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Gary Mulkey

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Everything posted by Gary Mulkey

  1. "He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.”
  2. The paper isn't visible like the cloth is.
  3. After making four different handles from blackwood and being dissatisfied with each of them and throwing each away, I finally made one from paper micarta tonight and finally got what I was after. Normally I'm not much on synthetics but as this knife is pure tactical, I think that it will be OK. The blade is in the tempering oven as I write this. I'll try to get a guard cut out & fitted tomorrow.
  4. I'm certainly no expert but I would guess them to be cobbler's tools.
  5. F/S knives were made several different ways and by numerous countries. As I'm not a fan of the all metal handle or of brass, mine will not have either.
  6. I got the wooden handle roughed out today. The blade is still much too large. I haven't decided if I will forge it smaller or simply grind it to size. The Fairbairn/Sykes knife was made in different styles by multiple countries. Most versions had a 7" dagger style blade. The hilt was sometimes solid metal and sometime a combination of hardwood & brass. The customer on this one gave me some leeway so I'm using some blackwood with 416 hardware.
  7. For those of you who aren't familiar with the name Fairbairn/Sykes, this knife was created for the British SAS troops who were probably the first special forces. There have been many small changes in the knife over the years since WWII. It has even been adopted by many different countries including the US.
  8. The customer on this one wants a Fairbairn/Sykes style dagger but has given me some artistic leeway on it. This being the case, I think that I will give it a damascus blade and probably a ribbed blackwood hilt with stainless fittings.
  9. Thanks, Alan. I'm going to enter this one in the "Best Fighter" competition at The Central States Hammer-In. The last two years Lyle Schow has nosed me out for the plaque. Maybe this year I'll give him more competition.
  10. Here's a look at my dagger after changing the pommel:
  11. Brian, For me it is much easier and quicker to normalize my blades immediately after forging. This way you already have a hot heat source (your forge) and you are only removing the forging scale one time. This is about the only time that I use borax anymore and I will use it while normalizing for anti-scale. There is nothing wrong with using your oven but normalizing can be done effectively with your forge as well. I would recommend for your second & third (always do three) normalizing cycles that you reduce the heat each time. By the time that I do my final normalizing I only go to a dull cherry color. If you have other questions get with me at Central States and we'll discuss it further.
  12. Progressing: I've yet to do a lot of sand & polish but it's getting there.
  13. The Branson hammer-in is now The Central States Hammer-In & Knife Show which is a traveling event to be held this year in Claremore, OK. Sept 21. (go to the Facebook page for more info) The ICCE Show in KC is no more.
  14. Today was one of those days when I wasn't easily satisfied and decided to remove the pommel from one of my finished daggers as it just didn't make me happy. I'm not sure if this is a character flaw or just the artist being finicky but either way, the knife is getting a new pommel. To replace it I am going with more of a European look. I forged some 1/8" stainless in the petals of a flower. The round brass rod shown here will become the pistil of the flower once contoured to fit. I'll probably give the pistil some texture just to add a little extra pizzazz.
  15. It's starting to look like a blade. I think that I'll do the rest of the grinding on it tomorrow in my public shop. I'm doing a little more stock removal than normal on this one in hopes that it will enhance the pattern by grinding through more layers. We'll see.
  16. I'm now up to my intended 336 layers. I think that's a good place to stop for the day. The rest of the escutcheon inlay will be done by hand with mini chisels. (It will eventually have square corners.)
  17. One of the skills that is often required in making hand made items is the making of specialized tools for the job. If you make a checkering tool with adjustable spacers between the cutters then you will be able to layout any size checkering without the need for a mill or expensive files. Time to get the creative juices flowing.
  18. Since I haven't made one in several years I'm going to style my next after those of William Butcher of 19th century Sheffield but with a random pattern damascus blade. Here's one with a mono-steel blade that I made years ago. I may vary from it a little but this will give you a basic concept. The weather here today is pretty oppressive so I only got in limited shop time but did manage to get this one started. The damascus will eventually be 336 layers in a random pattern. The blackwood shown here will be the handle. I didn't have any 416 the right thickness for the front handle spacer so I milled a tang slot in what I had which will get cut in half, doubled, pinned & soldered.
  19. Thanks, Clifford. I'm not sure if it will top this one but I've chosen my next project. I've decided to make a William Butcher style knife as I haven't made one in several years. This time I'm going to try to keep the labor & price down on it by giving it a simple random pattern blade.
  20. Exactly right. My checkering files are 18 to the inch. This handle has 4 to the inch.
  21. I did the handle checkering with my mill/drill and a pointed router bit.
  22. Thanks. Are you referring to the checkering of the blade pattern or the handle?
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