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50 Things to Do with a Penknife: Cool Craftsmanship and Savvy Survival-Skill Projects (Carving Book, Gift for Nature Lovers, Hikers, Dads, and Sons) (Explore More) (Hardcover)

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50 Things to Do with a Penknife: Cool Craftsmanship and Savvy Survival-Skill Projects (Carving Book, Gift for Nature Lovers, Hikers, Dads, and Sons) (Explore More) By Matt Collins, Maria Nilsson (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Matt Collins, Maria Nilsson (Illustrator)
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Staff Reviews

Looking to whittle away the time this holiday season? This book is full of patterns and illustrated instructions to make everything from a doorstop to an earphone winder. [Karen]

— From 50 Things to Do with a Penknife


Whether you're a beginner or seasoned whittler, this practical guide to the age old yet newly popular art of whittling will delight, inspire, and instruct you. Featuring projects that cater to a range of skill levels—including a pen/pencil holder, chess pieces, a slingshot, spoon, whistle, chopsticks, fishhook, bookmark, and more elaborate carvings like a horse's head and whale—50 Things to Do with a Penknife is the perfect combination of cool craftsmanship with savvy survival-skill projects. Detailed step-by-step illustrations make this book ideal for the creative adventurer with-a-knife in your life!

About the Author

Matt Collins came to writing from a horticultural background. He trained at the Botanic Gardens of Wales before taking up a consultancy position with the Garden Museum in London. He served as head gardener for a private residence, where he honed his whittling skills and published a journal, Ivy Cities, about the work involved in maintaining a working garden.

Praise For…

"The 144-page book has seven item sections: quick things, into the woods, around the house, cork creations, ornamental carvings, kitchen carving, and the natural world. Purchasing the book as an early Christmas present to self in October could allow time to craft a flowerbed marker, letter opener, spoon, fork, spatula, ring holder, spinning top, bird feeder, and bird feeder and open a bottle of beer to take an edge off." - Wisconsin State Journal

"You have a penknife. You have some wood. You face the question mankind has pondered since time immemorial: what now? Luckily Matt Collins is here to help you through this existential dilemma with 50 Things to Do with a Penknife. We'd say this is more suitable for the younger crowd, but there are almost certainly some more mature floggers out there who are new to the whole penknife scene, and this is for them...The last chapter is the most useful from an outdoorsy perspective, with topics such as grafting an apple tree and preparing a fish. Overall the projects are easy-breezy, perfect for kids and first-timers as a companion to their first penknife." - Gearflogger

"What can you do with a pocket knife? With the resurgence of traditional hand carving, Collins, a British horticulturist and first-time author, adds to the growing field of titles on the topic. The materials here are mostly wood but also incorporate cork and food carving or prep (e.g., cutting up onions)."
- Library Journal

"Bring back the time-honored camp pastime with this coffee table worthy book. With more than 200 illustrations and 50 projects, your recipient will be making chopsticks, bird feeders, and bottle openers by New Year's."
- Sunset Magazine

"Tom T. Hall quoted a fictional porch whittler in his 1984 song "The Whittler": "He said when you whittle you don't make a thing / .a whittle ain't nothin' but whittlin' itself." 50 Things to Do with a Penknife, by Matt Collins, is an earnest rebuttal to that rocking-chair sentiment-an illustrated guide to pocketknife projects veering from practical (fishhook, fork) to whimsical (spinning top, carrot flute). Collins breaks down the components of whittling-stop cut, paring cut, push cut, etc.-without ignoring its chief points: relaxation and pleasure, "absorbing in [their] elemental simplicity." As Hall's whittler said: "What have I done if I've whittled all day / Time would have whittled itself anyway."
- Garden Gun

"50 Things to Do with a Penknife" is one quirky guide. Even if you're not into whittling, there is something beguiling about the slender new book and what's behind its forest green cover."
- Minneapolis Star-Tribune

"Do you own a penknife? Do you often sit, holding your penknife, thinking, "my god, I have this wonderful penknife, but what should I do with it?" Well, friends, this penknife book, aptly titled 50 Things To Do With A Penknife, is your new best friend. With it, your relationship with your penknife will grow deeper and stronger than you could have ever imagined. Or, it will just teach you how to whittle and make some cool stuff. Either way, it is useful."
- The Daily Want

"Matt Collins has assembled a collection of backwoods projects you can make with a simple penknife, or more likely, that $250 tactical blade you bought for your Yellowstone car-camp adventure. Everyone knows that there's nothing to do when you go camping anyway (if there's no bocce), so it's the perfect time to whittle a new spoon, whistle, or wooden teeth."
- Amazon Book Review
Product Details
ISBN: 9781616896386
ISBN-10: 1616896388
Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press
Publication Date: October 3rd, 2017
Pages: 144
Language: English
Series: Explore More