How to Make a Book Plough Knife

To cut straight across a text block, a book-trimming knife must be ground only on one side ("singled beveled") and quite rigid, or it will meander over the course of the cut: like a chisel, except that it is used for slicing / draw cuts rather than push cuts. A very sharply angled skew chisel can work, but these are harder to find / more expensive than mass-produced flat chisels. A rounded chisel works even better, and it is easy to make one from a cheap flat chisel:

  1. Trace a curve on a chisel, for example, from a coin
  2. Grind away material until you can no longer see the curve you marked
The underside of two chisels. One has a round edge. The other has a flat edge and a US Quarter coin atop it just touching the edge. Two chisels. The three-quarter-inch chisel has a flat cutting edge. The one-inch chisel has a rounded cutting edge.

Power tools recommended! But you don't need a specialty tool: I used a plain ol' drill and a $6 (Shark, Miller, Forney) grinding wheel I found at the local hardware store awhile back:

A grinding wheel and a US Quarter coin A grinding wheel in the chuck of a drill and a US Quarter coin

See also Jesse Aston's, Glenn Malkin's, and Darryn A. Schneider's related videos.