Sunday, December 30, 2012

Happy New Year!

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year, and may 2013 be a good year for us all. :)

I'll be updating a few things on the blog here in the next little bit. The main thing will be the Price Guide. Prices won't be going up much, but I want to change it to reflect more the kind of blades I'm building these days.

It took a while to get back productive after the move back in the summer, but now I'm rolling along nicely. I'm working with methods and materials that are new to me, and am getting more efficient. I think that the upcoming year will see a lot of neat stuff coming out of the shop.

I'm looking forward to sharing it with y'all.

Take care and have a safe New Years celebration.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Primal utility knife

A while back I showed a pair of double-edged knives ordered by a Marine for himself and his brother. Here they are:

At the same time he commissioned a primal utility knife for his father with a leather sheath, to be shipped at the same time with the one for his brother. For that one he wanted a leather sheath, something outside my skills. I had a local sheathmaker build that one.

Here's the pair before they headed out.

The warfighter knife is 5160 and paracord impregnated with Minwax Wood Hardener. The utility is 1084 with a hemp wrap over leather slabs and a cotton cord three-strand Turk's head knot, all sealed with shellac.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Navy SEAL's bush sword

This was an interesting project. I was contacted by a Navy SEAL who wanted a blade. He had come across my website and liked a bush sword I had made that was inspired by a Thailand machete I had seen in an article in Tactical Knives magazine. I still had that bush sword, with a neon orange paracord wrap. As we discussed things, we considered re-wrapping the handle in colors more appropriate to covert operations, but ultimately I recommended that he let me build a new one from scratch since I make my military blades a bit stouter than general-use blades. Also, he wanted the top edge of the clip fully sharpened and the original only had a false edge. I suggested the possibility of a Micarta handle on a full tang, but he liked the integral socket handle idea.

So going from my first take on the blade here:

I forged out this 16" blade from 1/4" 5160 and triple normalized it:

After eating the scale off with an overnight soak in vinegar, I ground and filed in the bevels.

After that came a triple hardening cycle in canola oil and a triple tempering cycle in my kiln.

Since this may be going into some pretty hairy situations, I took an extra step after the third tempering cycle and differentially tempered using a pair of tempering tongs to heat the spine and make it tougher. I alse drew the tip back a bit extra, with the thought that a slightly bent tip is more useful than one that's broken off in a dire situation.

Given that he wasn't sure whether he'd be carrying it into a desert place or one with more vegetation, we decided on a color scheme that could work in either place. The main wrap is olive drab and the two-strand Turk's head knots are in coyote brown. After the wrap, it was impregnated with Minwax Wood Hardener. Somehow or other, I didn't do my wrap correctly and had some small gaps between coils that I didn't see until it was already sealed. I don't think I've seen that before. So I cut off this wrap and redid it.

After that, I built the Kydex sheath for it. We decided on a digital woodland camo pattern that had enough mix of green and brown to blend well with a variety of environments. A pair of MOLLE locks and a whole lot of grommets gives plenty of options on carrying it.

After that it went to fellow knifemaker and leatherworker Luke Swenson, who's an all right fellow for a grinder guy. :D He made a leather rig with a detachable shoulder strap and carrying frog. After I got it back, I sharpened things up and got the final pictures before mailing it out.

This was like making the machete/Bowie from Predator, but a thousand times cooler because it's going to a real special forces hero instead of actors. :D

The SEAL e-mailed me, "Tested it out last night, safe to say that one section of the Christmas tree is decidedly much barer now. Haha"

I don't think I've had a bad or rude customer, but he's been the most polite. I asked him if that was his SEAL training or his raisings, and he says it's his raising.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Garden hoe head

This was commissioned by a Zombie Squad member as a present for his sister. Most of the forging was done with Gunnhilda, my homebrewed power hammer. I started with a piece of new leaf spring stock, forged out the neck and spread out the preform for the socket. I actually used math to figure up the size of the socket to fit a regular hoe handle with a bit of shaving on the handle to ensure a tight fit.

Then I rolled the socket and cut the hoe free from the parent stock.

Then I spread the blade out and thinned it down.

Because the neck got forged a bit off-centered when I forged it, the blade came out off-centered. I trimmed it more even and ground the edge bevel in.

I stamped my touchmark on the blade, the first time I've done that on a hoe. Then came the part of the process that is most difficult for me, bending the neck into the appropriate angle. If the angle's off a bit, it won't work very well.

Then I hardened the blade and neck in commercial quench oil.

After that I tempered it in my kiln.

This morning after pulling it out, I drilled a hole and forged a little nail to make sure that it stays on the handle once it's fitted.

And now it's off to its new home, in time for Christmas. :)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Primal/tactical with leather and paracord

This one was purchased by the brother-in-law of another customer. He wanted something in short order if I could work it in amongst commissions. I had a blade already forged out and heat treated, so I took a picture and sent it to him.

He liked it and said to finish it up and he'd take it. He had an idea that I hadn't thought of for the handle wrap, combining my more primal construction with my more tactical style. Rather than two layers of contrasting paracord, he wanted a slab of leather underneath the paracord overlay. I was game, and I'm happy with the results. I reckon I'll likely wrap some more handles in this fashion.

The steel is 5160, forged from 3/4" round bar and the leather was a dark brown before it and the paracord was impregnated in Minwax Wood Hardener which makes it look black. The blade is around 6 1/2" long and shaves hair. No sheath for this one; he wanted to try his hand at making his own.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Pair of double-edged primal/tactical warfighters

This pair was commissioned by a Marine for himself and his brother. The design was based on one I made for another Marine about a year ago, but with the blades a bit wider and with more belly.

The steel is 5160, with olive drab and black paracord handle wraps impregnated with Minwax Wood Hardener. The angle of the top edge bevel is too wide for it to be shaving sharp, but it'll carve flesh right handily if need be. The main edge shaves hair.

The sheaths are black Kydex with TekLoks.