MAKE: a butter knife

How to make a butter knife out of hazel

Homemade presents are always the best. We’ve been learning some bushcraft skills this year and wanted to put them to good use to make a Christmas present for someone. Well, here is an idea for you – a butter knife made out of hazel wood!

We are staying near a country park with lots of woodland nearby. I headed into a bluebell wood and, whilst there weren’t any bluebells at this time of the year, it was bursting with hazel. Lots of thin trunks were protruding out of the ground – they looked like several wooden poles. This is because the trees have been coppiced in the past which means when one is cut down lots will grow in its place. You can also identify hazel trees by the duck-feet-shaped leaves – round with a point at the end (if there are any left at this time of the year!)

I then chose a fairly thick piece of wood. Using a saw, I cut it down near the bottom at a 45% angle so that it won’t rot when it rains. I don’t like cutting down trees but I know that it is ok to cut down hazel trees because more will grown back. After cutting it down, I covered the end that was left in the ground with mud to camouflage it.
cutting the hazel

I examined my piece of wood and looked for a straight piece that would be suitable to carve my knife out of. I sawed that part off and found a comfortable place to sit. I left part of the wood as a handle for the knife and scored a mark there. I placed the back of the knife against my knee, put it at an angle and moved the wood across the blade towards me (see photo).
Making the butter knife

I scraped off layers of wood on either side until it made a thin, flat blade. After that I rounded the top edges of the blade.
curving the top

Then it was time to decorate the handle. I scored shapes and letters into the wood and then using the thumb push technique, I scraped away the wood.
carving woeds in


I bevelled the bottom and my butter knife was complete!
bevelling the bottom


I extremely enjoyed making my butter knife and I hope the person that receives it enjoys it too!