After spending the last week performing my first real grafts I’ve come to realize that all of you guys are right in recommending a real grafting knife versus a standard pen knife or box cutter. I managed okay with my Victornox Swiss army knife but I can see where having a single bevel grind will allow for a straighter cut. My knife was plenty sharp but my pull cuts were slightly concave and required fiddling to straighten out.
With that said, it seems that carbon steel Opinel knives are no brainers. They are under $20 and appear to be used by nearly everyone. What is not clear to me is which model to buy. From a size perspective I’m thinking #6 but what I can’t seem to figure out is if there is a special Opinel knife for grafting or will any #6 work fine? Do they all use the standard flat grind or is there a specific model made for grafting that I should be looking for.
I’ve been using the same little double-bladed folding Victorinox grafting/budding knife for 20 years. It’s still just like brand new. Bevel on one edge only.
Have friends who graft for a living (or for a portion of it). They use a Tina.
I tried boxcutters once…in a grafting demonstration for a Master Gardeners class. Abominable. Could not make a straight, flat cut - at least not with the cheap blades that came on them. Are you folks who’re using boxcutters putting on some sort of heavy-duty blade? The ones on all the boxcutters I’ve used are too flimsy to count on them making a smooth, straight cut…
I’ve never seen a grafting knife from Opinel. I use a #6 Opinel and manage to get most of my grafts to take. Would like to try a single bevel knife sometime if I could find a reasonable priced one. Like everything else concerning grafting “there’s more than one way to skin a cat” . The Opinel #6 is a dandy pocket knife.
I had looked into grafting knife options the last few years. I started w/ the Victorinox folding knife, but this season I switched to the fixed blade Tina grafting knife… http://www.raintreenursery.com/Tina_Professional_Stationary_Grafting_Knife.html
It’s not too expensive, I like the feel of the larger handle, and it is flat on one side (for right handers doing W & T). The fixed blade is also a tad stiffer than the similar one they offer that is folding. It is very sharp from the get-go, as my forefinger will attest to.
A tip for those doing cleft grafts: slip an old CD over the stock as you are cutting down…it will save your holding hand from a bad slice if/when the blade slices down too quickly or suddenly.
Lost(misplaced - found it in a jacket pocket a year later) my main grafting knife, ordered a single blade Victorinox budding knife to fill in - seems like it was only $10 or so. But in the interim, I followed instructions I’d seen in an issue of POMONA, for making your own from hack saw blades - they’re actually made from some pretty good steel. Quick & easy to make if you have access to a grinder to do the rough sharpening, then finish 'em out on a good stone.
My Opinel is a double bevel knife and makes a slightly curved cut yet still works for my apple and pear grafting. I probably end up “whittling” more than I should. Being left handed makes the single bevel option pretty expensive with the Tina being the only one I can find.
I use the Victorinox VG 40561 Swiss Army Grafter knife that has 2 folding
blades. One of the blades has a bark lifter, that I find extremely useful. Both blades have a bevel and it is very sharp and easy to sharpen. I use it for both bark and cleft grafting, and have found out the hard way, that if I tape my fingers and thumb, I don’t cut myself. It makes extremely straight cuts, and was only
$28 on Amazon. Personally, I don’t see how anyone uses a box cutter. Talk about an accident waiting to happen.
I just bought an Opinel #6 and I like it more than my Tina. Now that may be because it is sharp, and has a blade that’s thinner than the Tina but still feels very strong. The handle is on the small side, but you get used to that easily. I believe the Opinel #8 is larger if that makes a difference to you. I’ve been sharpening the Tina, and I’m not good at that yet but I looks like the Opinel comes from the factory a bit sharper than the Tina.
It is beveled on both sides but so far that hasn’t been a problem.
same problem here…lefty. Question is…when they say left or right are they talking about drawing the knife towards you or cutting away from yourself. The bevel (being up I would guess) would be correct for a righty when drawing and a lefty when cutting away from one’s self. Correct ?
Here’s a good video on a comparison between a tina and victorinox. Grow organic has them for 17.99 and you get $10 off your first purchase when you subscribe to them via email addy. Didn’t look into shipping.
That looks exactly like the bread bag strips that Stephen Hayes uses prolifically. I have a roll of that stuff that came with an omega tool I purchased last year but I don’t like it. To me it’s harder to use than parafilm. I can not get a nice clean wrap like I can with parafilm.
it has a pry thing on the other end I have gotten used to for prying up bark for bark grafts or T-buds. Most of the other knives have a bark prying thing on the back of blade which also works well, or just use some other tool to pry it up.
The temperature when using it is a big deal. The warmer it is the better all the plastics work, the same can be said of parafilm. To me it is much more user friendly when it’s a bit warmer. I carry it in my pants pocket when it’s cold outside and it works a little better that way.