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jake cleland

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Posts posted by jake cleland

  1. Just got these finished up. Clay hardened 1095 with filework and mustard etch, and a baked oil finish. Carved bog oak handles, with antler bolsters and pommels. Bog oak sheaths with leather throats, and copper clips for antler handled ferro rod fire steels. Commercial boxes with fitted foam lining.


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    Went a little more rustic than usual, but I think I like them...


    Let me know what you think...

    • Like 12
  2. The actual proportions are highly variable, but the handle should be around 4" overall, no more than 4 1/2". Remember that the dirk is held with the thumb and forefinger around the haunches (in a backhand grip the thumb and first three fingers grip the shaft and the pinkie curls loosely around the haunches).


    • Thanks 1
  3. If you've filled the handle so the tang is a decent indexable fit, just epoxy is fine. Traditionally they often just had whittle tangs 1.5" long, secured with cutlers resin. The other traditional solution is to pin through the handle front to back, either through the top mount, or just below it. Personally I often use a pin through the centre of the handle, or somewhere it will fit into the carving.

  4. 3 hours ago, John N said:

    Just run it until it gets hot Jake! You can get a pretty decent small grinder for less than £50 if it burns out. Wasted time worrying about it exceeds the cost of replacing it!


    I normally treat them as consumables, but the problem is that the mounting for the grinder on the lathe bed is bolted into the handle holes, so if it dies I'll probably need to find exactly the same model, and hope they haven't changed the housing. I've got multiple fullers to do on a 34" blade, and I really don't want it to die halfway through...


  5. Some years back my dad built a fuller grinding set up, which uses a Draper angle grinder mounted on an old lathe bed (the design required the handle mountings to be in line and parallel to the cutting action). I can't find anything on line about the duty cycle for that machine corded angle grinders in general. Any idea how long it would be safe to run it for continuously without burning out, how long to cool down etc?

  6. Depends on the type of knife and lock, but generally down a bit and back a bit. I mark a circle on the pivot area, divide it into cardinal quadrants, and make the hole in the corner of the lower  back quadrant. Do this on heavy card stock, and cut out the blade shape (but leave plenty of excess at the back to figure out the lock) and use a split pin to attach it to another piece of card on which you design the handle...

  7. This one was ordered by a friend's mother as a 40th birthday present for him. He's an ex recce sniper and a wilderness guide, so I inlayed some spent .308 brass in the handle (I wanted to use .337, but I don't shoot long guns, and could only buy them by the 100, which would have cost about as much as the knife. But .308 is the classic British Military sniper round, and Highland stalking round, so it's all good...) and used .22 and .22 magnum for the lanyard hole liner. 1095 blade, clay hardened with fileworked tang. Red deer antler scales, with copper pins. The lanyard is made of a fairly still nylon core cord that I quite like for this. Leather pouch sheath.


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    let me know what you think...

    • Like 12
  8. On 4/20/2021 at 6:14 PM, Brian Dougherty said:

    Wow Jake! :o  That's going to be impressive.

    Do you know what it is going to be when it grows up, or is the overall design still a work in progress?

    It's going to get mounted on a 34" double fullered double edged broadsword blade, based on a blade in the Cameronian's Museum, owned by one of my ancestors. I have the blade profiled, but haven't started on the fullers, or built the forge to harden it yet.


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    • Like 2
  9. mix the epoxy on a smooth flat piece of card like a scrap of cereal box so it forms a kind of puddle in the centre of the card. Then just press the tang hole in the handle firmly down into the epoxy at the edge of the puddle, draw it clear of the puddle still in contact with the card, and lift. Repeat until epoxy comes out of the bleed hole (which can be tiny). This method will completely fill the handle with no air pockets.

  10. Did the final bit of hot work (brazing the 'S' bars and rams horns) to the basket I've been working on on and off for months...

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    now for a daunting amount of grinding and filing and sculpting to get it into final shape before making the blade to go with it...

    • Like 5
  11. Spent a couple of days making this for a friends kid. It's bubinga, about 3/4" thick, 26" blade including the integral habaki, 36" o/a. Steel tsuba, leather seppas, copper fuchi and kashira, with a couple of simple steel menuki. The fittings slide on from the end of the handle, so I bulked up the handle profile with laminated card before adding the wrap. The wrap is cotton ito, and it was a bit of a nightmare wrapping on a full length sword as opposed to just the tsuka, and I struggled to get it as tight as I would like. With that and wrapping onto bare wood instead of rayskin, which gives the wrap nothing to grip and makes the hishigami want to slide all over the place, I decided to lacquer it with shellac when it was done, to keep anything from moving. The 'saya' is just a leather tube with copper suspension rings, and the 'sagaeo' is the offcuts from the ito in a 4 strand weave.


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    A fun wee distraction, if more challenging than I anticipated...

    • Like 5
  12. I would experiment with etching the blades - after you take them to a crisp 600 grit finish, etch in ferric for 20 minutes or so, and then rub out the oxides with 1200 grit or finer  on a soft backing (wash the blades first with a fairly aggressive cleaner to remove the loose oxides or the paper will load instantly). The etching will erase the harsh light scatter from the freshly sanded surface, and the fine sanding will soften the lines slightly while simultaneously highlighting the clean geometry. I think this will give some softness and character while still looking clean and new. For the handles you could try coating them in shellac, and taking them back with steel wool, before oiling.

  13. I really like the blade design for a general purpose camp knife. For a dedicated cooking knife, perhaps not so much. To me, a kitchen knife needs an edge profile with a fairly gentle even curve from heel to tip, and enough depth at the heel for knuckle clearance. How those two things are connected, ie the line of the spine, is a matter of personal taste. But any knife will cut up food for a meal, and a camp knife has to do other tasks which a kitchen knife is not suited for, so I'd say your blade is fine. The handle however... knives are tools, and good tool handles are comfortable and versatile. If you compare the tools used by a craftsman to generic hardware store crap, you'll notice that proper handles are largely straight, with maybe a palm swell or flare at the butt end, plain with no grooves or ridges, and generally comparatively long. All the lumps and bumps people throw into a handle for grip create instant hot spots, and mean the handle can only be held one way, which increases fatigue and decreases utility. With your design I'd keep the blade and tang exactly as they are, but just take the line of the top of the handle down to the line of the tang, as a half tang construction. The shape of the underside of the handle is better, but I'd lose the notch between blade and handle, which will trap dirt etc. 

    • Like 1
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