Doug Berch

Dulcimer Maker And Musician

cropped Dulcimer Builders and Makers 1 23

Month: August 2014

Music I’d Like To Hear #80

Jouers de vielle et de cabrettes


The Knives In My Shop

I was sharpening all the knives I regularly use and they told me this was a good photo opportunity. Yes, they told me. I was as surprised as you are.

Lutherie knives and a stropFrom top to bottom:

My pocket knife is almost always in my pocket. Where else would it be? I have recently discovered Opinel knives and I am smitten. This Opinel #6 has replaced my previous pocket knife. This was awkward at first but they have learned to be friends.

Below it is a knife that I believe was intended for working with rubber or leather. I use it mostly for opening seams and disassembling instruments when doing repair work.

Next is the ubiquitous knife seen in many shops that is sold as a chip carving, whittling, or bench knife. I find the handle very comfortable and the short blade very easy to control. This may be the knife I most often reach for.

The next two knives are a wood carving knife and a general utility knife made by Mora. These knives feel great in the hand. I use the knife with the red handle for rough work though it is also capable of fine work. I use the carving knife for mostly fine work though it is also capable of rough work. Both knives are versatile but I usually use them for what they do best, at least in my hands.

Next comes a knife I found in an antique store that is sometimes sold these days as a mill knife. The blade can be extended or removed from the handle. I ground it with a bevel strong enough to do very rough work. I use this knife when I would worry about damaging a knife with a more refined edge.

You probably recognize the “craft knife” with a #11 blade. I use this knife for marking and layout.

At the bottom of the pile is a surgical scalpel. The disposable blades for the scalpel are not only very sharp but also extremely thin. When I need to make light, precise cuts nothing beats this scalpel. I use it when working on binding, soundholes, etc.

To the right is a hacking knife; a strong knife I use for splitting wood. I like to split the wood used for braces to assure continuous grain.

To the left is my strop, which began life as leather guitar strap. I use compound on the rough side and use the smooth side plane. Stropping creates a strong and sharp edge. I use the strop to touch up all of my edge tools and it extends the time between honings.

Doug Berch & Dulcimer Makers

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