Christmas Gifts – Hand made Knives

For a while now, I’ve been experimenting with making knives, having made a few knives for myself. There is a thriving online community in knife making, and it is gaining popularity as a hobby.

For Christmas this year, we decided to make some presents for people, and I decided to make some knives for different members of our family.

Today’s blog is more of a display of what  I have made. I do have quite a few process photos, so I hope to make a couple of individual process threads for some of these knives. This post is just a overall look at all of them.


For my three sisters and my Mum, I made Kiridashi’s from 1075 high carbon steel. Two are straight steel, Two had a wood scale, held in with brass pins.


Fixed blade Knives

For my Dad, and one of my brother in law, I made fixed blade knives.

I made a sheepsfoot kitchen chopper style knife for my dad, with scales made of wood that he and mum found in their travels.

Again, they are made from 1075 high carbon steel.



My Brother in law got a sheepsfoot knife of a different design, with black G10 handle scales.


Slipjoint Folding knives

My Father in law, and other brother in law both got hand crafted slipjoint folding knives, They are linerless, with G10 scales, brass pins, and screw pivots. Again, the steel used is 1075 high carbon steel.



All the designs were new, and It took a lot of work, and I tried a lot of new things, and I think they came out great. I hope the recipients enjoy their new gifts, as while it was a lot of work to get them finished, I enjoyed making them!

Train modelling off and running (mega train post)

As you would realise from my previous posts, my model railroading has begun, in a small way.

Well, before christmas, I was at tool / hobby store again . While I was there, I realised they were selling off some bits and pieces cheap, I mean real cheap.

I spent at least half an hour, maybe more digging through a box of HO scale track, looking for straight pieces, and sets of curves

If you go by the price stickers on the track, I bought over $300 worth of train track ($2 a piece, for 150 pieces), and was charged $10 for that. It should have been $15, as they were supposed to be 10c each, but I wasn’t complaining.

While I was there,I also picked up a length of flexi track to have a play around with.

Most of the 150 pieces of track. I had already used some when the photo was taken

So, beginning that night, I spent the weekend progressively expanding my railway. Beginning by expanding the loop around the tree to a long stretch past the front of the TV.

Here we can see the expansion of the main line. Now stretching past the TV. It wasn't long before this wasn't far enough.

And then expanding that back towards the tree in another long run. I also extended the other end out past the coat rack near our doorway. I was particularly chuffed when I managed to integrate one of the track crossing pieces, and it worked!

Full size. This is as it stands at the peak of the layout.

Over the weekend, Diana and I made the trip back to the hobby store. We were originally seeking farm animals and such at a different store near by. We didn’t leave with more train track this time, but Diana surprised me, and bought me a new train for me:

The new train. YAY!

This train is a whole other ball game compared to the first one. Its quieter. it runs slower and a lot more realistically. It runs a bit better, due to the fact it picks up power from all wheels at once. It’s very nice!

I thought I had enough track for a life time, but I was already wishing I bought more. I have enough to make a nice long single track, but what if I wanted to add a second track along side the first? the box of train track was taunting me. I needed more. I would never get another opportunity to get train track for so cheap.

The thursday before christmas was payday, and eventually the hobby store got the better of me.
I took the long way to work that morning and got another bunch of track. This time, there were less straight pieces (I got most of those last time), and same with the smaller radius curves. I got what I could find, which included a bunch of the larger radius curves, most with the power clips attached. When I got the new train engine, it hits the power clips, so I usually just pull them off. you don’t really need them on EVERY piece of track.

The total haul. thats a lot of track!

As pictured above, I have rather a large amount of track. Each stack of curves with rubber bands is a complete loop of track. there should be all up, about 300 pieces of track. By my count, that’s about $600 worth of track if you take the sticker price of it, all for about $30. That is obscenely cheap!

I’ve begun my small double loop for under the christmas tree next year! so look out for that in future updates.

I’m also going to upload some photos to flickr of my trains. feel free to have a look

HO model train layout

I have begun work on my very first permanent model train layout! This display is going to be a multi purpose layout. It is an evolution of the simple 2 loop layout I had running under the christmas tree. I’m planning for this to become a regular addition under the christmas tree. I also want the display to be usable throughout the year as a permanent display, as well as a test track for rolling stock and new and/or modified engines.

Beginning as 2 1200x600mm sheets of MDF and some 1200mm sticks of timber, I went to quite a bit of effort to construct the interlocking frame. The base board is made in two halfs. I plan on the display being able to separate for storage and moving.

One thing I discovered, is as the glue dried, it actually put a bow in the frames. I guess I should have clamped the sheets to the bench as they dried. I guess I’ll try that next time. The bow wasn’t too bad, and both sides seemed to bend similarly, so I was still good to continue.


With the glue dried, now its time to begin setting things out how I want them. the only thing is, I’m still working out how I want them to be.

The obvious one is two loops, around the middle. I guess its going to vaguely going to resemble that, no matter what I do, but I want to try to add something extra to the layout.

Things I’m thinking are:

  • A hill in the middle, split in a cross shape, to allow the legs of the christmas tree to slot into place, and locating some small houses around the mountain area
  • Build up the base, so the inner loop is higher than the outer loop. its further up the mountain
  • turnouts? Sidings? It would be nice to put some in, but at $30 or more per set of points, I don’t think I’ll be able to put too many of those in. It would be nice to put some in so its possible to join the layout to an epic loop of track like I did for this christmas just gone. There are other methods of achieving this though, I may just leave enough room around the edges to lay an extra track thru the layout.
  • A tunnel in the back corner


That’s where I’m at so far. I still have much thinking to do, but I’m hoping to make progress on it soon. I’ll keep everyone updated.

Christmas micro train layout


Here is a photo of my mum’s DuploLego pizza layout. You find layouts in the most unlikely places sometimes. Actually, It wasn’t too unexpected for me, as my mum has done similar in previous years.

It seems to be a mining train operating in a bauble mine amongst a forest of trees.
It must be hard work moving all those Christmas decorations!

And the transition into model train nut continues….

Christmas Train

I’ve now officially made the dive into the hobby of model railroading! I’m going to justify model railroading by stating that it’s not actually me taking up a new hobby, but its me merely expanding my interest in modeling from making 1:24 scale cars, to also modelling trains.

Starting off small (and cheap) I found a Model Power train set which was on special at a local hobby store for $60.

This is the train set I'm starting with. Mine is painted a little different.

At the same time, I bought several $1 carriages which they were selling off. I figured they would be pretty crappy, but for $3, I got some extra rolling stock to play with.

So, I’ve got a whole set with controller, engine, track  and rolling stock.  I didnt’ know what to expect with the set. Not being any of the better known brands, it might be rough, it might be noisy, it might continually derail. Inspecting the carriages and the engine, I was happy with my purchase. This set, after all set me back $60. You don’t have to look far to spend more than that on a single engine, or even a single carriage of high quality. I actually like the little diesel shunter the kit came with, and the carriages aren’t too bad, for me to get started on at least.

As it was so close to christmas, my plan is to build a christmas train under the christmas tree. Possibly before I had even left the store, I had a cool idea. What I want to do is repaint / decal the carriages, with a personalised carriage for each member of our family, adding carriages as new additions come along.

The tree looks a little sparse, but it has a train, with a Pepsi max tunnel! Yea!!!

I’ve already started mocking up some pictures for the side of the trains on the computer. Printing them out, and sticking them on the side of the carriages. below you can see the demo carriage I have made for our dog Bella. Dizzy, the pictured cat, will also get a carriage soon too, as will my wife and I. I will need time to plan and paint though!

The first mockup, for Bella our dog

I’m already planning on repainting the carriages so they look great, and integrate the pictures in as much as possible. For the time being, I’ll keep using the cheap carriages, as that’s what I’ve got. Maybe by next christmas I’ll be able to upgrade the $1 cars to ones which run a little nicer.