A few days ago, I carved this training knife for a friend. I had a bit left over from another project, but the choice of wood couldn't have been much better; ipe is hard and dense (so it shouldn't break or scratch here), moisture resistant (it'll spend time in sweaty hands, so this is critical), and naturally beautiful.
I began by cutting a rough profile into the ipe using a bandsaw, by eye. From there, I slowly carved away at the block using a large pocket knife. Though this was slow and more difficult than it could have been (this is hard stuff!), passing it back and forth between my hands allowed me to build a mental image of how it should look, how it should feel, and how it should fit into a hand, working slowly toward that image as I went. Because of ipe's hardness, I was able to achieve a smooth and shiny finish using only light strokes of the pocket knife, and did not need to sand it or coat it upon completion.
A few days later, a few more were born...
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