Hey everybody I hope al is well. Like the title says I have decided that a marking knife is a must have tool in your arsenal. I am one of those types that want to buck the system and say stuff like— “You don’t need that crap just do it!” I am hear to eat those words and tell you that you really do need a marking knife. Especially if you want to be the least bit accurate. I didn’t want to go there really because it takes more time. The older I get the more I realize that my impatience is what is holding me back and stopping me from becoming a better woodworker. This is a great malady to have when you are in the construction trades where I made my living for 30 some odd years. There is a big misnomer that if you are in the trades, especially a union, that you sit on your ass and sleep all day. The media has really hurt us in that respect but in my experience that is not at all true. If you don’t get it done and done fast you are down the road. Now we all know there are exceptions to everything and if you know the right people then you do get some slack. I am ok with that because as an adult and a realist I know that this happens in every job on the face of the planet and if you think that is not true then you are fooling yourself. In the end it is who you know. WOW is that off track or what? Any who back to the marking knife! It is a must have tool because if accuracy is what you are after it is very hard to achieve that without one. How does a marking knife achieve that you ask? The knife cuts the fibers and sets a line for your chisels to follow or your saw to follow. It sets a beginning for your slice. It also, for me, slows me down and makes me get the square out and strike a line where a lot of times I would just guess and draw a line real quick and this sets me up for failure in respect to alignment. So I broke down and went and got a knife from Crown Tools on Amazon and it works great. It has allowed me to realize I do not suck at woodworking I have just been going about it in the wrong way. When I first got the knife I thought the handle was way to short but as I started to use it I realized that is a benefit and if it was longer it would just get in the way. The knife is sharp and hefty even though it is small and feels really nice in your hand. If I was to guess I would say that this will last a long, long time. I think I may make a couple just to have a few more even though these are so cheap that it really isn’t worth the time to make one. I think it was around 13 bucks here in the US and if you are a prime member 2-day shipping is free. So to me well worth it. John at Ibuildit made a whitling knife and here’s New Chinky hand made tools a pretty cool site so if interested hit the links! I am always hesitant with stuff like this off the internet because it is a crap shoot on whether you get a piece of junk or not. I do read the reviews but it seems people just write them to write them and a lot of people do not even have the tool. That blows my mind. Why would you waste the time to review something if you don’t even have it or just as bad right when you get it and haven’t even used it yet. I do like the videos of the un-boxing but I wish people would use the tool. I like the ones where they unbox the tool then actually use it for a while so they can tell you if it is good or not. I don’t know how many times I have gotten a tool and at first it seems great but then upon further testing it falls apart or just doesn’t do what you need it to or they say it does.
What started all this is I have been trying to cut a set of dovetails a day to get better so I can make some drawers and boxes. I believe, for now, that you can’t get good tails by hand without one. The knife cuts the fibers so you can come back with a chisel and clean a groove for the saw to start in the right position. You also can use it for the same reason, to cut the fibers, when cutting plywood and stop all that tear out when you cross cut. I use a sled and tape when cutting plywood but there is always tear out. The tape and sled really helps a lot but the knife adds another layer of protection from tear out as well. So not just a one trick pony tool but even if it was that if you want to hand cut dovetails you need this tool in my opinion. I found this site in my search for how to cut dovetails. It is called Sawdust Making 101. It has a good page on different types of joints and how to cut and mark them. Very informative and helped me so maybe it will do the same for you.
So off topic a bit I think this may open my eyes to some other things that I have been bucking. The thing that comes to mind first and foremost is sharpening plane blades. I am under the opinion you do not have to go through all these grits and that up to 1000 grit at the very most is all you need. I have recently run across some cherry that is really nice and figured. Problem with that is the grain changes all the time and is very hard to get a smooth cut without any tear out. So I tried going a little further with sharpening and that worked pretty good. Maybe there is something there for me to look at and slow down with. Who knows maybe I should take up meditation or something. So Thanks for reading and like always “If I can do it so can YOU!”