My Favorite Marking Knife

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Blog entry by Tom posted 04-02-2021 11:43 PM 264 reads 0 times favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch

There are many styles of marking knives out there. There are the old traditional “striking” knives that are made by blacksmiths. There are more modern ones like the Stanley folding knife that Paul Sellers uses. I am actually lukewarm on the Stanley folding knife because it is not comfortable in my hand and I don’t like the way the blade flexes from side to side. That said, it is a fine marking knife and I do use it for certain tasks, usually for plywood for some reason.

Anyway, my favorite marking knife is from Lee Valley. It is relatively cheap, easy to sharpen, has a good handle for gripping, the blade is stiff and sturdy and it will last many years. My older one is about 8 or 9 years old. It was one of the first hand tools that I purchased. Here is the link:

#8 German Chip Carving Knife

When you receive it from Lee Valley, it seems a bit rough. The handle is pretty much unfinished and slightly rough to the touch with some angular edges. The brass rivets that hold the blade are not dead flush, there is a very slight edge on the rivets that you can feel.

It only takes 1-2 minutes to refine the tool handle. I sand it with 400 grit sandpaper to remove all the roughness, edges and level the rivets. The blade is sharp though, so be careful and you might wear a leather glove to prevent getting cut. Then I polish it with Minwax neutral finishing wax on 0000 steel wool.

It doesn’t look much different, but it feels smooth and nice. The knife comes sharpened with a small bevel on each side of the blade. It is fine to use it this way. When I sharpen it, I only sharpen on one side. I am right handed and put the bevel on the right side of the blade. When I use it, I adjust the angle of the knife to compensate for the bevel. Works pretty well for me.

If you need a knife, you might give it a try. Doesn’t cost much. :)

-- Tom

1 comment so far

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4969 posts in 2274 days

#1 posted 04-03-2021 03:38 PM

Marking kinves are my go-to tool for marking miters on external (wrap around) mouldings. Gives me an exact point I can align my saw blade took into and make a perfect cut first try.

I wonder if the handle work you had to do was intentional. These are personal items in that everyone has a grip they prefer and their intent was to let you dial in that final profile.

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