A Kitchen Knife

This was a gift for my mother-in-law.

It’s a simple take on a classic chef’s knife with a blade about 6″ and overall length about 10.5″. Full-tang 1095 high-carbon steel blade, mesquite handle, steel pins. Sealed with my customary olive oil and beeswax finish.

For this one I tried something new, and made a simple wooden sheath out of two leaves of mesquite, something to keep the edge away from fingers in the knife drawer. It has the same finish as the handle, 1000 grit sandpaper (mesquite takes a very nice polish), olive oil and beeswax.

I would sell a similar knife (each piece is unique!) for $150, plus $35 for a wooden sheath.

A set of wooden dominoes

These are a standard set (28) of 6 x 6 dominoes, larger than usual, about 2-1/4″ long by 1-1/8″ wide, and 1/4″ thick. They were a custom order from a neighbor who is giving them as a graduation gift. I cut them on the table saw from a single plank of mesquite, so they all match.

Mesquite is notorious for pin holes and cracks, and I filled the worst of these with a mixture of mesquite sawdust and clear epoxy, which matches the wood color nicely and sands smooth to become barely noticeable.

The pips are drilled, and the lines cut on the bandsaw, by hand. Then they are filled with marine epoxy, which hardens to a pleasant off-white color, before final sanding and breaking of edges and corners. They are finished with olive oil and beeswax.

I would sell a similar set for $85.

A 1095 belt knife

This is a knife for me to carry, and a leather sheath to carry it in.

It’s made in much the same way as the previous one, with a 1095 blade oil-hardened and tempered at 400F, mesquite handle scales sealed with olive oil and beeswax, and brass handle pins.

The sheath is vegetable-tanned leather, wet-formed around the blade and handle to hold it securely, even when turned upside down. It is sealed with olive oil and beeswax, and stitched with waxed hemp cord.

I would sell a knife like this for $160, and include a sheath for $40.

A 1095 light chopper machete

This still needs a sheath. I think I will make a wooden one out of the same mesquite as the handle.

Full-tang 1095 high-carbon steel, 16″ overall length with 10.5″ edge. Just under 3/16″ at the thickest point of the spine, tapering to about 0.1″ at both ends for very lively balance and a quick flicking action in the chop. Mesquite handle scales, milled out of a log that I harvested locally, finished with olive oil and beeswax. Brass handle pins.

I would produce a similar tool for $200; adding a wooden or leather sheath would require another $50.

Some wooden blocks, for my boy

Some blocks I made for my boy’s first birthday.

I milled these myself from local mesquite logs. The lumber was waste from trimming my wife’s parents’ tree in their backyard.

I cut the blocks to show off accents of the lighter sapwood. I smoothed all faces, chamfered edges and broke corners on the belt sander, then finished the surfaces with several applications of olive oil, followed by beeswax applied with heat and hand rubbed clean. This is my favorite treatment for both wood and leather.

I think they came out pretty nice.

There are 24 blocks in this set; a similar, but still one-of-a-kind, set would cost $80.

A sheath for an old bush knife

A leather sheath I made for a neighbor to fit a bush knife, which he found abandoned years ago in Mexico.

This is made from one piece of vegetable-tanned cow leather, stitched with waxed hemp cord and treated with olive oil. I also resharpened the knife and treated the handle with oil and wax to help preserve the wood, which had begun to crack.

The thick, stiff leather is wet-formed around the knife, and retains the shape of the handle as it dries. In this way the knife will not fall out of the sheath, even if you hold it upside down and shake it, but it can still be easily drawn and inserted into the sheath.

A similar custom sheath of this type would cost $40-$60, depending on the size and shape of the tool it is made for.