How to Make a Bread Scoring Knife




About: I'm not an expert in anything. I just enjoy making things sometimes for the process sometimes for the end product.

I was inspired to make this bread scoring knife from a chat I was having on Facebook. I'm not much of a baker but I have always had issues when it came to scoring bread before baking. While the wooden handle isn't quite necessary for the task it is nice to have. The key take away when scoring bread is that the blade used must be thin and razor sharp and I feel the thinness of the blade is really the key as thick blades will cause drag on the dough. Anyhow this was a fun build even with the two failures that taught me how important it is to have good reference surfaces when making these tight cuts. I made two versions one with two screws and one with a single screw. I didn't think the single screw would provide enough pressure to hold the blade and I didn't think the thinner brass had enough meat to hold a screw thread. Fortunately I was wrong on both accounts and the single screw model worked out just fine. I realize this is a very niche build but I hope that some struggling baker will happen upon it and it will inspire them to make their own version.

Build video:

Step 1:

I used a scrap piece of walnut its about 5/8 inch thick an inch wide and about 8 inches long and some 1/8 inch thick brass for this project.

Step 2:

I made a quick template of the brass piece I needed to make. I traced the shape on to the brass using a fine tip marker.

Step 3:

I used my Portable Band saw table (Portable Band Saw Table Instructable) to cut out the rough shape of the brass pieces. If you don't have a band saw you can also use an angle grinder or a hacksaw to cut out these pieces.

With the rough shape cuts I used my 1x30 belt sander to refine the shapes.

Step 4:

Next I cleaned up the brass pieces using some 320 grit sand paper. I also further refined the shape to match the handle shape I was after, this will make more sense later when I start to work on the handle.

Step 5:

With the 2 pieces sanded I used some CA glue, aka super glue, and glued the two brass pieces together. I did this because I will be drilling holes in them in the next couple of steps and wanted to make sure the holes line up perfectly with each other.

I found some brass thumb screws at the hardware store that I planned to use to keep everything together, I use them as part of the mock up to figure out where I want to make the holes. Once I am happy with the location of the holes I use a center punch to mark the location of the holes.

Step 6:

This is the hardware that I used as you can see the brass screw screws into the thumbnut. I wanted hardware that could be tightened by hand and wouldn't need a screw driver.

Step 7:

One set of the holes will be tapped with screw threads. So I use the corresponding drill bit to make the correct size holes in the brass pieces. To separate the brass pieces I heat them up with a torch which causes the CA glue to fail. I let the brass pieces cool and then sand them clean.

Step 8:

Next I use the holes in the brass pieces as reference to drill the holes in the wood. Initially I used the same drill bit on the wood as the brass but I realized that these holes would not be big enough for the screw to slide in and out of because they are slightly under-sized since they are supposed to be tapped and threaded. So I found a slightly larger drill bit and drilled larger holes in the wood that would allow for the screws to pass through easily.

Step 9:

I decided to do the same for the one of the brass pieces. I enlarged the holes so that the screws could pass through without any resistance.

Step 10:

Next I used my tap to thread the other brass piece. Brass is fairly soft so this process was relatively painless.

Step 11: The Handle

Now it was time to move on to the handle. I had a rough idea of the shape I was after so I roughly sketched it on to the wood using the brass as reference. I also drew in the cut lines that would create he gap in the top of the wood. This gap will allow the wood to act as a clamp on the razor.

Step 12:

Here is where things started to go wrong. I ruined the first piece because the bottom of the wood was not square or the gap in the band saw table was too wide. Either way I made another blank and add a temporary zero clearance on top of the band saw table. I made the three cuts, the first cut is right in the middle the second and third cuts remove excess material on either side of the middle cut. The last pic shows the finished piece.

Step 13:

I had to re-draw the handle. I used the band saw again to cut out the rough shape of the handle. A scroll saw or regular band saw would probably be a better choice to make these cuts.

Step 14:

Third time is a charm. This part also went wrong on me I tried to remove some material with a chisel and had a large piece break off. So I had to make yet another handle. This time I used a hand file to remove the material were the brass plates would fit. The transition from brass to wood was giving all the trouble, I realized I was over thinking this and should have just used a knife to cut the proper contours in the wood. The hand file worked just as well though.

Step 15:

With everything now shaped I put the knife together and did some more refining on the belt sander.

Step 16:

I hand sanded the entire piece up to 400 grit and then applied several coats of Danish oil.

Step 17:

Originally I was going to make it so that the brass pieces could be removed but after making the single screw version I decided to epoxy the brass pieces on to the wood handle. I feel like that would make it easier to change out the razor blade.

Step 18:

Here is the finished knife with the razor in place. In order to change out the blade you just have to loosen the screws slightly and remove the blade and add the new blade.

As I stated earlier I made another version with a single screw and also brass plates that were thinner. This reduced the weight of the handle quite a bit which I think is a plus.

Step 19:

So does it work? It does! Do you need a handle for a razor blade not really but it is nice to have. I plan to make a few of these and give them to some friends and family that I know love to bake. Its a simple project that I learned a lot from. Thanks for checking out my Instructable.

Build video.

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    21 Discussions


    11 days ago on Step 19

    This is a very well done project, except it is one of the most dangerous wrist slashers I have ever seen, if you can come up wit a hinged self closing blade cover you would really have something.

    2 replies

    Reply 10 days ago

    I initially had the same thought... but at the same time, what a beautiful and elegant way to slash your wrists!

    If you look at some of the common commercial designs, though, they tend to be far worse - generally leaving both edges of the blade completely exposed, and only occasionally offer a separate slip cover as an afterthought.

    Besides, it needs to be looked at in context. It's a project for someone who feels comfortable using a bandsaw - a tool just as capable of removing a hand as the finished product is slitting a wrist.

    That being said, a matching box and/or a similarly sleek display stand that conveniently also covers the blade would turn it into a great gift set.


    Reply 11 days ago

    Thanks, as for wrist slashing I don't store it with the blade in the handle I remove the blade when not in use. The razors come in their own little box so no need to have loose razor blades in kitchen drawers.


    11 days ago

    I’m going to be the one who says it I suppose... These look incredibly similar to the toothbrush, tape and razorblade throat slashing weapons that, if we are to believe TV shows and movies, are often made in prisons right before somebody gets ‘offed’. I think the excellent HBO prison show ‘Oz’ starring J.K.Rowling showed more than one of these being made.
    Now if someone could come up with a way to beat shaver companies at their own game by designing a long lasting shaver....

    1 reply

    11 days ago

    Cool tool for a very specific purpose. I learned something today. What a bread lame is. One thing though, be careful holding things with your hands when using a drill press, especially metal. I have seen some nasty cuts when the bit bites and the work spins.
    I do love hand-made tools.

    1 reply

    Tip 11 days ago on Step 8

    Be careful when drilling brass! Drills tend to grab on break-through. Hold the brass with a pliers in case this happens. (You can modify the drill bit's cutting edges to prevent this.)
    On the wood piece, chamfer the inside edges of the slot where the blade enters. This makes inserting a new blade easier.

    1 reply

    10 days ago

    I would think that the job could be very well done by a regular scalpel, as the blades are razor sharp and come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes.
    Scalpel handles likewise, including versions that retract for safety.

    1 reply

    11 days ago

    Can I be your friend?
    " I plan to make a few of these and give them to some friends and family that I know love to bake"
    Have been making bread for 65+ years, and have always had trouble with the "Pulling"!


    11 days ago

    Nice tool. Being a breadmaker, I have the same problem. It's very difficult to find a blade that is sharp enough to cut and not pull.

    1 reply

    Reply 11 days ago

    Thanks it worked quite well when I used it. I have tried box cutter/utility razor blades in that past and haven't had any luck. I think the thinness of the blade is the key.


    11 days ago

    Fabulous idea! In a CAD/CNC-inundated world, I especially appreciate the hand-machining route you've decided to take on this.

    1 reply

    Reply 11 days ago

    Thanks! I think this would make a good/simple CAD/3d print project too, you could be as creative or as simple with the shape as you like.


    14 days ago on Step 19

    I love any kind of homemade tool and normally applaud such postings.
    But sorry - this is one of the most dangerous-looking devices I have ever seen posted here.
    Accident waiting to happen in my honest opinion.

    2 replies
    Marcel HebertWayfarer

    Reply 12 days ago

    There are many kitchen tools that can cause harm if you’re not paying attention and not using them responsibly.
    Maybe a plastic blade guard could be printed for those that are careless.
    But it’s a people piece of art as is.
    Good job Dan.


    Reply 14 days ago

    I don’t think this is anymore dangerous than any other sharp object in the kitchen. This isn’t something I invented this is my version of a Baker’s Blade or Bread Lame.


    12 days ago

    Sorry wayfarer, I agree with danthemakerman. This is simply his version of a long existing tool. (bread lame) A lot of the commercially available models do use a doublesided razor blade just like the one in this IBLE, and most of them don't look half as nice.

    Well done Dan .. good luck in the contest.