A butter knife is the first thing students learn to make in wood shop class in Sweden. Lova shares the fun and easy technique she learned in school for crafting a warm, wooden knife set.
THERE’S NOTHING quite like the smell of freshly cut juniper. To go with my juniper-wood butter knives, I also made little breakfast platters and cutting boards. They smell so lovely and remind me of my grandpa and his garden every time I use them.
Text by Lova Blåvarg Photography by Susanna Blåvarg
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piece of wood, 3 to 4 inches wide x 3⁄8 -inches thick
piece of wood, at least 1 inch wide x 1⁄8 inch thick
fret saw or scroll saw
hand or power drill with 1-inch wood bit carving knife
power sander (optional)
coarse/medium grit (60-80) sandpaper
very-fine grit (180-220) sandpaper
beeswax/mineral oil blend
- Find a piece of wood you like. Juniper has a wonderful smell, but there are so many beautiful types of wood with their own unique colors and characters. If you get ready-made planks, choose 3- to 4-inch-wide x 3⁄8 -inch-thick pieces for the cutting boards and 1-inch-wide x 1⁄8 -inch-thick pieces for the butter knives.
- Using a hand saw, cut the wood into a few rectangular boards, about 3 to 4 inches wide, 3⁄8 inches thick and 6 to 7 inches long. A little unevenness is charming. Your butter knife can be made using hand tools, but if you have access to power tools, it will speed up the process, of course.
- Draw the shape of a butter knife on the thinner, 1⁄8-inch-thick piece of wood. Cut out the shape with a fret saw or a scroll saw.
- To make a hole for hanging your boards (or to use as an egg cup), use a drill with a very wide (about 1-inch) drill bit.
- Use a carving knife to round and smoothen the butter knife, making the blade thinner than the handle.
- Use a sander if you have one, otherwise sandpaper works well to smooth out all the surfaces and edges of the boards and to round the corners if you want. Begin with a coarse/medium grit sandpaper to round the edges, and then finish with a very-fine grit sandpaper to make the boards smooth and lovely. Note: Sandpaper gauge numbers start high for ultrafine grit and go lower as the coarseness increases.
- Finish by rubbing a beeswax/mineral oil blend with a paper towel into all the surfaces and edges of your boards and knives to make them ready for use in the kitchen.
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