Have you ever been through the struggle of using a marking knife that is too cumbersome? Perhaps too wide to get into a thin gap? Maybe you spend ages sharpening the thing before dropping it on the concrete floor a minute later. These are struggles that we have all been through!
For years I've been using the Swann-Morton SM01 scalpel blades in a handle I bodged together when I was 17. It was and still is the best marking knife I have ever used. And I've tried many throughout my training at Rycotewood and during my employment at Axminster. But nothing comes close to the precision and ease of use this thing can provide.
Sold as Handle Only
The product is sold without a blade fitted to prevent issues from arising due to shipping restrictions and verifying ages online. Despite this being somewhat of an inconvenience, it does mean that you can choose exactly how many blades you want to buy. They are usually sold in packs of 5, 10, 50 and 100. Buying more will obviously save you money.
The blade this handle is made to fit is roughly 0.7mm thick meaning it can get into the thinnest of gaps with ease. The situation I find this is useful is when transferring the tails to the pins when dovetailing. It's thin enough to get into the smallest of gaps, even on London Pattern Dovetails
Despite its thinness, the blade is still surprisingly rigid compared to a standard scalpel blade. Obviously there is a small amount of deflection if you're comparing it to a thick Japanese marking knife, however you soon get used to it. In addition, the chisel shaped cross section of the blade means the cutting edge is fully supported and gives good transfer of power.
I've often had people questioning how easy it is to use a double bevel knife as opposed to a single bevel. How do you run it up against an edge and how do you stop it from digging in? Realistically, this comes down to practice and gaining muscle memory when holding the knife at a particular angle. It doesn't take long to master.
I do however find that the double bevel ever so slightly undercuts the edge you are knifing around by nothing more than a quarter of a millimetre. This means that when the joint is assembled it makes it a really snug fit!
Sharpening knives usually has to be done freehand meaning it's very easy for a beginner to quickly make a dogs dinner of a marking knifes bevel. These blades however are easily sharpened. Simply dispose of the blunt blade in a safe manner, and replace it with a new one! They cost pennies when you buy them in larger packs and will last you for years. It also means you no longer have to feel guilty about opening packaging, removing glue, or cutting up sausages with your shiny marking knife.
The material of the handle and ferrule is entirely up to you. This entire component is made by myself in my little workshop to your specification. Do you need it? Absolutely not. You can just as easily buy a cheap handle from Amazon to suit your blade and it will work fine. But purchasing one of my handles will help support me in what I do, and provide you with the luxury you deserve!
Your knife is finished in a long lasting, durable finish that will last a long time. After sanding to 400 grit on the lathe, I apply a couple of layers of sanding sealer to help provide a consistent finish. I then apply a few layers of friction polish to bring up the glossiness of the tool. Followed by a layer of microcrystalline wax to create a dirt, grime and dust resistant finish.
I really don't want to sell this as a product you need to own. It really isn't. However what I can promise you is upon opening the box for the first time, you will be blown away by the look, feel and control this tool will provide you. It really will be a tool you can treasure for life.