Bye Bye Buddleia, Hello Woodworking!

Around a year ago, I was faced with one of those typical “Man Chores”.

You know the ones, mowing the lawn, staining the front door or giving the garden shed another coat of preserver (or even worse, a “Sort Out”!!).  Any one of a myriad of seemingly endless tasks that fall under the DIY category, or the “Man Jobs” category if you live in our house.

We had a large Buddleia growing on our driveway. At around 9ft tall and 7ft or so wide, I had obviously allowed it to grow for far too long. On this particular weekend one of my Brothers was visiting and he offered to help me chop it down. This was handy, as he has more tools than I do and usually has something perfect for the job.

After chopping the thing down we were left with a pile of branches and several bin bags full of foliage that I had to dispose of. So we took the foliage to the local recycling centre and decided that as the weather was fair, we should have a BBQ along with a fire (I have a fire pit) and we could use the branches as some supplementary fuel.

As we were chopping up the branches in readiness for burning (and being large children at heart), we started commenting on which branches would make decent clubs or walking sticks etc. I decided, for no particular reason to keep a few branches, the best and most straight, and maybe I would get around to doing something with them, never.

So, we finish up our BBQ and are chatting over the fire and started to strip the bark from one of the branches in an absent-minded fashion; using a hunting style lock knife that had been kept unused in a draw for a year or so.

When my brother suggested that I burn the branch and I refused, he asked what I planned to do with it. I jokingly told him that I was going to make a knife out of it for another one of our brothers. I should say that there are four of us in total.

I then spent the next 2 weeks chipping away at this stick, not really thinking I would get anywhere at first but slowly, a shape started to come out of it.

The "Knife", general blade shape defined and the handle area still with bark on.

The “Knife”, general blade shape defined and the handle area still with bark on.

Sadly it wasn’t until this point that I considered taking any photos, even when I did, I didn’t think I would need “Good Quality” photos.

I continued to whittle the generic shape of the knife with each passing day, being more encouraged that it was developing quite nicely.

The "Knife" with a better defined blade and also a more decorative handle style.

The “Knife” with a better defined blade and also a more decorative handle style.

Once I managed to get the knife into the shape that I wanted, I started to worry about the fact that I had no idea how I wanted to finish the knife, even if I did, I wouldn’t know how to achieve such a finish.

I opted for the easy route in the end, buying some clear Varnish and some Mahogany stained varnish from B&Q.  I applied 3 or 4 coats using a cheap paint brush, also bought from B&Q. This was after using an 80 grit sand paper to help with the final shaping and then 120 and 180 grit papers to achieving a smooth surface that I was happy with.

For a first “project” I was quite happy with the result:

The Finished Knife with around 4 coats of varnish applied. Shown next to the knife that was used to do most of the work in this project.

The Finished Knife with around 4 coats of varnish applied. Shown next to the knife that was used to do most of the work in this project.

I gave the knife to one of my brothers shortly after. Seeing the look of disbelief on his face that I had made it, really hit home for me how much enjoyment I got from making it, dedicating the energy and time and actually getting a result!

I WAS HOOKED.

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