Crooked Knife Class

Crooked Knives by Bob Shaw

Instructors:  Tlingit carver James Williams and Robert Shaw

Dates/Hours:  December 1-2, 2012  —  Saturday and Sunday 9am-5pm

Location: Bob Shaw’s House

Cost:  $175 — All supplies for two knives will be provided.  If you ruin your initial steel blanks during production, you may buy additional blanks.

Registration:  Contact Bob Shaw: shaw at alaska dot net (This is an email address) or post an inquiry on this site.

You must be a member of Alaska Creative Woodworkers Association to attend. Membership is $25 a year. Don’t worry, we can sign you up at the class.

Bring:  Leather gloves (not bulky); eye protection; wear boots or very substantial shoes; no loose clothing – long sleeve shirts not advisable; a dust mask –chemical grade not necessary; bind long hair; a leather or heavy canvas apron if you have it.  A set of small gouges and your favorite carving knife may also be useful for carving your handle.  Bring your lunch.

Workshop Description:  About 12 participants are anticipated.  Instruction will be done in small groups followed by individually supervised instruction of each production step.  This is a hands-on workshop during which you will be expected to make 2 small carving knives.

Blade production:  Blade production entails cutting blanks from steel sheet stock; profiling and shaping master bevels of the blades on a power sander or bench-top grinder; hot bending and hardening the blade in a small gas forge furnace; drawing the temper to decrease hardness and refine metal grain structure.  The primary blade production technique will be stock reduction.  We will be working predominantly with O-1 sheet steel and recycled saw blades. 

Handle Production: The second phase of the workshop will be producing handles and mounting the blades to produce a finished, usable wood carving knife — mostly with yellow cedar handles.  Your workshop handles will be utility grade but some decorated handles will be on display.  The final phase is sharpening.  Most participants will complete their two knives; however, some participants may not, but having paid attention during the workshop will be able to complete their knives independently. 

General:  All participants will be using the same tools and working in a small space.  All phases of the operation are dangerous if care is not taken; consequently, a high degree to cooperation and patience will be required.  Demonstrations followed by direct supervision of critical production steps will be provided.  You will be expected to watch your fellow participants do their production steps to embed the production techniques in your mind.  Yes, there is an element of repetition and watching the grass grow in this workshop, but patience is important in making knives.

Please sign up promptly so we may obtain and prepare materials for your participation.  The instructors do not claim to be experts in all things steel or in knife production so do not expect complete academic coverage of whatever can come to the mind of all participants, but the instructors can and will help you produce excellent carving knives.  

This is an inherently dangerous workshop.  In signing up you agree that all risk is assumed by you personally and that you hold the instructors harmless.


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