First set of bow bread knives, OUCH, they are sharp!

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Project by jfk4032 posted 01-08-2014 05:59 PM 8100 views 47 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I first saw these bow bread knives at a craft show in FL earlier this year and then searched here on LJ and found a few and where to buy the blades and accompanying stainless steel screws (KenCraft Co. Inc. Toledo, OH sells these kits)

I made all 5 of these over the past 2 months in between some other holiday gifts and projects. The first one is just a simple solid piece of ambrosia maple. The wood was amazing and I was happy how that turned out and wanted to add some complexity to that…something I tend to do with most of my projects.

The second one I utilized a cool scrap cutoff from some cutting boards I’ve been working on. It is an alternating set of maple and cherry stripes. I glued two of those strips together and then I cut the padauk template with a curved arc through it and used the two resulting pieces of padauk as a gluing form to laminate in the set of striped woods into it.

The third one was meant to look like the Syracuse Orange football helmet. I used padauk as the base and laminated in lengthwise stripes of maple and wenge to look like the tape going up the middle of the football helmet. I switched to a wider radius roundover bit than the first two knives I made to better emulate the rounded shape of a football helmet. I finished it by countersinking in a Syracuse logo golf ball marker.

The fourth one is my favorite. I used wenge as the base with cherry and maple for the laminated stripes to look like viewing down a rifle site. I countersunk a bullet casing into the piece and this made a perfect gift for my brother in law who is a gun enthusiast. The side grain wenge is just spectacular.

The last one I just finished up this morning was for my son who graduated from JMU. So I tried to get the purpleheart to match the school’s purple color. It’s more reddish brown with just a tinge of purple in it. I complemented the purple with yellowheart, again, to try to match the school colors. I finished it by countersinking in a JMU Duke logo golf ball marker.

As far as the OUCH, these carbon blades are extremely sharp and you can make the blades extremely taught through clamping pressure before drilling the holes and screwing in the screws. Once clamped in with a little bend you drill and screw the blade into place. After doing that you release the clamps and the wood stretches back to the original unclamped shape and the blade is now actually under some real tension; you can pluck it and it makes a musical twang it is so tight! I made it through the first four with no incidences, but this last one got me this AM. The stainless steel screws that came with the kits are relatively soft by nature and when attempting to screw them into the very hard purpleheart, I stripped out one of them and my hand slipped when this happened cutting my thumb pretty good. CA glue, bacitracin and a good cloth bandaid did the trick for now…I don’t think stitches will be needed.

Nonetheless, I plan on ordering more of these soon, they are fun, relatively easy and useful gifts to make for family and friends. As always I enjoy finding ways to make these simple kinds of projects more personalized to the intended recipients. By simply using golf ball markers or bullet casings or anything pertinent that is small and can be worked into a project, anyone can do this on any of your projects as well.

Because these blades are so sharp, I wanted to protect my family and friends from unintentionally cutting themselves…as I did on the last possible operation of the last knife! I cut the protective plastic sheath that my Resaw King bandsaw blade came packaged (155” long) with into 9.25” pieces that fit over the exposed blade section as seen in some of the pictures.

-- ---Joel; Central MD...rookie empter nester and getting back into woodworking!

17 comments so far

View Ron Ford's profile

Ron Ford

218 posts in 2782 days

#1 posted 01-08-2014 06:14 PM

Another beautiful project. You are quite an artist, my friend!

-- Once in awhile I make something really great. Most days I just make sawdust.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30609 posts in 3387 days

#2 posted 01-08-2014 06:15 PM

Very cool. They are on my list as well.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Hawaiilad's profile


3378 posts in 4070 days

#3 posted 01-08-2014 07:42 PM

What a great gift or perfect to have myself. I kept waiting to see how you protected the blade (or fingers). Did you have a pattern or did you measure the blade and decide on the cut size?

-- Larry in Hawaii,

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 3534 days

#4 posted 01-08-2014 07:48 PM

Very inventive construction. They all look great!

-- Brian Timmons -

View jfk4032's profile


384 posts in 3576 days

#5 posted 01-08-2014 07:49 PM

The KenCraft kits come with a pattern, or you could easily modify it or make one yourself if you want a thinner or thicker slice of bread. The default pattern yields about a 1” thick slice which is pretty wide for some, but I like bread, so it works for me. You can always cut thinner slices, but the distance between the blade and the inside of the neck determines the max thickness you can cut.

-- ---Joel; Central MD...rookie empter nester and getting back into woodworking!

View cathyb's profile


844 posts in 4294 days

#6 posted 01-08-2014 08:29 PM

These are just great! I like the laminations and the wood contrasts. Super cool!!! Thanks for sharing…..

-- cathyb, Hawaii,

View luv2learn's profile


3112 posts in 3352 days

#7 posted 01-08-2014 09:41 PM

Very nice knives Joel, I like your various wood selections.

-- Lee - Northern idaho~"If the women don't find you handsome, at least they ought to find you handy"~ Red Green

View Dusty56's profile


11863 posts in 4737 days

#8 posted 01-09-2014 12:45 AM

Very nice selection ! Thanks for the source info as well : )

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

View Frank Smith 's profile

Frank Smith

101 posts in 2957 days

#9 posted 01-09-2014 12:45 AM

Too nice to use.

View Brett's profile


959 posts in 3809 days

#10 posted 01-09-2014 01:21 AM

Great variety on the knives! You did a very nice job.

-- Hand Crafted by Brett Peterson John 3:16

View Grady's profile


16 posts in 3329 days

#11 posted 01-09-2014 01:57 AM

They look great! Did you follow a set of plans? The only thing I can find online are “kits.”

View jfk4032's profile


384 posts in 3576 days

#12 posted 01-09-2014 03:21 AM

The kits just have a drawing of the basic shape, the blades and the screws. The rest is up to your own imagination.

-- ---Joel; Central MD...rookie empter nester and getting back into woodworking!

View wseand's profile


2796 posts in 4091 days

#13 posted 01-09-2014 04:08 AM

Damn cool. The kits are a good price too.

View nayo's profile


298 posts in 2942 days

#14 posted 01-09-2014 04:15 AM

perfect for me that i like to make my own bread. sadly i dont think i can get those blades here. nice project anyway!

View bushmaster's profile


4124 posts in 3332 days

#15 posted 01-09-2014 04:53 AM

wow. these are done by a master craftsman. I made 4 this christmas season, people love them. I end up giving mine away and then go without for a month or two. I have even just had to use the bare blade in my fingers for a period of time. Now I have an extra.I hate to post mine after seeing yours. Blades are 2.95 from R & D Bandsaws. I will have to make a fancy one to for my wife.

-- Brian - Hazelton, British Columbia

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