Sunday 6 June 2010

Hook knife finish

Hook knife finish on wooden surfaces

A hook knife finish can be quicker than other ways of smoothing the surface of wood. As I said in my last post, it is a beautiful textured surface.

This technique is for long handled tools, it can be achieved with a short handled knife, but it will take longer and impose greater strain on the hands and arms. One hand holds the tool near the cutting edge, this hand moves in an arc, back and forth. The other hand holds the handle at the end, and this hand is held against the body so that it acts as a pivot. The process is fast, not like carving the bowl of a spoon out, the hand holding the tool is moving back and forth at speed.

I have been making my own tools for a while, and use a small two brick gas forge.  What I like about it is that it is instant, just fire up the gas and 2 minutes latter the forge has properly heated up and I am ready to go.
If you want to learn how to make simple tools and make your own gas forge, I am running a workshop in October in Devon. The emphasis is on doing it all as cheaply as possible, do not worry about not having an anvil, there are ways of using everyday objects to act as an anvil. So if you have a gas torch at home, most of us have a hammer and a few other tools needed, the set up costs are minimal.

Some of the tools below do need longer handles, the longer the handle the greater leverage you have, so it is easier to use. To make and design the right tool can take a few goes. I have just recently found out about the Spear plane or Yariganna, a tool from Japan, this tool is used for and in the same way as I have been using my hook knife. If anyone has any more information or links to websites about using them, please leave a comment.

I have replaced my old website with a new one, which I hope is easier to use and navigate. If you have any problems with it please let me know. I work with a great web designer, Richard Croft, who redid my template and has been teaching me how to put it all together. I am in the process of doing all the boring SEO and hopefully soon there will be a Paypal shopping cart. If by any chance you want to buy anything just email me and I will send you a Paypal invoice, I am also selling Mora knives and Gransfor Bruks axes.


  1. Hi Sean. That's a lovely set of tools you've made there. I am slowly teaching myself (of necessity!) forging and I also use a blowtorch and some firebricks, but your set up makes more sense than mine, so I might pinch the idea! What steel do you use for your tools? I use 01 tool steel for my knives.

  2. Hi Woodman, I can not take credit for the idea, but it does contain the heat far better than just using bricks, and therefore uses less gas.
    I also use O1 stock, as it easy to temper.

    On another note the Japanese comment above is spam which links to sex sites, and is the reason I have to moderate all comments. I have no idea how it got posted. A pox on all there houses.I

  3. Those spamers are PITAs..I had some guy posting the address to his knife shop in America the other day! I got rid of him pronto! I haven't worked out how to moderate the comments yet!! You do make some real nice woodwork. I am trying to remember where I saw those fan birds before..Did you have an article in a Woodcarving Magazine some while back by any chance?


Sorry, because of the huge amount of dubious people leaving spam comments for their useless stuff, I unfortunately have to bring back word verification.