A Special Whittlin’ Knife

A Special Whittlin’ Knife

All of my friends know I love to whittle.  I always have whittled, ever since I was a kid, and I fancy myself as an old timer sitting on the porch whittlin’ like folks did back in the old days.   I started with whatever pocketknife I could find and get sharp, but I quickly gained a preference to Barlows and Stockmans.  Mostly I whittled toothpicks and splinters, but I occasionally got a decent looking item hacked out of whichever stick was the victim of my fusillade.

When I started working at a furniture shop at the age of 16, I was a big eyed kid in a world of sawdust sparkles.  I have a God given gift for woodworking, and a passion for making things, so I took to it like a duck hunter to a duck dinner.  Between working, I whittled.  Another gent that worked there whittled with me, and together we enjoyed turning cedar chunks into slivers of delightful smelling wood shavings.  Sometimes I’d whittle a trinket, like a miniature double barreled shotgun, sometimes it’d be a knob for a rustic door, or just something to test a skill.   I did holes, square holes, arrowheads, wooden knives, occasionally an animal or two.  A few spoons were attempted too.

Then some years later, after getting married, I began working on a spoon as I waited in the car while she shopped or went to doctors visits.  That spoon revived a sleeping passion.  I had lulled in my whittling for a decade or so, and had forgotten how much I really enjoyed it.  Seeing my wife use that hand made spoon made me feel good, so I made another, and another.   Then I started giving them as gifts to people.  From small spice spoons to big mixing spoons, it’s a very enjoyable pass-time to make something that is both useful and decorative all at the same time.

Schrade 33OT and Christmas ornaments.

One day I was in the shop, taking a break, and I picked up a small piece of cedar and began whittling it.  Out came a dandy Christmas ornament.  Heck, that looked pretty good, so I decided a few more would look even better on the tree.  It was a fun break from the power tools I normally use for work.

Since I talk on a knife forum, I had shared pictures of some of my whittling there.  Of course there are people there that are masters of the craft, but my whittling impressed a gent enough that he seen fit to gift me a knife.  That knife is a Great Eastern Cutlery brand, from their Farm & Field Tool line.  The model is “Pocket Carver”.  At the time I didn’t have a knife with wharncliffe blades but I had been considering getting a knife that had a wharncliffe blade,  or modifying one of my existing knives to have that style of blade.  I also had never had a GEC brand knife.  I was not disappointed.

The first thing I ever whittled with the Pocket Carver, a delicate ornament from Red Cedar.

I ended up becoming friends with that gent and the knife he gifted me has become an indispensable part off my whittling arsenal.  I still love to use my Case  XX Stockman, but when you need a wharncliffe blade, there is not much else that will do.  It has such fine points and takes such a keen edge, that delicate and intricate work is easily performed.

The execution of the fit and finish, and the quality of the workmanship are of the highest level.  It is a superb example of the knife makers craft.  Simple in form, in the Congress pattern, it boasts 3 blades; One large warnecliffe, and 2 small wharncliffe.  The two small blades are identical so that you can carve and whittle for longer periods of time between stopping to sharpen.  The handles are black and red linen Micarta, basically resin impregnated cloth that is then shaped, sanded, and polished.  It is 3 13/16″ in length when closed.  The blades are made from 1095 spring steel and measure 2″ for the large, and 1 1/4″ for the small blades.  Weight of the knife is 1.7 ounces, giving it the heft of quality, while remaining quite nimble in use.

Of course I still use my Case Jumbo Stockman for most of my whittling, but when the details need to get finer, when precision is needed, I call on the Pocket Carver.  My main whittling knives are, Case’s 75 pattern Jumbo Stockman,  Schrade USA Old Timers 34OT and 33OT, and now, the GEC Pocket Carver.  I do whittle with others but these are the main 4 at present time.

The best part is that my son, who’s not quite 4 yet has picked up the habit.  He has a blunt point and dull edge knife to practice with, and he pretend whittles right along with me.  It won’t be long and he’ll be able to handle a sharp knife and we’ll both be sitting on the porch whittlin’.

A pirate emerged out of this cedar limb.