Making Marking Knives

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Forum topic by KGroenke posted 10-18-2020 02:40 PM 2107 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4 posts in 2316 days

10-18-2020 02:40 PM

Topic tags/keywords: tools marking knife woodturning pen making turning

I have been on LJ for a long time, but spend most of my forum time over on “the creek” so please let me know if this post is out-of-bounds.

I have embarked on an adventure of making marking knives. This started as a simple desire to buy one of the knives that Matt Estlea makes and Jonathan Katz-Moses recommends. Matt has over 5000 people on his wait list and his knives are nearly impossible to get so I decided to make my own as many others have. The first one was made really crudely, “machining” brass with a dremel on a midi lathe. I liked the result so much that I decided to make a batch as gifts for friends and also as an excuse to buy a little Unimat metal lathe/mill. That turned into making more in order to pay for the Unimat. A pen turner friend told me turners would go crazy for a turn-your-own-handle kit so now I’ve going down the rabbit hole of increasingly large batch production, maybe. So far it has been a fun design exercise and it’s great hearing from people who are loving the knives.

I appreciate any feedback you have, cheers!

-- Kevin from PersonMakeObject -

11 replies so far

View Aj2's profile


4138 posts in 3084 days

#1 posted 10-18-2020 02:42 PM

Very nice those are beautiful.

-- Aj

View GR8HUNTER's profile


9139 posts in 1999 days

#2 posted 10-18-2020 03:47 PM

all of them are very beautiful GREAT JOB :<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN :<))

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4966 posts in 1192 days

#3 posted 10-18-2020 03:52 PM

I thought Matt recommended the Swann Morton knife he used?

View KGroenke's profile


4 posts in 2316 days

#4 posted 10-18-2020 04:05 PM

@SMP – This knife uses the same replaceable Swann-Morton blade that Matt Estlea's knives use. The larger variety of x-acto style blades fit into and are held firmly in my knife and probably Matt’s too.

-- Kevin from PersonMakeObject -

View SMP's profile


4966 posts in 1192 days

#5 posted 10-18-2020 05:17 PM

The funny thing is after going to your site and following the links, i was literally looking at your knives and kits on your Etsy site a couple days ago. Think I even had one in my cart. Lol. Those are great looking!. I especially like the one with the flat sides on the right. I still have a Czeckedge kit i haven’t made so need to order a completed one for my next dovetail chest

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13585 posts in 3666 days

#6 posted 10-19-2020 06:04 AM

Those are dandy gizmos, I want one. I use Swann Morton blades and made my own handle but it needs a metal insert like that.

-- Rick M,

View HokieKen's profile


19895 posts in 2425 days

#7 posted 10-19-2020 11:53 AM

Now mix up all that Brass and Cocobolo swarf and cast some handle blanks :-)

A good design indeed. If you’re looking for suggestions, in your shoes I might offer a “cheaper” kit (quotes because I have no idea what you’re charging for this kit…) that has just the outer sleeve turned, bored, cross-drilled and tapped with the setscrew. The user could then turn a tenon on the handle that the sleeve fits over and slot the wood tenon and drill a clearance hole for the setscrew. I’ve made marking knives this way O1 blades that I ground. In my case though, it was all epoxied together and the blade is permanent, not replaceable.

-- I collect hobbies. There is no sense in limiting yourself (Don W) - - - - - - - - Kenny in SW VA

View pottz's profile


21336 posts in 2271 days

#8 posted 10-19-2020 02:37 PM

your knives are very beautifully made.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View therealSteveN's profile


9242 posts in 1860 days

#9 posted 10-19-2020 07:35 PM

Just throwing it out there that Taylor Tools sells some of the Swann Morton blades for those of you who like to roll your own stuff,

I prefer the other knives he sells, shown on the same page. I like the Mikov Unhandled Dual Bevel Marking Knife Kit with Finger Indents 0.100” Thick Blade.

They are much heavier, and will never bend, unless you put them in a vise and twisted. Their bevels get right down to a skinny line, but they have mass to back it up, and I like the heft, rather than the flyweight. Plus making knife scales is kinda fun.

-- Think safe, be safe

View Foghorn's profile (online now)


1352 posts in 673 days

#10 posted 10-19-2020 10:21 PM

Beautiful knives Kevin. I’ve made some and I’ve bought some. Here are some of them. They all seem to come in handy.!

-- Darrel

View KGroenke's profile


4 posts in 2316 days

#11 posted 12-04-2020 12:01 PM

I’ve made over 300 of these hardware bits now and nearly 100 handles. It’s been a great covid distraction, though I really should get cracking on a patio chair project that is ready to move from prototyping. At this point I’m trying to make an alternate handle shape for every 5 of the stock shape that I make.

-- Kevin from PersonMakeObject -

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