To Effectively Use A Double Edge Bent Knife

To Effectively Use A Double Edge Bent Knife

Inside beveled blade

There are two different types of double edge knives. There is the inside bevel and the back side bevel. This particular knife is identified by the bevel on the inside radius of the blade. I will also discuss the backside bevel knife.
The blade is mounted on the handle in such a way that you can get close to the wood with the back of the handle. With the blade positioned the way it is you will have more control of your cuts then you will with a chisel and with the cutting edge on each sides you won’t have to turn your carving around to cut the opposite way. With the bent knife you can start and stop your cuts where and when you want .You are not pushing you tool like you do with the chisel.

What the knife can be used for

To understand how the blade cuts I will explain the areas were the bent knife is very efficient On a relief carving you can get down into areas and cut up against the stop cut. For any concaved areas you can use the high curved or the hooked knife. Bowels or spoons can be carved with the high curved or the hooked knife. The slow cured knife is very useful for leveling off or plaining an area. It is also useful for shallow relief or digging.

How to hold the knife

To use the knife place the back of the handle in the palm of the hand you will use for carving. The tip of the curved blade should be pointed upwards. Place the thumb toward the top of the handle and the little finger is toward the blade. In this position you will effectively be able to guide the angle of the cut.  See diagram A, below.

There are a few different ways to use the bent knife most of them will be the right way to use them I have observed carvers and also used the carving tools myself. I have found to get the best use of this knife, holding it in your hand as mentioned above. Put the bottom of the blade flat on the wood you will carve. Meaning 90 degrees to the wood to be carved.  Use the heal of the blade to carve with. So the knife should be angled back (about 15 degrees) and the blade laying  flat on the heal of the blade. Now take and angle the knife toward you about 5 to 10 degrees. Put some pressure on the knife and drag it toward you. Make sure that your elbow is tucked into your side and remember to keep your wrist straight unless you want to finish your cut. In this case you change the angle by angling the knife back up to the 90 degrees. The angle of your knife will determine the depth of your cut. You should not have the knife angled any more than 20 degrees off the 90 degrees at any  time. Too steep of an angle will prevent you from making an easy cut. This theory works for all the different bent knives. This usually takes some practice so don’t get discouraged. Just practice the cut on a piece of scrap wood before you get into a carvingSee diagram B, below for the angle of the knife
This knife is sharpened on both sides so you will want to use both sides, you will be able to do a pushing or pulling action. This will save you the effort of turning the carving around every time you want to cut in a different direction. Sometimes the grain in the would changes and you have to cut in a different direction. This is extremely helpful when the wood grain starts to run in different directions.
There are three basic bent knives, a slow curve and high curve and a hooked knife. Some uses for the three styles of knives are:

Slow Curved Knife
The slow curve is as it suggest. It has a very gradual curve toward the end of the knife The knife can be used for shallow digging or to plane a surface. Sometimes the surface has to be planed to draw lines or to complete or finish off an area. Sometime you have to make cuts up against a stop cut so the blade should be sharp right out to the tip. With this blade you should be able to cut with both sides of the knife. If the grain in the wood is changing direction you don’t have to turn the carving around, just change the direction of cutting with the knife
High Curve KnifeThis knife is also as it suggests. The curve is high. Usually it is bent up to 90 degree. The wide curve makes the knife excellent for cleaning out the knife marks made by the hook knife in a concave area. This knife acts as a wide scorp. Being sharp right to the tip you can cut up against the stop cuts with this knife. This is an excellent knife for deep relief carvings. I especially like it for relieving the background.
Hooked KnifeEasily recognized by the hook at the end of the bladethis knife is very useful in roughing out the bowel or spoons and any other concaved areas. This knife can be used in a scorp. In a manner  more so then the high curved knife. I would like to remind you that the angle that you have the knife off the wood determines the depth of your cut. In other words if you lay the heel of your knife flat on the wood it will not cut anything, if you tip it toward you about 5 to 10 degrees and pull the knife towards you it will dig in. To start with put your elbow into your side and keep your wrist straight . Just cut a shaving off the surface until you get used to the knife. Don’t bend your wrist unless you want to cut out. Try to pull and push it to get used to it. See diagram A and diagram B for proper angles.