Toolsday: Woodworking Knife

Let's talk about sharp things again! I want to talk about this ginchy Japanese pocket knife I bought for woodworking.


Woodworking Knife

This is a modern, though slightly vintage style Japanese pocket knife. I'm told the design is quite common, and knives like this were typically used as pocket knifes by schoolboys throughout much of the 20th century.

I bought this one from a woodworking catalog, and probably paid too much, but it struck my fancy as something I wanted. A good sharp knife is handy in the shop, for cleaning out cuts and making careful carves. This one is forged iron, and you can see the difference in color on the blade where the hard steel of the edge gives way to the more flexible steel that makes up the bulk of the blade. This bi-metallic style is what's used on most Japanese blades, including chisels and swords. This blade is about five inches long.

This one doesn't lock open, which is a slight safety detriment, so you have to remember to keep your thumb on the tab to keep it open. The tab makes it easier to open, too. The good heavy blade means you can exert quite a bit of force. Theoretically, you could even hammer on the back of the blade, but I wouldn't recommend it and haven't tried it.

This knife is most important because it's given me practice at sharpening this kind of blade on my sharpening stones. I use it to shave the edges of boards, mostly, so it gets dulll if I don't keep at it. The sharpening process has even made the edge shinier over time. I keep it oiled to prevent rust.

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2010.07.27 at 10:00pm EDT