About 5 years ago my wife brought home some big pumpkins and we decided to carve them. I wanted to do something real fun and I found a really elaborate spider web. I didn't have any pumpkin carving tools and this was going to require more than a kitchen knife so I looked around my shop to see what I could scrounge up and I ended up with a very good pumpkin carving tool. It doesn't require anything but a dowel and a coping saw blade. No glue is required. Now that I'm into authoring instructables and it's that time of year, I figured I'd share. Read on to learn how.
- Heavy wire cutters (don't use your favorite wire cutters though--you might damage them cutting the spring steel of a saw blade.)
- Vice (very handy but not absolutely necessary)
- Coping Saw blade
- Dowel or some other long slender piece of wood or plastic
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Step 1: Locate a Coping Saw Blade.
You want a coping saw blade with big teeth. Small teeth are used for cutting harder substances. I had extra blades laying around for my coping saw but you may need to buy some. Now if you have to go out and make a special trip to buy coping saw blades this tutorial may not save you any money but if you like to make your own stuff and have some blades laying around then it makes sense to make one from scratch.
Step 2: Cut the Tip of the Pumpkin Carving Tool Blade.
You want your pumpkin carving tool to cut on the push stroke so you will want to make sure the blade is oriented correctly. You also want the tip to be a point so you can just stab it into the pumpkin wherever you wish to start to cut. See the images for a diagram of how you want the end of the carving tool to look like and how the teeth should point.
It turns out that the "clipping off" of the saw blade with the cutters actually creates an "edge" on the blade like a knife--handy for stabbing into pumpkins.
Step 3: Cut the Handle End of the Carving Tool Blade.
You could do something like wrap the other end in tape but I'd prefer to do something a bit cleaner. You'll need to choose how long you want to make the total blade, making account for how much is going to stick into your handle, a dowel in this case. I cut mine off at 3 1/4".
I cut the handle end in the shape of a point as well because I'm going to be pressing it into a hole in the handle and a point will make it the easiest for us.
Step 4: Pick a Handle.
I just so happened to have a bag of 1/2" dowel pins laying around from a project where I was repairing some furniture so that is what I chose to use but you could use a section of a plain dowel or even a rectangular block of wood or plastic for that matter.
I also could have used a section of 3/8" dowel I had laying around but the 1/2" will fit better in my hand I think.
Step 5: Drill the Handle for the Blade.
You'll want to pick a drill bit size smaller than the width of the blade so that it fits securely in the handle without any movement. I chose a 5/64" bit for this coping saw blade.
I don't have a drill press but I have a vice. Whatever you use, you want to be real careful if you don't have a vice or something to hold it with. If you don't have a vice, use a vice grip. You don't want the dowel to tip and stab yourself with the five-sixty-fourth!
It's not imperative that you drill straight in but drill it as centered and straight as you can.
Step 6: Insert the Blade Into the Handle.
With the dowel still in the vice take the blade and grip it with a pliers and press it into the handle. You could really mess your hand up by trying this without a pliers. As it turns out (and if my math is right), I ended up pressing the blade about 7/8th of an inch into the handle and it is real tight.
Step 7: Carve Something Fun Like This.
There's lots of patterns available on the web so search and find a fun one like this.