place. It the needle is smaller than the hole then glue it in place with epoxy or super glue. Before installing the needle make sure only 1-1/4in is exposed. Grind the needle to the right length if necessary.

Reinstall the blade holder and install blade. For marking in tight places I like to use a #11 classic fine point blade (in holder.) For general marking I use a #16 scoring blade (loose above holder).

Step 6: Using a Striking Knife

Mark the desired place with the awl on the back of the knife. Mark as lightly as possible. Then take your square or straightedge and strike the line. It is better to strike three times lightly than one time with pressure. With only light pressure it is easily to hold the knife to the straight edge when the grain of the wood may try to pull it away.

Now you may notice that in these picture one of my fingers is a bit short. For those who are inquisitive I will give the answers to the two most asked questions.

Answer #1: I did it on my joiner.

Answer #2: Yes, it hurt like hell!

Woodworking Contest 2017

Participated in the
Woodworking Contest 2017