Pry Bar Knife Fun & Interesting
Recently it occurred to me that I have been spending a bit too much time in front of the computer. Doing website work, editing project videos and trying to stay on top of correspondence from several different directions: email, YouTube and Google+. I miss the days when I could just go out to the workshop and start doing some random thing, without a clear plan for a project in mind.
So, last Sunday I made a decision that I would set aside one day per week to spend time just doing things in the shop – work on some ideas, without the extra bother of setting up the video camera for shots and taking pictures. The morning started out like that, and I played with a couple of ideas I had on cutting threads in wood.
All was going well until around noon, when I looked through a drawer for something and found that I had two mini pry bars. Immediately I started thinking that I don’t need two of these, and that the extra one would make a pretty good knife. By that time, I had grown somewhat bored with the thread cutting, so I decided I’d spend the rest of the day making a new knife. I figured that while I’m at it, I might as well document the build.
Whenever I make a knife or other tool that will be held in my hand, I like to make a pattern to get a feel for it and to check that the size and shape are correct. Here I’ve cut a thin strip of wood to draw the outline of the pry bar onto:
This gives me the maximum usable area for the blade.
From there I can mark the length for the handle and the blade:
I want the knife to be fairly compact, so I keep the handle short at 4″.
3-1/2″ is a good length for the blade and is proportionate to the overall size of the knife.
I then used the curves on the pry bar as a drawing tool to design the shape:
The blade shape I prefer is what’s known as ‘drop point’, where the spine of the blade curves to the tip. I also like the handle to taper wider at the end, as it feels less likely to slip in my hand:
I cut the pattern out on the band saw, then refined the shape on the disk sander.
The pry bar was quite rusty, so I quickly cleaned one side on the belt sander in order to draw the pattern:
Then to cut it out with a mini grinder equipped with a zipcut blade and fine tune the cut on the belt sander. With the basic shape done, I cleaned off the rest of the rust.
There is some deep pitting, but most of this will be ground away while profiling the blade. Any pitting left after will just add character to the knife.
For the handle, I want to use the wood inlay micarta I made before, figuring this was worthwhile project for it. I cut the piece in half on the band saw and made a pattern for the handle from the wooden pattern that I made earlier:
I then cut out the handles on the band saw. Before gluing the handles on, I drilled a hole through one side to locate the hole in the blade. This hole will be enlarged later for a lanyard.
I cleaned all of the parts thou roughly with alcohol to remove any oil and dirt that would affect the adhesion of the epoxy. I then used a professional grade of 5 minute epoxy to glue the handles on and set it aside to cure for two hours:
Next, the blade needs to be profiled to shape. I prefer a full convex grind, where the faces of the blade curve from the spine to the edge.
This operation is better seen in the video at the end of the article. I’m not going crazy with the finish on this blade, as I see it more as a utility, everyday knife:
The handle is shaped free hand with the grinder equipped with a flap sander, then fine tuned with a strip of sand paper:
To finish the handle, I’m applying several coats of linseed oil, letting each one dry thoroughly between coats.
Using the locator hole I made in one of the handles, I drilled a 1/4″ hole though for the lanyard:
The hole is then chamfered with a countersink.
The finished knife:
I made a video showing all of the details: