Military Plaque with Removable Knife...any advice?


I made my first “commercial” piece…and by that I mean that I did it for free for a friend because the local craft shops don’t do knife holds that allow the knife to be still usable.

Honestly it was a personal challenge to figure out what I wanted, but the trace feature gave me the exact dimensions of the knife to allow me to level it and design base holders that fit.

The words and logo are traditional style complete with the inside joke at the bottom. :joy:
(For non-military folks, it’s kind of like gallows humor.)

The moving parts were layered PG 1/8” burch plywood - which I picked to add more accuracy to the depth options. (1/4” was either much to small or allowed for to much wiggle room.)

The plaque was raw oak and I really wanted to pretreat it to make it easier to clean smoke marks after, but my friend didn’t know for sure what stain he wanted to use.

The moving holders are attached by screws through the bottom…GF for the big win on that as I was able to “pre/drill” them while cutting.

I think I learned a little bit more about using pins or dowels for layers…as in, I need to next time…but the matching marks on the surface of the plaque allowed me to use an actual drill to get through the oak and thus the screws and top parts were aligned.

I also learned (relearned) that making a jig saves more time than I not. Hand alignment process with constant refocus, sucked.

For those of you who do plaques/awards, (or just woodwork) what can I do to get a darker engrave without more smoke?

Does raw wood or pre-treating work better?

Do certain woods work better for these?

I think I might start making them locally…but I haven’t ever seen the knife as a part of it really, what should the price difference be for a “specific item“ build? (I’m not looking into going into a full-time for-profit thing, but it did take a lot of time to design out for that specific blade.)

Any other tips?

Thanks in advance for any advice!


My advice is that if you’re going to ramp up for production look for steps that cost you a lot of time for little payoff.

For example, it feels like the knife mount is over engineered when a simple pair of hooks would have done the job just as well and been much simpler to make, that sort of thing.

Heck if you’re doing a steel knife a pair of magnets would probably have done the trick.

It’ll come down to a balance of aesthetics and function and ease of assembly/design.


I would have preferred that (and I’ve seen that sort of thing) but the Air Force apparently has a rule where a “weapon” can’t be displayed if it can just be grabbed and used.

It’s a great Buck knife, so permanent attachment wouldn’t work.

It is a bit over engineered though…I’ll relook it :blush:

Thank you!

Oh that’s interesting.

I wonder if leather straps with snaps might work? Or maybe some sort of off the shelf hardware that you can incorporate into your plaques?

In any case trying to minimize your labor is key when thinking about making a lot of these. (He says as he slowly hand sands something that he knew full well was going to be a lot of work to sand properly. Simpler shapes next time, sigh)



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If you mask it before engraving then you can shoot it with a coat of Minwax Mission Oak Polyshades. It makes a nice warm even dark color for the engraving without having to overburn it with the laser.


You’ll enjoy masking, eliminates smoke marks for little effort. Lots of various reccomendations for sources in the forum.


Haha, would love to hear the back story on that quote at the bottom.
Very nice work by the way!


What if the hook/restraints were clear acrylic?

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I did this for a sword mount and can attest that it looks very good.

I should post that thing at some point…


That’s the same thing my husband said!
I’m still a little nervous to work with the acrylic glue but it just came in the mail so I will have to try!

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I would love to see that!

Mounting the sheath …it’s a leather cover with snap…that’s an awesome idea!

I’m going to have to try the minwax multishades! That sounds exactly like it would give the final look I was trying for!

Polyshades combines both stain and polyurethane in a single can so it seals the engrave as it colors it. It’s available as a spray (I use that) or in a quart can to brush on. I use it a lot on bamboo because the variation in the wood (grass) causes fairly wide ranges of results in an engraving.


Acrylic glue does not seem to bond to wood. CA glue makes a mess of acrylic, And wood glue does not bond to the acrylic. I am looking for some glue that works well on both myself.

I have found that if the acrylic glue is near 0 degrees C it works best, not evaporating before you can use it.

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Great tip!
Thank you!
I’m going to try some acrylic work soon to test. I have to check out some of the spray stains when stores open back tomorrow first!

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Going to check that out tomorrow!
Thank you!

Thank you!

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:sparkling_heart: the Polyshades, wish theyd add more colors to the line.

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