On my Hewn and Hone instagram account I recently put up a version of this photo, it was taken for an article I wrote for Woodcarving magazine on sharpening sloyd blades. I was asked for a more detailed look at these blades, So I made some measurements, collated some thoughts and took a better photo of them all lined up, in chronological order.
from the left-
Laburnum/ bone/ silver steel laminate- 76 x 14.3 x 2.0mm 21 deg bevel angle- Despite the smaller handle this never feels too small in the hand. A delicate blade, needs a slight microbevel to hold the edge in harder woods. No intention of hollow grinding this one. The earliest carving blade I have, about 7 years old.
Mulberry/Bearing steel 82x 15.5 x 2.6 25 Deg . Forged with an intergral bolster, this makes a for a very neat fit at the handle, but in the end I decided this wasn’t really important. Recently hollow ground, not a blade I ever use, not keen on the lost edge near handle.
Ash/Bearing steel 77 x 15.8 x 2.6 25 Deg This was one of the first batch of blades I sent to Lie-Nielsen, it actually came back for evaluation as Peter Follansabee chipped it on a dry apple wood knot, nothing untoward found though, now hollow ground but originally flat. Not a very subtle knife used more for roughing, although this may have changed with the hollow grind. Has been kept as a reference to stop the design drifting over the years. Comfortable handle but rarely used,
Cherry/ Silver steel laminate-62x 15.3x 2.6 23 deg- Kept this blade as there was a flaw in the laminate. Although I don’t like the look of this handle is gives the most control in a cut, possibly aided by the straight stiff edge. Recently hollow ground.
Hazel/bearing steel 80x 16.5x 2.2 25 deg . Pretty knife, precursor to the turning sloyds that we have been playing with, slightly convex bevels, only used on curved finishing cuts.
Hazel/ Bearing steel laminate 72x 18.5 x 2.8 22 deg- This was an experiment in seeing how far I could push the Heat treat of laminates, a wicked but slightly fragile edge, not a blade I lend out but the sharpest and best edge holding of any of my blades. Flat bevels.
Cherry/bearing steel 70x 15.7 x 2.7 24 deg- This was one of my first hollow ground blades – originally a lot longer, it was one of my standard Sloyds ground on the wrong edge- hence the slight lip/ guard on the handle to stop me inadvertently using it the wrong way round, and I do lie to thumb push.. As the dead straight edge gave no clearance I kept cutting the opposing rim of kuksas when trimming the nearer one. So cut it down, with hindsight I cut too much off. Very easy blade to sharpen and cut flat with.
Ash/ Bearing steel- 83x 15 x 2.8 x 22 deg- My most recent blade, kept as not the best forging. Pretty knife, but feels a bit light in the hand.
Mora106/ 120 sacrificed to my sloyd jig, then finished off practicing freehand grinds on CBN wheels, they have only ever cut paper and hair.
106 – 82 x 14.5 x 2.8 – 26 deg
120- 59 x 14.8 x 2.8 – 29 deg
Both these were bought for a magazine shoot, untouched, only used to open boxes.
Quite a lot of information there- And I am not sure what can be usefully unpacked from it all, a lot of blades have recently been hollow ground as this is a great demo to do at shows, however despite the ease in sharpening I do not find a hollow ground blade intrinsically better in use. I laid these out at home and my Daughter remarked that they were virtually laid out in colour order- partly this is to be expected wood darkens with use, mulberry in particular is photosensitive. However I definitely used to favour darker woods when making knives, now I tend to stick to ash regardless.
Most of this though is my personal opinion. I was surprised however to be reminded just what a diference handle size and shape makes, and this is absolutely tied to the size of the users hand and the grips that they favour, this is one of the reasons that I sell blades unhandled.
My other company, Hewn and Hone are running a knife making course next month at the Spoonhoolie in Scotland, this is going to be really special as you will have a chance to try out a huge spread of blades, not limited to just these, evaluate the features you like in them and then over two days you will be able to forge a set of blades to your design and fully finish them with sheaths and handles.
Still a few place left- as demand has been high we slightly increased the course capacity- to compensate we now have an extra two instructors on this course to those advertised in the link. We look forward to seeing you all there!