Marking Knife on the Cheap





Introduction: Marking Knife on the Cheap

I have been slowly getting into woodworking and decided I would start with a few small project to build my skill.  So i looked in the normal places for projects and plans.  I subscribe to Chris Schwarz webpage and often receive his emails about the things he is working on.  One of his emails was about creating your own marking knife out of a drill bit. 

I decided this seemed easy enough and was a pretty good skill builder.  So with an old drill bit and some simple tools I set out to build a marking knife. A marking knife makes measuring and cutting wood cleaner and more accurate. So it will be a great addition to my growing inventory of tools. Enjoy

Step 1: Tools and Supplies

Drill or Drill Press
Dremel and assorted accessories
Draw Knife
Sand Paper
Some sort of finish

Some sort of wood
A spade bit

Step 2: Pick Your Poison

I had a few old spade drill bits laying around so I had a few to choose from. Also some choices to make. Did I want to attempt a single bevel of a double bevel. I opted for the single out of ease and a smaller bit to start with.

Step 3: Cut the Bit and Shape

I decided on a single bevel and picked an angle at random to cut the bevel. To cut the bevel I used the cutting wheel on my Dremel tool.  It wasn't to hard to get through the metal. I took my time to insure the metal did not get to hot. I was worried about effecting the blades ability to maintain a sharp edge. I then used the small sanding drum for my Dremel to sand the shard edge down.  I also used a stone wheel on my Dremel at the end, but I didn't get a photo of that.

Step 4: The Handle

I had purchased, a long time ago, some blood wood pen blanks.  I have a bunch of them, so i figured this would be a good handle to use. 

I marked the top of the wood with an X. I just ran a straight edge from one corner to the other.  Not perfect but it works.

Then I drilled a 9/32 hole into the wood. I went about 2 1/2" deep. I used a drill press, but honestly you could use a hand drill.

I then clamped the piece up in my bench mounted shave horse. Basically it is a horizontal vice. 

**If there is any interest in the vise I will make an instructable on it.

Once clamped in place I used my draw knife to shave away material. I had not real plan, just started slicing away at it.

**A note about the draw knife- I got it at a flea market for dirt cheap. I paid like $5 for it or less. It had some nicks out of the blade, so i sharpened it up. It works like a dream. I love it.

I eventually got the desired shape and used the sanding drum on my Dremel to bevel the opening by the blade.

Step 5: Finishing the Knife

I decided to use an amber colored shellac for the finish and propped the piece up in a vice with a Styrofoam bowl to catch the run off (there wasn't any).

Once the finish hit the blood wood I was amazed at the color transformation. It turned out great.

I put two coats on it and fixed the blade inside with super glue. I was going to use epoxy, but didn't have any readily available and wasn't going to run to the store.  It was a snug fit anyways.

Thanks for viewing the instructable.  I hope you enjoyed it and it inspired you to design your own. I plan on making a couple more. I will most likely make the handle much thinner on the next one.  I am open to suggestions and any comments.


The Vise used in the instructable.



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    22 Discussions

    Dang, I gotta try this. I have tones of spade bits I can use.



    I'm now curious as to what this knife would be used for...I can see it being used for kolrosing/barkrosing, but that's obviously not what you made it it for marking where to cut?

    2 replies

    This is what a marking knife is for primerily sp?, to help mark your measurements on wood as to where to cut.... !

    But yes you are right it could be udes for other things as well...!

    You got it. It is used in place of a pencil. The line is thinner and more precise. Also if cut deep enough it can help the saw stay on the line. I am sure one could use it for many things though.

    I'm interested in how you made your vice, it looks like a fairly simple, yet effective, design. I hope you make an Instructable!

    2 replies

    All done. Not much to it. Enjoy

    I like this and will try it. One thing I have that most don't is a real good handle. We never cut out crape myrtles and they are 30-50 ft tall. The small sucker limbs make good handles for a variety of things. My woodworking hammer is an old landscape timber part with this type handle glued in.

    Very much enjoyed the article.

    broken files work good too

    Very, very nice. You're Dremel-driven process reassures me that my own use of such is credible, and I don't need to be in a hurry to graduate to the big-league cowboy-killer tools. And, hey - I'm interested in an instructable on your vice!

    3 replies

    I have a die grinder I hardly use and a couple cheap black and decker angle grinders that serve me well.

    I love my Dremel and use it often. I have range of tools and accessories for it. I find I use it all the time. As for the vise I will make an instructable in the next couple days. I love it and will probable end up modifying it, but the Mark1 version of it has helped a lot. Thanks for the post.

    You are right to use a single bevel for the marking tool. With that you can place the flat side against your guide and get a precise mark. However, with your tool you can only mark from left to right with the cutter on the top side of the guide. I purchased a cutter at a tool sale that has a vee point, so it can cut in both directions. With your great skills, I know you can make that adjustment.

    Great work. By the way, I did turn my own handle from a small scrap of Yellow Wood.

    1 reply

    Next attempt will be double edged. I have seen them before and have an old 1 1/2 bit to try it out with. Thanks for the comment.

    Really nice instructable. Beautiful finish, and that is a gorgeous draw knife. Thanks for sharing.

    1 reply

    If you want a thinner handle remember it is made out of wood, so whittle it down some more! I have often overestimated handle sizes myself, and had to tune them up some. Well, tune them down I guess. One, I didn't like the balance, so I put a hole in it. Made a big difference!