Making a Marking Knife

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Project by Karson posted 01-31-2009 07:05 AM 10928 views 10 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

About 4 or 5 years ago (who can remember those kind of details) I bought 4 marking knife blades from Hock Tools I bought 2 of the 1/4” marking knives and 2 of the 3/4” blades. I kind of sharpened them up and put them back in the package. After giving one of the 3/4” blades to a friend. He has probably used them the same as me. (Never)

On February 7, 2009 the Mason Dixon Woodworking Club is having a “Hand Cut Dovetail Class” So I figured that this would be a good time to find the blades and use them. They were in the top drawer of my workbench. (Great Planning).

Now i started to think what kind of scales that I wanted to put on them. I went looking for my exotic pen blank box. I got sidetracked by an unopened box that hadn’t been opened since my move 3 years ago. Inside was a box of Snakeskin Wood. Cut-off pieces from someone else’s shop. They were selling their scrap.

I picked through the box and came up with a few possibilities.

I guess the harvester of the Snakeskin wood logs cuts off all of the sapwood, so they don’t have to ship wood that no one wants. There must be a lot of splitting in the logs because the pieces I’ve got is representative of that.

I then realized that I had another package of Snakeskin wood. So in all of the years I’ve had it, I never got the two packages together. So this was the time.

It had some longer pieces. I only needed about 9” of wood 4 1/2 on each side of the blade.

So I made my selection.

The scales for the 3/4” knife were about 3/8” thick and the 1/4” size is about 1/4” square.

I took the larger piece and cut it to size and I drilled 3/16” holes to match the holes in the blade. I put a brass rod through the pieces to keep them aligned for glueing.

I wiped all pieces down with Lacquer Thinner to remove all of the oils. I then used Epoxy glue to glue every thing together. I put the block in the vise to clamp it.

After Lunch I took the knife out of it’s clamp.

I then started to sand the block on a power sander then hand sanding. I used the Beall wood polishing system to put on the gloss. There is no finish on the wood just polishing and waxing.

While I working on this knife the smaller one was in the clamps.

I then did the sanding and polishing on it.

The handle looks a little strange, but is comfortable to hold.

I’ve not yet put the brass rivets in the larger knife because I want to do a little more finishing to size and remove some of the fine scratches that appeared in the buffing process.

I super sharpened the marking knives using my Sharpening Station

I’m ready to goto class, at least on the marking knife process.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

16 comments so far

View itsme_timd's profile


690 posts in 5164 days

#1 posted 01-31-2009 07:14 AM

These lool like very nice marking knives. I always emjoy the great details in your posts!

-- Tim D. - Woodstock, GA

View Dusty56's profile


11868 posts in 5021 days

#2 posted 01-31-2009 07:18 AM

You’re always doing something creative and your blogs are so informative , Karson …thanks for teaching me some more tricks : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 5219 days

#3 posted 01-31-2009 07:26 AM

WOW beautiful job!! Thanks for the idea to get me moving.

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View OutPutter's profile


1199 posts in 5323 days

#4 posted 01-31-2009 09:22 AM

Thanks for another informative post Karson. I need some marking knives too. I looked at your sharpening system and couldn’t help noticing the similarity to the Worksharp system. Have you considered a copyright infringement suit? ;2)

-- Jim

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 5633 days

#5 posted 01-31-2009 01:56 PM

Very nice Karson.

You ended up with a couple of beautiful tools.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View cabinetmaster's profile


10873 posts in 4891 days

#6 posted 01-31-2009 02:12 PM

Karson, I got a couple of old planer knives I’ve been looking to put to good use. Now I have my answer to what to do with them. I needed a marking tool at work yesterday. Thanks for the timely post. Great looking tooll you have there. I also just looked at your reference to the sharpening station and now I know what to do with all that MDF I have laying around. I never would have thought to use MDF as a buffing wheel.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View lew's profile


13487 posts in 5088 days

#7 posted 01-31-2009 04:07 PM

Great Project, Karson!!

I like that you made the blade to work in both “directions”.


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Roger Strautman's profile

Roger Strautman

657 posts in 5467 days

#8 posted 01-31-2009 05:46 PM

Thanks Karson! I liked the looks of the snakeskin wood. Those are keepers!

-- " All Things At First Appear Difficult"

View Rob 's profile


216 posts in 5001 days

#9 posted 01-31-2009 06:49 PM

That’s great. Thanks Karson. This is going in my favourites.

View motthunter's profile


2141 posts in 5132 days

#10 posted 01-31-2009 07:33 PM

thanks for the details.. interesting!

-- making sawdust....

View dustyal's profile


1322 posts in 4808 days

#11 posted 01-31-2009 11:49 PM

Okay, now I know what I’m up against. Custom hand-made marking knives? You just happen to have some blade blanks and brass rods laying around plus a couple of bundles of snakewood that you forgot about? Then, I read your blog about your “sharping station”? Argggghhhh! Maybe I should take my plane and chisels to your shop for a little honing of my skills BEFORE the dovetail class. ;)

And I thought I was doing good to cut a rabbit in a piece of popular today to repair an antique cabinet that fell apart at the seams in our last move… and the customer wanted that fixed, last year.

I’m looking forward to seeing you and these knives on Feb 7.

-- Al H. - small shop, small projects...

View Grumpy's profile


26812 posts in 5184 days

#12 posted 02-01-2009 12:21 AM

Nice job Karson. Tools that will last forever.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View jm82435's profile


1286 posts in 5075 days

#13 posted 02-01-2009 01:56 AM

Good job Karson. It must be like a candy store in your shop. You seem to always have interesting materials just laying around for your projects…

-- A thing of beauty is a joy forever...

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 5580 days

#14 posted 02-01-2009 09:43 PM

Nice job Karson. I made one using an old spade drill bit. It still works great and sharpens easily. I had to make a round handle. I love all the multi colored handles, very cool.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View langski93's profile


125 posts in 4766 days

#15 posted 10-28-2010 08:17 PM

Karson, I recently bought a Hock blade like the shorter one in the post above and was going to make a handle for it. I tried to sharpen and hone it with my Worksharp 3000 and promptly screwed it up. As I held the angle to keep the point and sharpen the side, the blade would overheat. How do you keep the edge sharp and the angle fixed so the tip comes to a point? I have a veritas MII also. Do I need a special jig?

-- Langski, New Hampshire

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