Old Style Olfa

Adam’s Practical Bookbinding has an intriguing passage regarding knives to cut binders board:

Instead of sharpening the knife, the tip is broken off, exactly the same as modern Olfa type snap-off blades, except that there were no score lines to make the snap. The description of the knife makes it sound similar to a mill knife. I’m not sure why a broken edge would be sharper or hold the edge better when cutting something as abrasive as boards. Recently on the Book Arts Listserv there was a discussion about resharpening Olfa knives to save a few pennies. Could the original broken edge be superior?

Adam, Paul. Practical Bookbinding. London and New York: Scott, Greenwood and Co. and D. Van Nostrand Co., 1903. (p. 86)

For Sale! Wide Round Knife With a Secondary Bevel

The cutting edge of this knife is slightly wider than the narrow Swiss and French knife that I currently make, but the length of the blade is wedge shaped so the area that is gripped is still comfortably narrow.  Also, it has a secondary bevel, which accounts for the strange looking, extremely acute 8 degree primary bevel.  The advantage of a secondary bevel is that there is much less metal to remove when resharpening or stropping. This is especially the case with a thick and wide knife like this. The primary bevel is fairly roughly ground: only half a millimeter of the secondary bevel, which is the cutting edge, is fully sharpened and polished. In a normal knife of this thickness, the length of the bevel would be about ten times this amount. Although I don’t think the time spent sharpening the bevel corresponds one to one, it does take significantly less time.

The drawback of a secondary bevel is that there is not really enough metal to feel it resting on your sharpening system, so this knife is recommended to those that have some experience in sharpening.  This wide cutting edge is useful for hogging off leather for edge paring and also used in a scraping manner for headcap and spine areas. The slight wedge shape on the leather handled knife, and the rounded thumb holds on the wood version provide excellent control.

A2 cryogenically quenched steel, HRC 62. Length: 6.75 inches (171mm).  Width: 1.875 inches (48mm) at cutting edge, tapering to 1.375 inches (35 mm). Thickness: .094 inches (2.4mm). Weight: about 5 oz (142 g). Primary Bevel: 8 degrees. Secondary  Bevel 13 degrees.

ITEM# WRKL: Leather Handle $125.00

ITEM# WRKW: Wood Handle $225.00

Tools in Art

Jennifer Evers, MSIS Candidate, CAS in Conservation of Library and Archival Materials (UT Austin, Spring 2011) painted and gave me this lovely watercolor of her English style A2 paring knife.  Nice job! Thanks!