Seeking info on the original woodlore specs.

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Thunderlizard

New Member
Mar 15, 2021
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Howdy Ya’ll,

I’m new here, and thought that a British forum would be a good place to ask about the the original woodlore knife. I would like to have a go at making my own from an old file, and am curious if anyone could point me to a direct list of specs for the Ray Mears/Alan Wood woodlore knife. I’m particularly interested in the bevel angle, but would take any other specs as well. Anyone with an original woodlore or knowledge thereof have any numbers for me?

external links or personal experience appreciated.

Thanks!

- Patrick
 

C_Claycomb

Mod
Mod
Oct 6, 2003
6,452
1,413
Bedfordshire
Well, first of all there was a fair bit of variation in the knives that Alan Wood made over the years. So, there is no one set of perfect dimensions, but a bit of variation in your knife is fine too.

Blade stock tended to be 4mm, so 5/32, although many think that a little thick. Alan Wood tapered the tang slightly, but not too much since there is a lot of mass in the blade and the maple scales didn't do a lot to balance it by themselves.

Bevel angle was somewhere around 24 degrees total. Give or take 2degrees.

The thing most people get wrong is the handle. The views and dimensions in the Lore's post should help. Maybe this tutorial will too.
The handle design there was heavily influenced by Alan's work, and while he did do some with the belt sander, he told me that he did a lot of the final work by hand too. For reference the blade stock in the handle tutorial was 1/8 inch and the bevels were 20degrees.

The dimensions shown below were off a friend's knife. Lengths are the same as already described, heights were within 1mm.

Profile.jpg
 
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C_Claycomb

Mod
Mod
Oct 6, 2003
6,452
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Oh, with the handle, if you have the slabs exactly the same thickness, then when all glued up you work on one side at a time, get all of one side done, you can use callipers to measure total thickness, and because you know what it started at, and both scales are the same, you know how much to take off the first side to hit a dimension. Then you just work on the second side till you have the handle thickness desired. Having hand cut scales of different thicknesses makes it all harder to get even matching shaped scales.
 
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JonathanD

Ophiological Genius
Sep 3, 2004
11,933
197
Stourton,UK
I’ve got Woodlores from the first profiles onwards. They are all over the place in regards to specs. Rays are different from the commercial ones and his are different from one to the other from the 90’s till he started using the SWC Pro. Alan wood changes profiles too quite a lot in the years. 2004-6 being quite dramatic, if you know the knife well. Then there’s Wilky, SWC, and Emberleaf variants which are all slimmer in profile and all quite similar to each other and close to the original in the early 90’s when Alan first made them. Here’s a few new pics but I’ve posted loads here over the last two decades. They’re still on here as I’ve not changed my profile or image hosting site.DB5D9670-C0C1-4BD9-B269-2720C19D514A.jpeg50109EAA-F202-41EC-974E-5F820F483B8E.jpegAA05A640-DC91-4D74-8C1E-4E57F27D30BE.jpeg187B27FC-83B5-4F11-9DFF-E658F5B742BC.jpeg896FEE41-014F-461A-B7A0-C418A7DCF0A6.jpeg5D0BD074-75C2-4AF1-B148-AC5478A946FD.jpeg7F052CCA-EEFB-4AE6-9A53-A10F119D1686.jpeg
 
Last edited:

Thunderlizard

New Member
Mar 15, 2021
3
0
30
WA
Thanks for the responses y’all
Well, first of all there was a fair bit of variation in the knives that Alan Wood made over the years. So, there is no one set of perfect dimensions, but a bit of variation in your knife is fine too.

Blade stock tended to be 4mm, so 5/32, although many think that a little thick. Alan Wood tapered the tang slightly, but not too much since there is a lot of mass in the blade and the maple scales didn't do a lot to balance it by themselves.

Bevel angle was somewhere around 24 degrees total. Give or take 2degrees.

The thing most people get wrong is the handle. The views and dimensions in the Lore's post should help. Maybe this tutorial will too.
The handle design there was heavily influenced by Alan's work, and while he did do some with the belt sander, he told me that he did a lot of the final work by hand too. For reference the blade stock in the handle tutorial was 1/8 inch and the bevels were 20degrees.

The dimensions shown below were off a friend's knife. Lengths are the same as already described, heights were within 1mm.

View attachment 65347
Thanks for all that info. Appreciate it!
 

Thunderlizard

New Member
Mar 15, 2021
3
0
30
WA
Thanks for the responses y’all! I’ve also posted this on BCUSA, and haven’t gotten nearly as much info there. Great folks on this side of the pond, but understandably, interest in Ray Mears work is a bit less than on your side.
 

swotty

Space and time
Apr 25, 2009
1,768
168
Somerset
I’ve got Woodlores from the first profiles onwards. They are all over the place in regards to specs. Rays are different from the commercial ones and his are different from one to the other from the 90’s till he started using the SWC Pro. Alan wood changes profiles too quite a lot in the years. 2004-6 being quite dramatic, if you know the knife well. Then there’s Wilky, SWC, and Emberleaf variants which are all slimmer in profile and all quite similar to each other and close to the original in the early 90’s when Alan first made them. Here’s a few new pics but I’ve posted loads here over the last two decades. They’re still on here as I’ve not changed my profile or image hosting site.
The ricasso looks to have changed quite a lot to. I had one of the original Wilky ones in micarta (which I stupidly sold) and comparing it to others there was massive differences in the handle profiles. Nice collection there tho'

Sent from Somerset using magic
 

C_Claycomb

Mod
Mod
Oct 6, 2003
6,452
1,413
Bedfordshire
Yes, ricasso changed in length. As a rule, the ones with the edge coming closer to the front of the handle work better as you can get more power in a cut by bringing it closer to the hand.
 

JonathanD

Ophiological Genius
Sep 3, 2004
11,933
197
Stourton,UK
This early Woodlore is an anomaly. For one batch in 1992 Ray asked Alan to have a fingerspace at the ricasso. After realising that this was the most used part of the cutting edge, they changed back. That was the first and final batch to have a ricasso so large.
238448B1-CCA3-41BB-A5FE-81EFEA606F74.jpeg51409F5C-9C62-40F3-BF41-DA1B80C095B9.jpeg
 
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Billy-o

Native
Apr 19, 2018
1,668
740
Canada
I’ve got Woodlores from the first profiles onwards. They are all over the place in regards to specs. Rays are different from the commercial ones and his are different from one to the other from the 90’s till he started using the SWC Pro. Alan wood changes profiles too quite a lot in the years. 2004-6 being quite dramatic, if you know the knife well. Then there’s Wilky, SWC, and Emberleaf variants which are all slimmer in profile and all quite similar to each other and close to the original in the early 90’s when Alan first made them. Here’s a few new pics but I’ve posted loads here over the last two decades. They’re still on here as I’ve not changed my profile or image hosting site.View attachment 65352View attachment 65353View attachment 65354View attachment 65355View attachment 65356View attachment 65357View attachment 65358
Just idly, do you prefer the speary ones or the droppoint?
 

JonathanD

Ophiological Genius
Sep 3, 2004
11,933
197
Stourton,UK
None of the variations are really spearpoints, they are all drop points. The only one that resembles a spear point is a Wilky I have, but that’s just down to sharpening over 15 years.
 

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