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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SUPPLIES:
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
hand saw
pencil
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
paper towels
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Use a carving knife to round and smoothen the butter knife, making the blade thinner than the handle.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

TIP:

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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.
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