The Ultimate Pumpkin Carving Knife

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Introduction: The Ultimate Pumpkin Carving Knife

About: I run a small channel on YouTube where I show you how to make all sorts of weird and sometimes useful things. I'd love for you to check it out.

Halloween is right around the corner, and one of my favorite things to do is carve pumpkins. The only problem is that store bought pumpkin carving knives are terrible! They bend, they break, and the blades are always really dull, which can make pumpkin carving frustrating. So I made a better one!

Using a few basic tools found in most small garage woodshops, I will show you how to build one of these Ultimate Pumpkin Carving Knives of your very own.

Supplies

Walnut

1/16th inch Maple Veneer

Jigsaw Blade

1/8th inch Aluminum Rod

Cutting Board Finish

4 Minute Epoxy

Painter's Tape

Double Sided Tape

220 Grit Sandpaper

Scouring Pad

Xacto Knife

Utility Knife Blades

Spray Adhesive

Template

Here are the tools and materials I used for this project. These are either the exact item I used or something very similar.

Note: Some of the links above are affiliate links. A small portion of the sale goes to support the channel and fund future projects, at no additional cost to you.

Step 1: Cut to Size

I start this project with a small block of Walnut. Using my bandsaw I split the block right down the middle. With the walnut sides cut I work on the inner layer, and for that I'm using a 1/16th inch Maple skateboard veneer. The maple veneer will go in between the walnut sides and will allow me to make a cavity for the blade to sit in as well as provide a nice decorative contrast. I use one of the walnut sides as a template and trace the outline on the veneer and cut it out on the bandsaw. Once all the pieces were cut I use some double stick tape to temporarily attach them together.


**Pro Tip**

The veneer is very thin and would most likely chip when cutting it on the bandsaw. To prevent that I'm using an MDF backer board.

Step 2: Drill Holes and Cut Out Shape

For this project I made a template of the knife handle and attached it using Super 77 Spray Adhesive. With the template attached I take it over to the drill press and drill two 1/8th inch holes. These holes will be used for alignment pins in a later step.

Using my bandsaw I cut the piece to rough shape. The 3/4 inch resaw blade I have on my bandsaw doesn't handle tight curves like this all that well so I stay a good distance away from the line.



Step 3: Refining the Shape With Sanding

Using my combination disk and belt sander I smooth out the rough cut left behind by the bandsaw and bring the shape down to the line. The spindle sander allows me to sand areas my belt sander can't reach. After the piece was sanded I removed the template.

Step 4: Blade Prep and Alignment Pins

To transform this from just a handle to a completed knife, Ill need a blade, and for that Ill be using an old jigsaw blade. After a couple dozen woodworking projects it's no longer as sharp as it once was, but it should absolutely decimate a pumpkin!

This jigsaw blade has definitely seen better days so I attach it to a scrap piece of MDF and clean it up using a scouring pad. Look at that bad boy shine, it's as good as new!

Using a 1/8th inch aluminum rod I create the alignment pins. I cut the pins a little oversized as longer pieces are easier to work with. Ill just have to cut them down to size later on.


** Note **

Any size blade will work, however I chose to use a super thin scroll cut blade as it will allow me to maneuver inside of small areas and carve super small details that a larger blade may not be able to.

Step 5: Separate Sides and Sand

With the handle shaped, the holes drilled, and the pins cut to size I can use a spatula to separate the pieces. With the pieces separated I give them a light sanding with 220 grit sandpaper.


**Pro Tip**

I used painter's tape between the layers of wood and the double stick tape. The painter's tape is easier to remove and prevents the double stick tape from leaving sticky residue on the wood

Step 6: Creating the Blade Cavity

The maple veneer will allow me to make a cavity for the blade to sit in between the walnut sides. With the blade positioned where I want it, I trace it's outline using a pencil. Using an Xacto knife I follow the outline several times. A coping saw would have worked really well here, but I don't have one of those, so I improvised. The Xacto knife was a little slow, but after a few passes you will start to see a ghosting of the outline appear on the underside. Then all you have to do is trace the ghost outline to complete the cut. Once I cut it all the way through I can pop out the piece and test fit the blade.


** Note **

Don't worry if the cavity isn't perfect, the blade just needs to be able to fit inside.

Step 7: Glue Pieces Together

To attach everything together Ill be using Total Boat 4 minute epoxy. I start by applying a thick coat of epoxy to one of the walnut sides. I probably used way more epoxy than was necessary, but I would rather have too much then not enough. I applied some more epoxy onto the alignment pins and inserted them into the holes. The alignment pins made it so easy to keep every piece lined up, all I had to do was slather each piece with epoxy and slide it down into place. Once all the pieces were in place I secured them with clamps. After letting the epoxy cure for 24 hours I removed the clamps.

Step 8: Trim Alignment Pins and Remove Epoxy Squeeze Out

Once the knife was out of the clamps I cut the oversized aluminum alignment pins to size using a hacksaw. The hacksaw goes through the aluminum like it's not even there, making quick work of this.

I may have been a little heavy handed with the epoxy so there was quite a bit of squeeze out all along the edges. To fix this I scraped it away with a utility knife blade. After a few minutes with a razor blade and some sandpaper the squeeze out is all gone.

Step 9: Sanding Handle Smooth

With the excess epoxy removed I sanded the handle smooth. Now I need to address the corners which are at a sharp 90 degree angle and makes the knife uncomfortable to hold and use. To fix them I round the corners over using 220 grit sandpaper. With the corners knocked down the knife felt so much better to hold.

Step 10: Finishing

To finish the knife I'm using cutting board wax. It's super easy to apply and really brings out the natural beauty of the wood. I slather it on pretty thick and let it sit for about 15 minutes. After letting the wood absorb the finish I wipe away the excess and buff to a nice sheen.

Step 11: Get Carving

With the finish applied the only thing left to do is get to carving!

If you found this Instructable useful I would love for you to comment and favorite this tutorial as it would really help me out with the Instructables Build A Tool Contest

If you want to see more DIY content, check me out on

YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0XpZJLKjhvXGOhD...

Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/xyzcreate

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    10 Comments

    0
    chuckstake
    chuckstake

    7 hours ago

    nice need to make 2 or 3 for frends

    0
    XYZ Create
    XYZ Create

    Reply 15 minutes ago

    Please send pics when they are finished because I would love to see them!

    0
    JohnW51
    JohnW51

    1 day ago on Step 4

    Very nice! You have great skills and very good video presentation techniques. This seems like a lot of work for something you only use once a year, but I'm sure it was a very satisfying project and besides, it just looks SO COOL.

    0
    XYZ Create
    XYZ Create

    Reply 23 hours ago

    Thanks! I was having way too much fun building this so I kinda went all out on it :)

    0
    Show Me Joe
    Show Me Joe

    1 day ago

    Great idea. This is now in my queue of "things to make in the near future."

    0
    XYZ Create
    XYZ Create

    Reply 23 hours ago

    That's awesome to hear! I would love to see it so make sure to send me some pics of yours when you build it!

    0
    NirL
    NirL

    6 days ago

    Great job! I enjoyed it from top to bottom. Well done! Thanks a lot for sharing, I learned a lot!

    0
    XYZ Create
    XYZ Create

    Reply 5 days ago

    Thanks! It makes me so happy to hear you enjoyed it :)

    0
    ronanry
    ronanry

    7 days ago

    At first I was "why is it the ultimate one ?"....Then I read your instructable... Now, I know why, thanks, awesome :)

    0
    XYZ Create
    XYZ Create

    Reply 7 days ago

    Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it :)