All images Copyright 2003 by Steven L. Van Dyke
A Benchmade Pumpkin

A Benchmade Pumpkin

I've accumalated a vast array of Pumpkin carving tools, mostly from the Pumpkin Masters folks. But this past year my ever-indulgent wife decided that for my birthday she'd get me a new belt knife to replace the one I'd been carrying for 20 years. We wound up with a nice Benchmade model 921 - the Switchback. Benchmades are very nice knives, both for using and for collecting. Over on the forum they have, the subject of carving pumpkins with our Benchmade knives came up and I decided to do a test pumpkin with just my 921. You know, just in case there was some sort of squash related decorating emergency I had to respond to.

Basically, I copied the Benchmade logo from their website, traced over it on a separate sheet to make my pattern (partly to let me eliminate extraneous details), and got to carving. You can click on any of these thumbnails to go to a larger version of the pictures. On the larger versions you can click your way through the whole list.

All you need

Everything I used - a spoon for scraping, a toothpick for transfering the pattern (more on that later), and my 921 Switchback.

Laying out the lid.

I used a pen to draw my lid for my pumpkin. Notice the 'tooth' at the back? That lets you get the lid back on right. When cutting (using the large, main blade of my 921) I held the blade at an angle so the lid wouldn't fall in later.

Prepped pumpkin

You can see I've cut the lid and cleaned out the interior. I used my 921 to trim the goop off the lid and the spoon to scrape out the interior. Use the edge of the spoon and scrape until you get to the dry, firm flesh.

Pattern in place

I've got my pattern taped down. Notice the cuts in from the sides to help the flat paper conform to the round pumpkin. To transfer the pattern to the pumpkin you poke little holes all along the lines. I was going to use a toothpick for this but it was (a) too coarse for such a fine pattern, and (b) not strong enough anyway. I wound up using a big 'T'-type straight pin. Lots and lots of little holes so I could follow the lines later.

Working Away

Partway through the carving. Because it's such a complex design I'm carving it into the pumpkin rather than through it. Normally I would use one my pumpkin carving gouges but for this project I used the small blade of my 921. I angled the blade into the cut to make the trough.


Here's the finished pumpkin and my tools (you can even see a bit of pumpkin stuck to the small blade of my 921). Notice the small hole in the lid? I drilled that with the 921 to let the heat out. I also had to make another hole in the back of the pumpkin for air flow or the candle wouldn't stay lit.

Let it glow

In the dark the light glows out through the carved down sections of the pumpkin. In my initial test there wasn't enough light coming through so I had to scrape out more pumpkin and make the wall thinner.

Have a Happy Halloween!

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