Hand Carved Wooden Butter Knife

About: I do believe woodworking is the best stress reducer and all the beautiful stuff comes as a bonus.

I`ve been at the wood workshop assisting my boyfriend who is a professional carpenter with smaller tasks for almost two years. Though I was always admiring his work and enjoying spending time at the workshop, I did not think I would make an project on my own. Why not? Because it is too difficult, too dangerous, too complicated, I have no skill and the list of excuses may continue without an ending. Until I decided just to get started.

I know it is not a big thing (literally!) but I have to admit I`m very happy with myself and the way how it turned out.
With that being said, I make a step further and write an Instructable. Who knows, it might inspire someone like me to start with woodworking.


A sharp knife
Piece of wood (about 15 x 4 cm) Mine is oak, but you may want to choose something softer, like a pine or ash.
Wood wax
Sanding paper nr 120 and 240
A pen
Band saw or if you don`t have it you can use a hand jig saw

Step 1: Draw the Lines

I suggest you first to draw on the paper, cut it out and then draw it on the wood. But you might want to skip it and draw immediately on the wood.

Step 2: Cut the Wood

Using a band saw makes the knife carving so much easier.

Step 3: Carve the Knife

Gently carve the unnecessary wood from the knife.
Instead of pulling the blade towards you and potentially cutting your thumb, carve with the blade away from your body. You can push the back of the blade with the thumb of the hand holding the wood.
This results in having lots of control and strength behind your cuts and less trips to the medicine cabinet.

Step 4: Sanding the Knife

The thinner you will carve with the knife, the easier will be the sanding part. First you will need the sanding paper nr 120 and then the 240 to make everything nice and smooth.
Tip! When you are satisfied with your sanding, make your knife wet using a towel and sand once again.

Step 5: Finishing the Knife

Remove all the dust from the knife and apply the beeswax. I also use it as a moisture my hands which may go pretty dry from the sanding process.

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    17 Discussions


    6 days ago

    What a lovely, simple but oh so satisfying piece of usable folk art. I have some pieces of wood that I rescued well over 20 yrs ago that would be perfect for this (or should I say will be :) ) A suggestion for the next project along similar lines.. How about a tea/coffee stirrer? I like a cup of chocolate tea in the middle of the night (no, not a joke it is a mix of tea and cocoa/cacao and is wonderful) but the noise of me stirring with a metal spoon disturbs my sleeping wife :( I'm currently using a plastic spoon for this but I reckon a wooden stirrer/paddle would be better. Thank you for an excellent Instructable.

    3 replies

    Such a nice comment! Thank you for making me smile and giving me an idea for a new instructable. I`ve been thinking about a spoon as well, I need to buy some new tools then, I don`t have proper carving tools. Yet.

    Hey, my life is complete if I can make just one person smile. The wood I mentioned that I have is nicely close grained and medium to dark in colour. i don't have clue what it is but it looks nice and as used as cladding for a wall t our local school. I just pulled it out of the skip all those years ago. I was refurbishing the library for them at the time as I was out of work and wanted to give something back to my community :)

    Check out the (lots) of instructions online for making a very easy spoon carving knife. 'Maximus Ironthumper' does some great videos on this on You Tube or there's also a guy named Paul Sellars too. It's just a piece of steel heated and bent round a former then a handle put on it. However, that's not the only way of carving out a spoon. You could get a bowl shaping chisel and use that. It has a rounded edge so carves out a nice shape; it does need to be very sharp of course :)

    Again, thank you :)

    Hello again :) I think I`m going to make the investment and buy the spoon carving knife right after the holidays. Now I´m still too busy with my band saw as you can see on the picture above. I am going to check out the videos you suggested, though. Thank you!


    6 days ago

    Very lovely first time project in wood. It is a great idea and an excellent tutorial. Thank you for taking the time to share it. I was looking for a PDF for your knife. I am thinking you have used it and have decided if the design is a good one and wouldn't mind sharing that also.

    4 replies

    Do you mean the pdf of the tutorial? This must be attached by this Instructable.
    Thank you for the nice words :)


    6 days ago on Step 5

    Great entry! Do you have a recommendation on the wax to use, and does the knife need to be re-treated on a regular basis? Thanks!

    1 reply

    Hey! Thank you for this good question. I`m currently using this a German product - Holzbutter Renuwell. I like this one because it has no color and smell.


    6 days ago on Step 5

    Nice! Just a couple comments to anyone making this or like items. DO NOT wash in your dishwasher or with soap (very mild hand wash with maybe well diluted dish soap once in a while). The dishwasher will, in a short time, destroy and discolor this. All that is needed is rinsing in warm to hot water and re-applying wax (or food grade mineral oil) once in a while. I have seen way to many quality knives with wooden handles ruined by washing in the dishwasher or soaking in HOT dishwater. Normal use and cleaning will keep it in good shape for years.

    1 reply

    I'm glad that you just decided to try something yourself - I appreciate your concerns for danger and whatnot, but there's really no better way to learn than to just dive in and give it a go. It's addictive. This is a great project and an awesome write up. I reckon it's something I'll attempt to make for Xmas gifts, because I imagine that a wooden butter knife 'wood' make for a much smoother spreading experience; there's nothing worse than when your butter is too firm and a metal knife just tears holes in your bread.

    1 reply

    Thank you so much for this lovely feedback! It so nice to read these lines and it really made me smile :)
    By the way, I have used myself a wooden butter knife as long as I remember and you know what - you are right, it is so much better to use a wooden one :) I am going to make some more knives for this years Christmas presents.