Sami knife in progress

Here I start a new Sami knife for the fellow knife maker from France.

First things first: sketch and selection of materials.

Bolster is fit!

Tang is cut to the length and tip is threaded (M5). Also main wooden block is fitted and antler and wood inserts are cut and fitted that there is no gap in between them.

All parts are cut, fitted and ready for rough shaping.

When shaping the handle I realized that the blade is too much drop point. So, I had to slightly modify the handle and now it needs to be glued before I can continue...
After handle is modified:

I also cut the sheath piece in halves...

Glued the bolster with 5 min epoxy gel.

And the whole handle with G2 epoxy. Now it has to wait for 24 hours...

Getting there...
I could not do much over last couple of days, but today I almost finished shaping handle and sanded it to 220 grit. Tomorrow I plan to do birch burl insert at the end and after glue dries I will do very final shaping of the "mushroom" and will sand the whole handle to 1500 grit. 

Ok, now is time for the wooden insert on the top of handle. First - make a nice symmetrical socket.
Next - cut an insert from thin piece of birch burl and sand it till it fits tightly.

And glue it in with Titebond II. Now it has to dry till tomorrow.

Today I did some work on the sheath. First cut rough contour.

Then was that dusty part...
Very rough shape for both parts.
And glued them together.
After that was done, I came back to the knife and removed excess of wood at the end and also did some sanding. Knife is almost ready for final polish.
Over weekend I shaped the sheath
And sanded both the sheath and knife to 800 grit. Sheath is ready for carving.
And knife needs to pass one more stage before it's ready for carving - hot bath in Teak oil. After wood is heated enough it starts to produce tiny little bubbles of air from the pores. I wait till they stop coming and then let it cool in oil.
Cooling down after Teak oil...
Final sketch. Looks good!

Carving on the handle is finished and the whole handle is sanded with 800, 1000, and 1500 grit. After that I buff it with velvet wheel. Though handle is not shiny it gets nice noble luster. But the pattern is still barely visible...
To make it visible I paint it with artistic oil paint. I use a short hard brush to make sure paint gets in all tiny corners of carved pattern.
Now comes my favorite moment... Magic! :)
Now the paint needs to dry for two or three days. I have time to work on the sheath...

Antler part of the sheath is ready for carving, but first I need to install brass rivets. I drill three holes and widen their top a little bit, then install brass pins and rivet them.

After rivets are installed I file them flat and sand down to 800 grit. Then I start carving...
Carving is done and the whole piece is sanded to 800, 1000, and 1500 grit.
And now my favorite part again...
Ta-da! :)
With the knife. 
While paint is drying I had time to work on the belt loop.
Today paint is dry and I can start stitching leather part of the sheath. 
Get everything ready and soak leather in water for 15 minutes.
Stitching is done! Now it has to dry for about 3-5 days. Then I will dye the leather and install belt loop.
Nearly there! Only two more steps left before the final photo session and shipping...
I didn't do photos after finishing and waxing as they are not informative at all.
Here is photo after sharpening. Seems sharp to me...
And the completely finished knife!


  1. Don´t know if you speak swedish so.. Wonderful, splendid work! Thank you so much for showing the process, I´ve always wondered how the sami knife is made as learning material is quite non-existant.

    It would be delightful to see some sketches - how do you draw the patterns in the sketch? This has eluded me so long. I am trying to get into hobby sami knifemaking, but the lack of information material is rather sad. I would love to see more from you, your work process is really nice!

    1. Hi Stephania,
      Getting started is always the hardest part, isn't it? Drawing sketches is easy and only requires some imagination. I usually contour the blade, then draw the handle the way I like it in real size and draw the sheath the way I imagine it would look good with this knife. Then I think about carving pattern and draw some. But the truth is that once a knife and sheath are ready for carving and draw this pattern on them, it usually doesn't look good. I have to modify it or completely re-draw... :) Then I carve.
      Here is my e-mail roman.kislitsyn at Send me a message and I can send you some sketches and photos of finished knives. Or you can find me on Facebook.
      Don't hesitate to ask questions. I have learned most of what I know from internet and had to figured out a lot of stuff by myself, so I know what you feel if you have a question and don't have somebody to ask.

    2. Hello,

      Sorry for the very late reply, for some reason I wasn´t notified that you had replied to my comment.

      Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions, really is a blessing as I´ve been trying to get into this for quite a long time.

      I will send you a message from email "" :) I will perhaps ask you more questions there hehe