Making My Second Knife; Another Ulu Knife.

December 29, 2014

For my second attempt at making a knife, I again turned to the Ulu knife design.  This time, I wanted to try to make a knife faster than the first knife, which meant simplifying the shape considerably.  I also wanted to have less blade curving upward. And, just like the first knife, I wanted to work with simple, easy to get materials; repurposing an old item and giving it a new life.

For less than $15, I purchased six old carpenter’s handsaws on Ebay. This included having them shipped to my home!  I removed the wooden handles and tossed them into a friend’s kindling box.

In the above image, you will only count five handsaw blades. That’s because the sixth one has been used to practice my etching skills on!

Because the round shape of the Kidde brand smoke alarm worked so well the first time, I went back to the device again to begin my new knife design. I worked my drawing out on a piece of scrap Formica. Once I had a shape that I felt was what I was looking for, I cut it out on my bandsaw.  I fine tuned the edges using my disc sander and drum sander.

Next, I moved on to the actual saw blade itself.  I “block sanded” down the surface of the steel to remove as much of the old rust as I could. Then, I traced around the Formica template and cut the shape out using my Dremel tool with a fiber reinforced wheel, and my Makita grinder to tune the edges up.

I fine tuned the edges further with my Dremel tool and a “stone wheel”, and also more work with my Makita grinder.

I block sanded the surfaces of the final shape of the Ulu knife to remove just as much of the rust and pits as I could.  Using a marker, I drew a “bevel line” that I could file the cutting edge to, and I went to work worrying that edge down with a couple of different files.

I decided to skip the heat treating and tempering process on this knife so as to shorten the build time.

I had handle material left over from the first Ulu knife that I made.  I epoxied and “pinned” the scale pieces together to form a handle on this knife just as I did on the first one.

Cured and ready for shaping.

To etch my “makers mark” into this blade, I went through exactly the same process that I did when I etched my first blade.

I used the same vinyl tape and worked through a magnifying glass to cut out my stencil shape with a utility knife blade.

Ready for burning.

Here is an image from my first knife’s etching process.  I used the same system on this knife. The “red” ( + ) lead connected to the blade, and the “black” lead ( – ) connected to my drill bit “electrode”.

Burning Reuben’s paw print into the surface of the knife blade.

Not too bad this time! Right on center!

This evening, (December 29, 2014), I prepared my very first meal solely using my new Ulu knife to do all of the work.  I have to say that I am really, really stuck on this blade design concept!

Thanks for reading!

Barry Buchanan

“Black Lab”


Categories: Knife Making | 6 Comments

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6 thoughts on “Making My Second Knife; Another Ulu Knife.

  1. Wow, another completed project. You have an amazing set of skills, no doubt from all the challenging boat projects at your regular work.
    As soon as you want to etch a Vstrom logo you could take orders from all the forum members to make knives for everyone. No doubt full time employment at minimum wage!

  2. LyonsLeo

    I get a kick reading about all your projects. You have an incredible sense of ingenuity and adaptability. I especially enjoy your unconventional use or fabrication of tools. Thank you for sharing.

    • Thank you very much for your kind words. To me, the definition of “life” is, being a part of experiences. I enjoy finding things that are interesting to me to learn about, then engage myself in the challenge of seeing if I can understand them at as many levels as I can. I also enjoy sharing what I learn with others, which is what this website is evolving to be; an eclectic variety of my “life experiences”.

  3. Nice etching!

  4. David

    you are amaizing dude, I wanna do all your proyects

    • Hi David,
      Thank you for your kind compliments! Some of my skills I have learned from my “day job”, (I am a 32 year veteran “yacht carpenter”) of building boats. But, other skills have come from surfing the net and learning what other people have done with their own projects. By posting the things I do, it is my way of saying “thank you” to those folks, and for giving back to the community.


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