Jump to content

Kevin Colwell

Supporting Member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Everything posted by Kevin Colwell

  1. I felt the need to add a separate comment, this thing is just too cool. I like and respect the guard. I know that getting a big, curved, guard like that opened up and fit to the blade takes a lot more effort and time than a flat-faced guard. But they add a LOT to the knife, in my opinion. I love that guard.
  2. I am not well-versed in high-end kitchen cutlery. Plus, I think you have to feel them to really understand them. They LOOK great. One of the pattern welded knives doesn't have a very visible ricasso/plunge cut, but that may be the lighting and the pattern. Other than emphasizing and cleaning that up a tad, there isn't anything to suggest for improvement. That is a lot of knives, but they all look really good from here. Goodto hear from you and see your work. well done! kc
  3. JD - I travelled around your website. Good stories. Plus, I didn't realize how nice the folding knives you make looked. Those were/are some very good knives.I am daunted by making folding knives.
  4. JD - that is a wonderful story. Balance. Our current economy has lost the perspective of balance. More is not always better, and imaginary money (it is all imaginary) can't replace real things like food and butterflies. Now I will be thinking of myself as putting my own little song into the knives. Some of the swords may have a curse word or two embedded in them, too! I had forgotten that you were in Mexico. Growing up in Texas, I had family in Mexico City, but never made it there while they were alive. I have always been fascinated by Mexico and it's people. Though, the ones I knew had a totally different experience than a man from the souther tropical regions would (Oaxaca). thanks, Wes - we shall see. The things that are in my head range from simple piece with no bolsters and forged finish up to the sort of stuff that TK Steingass is doing these days (full tang, saddle guard, hand finish). Or the thinner blade design with a bolster that sweeps down to imitate a guard and then sweeps back up to the blade. That design has been used from David Boye forward in the custom world but it works.
  5. How does the handle feel? Not going to create hot spots with long use, right? Noth that anyone will use that beauty for long periods of work. It is beautiful. I knew it would be when I saw the title. You know I love and respect your work. This is another one of those. Damn fine knife. Outstanding.
  6. OK, First, I am impressed as always by the thoughtful responses to my serious, but tongue-in-cheek inquiry Second, it still suprises me that anyone is willing to take time and help me with my situation. Just great. Seriously. Third, I think the answer is not TACTICAL for me, but WORKING KNIVES. If I make several that are aimed at that function and form, I iwill know. A range of finish level, also. Simple sheaths, probably not finished until the customer orders the knife so they can tell me how the want to carry it (right v left, angle, etc.). I am thinking mostly full tang, tube or birdseye rivets, wood or micarta handle scales. One of the hard questions is to decide whether or not to use guards or bolsters. I will play around with the swept bolster that looks like a guard for narrow full tang, and also saddle guards. Wide blade/no bolster is light and I will have to try. Plus, the hammering on the area of the choil to thicken it so that it does the same thing as a guard. This is exciting!
  7. that blade has a lot of subtle curves that are nice. It draws you in. At first it looks fairly standard for a genre, but then it has a lot of individuality and style. Sort of like some good songs. More there every time you look.
  8. I don't know how I managed to not reply to this. I flippin' love this knife. It looks just right. That is all. I thing this an excellent idea, and it appears to have been executed well, too.
  9. thanks Adam, I remember fondly the, "Baby Fairbairn," that was meant for forarm sheaths. I think the sheath thing is going to be the biggest challenge for me. Actually, I may try to find a partner who is good at leather and kydex work. It seems to me that the best route would be for me to make the knife and then let someone good at it customize a sheath to fit what the client plans to do with the knife. Stormcrow excels at making sheaths with that have a variety of applications (and he has kept up with the baffling series of acronyms to describe harness gear). Indeed, he has a good model all around.
  10. Jim, Thanks for the response. The second group you describe, I am quite interested in. I have worked with corrections, law enforcement, military etc. That's why the fantasy doesn't appeal to me. It is the everyday work world (or was) for me for many years. I think that is why I like some of the designs from 20th Century struggles, they were proven or the flaws were found quickly in some hellacious environments. I guess the same can be said for many swords, too. But, I am fine with, and interested in, making things for serious applications and harsh environments (that's physics and heat treating, and I like those). I guess you cut to the heart of the issue, or one major aspect. I want to make things that I feel good about, as functional pieces. Those who really want good edged tools and, gasp, weapons, well I would be happy to make for them what they want. The thing about pride is that I don't want to emulate the latest knife from a video game (unless it is a historically-accurate video game). Gee, this all makes perfect sense in my head, but starts to look silly when typed out. There was also a division that to me seem similar: there were those correctional officers who tried to look tough and sometimes assaulted mentally ill inmates, and there were those officers you hoped were near you when/if a large fight broke out. They were never the same ones. Joshua, you make me laugh, dude. Gerald - What I meant by that wasn't that swords are more or less than knives, or that simple is not good. Hell, simple is great. That's part of it. I meant, I won't make something that sucks as a knife (like a really textured and ridged handle, a concave belly, and a 1/4" thick spine 1/8" back from the point). These are all common features in some of the more expensive knives I came across over the past few days of looking. To me, that is like making a wheel with corners. That's all. I was thinking about the wonderful description Alan gave at the beginning of this thread, and that is what I am determined not to do, even if it pays a lot more. I didn't explain completely what I meant. Making something for the sake of money rather than because I like/want to make it has often resulted in me doing lower quality work. For me to really do well, I need to like the product as a functional piece. If I don't, I don't do as well. Or, I really need to like the person I am making it for. That works, too. But, making just for the sake of a commission is the worst situation for me to be in, in terms of quality of outcome.
  11. Thank you for the thougthful and funny reply. I have been making jian (22-31" double-edged blades) so the idea of making a 5" double-edged blade is relaxing. k But, I also have my pride and love of history. I am leaning toward making a couple of Bob Engnath's patterns or something similar to what TK Steingass does - either mortised handle or slab handle with full tang. I think I will try your advice and make a small dagger that is a knockoff of the Gerber Mark III. I have a couple of pieces of black and green micarta, so I will try that. That is the plan at present. I suck at leatherwork, and may not have much. I will look, and maybe make a simple sheath. I think you may be on to something. I may be able to come up with some full-tang designs and play with the sheath to make it versatile and thereby make it more sellable. God, I hate capitalism, though. I really, truly, thoroughly detest it (which is why I don't make much money, I bet). I began this whole thing poking fun at myself to help cover the distaste. But, many of us face this same issue, we need to find a way to sell our work for a decent price. Man, do I wish the current fad was puukkos, or Wostenholm-styled bowies. Or the Chinese fighting knives with the huge brass pommel that looks like a mace head. Alas...
  12. Wes - I love it. That is why I called the 4" knife the thermonuclear death kill thing. Thanks for the serious ideas too. George and Collin, i have often wondered how much transfer of information there was along Northern trade routes. The Northern Europeans to the Ainu in Japan, and to the Proto-Mongolians in China. The shapes came from China, so it may have been that everything flowed outward from there originally. Not sure. But, I have had a good bit of practice with puukko blades. Only, they would have to be thicker. Actually, I have been reviewing Bob Engnath's catalog of knife blanks (it is online, you can google it). I will definitely borrow from it in the near future to get some designs. I really don't think I can do most of what passes for, "tactical." But, the stuff Bob did has style and was designed with efficiency and utility in mind I am always impressed by the kindness and thoughtfulness.
  13. Owen, You are quite insightful from your side of the pond. I took a commission that has take months as a favor to a friend, and it is horribly cheap. I shouldn't have done it, but I let them talk me into it. So, I am trying to make up a bit for the double curse of a very hard project that takes forever, for which I am making almost nothing. In general, I have to charge more and work faster. I won't be happy making things that don't seem right, and the fantasy aspect doesn't do it for me. The dream world appeal doesn't do it for me. Not that sort of dream world (my fantasy world is more suited to messers and daos and such). Back when real fighting was done with blades. I spent years working with military and intelligence and police. I don't get even the slightest rush of out dreaming those dreams. It turned me off, in a big way. I walked away from lots of money because it didn't sit well with me to work in that world. Believe me, they would love to pay me to teach them about deception... . I guess what I am really wondering is where I can find a niche that will allow me to make some simpler blades from time to time as a counterpoint to the swords. Of course, if I was able to get to a better balance with pricing and speed with swords, then this would be a non-issue, because that is where my heart is. But, essentially I need to make a few simpler blades and get the bladesmithing back on an even keel and then I will probably make another dao or messer, because those make me the happiest. thanks everyone. I am shocked and impressed by the humor, insights, and plane intent to help a fellow smith trying to sort things out.
  14. First, thanks everyone. Alan - you know, I hate all those stupid angles, which is sort of why I asked here. You guys are at least knowledgeable enough to help me try to see past the hype. The only thing I have come up with is to make something about like a Loveless hunter with ospho treatment. I can't lower myself to any of that other crap (in fact I have tried to get others to stay true to historical work in the past). You did make me laugh a lot, because I have gotten into minor online arguments (I won't get into a major online argument, I have better things to do) about that stuff in the recent past. George- I no frills work knife I can get behind. One of the chisel/tanto/concave belly knives I can't do. Not with my stamp on it. Michael - I know, it sucks. I will find something to intersperse between the swords. I have to make the swords, that's part of what it's all about, but I want to mix in some simple knives. If I can find something simple that will sell, so much better. By the way, I have two elaborate Swedish/Finnish derivative blades on my bench right now I need to finish. I have given that sort a lot of thought, and I am thinking of making more. Adam - that for the kind words and the info. Here is the real issue, I am slow and I probably need to charge more for my swords. I will be raising prices in the future but I hope for a way to make things I can sell so I don't have to worry about rushing, or how fast I sell, with swords. Hoy - those grants all died out, as did almost all other grants of any kind. There haven't been many grants available for scientists or artists since the end of the Cold War. i get them from time to time with my deception research, but nothing for the art/craft. I have thought about it, believe me. Jake - I haven't read Joseph Campbell in some time, but I studied his work closely enough for long enough that it isn't something I'll forget (until the big forgetting). That is really the crux of the question - is it all just psychology. Sort of like the Emperor's New Clothes, or is there anything to it. I have, in my searching into this, found people that are making copies of WWII military blades, calling them tactical, putting Tero-tuff on them, and blackening the blades, and selling them for $800 as fast as they can make them. I am good at making small daggers, especially if you don't have to make a guard to go with it. So, if making a 20th Century design, and putting micarta on it and painting it black means I can sell it for triple what I could sell if for if it had a guard and wood for a handle... well damnit, it's tempting. So, that's where I am.
  15. Hello All, Please forgive me. I need money, now that I have a wife and stepson. Professors do not get paid a great deal, especially when one considers we have as much or more training than MD's. I have, for years, poked fun at the Tactical Knife movement. Doing things like naming a simple full tang 4" dropped hunter the, "thermonuclear, kill, death, kill, kill, tactical knife." Another understated edged tool I named the, "genocide facilitation implement." Yet, after the good fun, it has become evident that working for several months to make a beautiful (I hope) sword for the amount that swords cost is not an economically-viable venture. It occurs to me that, if I were to make a few simple knives and sell them every month or two, then I would be free to pursue the swordsmithing and not be shorting me or the family. So, um... what exactly is, "tactical, in terms of design features? Input is welcome. Please, please, tell me your ideas. thanks, kc
  16. I forgot to say in my last post: 1. the two steels are probably very similar. It depends somewhat on the age of the file. I have a bunch of, "New Old Stock" Nicholsons from the 1970s. I also have a bunch of Disstons from the 1940s-60s. The Nicholsons are supposed to have a little vanadium, and the Disstons definitely do. They both have more than 1 percent carbon. This makes the steel ideal for traditional Japanese-style blades. Edited to add: the Disston company had a proprietary crucible steel process that they used to make what was essentially W2. The old files from them had as much as 1.3 percent carbon, sometimes a little chromium, and I think vanadium. I am not sure about the vanadium and chromium, though. LONGMIRE? He may know more. Newer Nicholsons are essentially 1095, I believe (but I do not have the specs). They are W1 or 1095 or something. They keep getting cheaper in material and crappier in performance. The NOS ones rock in use. Then, when they start to dull, they become a hell of a knife. Just make sure to get all signs that it was a file off of it. Despite the historical commonality of re-using steel (including files) to make other tools, there is a strong negative reaction to using a file to make a knife. 2. If you etch the blades with vinegar or lemon juice (since you have the handle on, the easiest way is to mix a drop of dish soap like Dawn in a bowl with the squeezing of a lemon). Rub this up and down each side of the blade, especially where the hamon is, for a few minutes. Lemon juice is faster than vinegar. 3. Get FF or FFF pumice and leather or felt or 0000 steel wool and rub the oxides off and repeat. Rub the area over the hamon like you are trying to rub a hole through the blade. For the area above that, don't worry to much, just enough to get the oxides off. In fact, for the area above, you can just use 2000 grit or so paper, or silicon carbide powder of 1000 grit or higher. Repeat 4 or 5 total times. You may want to use the pumice dry and just use your finger tips to go back and forth in short stroke directly over the areas of the hamon that you are trying to accentuate. You will feel the pumice start to bite more in some places than others. You can do a lot to emphasize a hamon by rubbing the hell out of those areas. I learned a lot of this by watching a Walter Sorrells video that he sells. Except he uses Silicon Carbide (which is great, just pumice is easier to buy). Hope you don't mind the lengthy set of unrequested advice. Best wishes, kc
  17. I think that is a sweet looking knife. I don't know about historical influences or any of that, but I think it looks very well done. Be proud, you made a good knife!
  18. you are braver I am. That is good carving. I am a coward when it comes to carving steel. What tool did you use? How did you sharpen it? Those are the things I am working on and once I get that part sorted, I will be doing more adornment of my own. I love the shear steel, and the shape of the blade and bolster. I used to be struck by how THIN historical pieces were, in general. I recently went to the MET in NYC and looked at their Arms and Armor collection. These were pieces made for kings, emperors, sultans, sheiks, etc. I was taken aback by how THICK they were. Katana, wakizashi, tantos, shamshir, ear daggers, katars, all of them. Every piece was more that 1/4" for at least the first few inches. Many were 3/8" or so. I guess a lot depended upon who was paying. great work. I love it.
  19. love it! frame handle again? Hey, I was looking at some DE Henry knives, and a design drawing that Bob Engnath did of a bowie he claimed was like DE Henry's style. The drawing was for a regular full-tang, no frame. Did Henry use frames on his, do you know? That is a great knife. I like everything about it.
  20. Hey Collin, Great inspiration. Nice forging and welding. I love copper bolsters, spacers, and sometimes guards and butt caps. I will like this one when done, I can tell. I like to work harden little bolsters and spacers like that, and be really careful with a tool to cover the whole thing when driving it down. You can use the tang as a swage better with thin copper, but you will have to flatten everything again. But, driving the shoulders of the tang in to seat it perfectly is such a treat. Otherwise, I use chisels, graver, and file (as I am sure you do). Forgive the ramble. These will be fun to see. Good work, for sure. kc
  21. uhm, oops. Would have been a good thing to mention on this thread that THE DATE CHANGED. Got up at 3:00 am to train into NYC and meet my bud Ricky. We went to the Arms and Armor display at the Met. Other than the Wallace Collection or the Royal Armories at Leeds, or the British Museum, it is one of the best I have ever seen. Possibly the best in the entire US. Now that the collection in Wooster is no more, anyway. Hopefully, I can make it next month. kc
  • Create New...