Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Making a handle for a pocket knife

As Brian Eve once noticed, whenever I am at home, my blog is pretty much dead. I don't do it on purpose, it just happens. I like to all sorts of things but to sit in front of a computer.

My family have given me a smart phone and I have accepted it, because they claimed that I could use it to take pictures with, and these would be instantly accessible on my blog.
Now it seems as though it is not the entire truth.
Brian told me that in order for the pictures to go automatically from my Iphone to Google, I needed some sort of app.
The problem is that I distrust app-stores of any kind. Technically I guess I distrust smartphones as well. So in order for me to get my pictures I have to email them to myself and then download them, save them in a folder, and then I can use the picture on my blog.
It is not that much easier than a digital camera in my opinion - but at least I have my phone with me most of the time, so perhaps there will be an increase in land based blogging in the future.

Enough abut modern technology, lets get to the interesting part:

I have been assigned to a different ship, and my schedule has changed at the same time, so that is why there has been a 9 weeks period without any real activity instead of the regular five weeks.
This new ship is currently in Africa, more exact Ghana.
As any sensible person reading this blog would do, the first things to investigate when knowing the job site is A) find out what vaccinations are needed for the area, B) find out what wood is available in that area.

Ghana Forestry Commission has an excellent site that tells you the name of the species in the local language and a lot of other information on the different types of wood that are native to the country.

I browsed their list and asked one of the local stevedores working on the ship if he knew where I could get some Bubinga.
He had a friend who did some woodcarving, and a after a bit of time I managed to explain to him that I wasn't interested in buying a carved figure of an elephant, but I would like to get some raw stock.
A bit more phone work, and I was presented with two really nice pieces of dense reddish hard wood.
I think it is Bubinga, but it could also be something else. I am not an expert on determining exotic wood species.
The two pieces each measure 3.75" x 4.5" and have a length of 24 - 28". I paid a total of 15$ for them, and I have no idea if that is above the market price down here, but I am happy, and the guy selling them seemed happy too. So I guess it was an alright deal for both of us.

In order for me to find out how this wood is to work with, I decided to make a wooden handle for a pocket knife that I found in a drawer in the engine control room.
The process itself was fairly straight forward:
I sawed off a thin piece of wood and flattened what would become the inside of the handle.
I placed the internal part of the pocket knife on the new handle parts and traced a handle shape.
A piece of aluminium scrap was filed to the same thickness as the internal part of the knife. That would become the back part of the knife.
Holes were drilled for the blade fixing screws and some 2 mm brass nails that were glued in like some sort of rivets and also for a 6 mm copper pipe that will eventually serve for a small line if needed.

My newly purchased Bubinga?

Plastic handled pocket knife.

Scrap aluminium.

Assembled and ready for shaping.


  1. It's good to hear from you, hope you're enjoying the almost-at-the-equator climate. Must be quite a change from home. Thanks for the laughs, especially about your relationship with smartphones. Oh, the knife is looking good, too.

  2. Hi Jeff
    Thanks for the nice comment.
    The weather is definitely a change compared to Denmark. Though it is a bit on the hot and humid side for me down here. Luckily we have a well functioning A/C plant on the ship, so the temperatures inside are fine.

  3. Jonas,

    Your post brings back memories of my time in Africa. I hope you have time to explore. I loved the sights, the food, and the people I met, just an amazing place.


    1. Hi Ken

      Thanks for the nice comment.
      I am so sorry for not having commented yet on your RV woodworking. I checked in the other day very quickly, and I am so impressed that you have brought a regular workbench with you!
      A funny thing about Africa is the smell of the cities. It is hard to describe, but it is a mixture of kerosene burners, charcoal, humid air, badly adjusted car engines, barbecue and lots more. Not unpleasant, but just very distinct.
      When I signed on in Conakry in Guinea, the agent drove me from the airport to the hotel which was a 40 minutes ride through the city, and it was just like a fairy tale. This Africa city smell, different music rhythms in the radio and all kinds of exotic sights.

      Sadly we rarely have the opportunity to go explore, so we just have to view the life on the quay and in the surrounding sea.

      Best regards

  4. Good to hear from you. I also fought the smartphone for a good deal of time, but in the end it has won. Hopefully you'll also succumb to Instagram, it's inevitable.

    1. Hi Jeremy
      I am still having issues with the battery capacity. My old dumbphone only needed a recharging every two weeks or so. That is something this supposedly smart phone cant do.
      I think I need a lot more time before even considering going on Instagram. Because if I am not mistaken it requires me to install an app on my phone - and that is not something that I take lightly :-)

      Thanks for commenting