Monday, January 31, 2011

Walkabout Bowie dressed in Texas ebony

I just handed this over to the customer. He and I both are very pleased with this knife. It's impossible to get the full impact without holding it in your hand, but everyone who has held it has immediately gotten a big ol' grin on their face. This thing feels great.

The point of balance is about where the cutting edge starts ahead of the choil, and it really begs to chop. The drop in the handle, elongated sine wave curve to the whole design, and distal tapers (thickest point is right above the chopping sweet spot) adds to that as well. At the same time the large belly and aggressive point combined with the half guard makes for something that would stab viciously as well. In addition to general outdoors use, this would be a great hog killing knife for those people who hunt feral hogs with a pack of dogs and a knife. It'd open a wide wound channel and go deep.

The blade is about 9" long, forged from the same leaf spring as the pecan-handled knives I made for my old friend, bevel filed by hand, differentially hardened three times in vegetable oil, and tempered. You can see the quench line, though I rocked the blade up and down in the oil to give a springy middle section, tough point, and hard cutting edge, so the differential nature of the hardening continues below the visible quench line. It's sharpened shaving sharp, as usual. The half guard is forged from a piece of railroad spike, forge finished on the front. The handle is made from Texas ebony, a very hard, dense wood that is kind of halfway between mesquite and desert ironwood. It had a gorgeous figure that darkened quickly, so it is not longer nearly as visible as it had been.

This was the first handle I had ever pinned. It was some stainless steel welding filler rod. Came out nice.

This is what the rest of the chunk of wood looked like. The outside was rotted away, but the heartwood was still solid, though worm eaten and cracked in some places. Thankfully, I found enough good heartwood to make the handle.

This thing sits very comfortably in the hand in variety of grips. Normal general cutting grip:

Extended reach and increased drop for chopping:

Choked up on the choil for finer work:

And the raised spine/clip even facilitates holding it by the blade for fine manipulation of the tip or mincing with the belly:

And the happy customer, a student of mine. He also bought a mandrel to aid in cleaning up socket handles. That's it in his left hand.

Sorry if I'm gushing a bit, but this knife just begs to be used when you hold it. This is actually the second knife with this blade pattern that I've made; the first one has a socket handle and has not yet been sharpened. This is not the last knife in this design that I'll be making. I term it a Walkabout Bowie as it is a knife I would want with me when taking a walkabout.

Monday, January 24, 2011

New progress on hunting sword

After taking the blades out of the vinegar, washing them off, and cleaning them up with a power wire brush:

Working on filing the edge. I had a fair amount of steel to take off since I was concentrating hard on getting a specific profile, so I didn't forge it down as clsoe to an edge as I like to. I'm using some spring clamps simply becuase they are quicker to change position with than a C-clamp. The C-clamp would have held tighter, but with three of 'em, the spring clamps held it fine.

Filing away.

A closeup look of what the file marks and forge finish look like. My camera is limited, but hopefully this gives an idea.

It's going to be a heck of a chopper. That's an oak pallet, and the blade doesn't have a sharp edge yet. I also whacked it into an MDF west Texas tree stump anvl stump that is starting to come apart, and it sank in deep without much effort.

After grinding and filing in the false edge on the clip, smoothing out a bump on the spine, and tweaking the knuckle guard to give more clearance in case it should turn in your hand. I need to knock off a few sharp corners around the handle and make sure everything is smoothed up as it needs to be, but it is essentially ready for heat treatment at this point. I'm going to get the other two bush swords ready and then heat treat them at one go.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Eating the scale off the hunting sword

In amongst working on other stuff, I threw together an acid vat to dispose of my foes.... no wait, it is an acid vat, but it's 9% vinegar and it's for eating scale off of long blades so I can file the edges. This should have the hunting sword ready to file by tomorrow (whether or not I'm able to begin filing is an entirely different matter).

The vat is just a shallow tray made from left-over 3/4"-ish plywood that I clamped together and lined with a cut open trash bag.

The second blade in the vat is a wakizashi-ish bush sword with a blade around 14" long and a handle around 7" long. It and this other one that has a wakizashi-ish blade but a curved socket handle that gives it a bit more of a Middle Eastern feel were actually hammered out before the hunting sword.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Something a bit elegant - integral handled hunting sword

I haven't posted any new work in a while. I've been pretty busy, but it's mostly been work around the shop getting my new power hammer optimized and such. I still have some more of that kind of work to do, but I'm finally getting to put the hammer to good use.

I forged this out today. It's an idea I've had for a while. I've seen blades with integral socket handles and I've seen blades with integral knuckle guards. I've never seen the two together. It took some amount of technical skill to make them. Still have some cleanup work to do, particularly where the knuckle guard meets the blade, but I believe I am finished with the forging aspect.

This will be forge finished, but elegant. It's what a gentleman adventurer would be carrying as he traverses the nuclear-blasted wastelands. The blade is around 20 inches long.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Commissioned Christmas Candle Holders

That's alliteration!

My buddy who lives halfway across Texas stayed with me about a week after Christmas and helped me do some work on getting my home-brewed power hammer finalized in order to make some candle holders he had commissioned from me to give as Christmas presents. Here's what we came up with:

A set forged from pipe for his soon-to-be-fiance's brother, sister-in-law, and one-year-old:

Another pipe set for my buddy and his girlfriend:

And a pair for the girlfriend's cousin and wife, forged from approximately 2" round:

I love this texture and will be using it on more projects. To me, it makes the candle holders looks like the Dark Tower of Barad-dur. :)

And being a creative fellow himself, my buddy did not sit still while I was working. He made these ladles with riveted copper handles for his girlfriend: