Thursday, December 31, 2015

Oxtail sheath

The fellow who bought the oxtail bush sword requested a Kydex sheath, so I built this before shipping it to him.

It takes a lot of rivets to make a Kydex sheath for an 18" blade!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Biohazard Outbreak Response CQC Blade - Resident Evil inspired

This is a blade design I've been wanting to do for a looong time.  The initial inspiration came from the large blade used by Chris Redfield in the video game Resident Evil 5 (sold under the name Biohazard 5 in Japan).  I'm not a gamer, but have my finger on the pulse of the gaming world a bit.  I spent a long time scouring the Internet for a good picture of the knife and found nothing that showed a good profile shot of the blade.  Finally, a good picture showed up in my Google Images search.  I made a pattern, heated up some 80CrV2, and got to hammering.

The blade is 14 1/2" long and very pointy.  The tip drew a few drops of blood while working on it, before there was ever an edge on it.  The top side is a false edge.

The in-game knife has slab handles and a handle shape somewhat similar to the MercWorx Goliath.  At some point I will play around with translating the video game handle design into something comfortable for the hand in the real world, but on this one I went with an integral socket handle with coyote tan paracord for the main wrap and black two-strand Turk's head knots, impregnated with West System marine epoxy.

And a coyote tan Kydex sheath with some provision for straps.  In the game, Chris wears it in a heavy leather sheath over his left shoulder and does a funky combination cross draw, strike, and re-sheath in one smooth motion that would be essentially impossible (certainly difficult) in real life.

And it feels badass in the hand.  :D

This is definitely a design that I will be returning to. 

Because those damn zombies just won't kill themselves. 

This one is for sale in the Available Work section.

Oxtail Saber Bush Sword

This is one of my last bush swords to be forged from 5160.  It's in the oxtail saber style that makes for a graceful, powerful chopper.  The blade is 18" long, with a false edge on the top side.

 The handle is an integral socket wrapped in black paracord with two-strand Turk's head knots fore and aft, all impregnated with West System marine epoxy.

This one is for sale.  Check the Available Work section. 

Monday, December 28, 2015

15" bush sword

A fellow contacted me about getting a bush sword a little while back.  I had a few in progress that weren't spoken for yet and this was the one he picked. 

The blade is forged from 80CrV2 steel and is 15" long.  The clip is a false edge, but thin enough that a secondary bevel could easily be added to make it fully sharp.  The cord wrap is olive drab paracord hardened with West System marine epoxy.

His plan is for a Kryptek camo Kydex sheath built by an ex-Army Ranger he knows.  :)

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Feedback from Special Forces soldier

I always appreciate feedback.  This came in from the Special Forces soldier that ordered up the cord-wrapped Benghazi Warfighter that I photographed on the hood of a Scout here:

He sent me this recently and I got permission to post his pictures.

"I wanted to let you know that my Benghazi Warfighter is amazing. It's a very capable blade that I've used many times camping so far. Here is a pic of where it's normally mounted, on the bottom of my Hill People Gear kit bag that is my little go bag and chest rig."

I rather like his rig.  The blade is out of the way, and more accessible from both hands than behind-the-back scout carry. 

This last one is obviously reversed in a mirror.

Looking forward to building his next blade.  :)

Monday, December 21, 2015

Social media knifemaking

I've been posting my work on Instagram and from there onto Facebook since back in the summer.  I knew the customer was following along on Facebook and we had talked about the possibility of going wither with or without a Turk's head.  So I posted a picture without and asked what he thought.
He commented later that it kind of looked like a small machete without the Turk's head.  He had me try it with a black Turk's head knot.  I did a two strand to keep it small since aikuchis are supposed to be guardless, and he approved.

You can see how much the epoxy darkens the color of the paracord.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Chisel-ground tanto, long time coming

This was a request from a fellow who really likes the work of Phill Hartsfield.  Which meant he wanted a chisel-ground tanto with a cord-wrapped handle.  We were originally thinking of it as an aikuchi, meaning without a guard, but I tried it with a Turk's head prior to applying the epoxy and we decided to go with it.

This project took way longer than it should have.  The issues were largely mental on my part; there were some aspects that were more difficult for me with it being chisel ground, but not that bad.  Still, I kind of feel like I should have included a certificate with it like Bob Loveless did with his one Damascus knife.  :D

The blade is 9" long, forged from 1/4" x 1" 5160 steel.  The spine is rounded.  This is a chisel edge for a righty, and I'm a lefty, but I think I did all right.  :)

The handle has a foundation of neoprene, followed by black paracord and coyote tan paracord, with a black two-strand Turk's head knot, all impregnated with West System marine epoxy.

With the lighting and my camera acting wonky, it was kind of difficult to catch the bevels well, but I think they show up better in these in-hand shots.

And finally, a coyote tan Kydex sheath to go with it.

I thought that sharpening might prove tricky, but it went smoothly.  I just made sure to keep a burr from forming on the back side.  It ended up pretty much scaring the hair off my arm.  :)

I'm still not a fan of chisel ground blades, but I'm rather pleased with this one.  :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Tantos for sale.

These three tantos are posted in the Available Work section.

 Available Work

Saturday, December 12, 2015

More copperhead bush sword

The owner surprised me when he sent me some pictures of what he had done with the left-over copperhead paracord that I had sent with the bush sword.  He said to honor the maker, he put my touchmark on the sheath as well.  :D

Matches the stamp on the blade pretty darn well!  I was very impressed.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Copperhead sinuous bush sword

I had a customer request a bush sword as close as possible in profile and bevels to one that I forged a couple of years ago for Knife Rights' Ultimate Steel fundraiser.  Fortunately, I had traced the blade on a piece of cardboard before I finished it out, so I was able to make a pattern.  Making any forged blade match exactly what has been done before is always boogery, but the pattern helped.

I forged it from 80CrV2 steel, with a 14" blade and an integral socket handle.  Like the original, the clip is a false edge, though thin enough that it could be sharpened.

The customer wanted me to do the handle wrap with a patterned paracord called "copperhead" that matches pretty close to the scale pattern on the actual ophidian, with the Turk's head knots in a solid color called "rust" that compliments the copperhead well.  The cord always darkens when the epoxy is applied, but the pattern still shows up.  Just not as obvious at a distance.

The customer is a lefty like me and liked the edge-forward left-handed cross draw setup I had done on my test mule camp knife.  He wanted to wear it lower than I did, so I gave the quick-detach, double-adjustable shoulder sling an extra foot of webbing so he could adjust it to where he wants it.

He expressed his satisfaction with the rig in no uncertain terms.  Always glad to have another happy customer.  :)

Shorty Benghazi Warfighter

I had a fellow who is a combat medic with the Antiterrorism Assistance Program request a knife from me.  He gave me some basic parameters like blade length and what kind of uses were intended and then gave me pretty free hand with the rest.  What we ended up with was a Benghazi Warfighter about an inch shorter than usual at a 5 1/2" blade.

Of course, when I find something that works I tend to stick with it, so I forged it from 1/4" thick 80CrV2 steel and built the handles from black Tero Tuf with flared stainless steel tubing rivets.

He wanted to be able to swap between wearing it on his belt and carrying it on a plate carrier MOLLE vest.  So I set up a modular carry rig for him.  Kydex sheath, MOLLE locks, and a removable Kydex piece I made with a Combat Loop attached for belt carry.  Want to go from belt to MOLLE carry?  Just pop open the MOLLE locks, stow the modular belt piece, and attach the sheath to the vest with the MOLLE locks.  The belt carry height is adjustable by moving the Combat Loop up or down on the modular belt piece.

And his comment: "The blade feels great, that space between the handle and blade, choil area is perfect. I feel like I designed it and I didn't! The handle material is comfy, yet grippy just like you said and the sheath is fantastic. It's definitely going with my first line gear."

Always glad to have a happy customer.  :)

Monday, December 7, 2015

Long Aggression bush sword

This project is a variation on my Aggression style of blade, lengthened a couple of inches and bringing it into the realm of what I would consider a bush sword.  The 14" blade is forged from 80CrV2 steel, and the handle is coyote tan paracord over black on top of a neoprene foundation, all impregnated with West System marine epoxy.

The top edge is fully sharpened, and the butt of the tang is left exposed.

The stout leather sheath was made by Luke Swenson, with several carry options.

The customer said that although he hasn't had a chance to give it a good workout yet, his wife laughed at him a bit because he hadn't set it down much over the weekend.  :)

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Primal/tactical tanto

This primal/tactical tanto is up for sale.  It's forged from 1084, with a blade 5 7/8" long, a spine 3/16" thick at the base that tapers distally to the tip, and an overall length of 11 1/8".  It shaves hair nicely.  :)

The handle is two layers of paracord (coyote tan over black) over a foundation of neoprene, with a two-strand Turk's head knot, all impregnated with West System marine epoxy to make it rock-solid and waterproof.

Coyote tan Kydex sheath.

Price is $240 plus shipping. Carry hardware available at cost.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Ranger wedding knives

Not that they were necessarily used in the wedding.  They might have been; he didn't say.  :D

But he did give me permission to mention his profession.  These two knives were commissioned by a return customer in the Army Rangers, one for himself and one for his best man, also a Ranger.
He wanted a matching set of double-edged Benghazi Warfighters.  I forged them from 80CrV2 steel, with black TeroTuf handle slabs and flared stainless steel tube rivets.

Prior to giving them their black oxide finish, I took them down the road to a laser engraver.  The opposite sides had a unit insignia and personal identifiers etched in, and this side has these lines of verse:

"The wolves will learn
What we've shown before
We love our sheep
We dogs of war"

He picked out this pattern of camo Kydex, and I set the sheaths up with Combat Loops for belt carry.

Upon receiving them, he told me that he "couldn't be more pleased".  That's always what a maker likes to hear.  :)

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Carry rig for test mule camp knife

This is now my knife, so I needed to be able to carry it with me easily when going walkabout.  It's a big blade, and I didn't want to try belt carry with it (yet).  I wanted to be able to take it on and off quickly and easily.  I had in mind when I built the sheath that I'd use some kind of shoulder sling.  This is what I ended up putting together: a variation of the shoulder sling I build for my tomahawks.

I'm a lefty, and I set it up for a cross draw, up fairly high.

From the front:

From the back (against the body):

A closer look at the quick-detach double-adjustable sling.

I did a fair amount of walking around with it today, up hill and down, and found that it was out of my way, didn't flop around, and didn't interfere with my movements.  I didn't do any gymnastics, but basic hiking and moving around it worked quite nicely.

Drawing the blade:


Plenty of real estate to add pouches for fire/survival kits and paracord should I feel the desire to later on down the road.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Bugout blades

A customer sent me a link to this article on the Daily Mail website about an art project where a photographer took photos of the contents of people's bugout bags as a form of portrait.

And sure enough, one of them had not one but two of my knives!  I know exactly whose bag it is.  :)

Very cool to see my work pop up at random like that.  :D

80CrV2 camp knife testing

I put together this camp knife with the intention of testing several things: heat treatment, using neoprene beneath the wrap, and the durability of the black oxide finish.  If it survived the tests, I decided to make it my personal camp knife.

The knife is forged from 80CrV2 steel with a shallow recurve to the blade.  The clip is a false edge with a very slight bevel, purely for aesthetics.  The blade is 13" from the tip to the Turk's head knot, with an overall length of just under 19".  The spine is 3/16" at its thickest point, right in front of the Turk's head.  The wrap is stripped black paracord over intact olive drab paracord (though you really can't tell the color of the underlay unless you look closely in person) over neoprene, all impregnated with West System marine epoxy. 

The edge was sharpened as I normally do, by eye and feel with an Arkansas stone and leather strop, and was hair shaving sharp before starting the test.

I was confident enough that I went ahead and built a Kydex sheath for it, though I haven't yet rigged a shoulder sling.

The big thing I wanted to test was toughness, particularly if it would survive being batoned through a difficult piece of wood.  I wasn't interested in testing to destruction on this one, just a real-world toughness test.  The mesquite I started with was splitting too easily to be a challenge, so I moved on to a piece of solid, seasoned oak about 4" in diameter on the smaller end.  You can't see it in this shot, but there's a pretty good elbow in the wood opposite of the sawed-off branch.

I got the blade down below the level of the wood a couple of times, batonning both on the handle side and the tip side.  Both times it hit a point at which it was not wanting to split further in spite of repeated blows with the baton and lifting the whole chunk of wood with the blade and slamming it down on the cement slab underneath.  It's a piece of wood that would have been challenging for a splitting maul, and actually splitting the wood was not the point.  Flexing the blade in the wood and impacting the edge were, and as you can see, it flexed the blade pretty good.

And after knocking it free from the wood, it straightened back true.

I then turned it over and batonned the blade into the longer, straighter section of the chunk of firewood.  It flexed the blade even further in the opposite direction by the time I reached the limits of how far I could drive the blade.

This time the blade took a slight set.  No damage to the edge. 

Satisfied with the batonning portion of the test, I moved on to chopping.  This is extremely hard, seasoned oak wood, and I didn't try to avoid any knots or use a section with straight grain. 

After cutting through, I found no nicks, rolls, or flat spots on the edge, which I was expecting.  What surprised me a bit was that the edge still was roughly cutting hair (as opposed to shaving it) right in the area where I had done all the chopping.  With a lazy flick, it would still slice the tops off of the long grasses growing around.

Conclusions -

1.  The heat treatment is right where I want it.  This was not a stout knife, in fact it's pretty light.  The spine is not particularly thick, and the edge is a general usage edge that was a nice, working sharp when starting.  The blade was flexed quite a bit in a very tough piece of wood and did not break, remained a very useful straightness, and the edge took no damage while retaining a good working sharpness.   I'm not a big advocate of batoning; it has its place, but I think it gets overused.  However, it is one of the toughest things a customer will typically subject a custom knife to.  For someone who is wanting that as a primary usage, I'd go with a stouter spine.

2.  The handle could probably stand to be a little wider, but all other aspects were great.  The paracord has a bit of an aggressive grip, but did not raise any hot spots.  It was very comfortable.  I could tell no difference in usage between the neoprene foundation and the leather I've been using, but in construction, the neoprene was easier to work with and didn't clog the belts like leather does.

3.  The black oxide wore away in usage, but acceptably.  Any blade coating wears, and it shouldn't be too hard to clean up and re-apply the coating if need be.

4.  I gots a new camp knife!  :D