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  • Re-Shape utility knife?

    As I get more and more involved in this new hobby, I have been enthralled by different knives (because, you know--Tools). I have bought several different bench knives, pocket knives and a utility knife.
    I find myself going back more and more to the utility knife. I don't enough about this to understand why I am getting better results from the utility knife. Is it the handle shape or maybe the blade geometry.
    In any event I am getting better at maneuvering the broad blade into smaller spaces, but am wondering if anyone here has ever fooled around with reshaping primarily the back of the blade to allow more access. Sort of like a flexcut pelican blade.

  • #2
    One of the reasons woodcarvers go to utility knives is because they are sharp. When they get dull, you change the blade. You lose this convenience if you decide to re-shape the blade. You are back to your own blade maintenance problems.

    Has anyone ever "fooled around with reshaping" - undoubtedly.

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    • #3
      I know that some carvers use surgical knives, box cutters, etc. I tried and couldn't master them. I wound up liking knives the best. My suggestion is to do what you are comfortable with and enjoy it. No single answer to what to use. JMO
      Bill
      Living among knives and fire.

      http://www.westernwoodartist.com

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      • #4
        At the tip of a farrier's hoof trimming knife is a tight little sharpened hook. Used to clean out the frog of a horse's hoof (underside middle). I regularly cut those up to shapes that I like for carving.

        I use a Dremel running at full speed. I use the factory Dremel cut-off disks. I used to use the after market disks but they are thin and fragile and don't last very long. When they explode at 15,000 rpm, the shrapnel really stings = goggles + full face shield + very good ShopVac dust extraction.

        Draw the new profile with a black Sharpie. Clamp the knife down. The first cuts are like a dotted line. That way, there isn't enough friction for long enough to cook the blades. Then I repeat or go in between.
        Brian T

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        • #5
          I find that all different knives have a spot of their own specialties needs. I use two different utility knives, a 9mm & 13MM. The thing I really like about the 9mm is that it is flexible and thin for making a lot of the final cuts. The 9mm that I settled on is made by Olfa. got a metal guide for the blade. & when they get dull a good stropping brings them back to life, The only thing that causes me to change blades out is when I snap one, but if used correctly that doesn't happen very often. Again just my 2ยข
          . . .JoeB

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          • #6
            Unless you are looking for a new hobby - like blade-smithing - I advise you to use blades for whatever carving they work well. For tight spaces, switch to a detail knife.

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            • #7
              You could just use the utility knife up to the point where it doesn't fit and then switch to Warren blades for the tighter spaces. Same idea as utility knife but a little more money.

              https://warrencutlery.com/collection...carving-blades
              https://warrencutlery.com/collections/warren-handles

              A cheaper alternative is X-acto. Just mentioning this could cost me my lifetime woodcarving privilege in some circles. But I have one and I slip a piece of pipe insulation over the handle to fit my bear paw a little better. I've been carving maple with it so it will do the job.

              Bob L

              Attached Files

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              • #8
                Bob mentioned Warren blades...I've used these for years, and they're decent blades, very reasonably priced, and they're not designed to be disposables...take a good edge and resharpen nicely.
                Arthur

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                • #9
                  I have heard that reshaping the backs of those blades makes them more likely to break, but it doesn't cost much to try. The only modification I made to mine was to grind off one of the internal posts so that the blade would stick out a little farther. Xcell makes blades similar to Exacto that you can epoxy into wooden handles. You learn to use what you have available and you can do many things with a utility knife. Helvie even makes a great boxcutter style knife with a wooden handle. The blade is a little longer than a regular utility knife and better steel. But it is fixed and not replaceable like your normal utility knife. And there is quite a wait to even order Helvie knives, although you might buy one directly from them at a show or the Renegade.
                  'If it wasn't for caffeine, I wouldn't have any personality at all!"

                  http://mikepounders.weebly.com/
                  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mike-...61450667252958
                  http://centralarkansaswoodcarvers.blogspot.com/

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                  • #10
                    Really good knives specifically designed and made of the correct steel for carving wood can be bought for the price of a utility knife and pack of blades!

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                    • #11
                      Reshaping any blade is a good thing to do.
                      You're building a prototype, a model, for something better, later on maybe.
                      Brian T

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                      • #12
                        Reinventing the wheel has no attraction for me personally, unless I should find myself bored out of my skull with nothing else to do...which has no prospect of happening. I have many other (too many!) things to do, like carving. Making something truly original is another matter entirely, in accord with Brian's comment.
                        Arthur

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                        • #13
                          If I got it into my head that I could improve on what over the past century or more has been produced by expert blade smiths I sure wouldn't use a high speed grinder like a Dremel or bench wheel. Continuous overheating, quenching and propane torch heat treatments are not the greatest way to maintain or restore the temper of a blade. Rather I would patiently grind away with a water stone, preferably a large wheel running through a water bath never getting the metal warmer than I could safely touch. After many hours of tinkering I might produce a custom blade that in all probability is already commercially available, maybe not exactly what I had in mind but certainly close enough.

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                          • #14
                            Arthur C raises an important matter on carving focus. When I'm carving my focus is on the next cuts. My tools have to get pretty dull to divert my attention from the project. Even then I only pause to take a few strokes on a cardboard strop. I spend very little time thinking about my choice of tools or sharpening method or choice of wood. All of those matters were settled before I started. I have chosen carving projects that require mental effort so that's where I put my focus.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by pallin View Post
                              Arthur C raises an important matter on carving focus. When I'm carving my focus is on the next cuts. My tools have to get pretty dull to divert my attention from the project. Even then I only pause to take a few strokes on a cardboard strop. I spend very little time thinking about my choice of tools or sharpening method or choice of wood. All of those matters were settled before I started. I have chosen carving projects that require mental effort so that's where I put my focus.
                              I agree. In my limited carving experience I have become sensitive to the difference between hitting a tough spot in the wood and a dulling blade. I strop as needed during carving using a very thin leather on a hard paddle and powdered Aluminum Oxide. My tool selection is very limited so I have become fairly proficient using what I have.

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