Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sheath set

Here are the sheaths that the customer made for his knife set:

He commented that the companion knife throws sparks off a ferro rod better than anything he's used. He's very pleased with the set and is planning on getting a bush sword in the future to round it out. :)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Companion primal knife for retired SWAT officer

Some time back I made a primal knife in my warfighter profile for a retired SWAT officer who teaches at a military school. It was an 8" long blade with a 1/4" spine forged from 5160 steel and a hemp over leather cord wrap. Upon recieving it he proceeded to use the heck out of it and was so happy with it he decided to order up a companion knife for doing smaller, finer work.

Here's the first knife he ordered:

The second knife was forged from 3/16" x 1" 1084 plain high carbon steel from Aldo Bruno. Here's what it looked like after forging with the profile cleaned up but before the bevels were filed.

After hardening in canola oil and tempering three times, I wrapped the handle. There is a slab of leather underneath the wrap on either side going the full length of the handle. They have holes so that the hemp wraps through the steel and the leather. The three-strand Turk's head know is in black cotton cord, and then whole handle is sealed in amber shellac.

After all of that had cured and the edge was sharpened to shaving sharp, it looked like this:

He's done a bang-up good job making a Kydex sheath with a firesteel loop for the big knife and has made a pair of sheaths for the companion. After I get pics of the companion sheahts, and with his permission, I'll post those up.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

FBI agent's backup blade

Got this in the mail today, heading to the customer. He's an FBI agent who wanted a backup knife to wear on his left side. He liked the looks of my personal EDC work knife and wanted something similar in shape with a spray-on truck bedliner handle like it has, something I haven't done in a while. The steel is 5160.

The Kydex sheath and MOLLE lock are set up for left-side carry.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Kydex sheaths for bush swords

I mentioned earlier that I had moved to a new shop recently and had a lot of down time waiting on the power to get hooked up and all of the wiring done. When I finally got enough power to run my heat gun, tabletop bandsaw, and belt grinder, I started working on projects that I could do with those. Among those were a couple of Kydex sheaths for bush swords. Both were inventory made for the Blade Show. The willow leaf bush sword was bought by a fellow who saw it at the Blade Show but requested that the handle be re-wrapped in black paracord.

Here's what it was like before, with hemp cord and amber shellac:

And now:

Two MOLLE locks on the scabbard, though the grommets give lots of options for carrying and storing extra outdoor gear.

And the dha, which was requested by a fellow who saw it online, but hit a bump in the road and wasn't able to go ahead and get it at this time (he has plans to get something later on). Which means this one's available. :D

And of course, the Xtreme Challenge knife sheath I showed in the last post.

Got a few other projects that I worked on during that time that I'll show later. I'll be back to forging ahead sometime this week, hopefully tomorrow. Still gotta move stuff around so I can actually work.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Xtreme Challenge Knife Finished

Y'all remember this one?

Xtreme Challenge Knife

Mk II Update

Mk II Update

Here it is finally finished up:

Olive drab Kydex to match the handle wrap, two MOLLE locks, and plenty of eyelets to give options for attachment, cordage storage, and the addition of gear storage pouches.

And a shot in hand looking at the false edge. Plenty of steel there to turn over and use as a hammer!

This took longer than necessarry. Moving shop and getting back functional has been more of a booger and time-waster than I had anticipated. Sure am looking forward to seeing what my blade will do as well as the other knifemakers'.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Contemporary primal/tactical Bowie with Micarta

The new shop still has a lot of organization and moving around to go, but as of tonight I have everything wired up to allow me to run my power hammer, hydraulic forging press, and kiln, so I am back ready to forge ahead! A couple of weeks ago, enough temporary wiring was put in to allow me to string extension cords and use the lesser equipment, so I got to working on Kydex sheaths (which I'll show later) and stuff needing my grinder.

One of the things I've worked on was a knife that was commissioned by an airman a long time back. I was enthusiastic about the knife, but there were several new-to-me things that I was going to be trying that I found a bit daunting, and that combined with trying to sell enough knives to pay bills meant that this one got pushed onto the back burner far too long. He finally politely backed out on the knife with the intention of getting something else from me in the future (he already has one of my paracord-wrapped knives). I went ahead and finished up the knife, and another airman decided to buy it for himself, as well as a cord-wrapped warfighter knife for a retiring officer. Because of my experience on this knife, I will be changing up how I work somewhat to prevent long delays like that from happening, as well as continuing to experiment on similar knives in a different direction.

Here's the rough sketch I did to give him a general idea of what I was thinking. Double guard with a stout hidden tang, a forge finish, and olive drab Micarta handle.

I forged the blade from a 3/4" round bar of 5160, leaving plenty of steel in the tang to be nigh-on indestructible.

Less belly than the sketch, but the customer was happy with it. On to the stock removal.

Then heat treatment and fitting the mild steel guard.

Then the part that slowed me down: the handle. To be able to fit the guard on the tang the way I envisioned, I needed a hidden tang, but the olive drab Micarta I was able to find at the time was only 1/4" thick, and I needed a handle 3/4" thick. So I decided the best way to approach it would be to make a frame handle, something I had never attempted before. I mocked it up with poplar test handle slabs first. Which was good becuase I ended up shortening the handle down and narrowing the end of the tang to leave more of the Micarta in the frame.

On to using Micarta, olive drab canvas for the slabs and black paper for the frame, with stainless steel pins.

After that, time to clean up the blade and make everything permanent.

And then get it into its final shape.

And then came the part that caused me the most question and delay: we wanted it to have a black anti-glare protective coating. I went with Durabake, which was the first time I'd used it. I was concerned about the temperature that it needed to be baked at affecting the non-metallic parts of the blade, so I was very careful. It seemed to work ok, but I found that the heat had warped the Micarta and broken the epoxy seal. The customer was in town then on a trip and swung by. He was happy with the knife, but of course we didn't want to have that broken seal. So I knocked off the handle, got some more Micarta, and did it again.

Of course, reshaping the handle meant that I'd be grinding the Durabake back off the guard, which would mean going through the whole baking process again and having a good chance of ruining another handle. The customer said he'd be fine taking the Durabake off, but I wasn't able to get it cleared off the blade right in front of the guard, so it all needed Durabaking again. That combined with getting ready for the Blade Show and moving took the project from taking way too long to taking ludicrously too long. I am very appreciative of the customer being as patient with me as he was.

So I went ahead and finished the knife up. Here's what it ended up like:

The handle is a bit different in shape, but I think ended up more comfortable than the original. The original Micarta, though ordered from the same supplier, was more green at the end of the process, which I would have preferred for the second handle. Win some, lose some.

The new customer seemed happy to get it and I was happy to have it gone to a good home. :) I learned a lot and will be shifting directions on the next one.