Thursday, August 9, 2012

How to make a needle knife for stamp carving

Pirate booty
I have been trying unsuccessfully for some time to get the materials together that I need to make a needle knife.  I've seen some spectacular carves done with them and have been envious, so I've been wanting to make one.  I saw Kirbert's description and instructions here (just over halfway down the page) as well as Rubber Rabbit's description here, but couldn't find the opportunity or time to get everything I needed.

Recently, I had to give blood and obtained a needle from the clinic [read: stole] and have been subsequently trying - and failing - to find a tool to put the clipped needle in.  This past weekend, I finally got the right tool, and now I am the proud owner of a carving needle.

So, in no particular order, here is what I did:
  • First, head out to your local vet clinic or pharmacy and ask for a large-gauge needle (or, like me, go give blood and abscond with a needle while the nurse ain't lookin').
  • Next, cut the wire off with a wirecutter - or a pair of scissors you're not particularly fond of.
  • Then, follow Kirbert's recommendation to obtain an Excel hobby knife.  Or, take the long route and try a whole host of different unworkable knives and get turned away from all sorts of stores who don't carry pin vices.  End up going back to Kirbert's suggestion.  Canadian readers note: Curry's carries Excel-brand hobby knives that work perfectly, $5.
  • Remove the blade, replace with needle.  
  • Sit back impressed and have an adult beverage.
Start to finish, this is pretty much it to make a carving needle.

Now that I have it, I'll have to find something super-detailed to carve.  I'll be back soon and let you know how it goes.  Happy trails!


  1. Alternative action: ask the man of the house if he has a pin vise. If he's like most handy people, he will have not one, but two of every gadget. Ask for the second class vise and smile as he basks in your interest in his tools.


    1. Too true! Tragically, I am the man of my house...

    2. wouldn't a quilling needle work as well?