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Making a Wooden Karambit Without Power Tools

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In this video, Walter Sorrells shows how to make a wooden prototype for a karambit-style knife. He says this would make an excellent father-son project, or an ideal build for young people who know how to use hand tools.

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Walter says that since he has no training in using karambit knives, he prefers to make a wood prototype first before getting to the real thing. This is also good practice for those who prefer using prototypes when they build things, and can serve as a training blade. No power tools are used in this video.

Walter uses two kinds of wood but any scrap wood will do, as long as they’re flat. He draws the basic shape of the design he wants, cuts it out and outlines it on one of the wood pieces. The key here is to mark the hole properly. Next, he puts some pieces of wood on top of the first and marks them – this is so the drill doesn’t splinter the wood.

He braces the pieces onto the table and drills the hole where the finger will go with a manual drill. He then traces some lines on the excess parts of the design, and cuts them off with a hand saw. Then he uses a rasp to shape the wood according to the outline. He uses a round file and sandpaper to make sure the hole –inside and out – is smooth and even.

Walter lays out the handle scales using the second piece of wood, tracing the design with a pencil. Again, he uses a hand saw to remove excess pieces and a rasp to file the scales down to shape. There are two pieces, one for each side of the knife. He glues the scales on, cleaning up any excess liquid, and clamps the whole thing to set.

After the glue cures, he thins out the scales with a Japanese plane and a rasp so they’ll fit snugly in the hand. He sands everything smooth, rough to fine. Then the knife gets a coat of gun stock finish, which brings out the wood’s natural color and makes it gleam. The end product is a wonderful toy or training karambit, nicely made and looking good.



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