Introduction: Simple Barn Board Gift Case

About: My girlfriend and I run a company called Deville's Workshop in Toronto, Canada. We build weird props for film and television and love this website - such a great resource for inspiration and discussion!

Hi internet friends! This is a fairly simple Instructable that shows how I routered out an outline of a pocket knife so that I could give it to my friend in a more interesting package than a box.

I had purchased a DOUK DOUK knife (I will include info about this awesome knife at the end) as a gift for a friend and was trying to figure out a nice way to present it to him. I have a bunch of scrap wood around the shop and I found some barn board pieces left over from a table build. I saw the router hiding under the shop table. All the pieces fell together.

Step 1: Router Out the Outline.

Admittedly I sort of did a half-assed horsey of a job as far as accuracy and precision go, but the basic idea was:

  • place the object onto the wood and trace the outline.
  • place the wood in your vise (I protected the grain by inserting pieces of lauan in between the grips)
  • use a straight plunge bit in your router (I used a 1/4" bit)
  • use eye and ear protection. If you have it, use a full face mask
  • CAREFULLY lower the spinning bit into the wood. It is advised to start at a shallow depth and then gradually work deeper

Step 2: Age the Wood.

This part is fun. With a stiff twisted wire wheel on an angle grinder (and wearing total body and face protection), follow the wood grain. The stiff bristles will dig into the softer pulp and tear it out, leaving deep valleys of wood grain. It can instantly make a brand new 2x4 look like it's been rolling in the surf for 20 years.

CAUTION!!!!!! Please be aware that angle grinders are bloody thirsty merciless creatures. They (somewhat) patiently wait for you to make a mistake and then they WILL BITE YOU! I nearly took off my little finger the very first I used one because I didn't know how they jump. Make sure you are either very experienced or with someone who is before you use one.

Step 3: The DOUK DOUK Knife

OK, this is all directly from Wikipedia:

Design origins

The external engraving of the douk-douk was created in 1929 by Gaspard Cognet of Cognet, Antoine & Gaspard for sales to France's colonies in Oceania. The handle depicts a "douk-douk", or Melanesian spirit incarnation. Cognet based the design on an engraving in an illustrated dictionary. Later other designs such as the "El Baraka" and "Tiki" were developed for other regional markets, particularly in French Algeria, and even south into Sub-Saharan Africa. Originally intended as an inexpensive utility pocket knife for the ordinary working man, the popularity of the douk-douk caused it to be pressed into service as a weapon when necessary. During the 1954-1962 FLN-led revolt in Algeria, the douk-douk was used as weapon of assassination and terror; Algerians who ran afoul of the FLN frequently had their noses removed by the knife's razor-sharp blade. It could easily be converted from a folding-blade pocket knife into a useful fixed-blade dagger by the simple expedient of hammering the ends of the sheet-metal handle together behind the blade's bolster, locking the blade into the full-open position.


The douk-douk is a very simple slipjoint knife, having no locking mechanism, but only a very strong backspring to bias it towards opening and closure. It consists of only simple parts:

  • A folded sheet-metal handle, which is very slim
  • A carbon steel blade, of a soft and easily sharpened steel, generally of the "Turkish clip" profile reminiscent of a scimitar. The blade has indentations at the back, and is decorated with acid-engraved arabesques. The blade has no nail-nick, but is easily grasped for opening since it tapers at the spine.
  • A strong backspring.
  • Two rivets: one to hold the blade, the other to hold the backspring and bail.
  • A metal bail or lanyard loop. The cutlery firm of M.C. Cognet has continued to produce the knife up to the present day, using the same simple methods. Today they are offered with several decorative designs, stainless or carbon steel blades, in three different sizes.


Current variants

Sorcier (Sorcerer) — Standard pattern. Blued handle, engraved with the image of "Douk Douk", a Melanesian mythical figure

El-Baraka — Nickel-plated handle, engraved with a Tuareg Cross of Agadez (allegedly marketed to Muslim colonies in North Africa where the humanoid figure of the Sorcier model would be culturally inappropriate)

Tiki — Engraved with a Polynesian tiki idol

l'Écureuil (Squirrel) — Nickel-plated handle, engraved with a squirrel. Primarily marketed within France. Unlike most other variants, L'écureuil has a spear profile blade.