Who was Sloyd and what was so special about his knife?

January 30, 2015 2 Comments

Everyone needs a Sloyd knife in their shop.

First a little background. Sloyd was not a person. Sloyd is a word derived from the Swedish word Slöjd meaning handiwork or crafts. Therefore a Slöjd Knife could be considered a knife made for handiwork or crafts. In our context, Sloyd generally refers to an educational system developed in Sweden in the 1870s to prepare a student not only for a possible future work in a trade but also to prepare him for life in general.*  The Sloyd system used a series of exercises to develop skills and confidence beginning with simple tools and tasks and slowly progressing to more advanced work.  The Sloyd knife was one of the first tools to be taught, a foundation that all other skills were built upon. It is interesting to note that most currently available “Sloyd” knives are not patterned after the original design. The original design utilized a straight cutting edge with a tapered blade and a front that came down at an angle forming a blunt point. This is an excerpt from, “The Teacher’s Hand-book of Slöjd by Otto Salomon, 1892″:

I can see several advantages to this design for a general shop knife.  It is much easier to sharpen and maintain due to the straight cutting edge and the geometry makes for a nearly ideal striking knife. It can also be used to carve and add details to projects. The handle design, though simple, is very comfortable and easy to hold. The original Sloyd pattern was well thought out and with a few minor modifications makes an ideal shop knife. Heck, guys could even shave with it if you stayed out in the shop too long and needed to look your best when you finally went home!

There are very few versions of this original style available to woodworkers today so Blue Spruce Toolworks designed a slightly updated version that is a great addition to any shop. A sharper point is not as user friendly for young learners however it can be useful for easily marking into corners. The sharp point is also useful for penetration and cutting and breaking down cardboard boxes, slicing tape, cutting leather, etc. The addition of small, curved flats on the handle sides helps prevent the knife from rolling and gives an easier grip. The same general design was used to make a smaller version that we call a joiner’s knife because it also works very well laying out joinery. It is a marking knife for those that prefer a more traditional knife pattern for marking rather than a double bevel spear point pattern.

Both knives utilize a traditional 1095 high carbon steel blade heat treated and tempered to a fine grain and a hardness of Rc58. The double bevel is ground and honed and comes sharp and ready to use. It is easy to sharpen with any traditional sharpening method such as oil or water stones, abrasive paper or powered equipment. The blade is coated with a durable ceramic coating to provide long lasting corrosion protection and a distinguished look. The handles are turned from nicely figured maple that has been infused with an acrylic resin creating a good balance to the blade and adding durability to the handle. A ceramic coated brass ferrule nicely finishes off the joint between the blade and handle.  These knives will be a foundation in your shop and give a lifetime of service. We have an optional leather sheath that can be worn on your belt or pants and keeps the knife handy and ready at a moments notice.

The Sloyd Knife is available for $85, the Joiners knife for $70 and the sheath for $30.  We have a special introductory offer of $175 if you buy all three; save $10.

Visit our website for more details or to order:  Sloyd and Joiner’s Knives


Other News:

We have Bench and Butt Chisels back in stock!!!!

I will be at the Lie Nielsen Hand Tool Events in Portland and Seattle in February, Handworks in May, and WIA in September. (Rumor has it that I may be speaking at WIA this year)

As always, I look forward to hearing from you and hope to see you at an upcoming show.

Dave Jeske


*Author and Woodworker Doug Stowe has written several very good articles on Sloyd and how it moved to the United States beginning at the North Bennet Street School in Boston in 1989. If you are interested in reading more about it or how it is presently being used to teach young woodworkers, be sure to check out his website, blog and articles.



The post Who was Sloyd and what was so special about his knife? appeared first on Your Finest Work.

2 Responses

Dwayne Negron
Dwayne Negron

March 27, 2019

I really appreciate the background and summary of the tool. It is nice to learn something about the product and it’s history! Thank you.

Charles T Salvatore
Charles T Salvatore

October 18, 2018

Which blade is shorter

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