Marking Knife Suggestions


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I’m putting together a wish list for Christmas and feel like I could potentially benefit from having a marking knife in my shop.  Based on the research I’ve done, it seems that most of the selection is based on personal preference, but I thought I’d see what you all have and if you have any tips on selecting one.  Thanks.

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One key is to understand the value of double bevel vs. single. With single, the knife face can be held flat against a vertical face and the blade will be right against the reference surface. Of course for ease and access reasons, you might need a pair of single bevels to mark both sides of a dovetail, for example. This presents obvious challenges of its own.

 A double bevel can be more easily used in either direction, but you hold it at an angle. I actually have a Narex double bevel which I honed to a single bevel, which works for me.

Single bevel is probably easier to sharpen. 

Just my thoughts. I'm pretty new to marking knives myself.

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I use a Pfeil marking knife (the smaller of the two available at Woodcraft). It has a single bevel, but is double sided so you can easily use on both sides of joinery.

It is a relatively inexpensive knife, and the finish of the wood handle shows it. I think it was on sale for $15 or $20 when I bought it.

pfeil.jpg.02337bb8fa82edddac747b7e6d851e0b.jpg

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2 minutes ago, Bankstick said:

I use an old penknife I found in a park. I cleaned it up, sharpened the point and use it as a marking knife.

Sounds like I don’t need to spend exorbant amounts of money here, although I really like that Blue Spruce cocobollo one and the fact that you can buy additional blades of varying sizes to switch in and out of that one

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You can use any knife or other piece of sharpened metal. The only thing special about any marking knife is how easily it fits in tight spaces, and how well or easily it registers against the edge of a rule or work piece. The more expensive ones also tend to have handles that look and feel better than the cheap ones.

Paul Sellers uses a cheap Stanley folding knife, below. I have one of the same, but find it difficult to register the small bevel sometimes. I mostly use it for opening packaging and miscellaneous tasks now. You can also buy single bevel or double bevel blades for it.

knife.jpg.2591d918b91f9ca13606f605a1f19c98.jpg

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2 hours ago, Jonathan McCully said:

Sounds like I don’t need to spend exorbant amounts of money here, although I really like that Blue Spruce cocobollo one and the fact that you can buy additional blades of varying sizes to switch in and out of that one

You definitely do not need to spend very much. The Narex knives cost less than $20. 

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14 hours ago, JohnG said:

I use a Pfeil marking knife (the smaller of the two available at Woodcraft). It has a single bevel, but is double sided so you can easily use on both sides of joinery.

It is a relatively inexpensive knife, and the finish of the wood handle shows it. I think it was on sale for $15 or $20 when I bought it.

pfeil.jpg.02337bb8fa82edddac747b7e6d851e0b.jpg

+1

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On 12/7/2018 at 10:04 AM, Jonathan McCully said:

I’m putting together a wish list for Christmas and feel like I could potentially benefit from having a marking knife in my shop.  Based on the research I’ve done, it seems that most of the selection is based on personal preference, but I thought I’d see what you all have and if you have any tips on selecting one.  Thanks.

Hi Jonathan

There are many types of marking knives. I have several for different tasks. I cannot imagine working to precision without a fine line to guide me.

There are two outstanding knives for dovetails, and both have strong similarities, these being ergonomics (hold like a pencil), vee blade (for cutting on the right and left), and a flat back. The two are the Blue Spruce and the Chris Vesper. I designed the latter, so am a little biased, however what sets it apart if that you can get two blade thicknesses, and one is ultra thin for really slim dovetails. 

Chris Vesper ..

Marking-Knife2.jpg

Incidentally, there are plans to build this knife on my website:  http://www.inthewoodshop.com/ShopMadeTools/A Knife for Marking Dovetails.html

The design feature of the blades for both the knives above is that they are long and can reach down into a tail, against the socket wall, when transferring marks. This is difficult with the knife below.

For general scoring of baselines for tenons, etc, I like the Stanley knife made popular by Paul Sellers. It is not for the inexperienced, however, since the blade is bevelled on both sides of the blade edge. This means that you need to tip it over to cut a vertical depth. This takes a little practice, then becomes automatic.

I also like Japannese blades, kiridashi, which come without a handle. These can lie flush with a guide, which you cannot do if the knife has a handle.

KIRIDASHI.jpg

I also handled one of these for heavy duty use ...

Knife-frontofblade1.jpg

Regards from Perth

Derek

 

 

 

 

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  • 5 weeks later...

I took some classes from a guy named Frank Strazza:

http://www.strazzafurniture.com/

He is better than I ever will be (he works at this craft full time - I just make pretend on evenings and weekends).

Frank used a specialized marking knife which produced really fine cut lines and exact work.  The knife was easily sharpened and maintained and required very little fuss and fiddling.  After learning his methods, I adopted the same marking knife and it easily created the fine lines and detail that allowed me to create fine work.

This knife can be purchased in orange and blue stores that you will find around your town.

Marking Knife.jpg

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