Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Katana

The next knife that I would like to discuss is a little guy I like to call the Katana.  I know, I know it doesn’t look a thing like a samurai sword, but I had to give it a name didn’t I?  This particular knife falls into the all-purpose category of knives with its blade being 1-1/2” long and slightly narrower than its predecessor.  Here’s what she looks like.

Alright, here’s the scoop on how she carves.  I have to admit, this knife is a workhorse and I find myself reaching for it more and more often.  Let’s talk about the handle first.  It’s the same dolphin shape as the Scimitar but I tried something a little different, lamination.  It might not be apparent from the photographs, but there are actually several layers of different types of wood, oak and poplar, sandwiched together to make a solid block for the handle.
Tip from the Stump: if you are going to make a lamination, choose woods that have a high contrast in color and grain so that the two woods really “pop”.  Black walnut and white oak would make a great combination and maybe maple and cherry.  One could even use three or more if the laminations were thin enough to allow it.  The possibilities are endless.
Now let’s focus in on the business end of the knife for a few moments.  Like I stated earlier, this is a great knife with a lot of diversity in its uses.  The blade comes to a nice point that can really get into those tight corners.  You will have to use a slicing cut most of the time since the cutting edge is flat, but if you don’t already, that’s a habit you should really pick up.  The place where this knife really shines above the rest is in making stop cuts.  That little point really gives you great control over the depth of the cut and the narrowness of the blade lets you follow practically any line.  I would also consider this knife a “crossover” to the detail side as I use it quite frequently, and with great success I might add, to carve out even some of the smallest details.  The one downside would be that it’s not great at roughing out a work piece, but then again, that’s not a function it was meant to undertake.  Alright, let’s look at a summary of the Katana’s characteristics.
·         Great for tight corners
·         Excellent for stop cuts
·         Crosses over for detailing
·         Must using slicing cuts
·         Not good for roughing out
In conclusion, I give this knife a score of 9 out of 10 for its diversity and effectiveness.

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