Knifemaking Class Information

I teach a monthly knifemaking class at the Columbus Woodcraft store, 1077 Bethel Road Columbus, OH 43220. The Woodcraft class is devoted to teaching people how to make a knife from a kit and is open to all ability levels.

The tuition is $80 and students will need to provide their own knife kit and scales (handle material). Woodcraft has a nice selection of kits to choose from or you may bring your own. If you plan on bringing your own, please contact me ahead of time to discuss any special considerations for that particular knife and to be sure I bring appropriate tooling/supplies.

Since the best way to get a superior results is to start with superior raw materials, I offer students special pricing on my custom knife scales at the time of class.  If you are signed up for the class and see something you like on my website, let me know and I will set it aside for you and you can pay for it at class.

LATEST NEWS>>>

I initially lowered the maximum class size from eight to six to help comply with covid related health precautions. I just feel so much more comfortable now being able to give each student more individual attention that we will be staying with maximum class size of 6.

Exciting news! - I've got two more 1x30" sanders to decrease frequent backlogs waiting to use sanders. We also now have the use of the drum sander than can thin several sets of scales at one time to fairly precise (and more importantly, flat and parallel) dimensions

The classroom is large enough that we can spread out and I do request that students wear facial coverings, (facial meaning, covering mouth AND nose) as I want to try and safeguard the health of the fellow students and because I am an older guy and maybe at a little higher risk for a 'bad outcome' should I contract COVID.

Even so, if you would like a more robust level of protection I will be happy to schedule a class just for the two of us or another couple of people who might be in your 'isolation 'family''

2021 Knifemaking Class Schedule

 (3rd Wednesday of the month)
February 17
March 17
April 21
May 19
June  (class by appointment only)
July 21
August 18
September 15
October 20
November 17
December - Wednesday 15, Saturday 18
If you would like to arrange for individual instruction or a small group lesson, please contact me.  As long as the Woodcraft classroom is available I will be happy to arrange a special time for you or your group.


The Woodcraft store has a nicely equipped classroom with all of the tools and supplies we will need. We will be using various power tools including bandsaw, drill press and a variety of sanders. No experience using these tools is necessary and I will be happy to teach you what I know about safely using these tools.

We will be sanding and gluing so dress appropriately. We will be using a bandsaw, drill press and various power sanders, so no loose clothing that could get caught.

Feel free to bring a beverage or snack.

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Here are my notes on the various kits available to build

The nikiri is a knife ideally suited to chopping vegetables and that is why this is quickly becoming one of my favorite kits.
The AUS-10 blade is simply a superior material and the 'nikiri grind' is perfect for its intended use.  When my mom used it to cut a cucumber slice so thin you could see through it, I never got the knife back.

A few facts about AUS-10, a high quality Japanese knife steel

Sharpness - 3/5 on sharpness as it's hardness means it can hold a sharp edge, but not as sharp as some sharper stainless steels, like VG10

Sharpening - 3/5 which is a very good score for a stainless steel. Only carbon steels score higher here as they are easier to sharpen

Retention - 4/5 as it's hardness retains it sharpness very well. Only ZDP189 scores higher for a stainless steel, but ZDP189 is the hardest steel to sharpen and is usually only selected by professionals.

The kit is a straightforward build and I have an alteration that I recommend that makes for a cleaner more attractive build.  The kit comes with 4mm rivets and I have never had a student get a satisfactory result using them.  Although the tang (handle) is hardened steel, I have a few solid carbide bits that can enlarge the tang holes enough to replace those troublesome rivets with 3/16" solid brass or stainless steel pins.

 

Wood River Skinner Knife Kit

Wood River Skinner Knife Kit

This is a good value and about as straightforward a build as you can find. The blade is 440C and it comes with a (basic) leather sheath. Slab handles are glued and pinned to the pre-drilled full tang and then finished to your satisfaction. Can easily be completed within the 3 hour class. The Woodcraft website has an instructional video that gives the basic idea but I will introduce a few refinements that will dramatically improve the fit and finish of your knife.. 

Wood River Drop Point Hunter 

A knife I made from a kit available from Woodcraft with super premium scales from (who else?) Bradford Hunt Design

Wood River Trapper Folding Knife Kit

Wood River Trapper Folding Knife Kit

 

The Wood River Trapper is an easy to build kit that can be really eye catching with the right set of scales. 

It can be challenging to precisely fit the scales between the front and back bolsters, but I have a specially made hardened steel template that will help to cut the proper handle material to shape that will fit with only minor hand detailing. This knife requires a little greater care than the other selections available for class. 

Wood River Trapper Folding Knife Kit

Construction note: the scales on this finished knife are only 1/8 x 1 1/8 x 3 1/4" so if you start out with 3/8" thick scales (commonly available thickness), you are going to be COVERED in sanding dust by the end of the night. If I know ahead of time that a student plans on building this knife I will have some specially sized (and priced) thin scales available in class that will make your life a lot easier.

Shown is a Wood River Trapper than I made for a Christmas gift in 2018.  The scales are double-dyed hard maple burl from Bradford Hunt Design.

Zhen Paring Knife Kit

Zhen Paring Knife Blade Blank

The Zhen Paring Knife Kit is made from AUS10, which is about equivalent to 440C stainless steel. (See notes above on Nikiri) It is a fairly straightforward build and if care is taken to carefully fit the handle at the integral bolster seam can make a classic looking parer.  The kit is supplied with rivets but I will have a selection of pins should you wish to use them instead. As with the Wood River Trapper, the scales required are no thicker than 5/32" (4mm) so selecting a thinner set at the beginning will save a lot of sanding.

Wood River Filet Knife Kit

Wood River Filet KnifeOne of my favorites because of the straightforward construction and 440C steel.
The trickiest part of a good build on this useful knife is the scale-bolster junction, and I can easily show you how to make a nearly invisible seam.

 

 

 

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More reviews will be added as I have a chance to complete more of the Woodcraft kit knife inventory