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.

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