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A forum for growing fruits and rare tropical and temperate fruits, and tending our orchards

Are grafting knives necessary?

Postby RodneyS » Mon Jan 30, 2012 9:05 pm

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Will a knife purchased from a sporting goods store work just as fine?

Re: Are grafting knives necessary?

Postby Steve in Los Osos » Mon Jan 30, 2012 9:15 pm

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I think it's partly a matter of what works well for you but maybe if I were using a regular grafting knife (and I've thought about picking one up at the upcoming local scion exchange) I'd have better results! However, being left-handed makes me waver, as the blades are beveled on only one side and made for right-handed users. There are left-handed blades out there, but they are way expensive. I'm somewhat ambidextrous but my control is definitely better with my left hand.

All my grafts have been done with a large exacto knife. I understand that some people actually use the break-away utility blades because you can get a sharp new edge whenever you want it. Really the main issue is what enables YOU to make a smooth, flat cut. Although it would be hard to prepare for a bark graft with an exacto knife or even a utility blade. But a good, sharp, flat knife from a sporting goods store would probably work OK.

Re: Are grafting knives necessary?

Postby RobertS » Mon Jan 30, 2012 11:19 pm

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I believe that a grafting knife is the best way to go, you can make your own if your handy. Like Steve said, grafting knifes are sharp on one side only, so I've made a couple of knife's now out of old pocket knife's. Should be good quality knife to start with then if you have a bench grinder or belt sander you can carefully grind flat one side of the blade, but you have to take time and not let blade get hot or you'll loose the temper or hardness in the blade and it won't keep it's edge. You sharpen what ever side fits the way you'll use your knife. Some folk's like to cut towards themselves and some like to cut away from themselves and the flat side of the blade is always down on the wood. Happy grafting, my favorite knife is old pocket knife of my Grandfather's that I re-sharpened into a grafting knife and when I'm cutting big scion wood I use a Japanese knife that wasn't to pricey but don't remember where I got it maybe Peaceful Valley Farm supply? It's a folding knife about 4inches long ( the blade that is), Happy grafting 8-)

Re: Are grafting knives necessary?

Postby DavidLJ48 » Tue Jan 31, 2012 3:03 pm

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You can buy left handed grafting knives, but they are not as common. I use breakaway utility knives, never have to worry about sharpening one all of the time, that can be a pain, and is not as easy as it sounds, to keep the right angel and sharpness.

I do have a cheap grafting knife, that I got from taking a grafting class years ago, but I hardly use it, only on larger grafts. I find that the utility knife works fine on small wood, I do most of my grafts and bud work all with pencil size wood and smaller.

Our CRFG Chapter used to have a Ukrainian, who had a Phd in Agricultural Sciences, he taught us to graft and bud with a utility knife, that is what he preferred. Though I wonder how much easier it would be, to do the cuts, with a sharp grafting knife. I remember the cheap one I had at the grafting class years ago. The instructor had one the size of a military combat know, it cut wood like a hot knife through butter, or it looked that easy.

I find that working with small wood, the wood is much softer and pushes together much easier then larger wood with more hard wood, eliminating any minor flaws.

The biggest problem I find with getting grafts to take, is a good flush of growth, and not too hot of temps before they take, or a cool down, that can also stop the flush growth.

David
Sunset zone 14, USDA zone 9b

Re: Are grafting knives necessary?

Postby Jason_AU » Tue Jan 31, 2012 3:23 pm

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Yeah wood selection is much more important than the cut itself. I use a 9mm box cutter myself, since I mostly only graft young wood that's fine for me

Re: Are grafting knives necessary?

Postby scottfsmith » Wed Feb 01, 2012 6:05 pm

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I have used both xacto and grafting knives and there is a world of difference -- the completely flat side helps a lot in making a completely flat cut which increases the odds of takes. Make sure not to sharpen it into a V or you have ruined your grafting knife - just sharpen the existing angle and then lay the whole knife on the stone to sharpen the other side. I bet there are thousands of mis-sharpened grafting knives out there and people wondering why they bothered buying them.

Scott

Re: Are grafting knives necessary?

Postby Axel » Wed Feb 01, 2012 8:14 pm

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I can't imagine grafting without a grafting knife. Scott is right, a good sharpened grafting knife ensures more reliable takes. I never graft with an exacto knife, although I've heard people doing it successfully, so it definitely can be done. I know Kevin of Kuffel Creek Nursery uses an exacto knife, but then again, he grafts apples, which you can probably graft with a kitchen knife and they will still take. :)

I think the $15 on a grafting knife is money well spent.

Re: Are grafting knives necessary?

Postby Brian » Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:28 am

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I used a kitchen knife on a apple graft. Turns out probably only 30% of the scion/rootstock was in contact and the thing still took. It was a really bad graft . . .

Re: Are grafting knives necessary?

Postby Jason_AU » Thu Feb 02, 2012 4:06 am

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Nearly all my Avocados were grafted with a small kitchen knife and the rest of them with a 80 cent box cutter. I never get a really high percentage take on Avocados but then again I don't really need to since I'm not selling them and seeds are free.

Perhaps since you guys all say grafting knives are easier I'll try one :)!. About apples, I'm sure you could cut the tree and scion with your teeth and still get 100% take if you took your time :lol:

These are how I've been grafting Avocados, I graft them when they are about 4mm in diameter maybe 5mm at the most http://www.amazon.com/Bulk-Utility-Knif ... B0068P1DIE

Re: Are grafting knives necessary?

Postby Axel » Thu Feb 02, 2012 10:40 am

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Brian wrote:I used a kitchen knife on a apple graft. Turns out probably only 30% of the scion/rootstock was in contact and the thing still took. It was a really bad graft . . .


Yes, apples are so easy, and Jason is right too, if you used your teeth, you could probably still get an apple scion to take. It would be fun t try!

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