MAKE – a hazel paperknife

A Simple Present to Make this Christmas

Christmas comes faster then we can keep track of. The countdown has officially begun and the mad rush to by presents has started. But be honest, what would you prefer to find under the tree this Christmas, a shop-stocked gadget or a handmade/hand-carved present made by a loved one, who may not have invested a lot of money into it, but instead invested a great deal of the most precious commodity – time. This is really important to me and I’ve always wanted to give my loved ones a special present that I myself have made. Most of the time this is too tricky to do as I am not a skilled craftsman, but this year I’ve found something that has been manageable and will be special to give.

The Hazel trunk slumped onto the ground, followed by a sprinkling of sawdust that settled onto the forest floor like a scattering of snow. I peered at the small stump now replacing the trunk and ran my finger along it, making sure it was sloped enough for any rain to flow off it and for the tree to grow back again. Satisfied, I picked up my fallen tree, and saw, and cut a few decently long pieces to craft the present out of before selecting one of them. It was about the length of a pencil but twice the thickness and perfect for what I was planning to use it for.

Fishing my knife out of my rucksack, I slit the wood in the place where the handle of my present would start and the blade would end. I jammed the top edge of the knife blade, which was of course the blunt side, against my leg just below my knee. Then I pulled the piece of wood against the sharp side of the blade and towards me, creating my own version of a plane and slicing a thin sliver of bark off. I continued this action until the wood was thin and sharp on the edges. I then sharpened the end using a thumb push so that it could cut through a thin material. 

But my handle was still boring and plain, merely a section covered in bark compared to the white of the blade. I slit a ringed pattern in the bark and scraped some of it off, leaving bright white rings. After bevilling the handle end to stop it from splitting, my masterpiece was ready. A handmade letter-opener to put under the tree this Christmas.

To find out how to make this simple letter-opener, watch the video below.