Jump to content

How would you cut up this block for scales?


Recommended Posts

I've got a few larger blocks of nice wood, this one is claro walnut- I'm wondering which way you would cut it up into scales to get the most figure out of the wood. This one is 8x8x3".

 

 

IMG_0499.JPGIMG_0498.JPGIMG_0500.JPGIMG_0501.JPG

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think you are going to get the most figure out of that one slicing across the grain so that the end grain is the face of the scale. This will, however, result in pretty brittle scales.

-Brian

Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with Brian on cutting across the grain your going to want them to be thicker though and seal the grain after each cut to give it added support and prevent cracking. Just my 2c

Link to post
Share on other sites

Has the block of wood been stabilized?? The cross grain is always more interesting most of the time but if not stabilized it has a greater chance of breaking!! My O2

C Craft Customs ~~~ With every custom knife I build I try to accomplish three things. I want that knife to look so good you just have to pick it up, feel so good in your hand you can't wait to try it, and once you use it, you never want to put it down ! If I capture those three factors in each knife I build, I am assured the knife will become a piece that is used and treasured by its owner! ~~~ C Craft

Link to post
Share on other sites

Not stabilized- incredibly dense though, I would compare it to ebony. It's been sitting for about 15 years in wax. I cut a sliver off the end to see what it looked like inside last night.

Link to post
Share on other sites

For my $.02 I would go the other way and show the face of the walnut. I've never been a fan of end grain. It makes very weak scales.

 

Your walnut has some beautiful dark lines which follow the growth rings. I would cut it so that the lines run lengthwise in the scales. (Your photo #4 shows them running up & down.)

Edited by Gary Mulkey

Gary

 

ABS,CKCA,ABKA,KGA

Link to post
Share on other sites

For my $.02 I would go the other way and show the face of the walnut. It has some beautiful dark lines which follow the growth rings. I would cut it so that the lines run lengthwise in the scales.

So the face of the scales would be the top of the block?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Using the end grain has never made much sense to me, in my experience if the knife is used at all or if the humidity changes even a little you have a great chance of checking or splitting. That being said, I haven't used much stabilized wood, I'm sure that is a whole different game.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Cut with the grain....

I'm torn on that- as there are two planes that cut with the grain- and I haven't done enough woodwork to get an idea of what it would look like either way. Could cut strips off of the surface in the 3rd photo, or like Gary said and make the large surface the face. With Gary's suggestion there is he opposite side too, where the rings curve the other way.

 

I should probably go get an oak log and tear it up and see how different orientation looks.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm with Gary on this one. Cut with the grain, not across it.

Stabilizing that walnut isn't going to make the wood any less fragile cutting parallel to the end grain either. Picture that block as a bundle of plastic straws. The end grain is the open ends of the straws. Gluing the straws together & filling the tubes (stabilizing the wood) is not going to improve the tensile strength of the product when cut across the grain. The piece will still break pretty easily.

 

In the last photo, your hand is on the face you want parallel to the table saw blade/against the fence. The big wide face (your thumb is on) is going to be flat on the table. Cut off a section equal to the height of the block. This gives you a long square. Flip that square 90 degrees and cut scales off of it, or use the square as is, and orient the best looking sides as sides of the handle.

 

It looks like a very dark stain is applied to the wood on one corner(?). Dark woods benefit from either a neutral finish/light stain or a thin oil or wax to bring out the figure. The real figure in woods is from the natural variance in colors. When you take a predominantly dark wood and apply a dark stain, the lighter parts become dark and the piece ends up looking uniform.

Edited by Joshua States

“So I'm lightin' out for the territory, ahead of the scared and the weak and the mean spirited, because Aunt Sally is fixin’ to adopt me and civilize me, and I can't stand it. I've been there before.”

The only bad experience is the one from which you learn nothing.  

 

Josh

http://www.dosgatosdesignsllc.com/#!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdJMFMqnbLYqv965xd64vYg

J.States Bladesmith | Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/dos.gatos.71

https://www.etsy.com/shop/JStatesBladesmith

Link to post
Share on other sites

That one corner is sanded to 2000 grit and a very thin coat of boiled linseed oil on it. No stain. I don't like to stain my handles, I like nature to take its course for the most part. I wanted to see what it might look like when could complete with my usual finish.

 

Thanks for the input! I'll probably save this for some higher end projects once I get more skill- I've got about 9-10 other blocks I need to decide how to cut also.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am a retired woodworker and have been making the odd knife for about 35 years so this is how I would cut that block. I have numbered them so that you would get a pair of slabs that would be matching as close as possible on each side of the knife. The ones on each end would be about an 1 1/2 x 1/2 (less saw cuts) and the ones in the center would be closer to 2 x 1/2

Handle layout.png

  • Like 3

Von Gruff

http://www.vongruffknives.com/

The ability to do comes with doing.

 

 

add resized.png

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am a retired woodworker and have been making the odd knife for about 35 years so this is how I would cut that block. I have numbered them so that you would get a pair of slabs that would be matching as close as possible on each side of the knife. The ones on each end would be about an 1 1/2 x 1/2 (less saw cuts) and the ones in the center would be closer to 2 x 1/2

That's very helpful- thanks!

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am a retired woodworker and have been making the odd knife for about 35 years so this is how I would cut that block. I have numbered them so that you would get a pair of slabs that would be matching as close as possible on each side of the knife. The ones on each end would be about an 1 1/2 x 1/2 (less saw cuts) and the ones in the center would be closer to 2 x 1/2

That's an interesting way of doing the layout Garry. Nice way to get it all planned out.

There's only one thing I want to clarify for matching up the scales though.

I would pair adjacent scales that share a connecting face. For example I would pair a #9 with it's neighboring #10, #1 with #2, 11 with 12, and so on.

The faces between the two paired scales become the outside of the handle.

Is that what you meant?

“So I'm lightin' out for the territory, ahead of the scared and the weak and the mean spirited, because Aunt Sally is fixin’ to adopt me and civilize me, and I can't stand it. I've been there before.”

The only bad experience is the one from which you learn nothing.  

 

Josh

http://www.dosgatosdesignsllc.com/#!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdJMFMqnbLYqv965xd64vYg

J.States Bladesmith | Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/dos.gatos.71

https://www.etsy.com/shop/JStatesBladesmith

Link to post
Share on other sites

The reason I have numbered them the way I have is to have the end grain matching as well as possible and this should have the scales on either side of the knife looking very much the same.

Probably the easiest "pair" to see it on would be the two numbered 11. If you take the slice with both number 11's as a single piece and look at the end grain it is like a very shallow M so that when cut and put together the outside of the scaes would ook very much the same.

 

It is not (in my opinion) matching if you were to take 9 and 10 as the end grain is a rift cut and will be uneven on either side even though the grain will run from one side of the spine to the other but both sides will be markedly different to each other.

 

Bookending scales works best when it is either fully flat sawn, 1/4 sawn, part of a burl knot, or crotch of some sort but when there is rift cut scales as is inevitable with a block from a small tree like that one is then I try to get the both sides looking as close to each other as the grain layout will allow.

 

The other pics that Doug has in the opening post show that the long grain is reasonable straight so that what you see on the end grain will be very similar right through the block so it would have a series of light and dark lines of differing thicknesses but even on each side of the knife handle.

 

It is your block and really can be cut any way that pleases you. I have just cut a few pieces for my handle drawer and spent some time looking at both the end and the various faces before deciding on where to make the cuts. Nothing too exotic though. The last of the wanut from a tree I cut off my fathers yard in 1983 ( I got a rifle stock from some of it) a bit of beech and bluegum. The beech is for pigsticking knives I have to make for the local hunters.

Edited by Garry Keown
  • Like 1

Von Gruff

http://www.vongruffknives.com/

The ability to do comes with doing.

 

 

add resized.png

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmmmm.

Interesting point of view. The reason I choose to pair them the way I do is to have the faces be as close as possible in grain and figure. I had never considered the end grain, because so little of that is left to see on a knife scale.

 

Maybe I'm not understanding how your system works.

“So I'm lightin' out for the territory, ahead of the scared and the weak and the mean spirited, because Aunt Sally is fixin’ to adopt me and civilize me, and I can't stand it. I've been there before.”

The only bad experience is the one from which you learn nothing.  

 

Josh

http://www.dosgatosdesignsllc.com/#!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdJMFMqnbLYqv965xd64vYg

J.States Bladesmith | Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/dos.gatos.71

https://www.etsy.com/shop/JStatesBladesmith

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think I get how it's paired- since it grows in rings the pairs are matched in relation to the center of the log, not what pieces they are next to.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think I get how it's paired- since it grows in rings the pairs are matched in relation to the center of the log, not what pieces they are next to.

That is it exactly Doug. You dont see the end grain when on the knife but it does indicate (in the block) what the faces will show with the long grain being fairly straight.

Edited by Garry Keown

Von Gruff

http://www.vongruffknives.com/

The ability to do comes with doing.

 

 

add resized.png

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...