DESIGN

Functional, artistic, whimsical! When it comes to designing your very own knife, the possibilities are endless.

QUICK START TO CARVING

Download one of our two knife carving templates. Cut the side, top and bottom profile out and follow our STEP-BY-STEP CARVING TUTORIAL.   You can also use these templates as a starting point to create your own unique knife design. 

BASIC SPREADING/BUTTER KNIFE TEMPLATE

MODERN CHARCUTERIE BOARD KNIFE TEMPLATE

DESIGNING YOUR OWN KNIFE & CREATING A CARVING TEMPLATE

INSPIRATION

Look around you.  Inspiration for your design can come from anywhere.

Perhaps it's as close as in your kitchen drawer with the shape of your favorite cheese plate knife, or maybe you saw a beautiful knife on a walk through a market overseas, or perhaps you follow wood carving artists on Instagram and you're inspired by their process.  

The short story is that the possibilities are endless, so begin the creative process just by looking around you and start gathering ideas and design details.

Collect your ideas by sketching them down.  Have fun and play with the shape & form and you will quickly have something that is completely unique to you.  

CREATING A KNIFE DESIGN

ARTISTIC.
If you want to create a knife design that is aesthetically pleasing and with no functional requirement, then let your imagination run. You can experiment with shape, volume, balance, color, pattern. When creating knife for art, everything goes! 

FUNCTIONAL.
If you are creating a knife for a functional purpose, then it's a good idea to begin your design journey by studying different knives and observing how their shape and dimensions impact their overall use and functionality.

Begin by asking yourself a series of in depth questions of how your knife will be used, for what purpose, how will it be held and by whom (ex: adult? child?). As you answer each question, sketch your ideas down and make note of your required dimensions.

To help get you started, here are a few examples of questions for different knife styles to ask:

1. SPREADING KNIFE:  Will it be spreading harder textured food or softer food like spreads and how much should it be able to pick up?  How will this affect the shape and size of the blade and tip?  How thick/long does the handle need to be?  

2. CUTTING KNIFE: What will it be cutting?  Soft/hard cheeses?  Charcuterie? How wide and thick does the blade need to be to slice through effectively?  How thick and long does the handle need to be to allow the user to apply an even force? Does the tip need to be a certain shape to aid in cutting?

MATERIAL

The end use of your knife and the colour that you are looking for will dictate the species of wood appropriate for your project.

Read about the different types of wood suitable for hand carving in our ALL ABOUT WOOD article. 

ALL ABOUT WOOD

CREATING THE TEMPLATE: SIDE PROFILE

To show you the process of how to create a template for your knife design, let's create a template for a design together. 

1. Start with a piece of paper and draw a horizontal reference line through the center.

2. From our research for this design, our spreading knife will need to have dimensions of (W) 3.2cm x (L) 17.15cm. So, we will draw a box with those dimensions. For this design, we will have each end of the knife (tip and butt) line up along the grain line,  so we will place the reference line a little closer to the top of the rectangle.  

3. We will now draw in the side profile shape of the knife. 

4. Using scissors, cut out the outline of the knife.  

5. If you think this will be a design you will make multiple knives from, you should transfer your design over to a more durable piece of cardstock or cardboard/recycled plastic.  Keeping a library of templates is a great way to create consistency in your work and evolution in your design process.

CREATING THE TEMPLATE: TOP PROFILE

Knives are 3D objects so it's handy to have a top profile template to reference so you can accurately carve the shape and to keep your design symmetrical running along the grainline.

1. On a piece of paper, draw a horizontal line through the center.

2. From our research our knife will need to have a top profile dimension of (D) 0.5 cm x (L) 17.15 cm. We will add a box with those dimensions, lining up the middle of the box along the center line we just created.

3. The top profile shape needs to respond to what is happening on the side profile of the design.  Using the side profile template you already created, take note of where the handle starts and finishes and where the blade of the knife will start and finish.  This will affect the thickness of your top profile shape.  In this design, the top profile will narrow at both ends, and it will be a bit sharper of a curve at the tip of the knife.  

4. Using scissors, cut out the outline of the top of the knife.


CREATING THE TEMPLATE: BOTTOM PROFILE

Knife blades have a very defined slender edge along the bottom to form the blade.  Creating a template for the bottom of your knife design will ensure that you create a blade that has a straight edge and the length of the blade ends at the proper location in relation to where it joins the handle.  

1. On a piece of paper, draw a horizontal line through the center.

2. At the widest point, the bottom profile of the knife will be as wide and it will be as long as the top profile.  Create a rectangle that is 0.5 cm x 17.15cm in length and place it over the centerline that you just created.  

3. Referencing the side profile drawing we created, we can see where the blade is positioned on the design. The knife will need to have a bottom profile that has a sharp straight blade edge of 5.75 cm long and tapers out to a total width of 0.5 cm to form the bottom of the handle. Draw that in.  

4. Using scissors, cut out the bottom profile of the knife.