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Aiden CC

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Everything posted by Aiden CC

  1. Aiden CC

    Winter Tanto

    I let the lacquer dry for a week before the final polishing, I think it will be a month or more before it's entirely finished drying. I made the mekugi from a small scrap of ebony, and now it is officially done. The knife is inspired by a midwinter night when the snow catches the light from a head lamp, streetlight, or the moon through a thin veil of clouds, gently sifting down and blown by the occasional icy flurry. Taking out the blade reveals the thin layer of fallen snow in the suguha hamon with a few storm clouds lingering near the tip. My goal was to capture the harsh but serene beauty of snowy nights like the many I've spent wondering in the woods and enjoying the crisp air, glittering tree branches, and soft silence.
  2. Between online finals, my KITH knife, and a commission for a handful of knives, I kind of fell off of this project for the time being, but I did get the handle on the small Sakha knife shaped and treated with tar. I’m really happy with how this piece of wood turned out with the tar. I’m going to be away from my shop for at least three months, but I have a list of all the supplies I want to order and a reminder of the projects I’m working on. It may be in a while, but I do plan on coming back around to make sheaths for these knives and probably making a few more.
  3. Aiden CC

    Winter Tanto

    Yeah, the geometry doesn't really have the wiggle room to go digging for a cleaner hamon and I've definitely improved a few knives to death so I'll leave it other than maybe the gentle application of some SiC. I need to figure out the right lighting to capture it in a picture, but the hamon does have the snowy look I wanted.
  4. Aiden CC

    Winter Tanto

    I ended up switching from Brass-o to a different polishing compound and did three more etches with particular attention near the tip. I think there are some very shallow hardened spots up there, and it was generally a challenge to get good definition. I ordered some loose Si carbide which I may apply to the hamon to try and crisp things up just a little more. I just got it to where you can see the turn-around of the main hamon in the right light: Part of me wants to try and grind through those spots, but there’s no telling how deep they are and I should probably leave well enough alone. Having some clouds isn’t too far of theme anyways. Otherwise, I’ve just been putting more black lacquer on the saya and tsuka, I’ll probably wet sand it tomorrow and put in one last coat then move on to the other color and clear coats.
  5. Aiden CC

    Winter Tanto

    I got most of the polishing done today. Decided to try lemon juice for the etch, I like the results, though I may go for a few more cycles. There is some funny stuff going on at he kissaki, with the hamon getting a bit washed out. I was going for a blanket of fallen snow, but it seems like some storm clouds may have rolled in too . I say this when I did a test etch too and I'm convinced now that it's in the steel and not the polish. Also, these are super hard to photograph! I may try waiting for a cloudy day and taking better pictures then also possibly trying a better camera than my phone. These were taken inside by a glass door, the light was ok, but outside with cloud cover or at sunrise/set might be better. Also put the first few coats of lacquer on the tsuka and saya and worked on a few test coupons. I think I've made some decisions about how I'm going to do this, but I'll show that when I get to it on the real thing. Looking at he pictures, maybe the etch needs to be a little deeper. I'm also waiting on some loose abrasive to lighten the hamon/bring out some detail.
  6. Aiden CC

    Winter Tanto

    Thanks! I was worried for a bit that it was too subtle. I’m using spray can lacquer from the hardware store for this, looking at the specs online I believe it is acrylic. It drys fairly fast, which is nice as well. I guess I could’ve saved some masking/cleanup and brushed on the black, but my plan for later requires something sprayable, so I just went with it for everything.
  7. I haven't done anything with this specific alloy, but my job last summer involved working with other Ni alloys and I've done a bit with other gas-turbine blade alloys (casting and metallography though, no forming). Forging any alloy like this is going to be a challenge because they were explicitly designed to resist deformation at high temperatures, some even having ranges where their yield strength increases with temperature. I'm not sure about this alloy, but work hardening is something that might also be in play. Also, just looking at a data sheet, it seems like working above the maximum recommended working temperature causes hot short problems like you are having, which may also be a result of coming out of the forge too hot or even an increase in temperature from the deformation of forging. It seems like to forge this, you need to keep it in that 1850-2150F range and not to work it too hard (but work it hard enough to keep it hot). Doable in a mill where you can precisely control the temperature of your furnace and the parameters of the hot working, but considerably more difficult with a forge and power hammer. Maybe you could use your IR thermometer to make sure you don't work it over 1050C? You won't get the full temperature window to work it but then you know you won't be working it above the max temp.
  8. Aiden CC

    Winter Tanto

    @Emiliano Carrillo, I'll give the high grit before etch a shot. I may or may not be able to get loose abrasive in the time window I want to work on this, so I'll first try with what I have (Brass-o and some kind of automotive polish) and see if I can get he effect I want. I also may try some red/black oxide mixed with oil to darken above the hamon. Anyways, I got some more done on this: The tsuka and saya are both made from a piece of alder, which I've heard is a decent analog for the wood traditionally used for this. It carved alright with my ugly saya nomi. Right now, the fit in the tsuka is very tight, the hope is that it will relax a bit when I do the filing on the tang after polishing the blade. After carefully squaring up the mating surfaces, I shaped the outside of the assembly. This is going to be a kaiken style knife, so it won't have a lot of features distinguishing the right from left side. I added just a bit of curvature to the mounts and a slight asymmetric taper to the tsuka which is very hard to see in the photo. This means that the side with the edge is visibly discernible and once you get used to it can be reliably determined by feel. You can also see a sneak peek of the narrow suguha hamon in the second picture. Not shown is the mekugi ana which drilled so I could go into lacquering. Right now, this is just a tanto with a suguha hamon and a slightly odd choice of habaki material. The thematic elements of this piece really come from the lacquer and polish, so I've been doing some experimentation. Above are four test coupons I have been applying lacquer to over the past few days. The base color is going to be black, so I've been testing that. It looks like my procedure will be to apply a coat every 8-12 hours sanding to 220 in-between. Yet to be decided is if the black will be satin or buffed and whether I will use clear lacquer on top of the black and design elements. I don't plan on using sepa (though I will make one if things start to rattle), so I also put a few coats of lacquer on the exposed surfaces of the tsuka and saya. Going through the process of making a tanto for the first time in almost five years has been fun, but I'm also really excited to start getting into some of the thematic parts of the build.
  9. Aiden CC

    Winter Tanto

    The habaki is basically done now, though it's still a bit snug and I may make it a bit shorter. The base is currently 27mm with a height of 24mm, so a bit less than 1:1 like Jake was talking about. This is the finish off of a sharp 120 grit belt. I may leave it there unless I get some stroke of inspiration for a way to decorate it that fits the theme. I have done some deeper etched hamons for western style knives (~5 minutes in dilute ferric chloride), but that seems like a bit much for this? The picture in my first post shows the results of alternating between swabbing with FeCl3 and polishing with paste abrasive. I'll probably try a short dip. I also heard somewhere that rust powder in oil can be used to darken the area above the hamon, so I may try that as well. The image I'm going for is "blanket of freshly fallen snow" so I'll likely try a variety of things until I get something that looks like that.
  10. Aiden CC

    Winter Tanto

    Got a little bit more done on the habaki. Making a slightly round hardened punch did the trick. I fit it up then made the metal wedge that gets soldered in on the edge side. Next I set it up with flux and hard silver solder and soldered it in my forge. You can see that in the current fit up, the habaki is a bit shy of the mune and ha machi. This is so I can do a little filing and hammering and get it snugged all the way up. I’ve had problems with loose habaki in the past, trying to avoid that here.
  11. Aiden CC

    Winter Tanto

    I’ll be honest, the habaki is giving me some trouble (they always seem to). The nickel silver is proving a lot harder than copper and also is work hardening faster. I guess that’s what I get for being too cheap for real silver! It ended up deforming the corners of the steel bar I was using to shape it, and the spine side has a high spot in the middle. The plan is to make a piece of hardened tooling to make those corners nice and square and also make a slightly concave surface. I’ll also probably make a curved chisel for the saya/tsuka.
  12. Aiden CC

    Winter Tanto

    I actually started this in December, but it sat around pre-ht until recently and I only finish-ground it yesterday. I have some plans and concept drawings, but I think I'll just show this as it comes together. The clay and profile after finish grinding. I think the tip/last few inches might need a little re-work to get that distinct tanto shape. I think more about it. A preview of the suguha hamon. I've gotten burned in the past with hamon problems near the tip, so I did a quick polish, looks like there's hard steel all the way, I may take the profile down so the thickness stays more consistent. Also, does anyone know a way to polish a hamon so the edge portion appears as the lighter color? This was just a quick inspection, alternating ferric chloride swabs and polishing compound. Having the steel on the edge being an even white strip with some fuzziness on the inboard side is the look I'm going for. I haven't done a KITH for a while, I'm excited to be back in it!
  13. I could see this being the case, especially with the wooden liner enclosing more of the handle. Some examples of Sakha sheaths have a liner almost exactly like this but with rawhide (I think usually from tails) stretched over it. In the wooden sheaths threads there are a also few examples of leuku sheaths that work in a similar way to the metal but with leather; the wood would be enough to retain the handle, the leather seeming to mostly be there to act as a spring to put pressure on the handle. All-wood construction also seems possible as it it seems to be used at least with contemporary Komi designs, or the use of smaller metal bands or a wire wrap as a substitute for a larger metal sheet. Some composite of wood, leather/rawhide, and sheet metal doesn't seem out of the realm of possibility either.
  14. The sheath and knife look great! Definitely excited to see it all come together with the metal parts.
  15. Thank you very much! You have definitely helped me a ton to learn about these knives. Reliable, relevant information is buried somewhat too deep for an English speaker without any direct ties to the place/culture. For these few, my approach to authenticity was to take the "what if this knife had been made in my shop" angle. For knives inspired by the old masters, this approach makes something that looks much like the original (the big one is based off of an original Aleksey showed in a video which appeared to have very clean lines and surfaces). When applied to knives made in the field/by non-professional knife makers, the result looks somewhat different than the original. At some point I may make some knives from the angle of "what if this knife had been made by me, in the setting where it came from?" which I'm sure would have different results. I think the fact that in general people don't use knives now nearly as much as in the past has a big role in some of the design changes in knives, especially ones designed for mass-manufacture. Whenever thinking about a piece of technology, the context that created it is important (maybe that's just my humanities-heavy engineering education talking, but I've found it helpful). Modern knives are designed for a modern eye, and a modern person who (with exceptions of course) will probably not use them often (or maybe ever, especially with pieces like swords). The well made ones excel for their purpose; beautiful lines, nice materials, excellent fit and finish, etc. In the past, on the other hand, knives were made to be used first and looked at second (this, of course, has exceptions too), which resulted in knives that were often not as clean, symmetric, or ornate. They also, however, were ergonomic and excellent cutters; it was their job after all. This is not to say that there are no modern knives that are effective tools, in fact many good knife makers bring together the best of both worlds. It's just that many knives are meant to be looked at first and used second. I don't think I made a knife that really cut well until I started using my own knives extensively. Making kitchen knives was a first step at that, and starting to collect/process my own materials was another. I made a handful of Skaha knives with the modern look; deep forged fuller and the thick convex grind that results in. I took them into the woods and they just didn't cut well, now they are all collecting dust in a drawer. In comparison, I made one with the early 20th century design (half rhombic with a filed groove) and it's been my go-to fixed blade for heavier work for more than a year. That's a nice way of putting it. These knives are very minimalist but there still isn't one I've gotten entirely right. Anyways, I have some more progress on the Evenki style knife. This is the forging, super simple. No bevel-line, one side is flat and the other is slightly convex. It's about 14cm long. Here is the groove-making process. I started with a cut-off disk, then a grinding disk to hog out some of the bulk. Then I scraped in the groove and polished it out to 220 grit with sand paper. I found that leaving the blade thick and cutting the groove deep them grinding until I liked the profile was way easier than trying to cut it just right from the start, especially at the ends. Tomorrow I'll cut in the shoulders and harden it. I'm not sure if the handle should be a piece of birch burl or regular birch with some carved ornamentation (I think both would be too busy. I'll also may start on some sheaths soon.
  16. Had some time today to finish up two of these. Some overflowed resin from the glue up. This stuff is nicer to work with than epoxy in a lot ow ways: fast cure time, you can clean it up after it hardens, and smells a whole lot nicer. This is the Komi knife. The butt of the handle ended up a little smaller than I was shooting for, and the way it shows up against this background really brings that out. It's pretty close to some of the originals I'm working from and otherwise, I'm happy with it. This is wood I harvested from a birch stump and two worm holes I thought were separate ended up being connected, but I filled it with resin and I think it looks ok. I've been trying to work around the insect damage in this wood, but I may just leave it in and fill in the holes like I did here (I won't be selling these knives anyways). That would double or even triple the amount of handles I can get out of the material. The finish is home-made pine tar. I'm really happy with how this one came out. The handle is birch burl, but I can't take credit for harvesting it. It was very hard to track down un-stabilized though. This finish is linseed oil and turpentine, it will likely get darker and more orange as it oxidizes. I've stained this wood in the past, I'll put up a comparison at some point. First picture shows the concave side, second the flat one. Blade is 180 mm, overall length 290 mm, it's a fairly big knife. At some point I should probably start on the sheaths that inspired me to make these knives in the first place. Thanks! I started so many knives I'll never finish them if I don't keep plugging on through. The main thing I notice about them is that they both feel pretty light for their size. With the Komi one it's probably because the blade is so small and the wood is relatively light. With the Sakha one I think the hollow grind makes it a pretty light blade. I might not get much of a chance to use them for a while, though I guess the Komi one will probably make most of it's own sheath and I'm curious to see how it cuts. Next I'll probably get on to grinding and hardening that Evenki style knife (and seeing how hard it is to scrape a fuller in high carbon steel) and grinding/polishing the little Sakha knife based on an original by Amynnyky Uus.
  17. Looking great so far, glad it survived heat treatment! I've had the same problem with knives like this, especially having them thin out too much near the tip. Sometimes it feels like steel comes off 10x faster where you need it than where you want to get rid of it . A peculiarity of single bevel knives is that for the same grind, they have half the included edge angle of a symmetric knife, which means they can get delicate fast. On the first few I made, I would stab the tip into a board and bend it sideways until it popped out a chip of wood as a test of the geometry/heat treat. Definitely had a few tips bend/snap which I reground until it didn't happen (kind of accelerating what might happen organically with use). Not sure if that would be a good approach for a composite blade which is already prone to taking a bend though. That's a good approach to finishing a knife that is sharpened like this. I think most of the whetstones in the world are 80-120 grit. Higher is nice for doing fine woodworking etc, but unnecessary for most uses. A few years ago I met a handful of ranchers in Chile who all used knives on the regular. For the most part they would have one knife that they used for slaughtering, skinning, and butchering sheep as well as other cooking stuff and light wood working. All the maintenance was done with a single ~100 grit stone and maybe a knife steel, which seemed to work fine for them!
  18. I've been slowly chipping away at these this week (and started another, though I probably should finish what I started first). The big Sakha knife is all polished out and glued/peened into a handle. In the picture on the left you can see the faint hamon from the edge quench. The Komi knife still needs its final polish. It's handle is going to be made from a piece of birch root burl I harvested, and I plan to glue it in with home-made cutler's resin. The blade is from a spring I found in the woods, so I'm going for that theme (don't have a piece of wood for the sheath unfortunately, so that will be store-bought). This is the angry duck. It looks like one and makes awful screeching sounds that are almost like quacking. I forged an Evenki style knife today and will try to scrape in the fuller instead of the bend/file method. I had pretty good luck starting the groove with a grinder then bringing it in to round with the scraper. The blade is 1075 quenched in water and tempered at 350F, handle is birch. I still need to get the hang of it, there are lots of little waves in the groove. I found that by changing the cutting angle, using less force, and flipping the piece around I can get rid of them, but it's not ideal. Also, I need to add perpendicular handle up by the cutter.
  19. Looking good! I think you might find that it's hard to make just one knife, I know that I've found this style in particular to be pretty addictive. Those grooves are a bear to clean out. The only one I've done flat I used an angle grinder, small stone on rotary tool, and 80 grit sand paper with a round wooden block, which was very labor intensive. I found that using a combination of tools helped; the angle grinder got out the uneven forging, the rotary tool got out the grinder marks, and the sand paper brought everything in to flat. It seems like if you wanted to get the fuller even you might be able to angle-grind out the high spots then scrape out the grinder marks. If I understand the way you laminated the steels correctly (WI on the fullered side and 15N20 on the convex side?) it seems like you also have some leeway to remove material from the flat side to bring it down to where the fuller has a clean profile. I think you're capturing the spirit very well! Legit is a strong word, a lot of what I'm doing is pretty hacked together, I've just been doing if for a little while . Also, if you're making a knife are you really a non-knife maker? Good luck with the HT and I'm excited to see where this goes!
  20. I guess the main similarity I noticed was the use of a wide, stiff, single beveled knife rather than a narrower flexible one and keeping the beveled side towards the bones with the flat side towards the flesh. I'm definitely not a good judge of fish cutting; being from Colorado, I've pretty much just caught trout and I usually just clean and cook those whole. I recently have been trying to learn how to fillet medium size fish (whole fish like red snapper has been up to half off at grocery stores now that restaurants aren't buying as much of them and Spanish mackerel has always been fairly cheap/tasty), but am still not at all skillful (ragged fillets and lots of fish soup). Unfortunate that the video doesn't seem to be as respectful of the culture as a lot of the others from the channel. My ideal that it was convex cam from the look of sharpening at the bottom edge, but re-watching it, it seems likely that this is just wear from putting the flat face on a stone. I could see the knife being re-ground, the two small fullers are interesting too. The "field serviceability" hardness requirement makes sense . Given the amount of surface on that knife that needs to tough a stone it would also be a real pain to sharpen past a big chip if it was very hard. I think I saw a video of a blacksmith in Siberia quenching a big knife in a wooden trough, I'll try and track it down at some point. There's something very cool about being able to do something as involved as making a knife with such minimal tools (tying back in with the idea of non-sedentary metalworking from way earlier in this thread). I have a stack of old springs I've been making these knives out of along with a few old files, which I'll probably continue to use. Since the knife was all stock removal, the groove must have been ground or scraped in. It looks wider and shallower than what you would get from a round file anyways. I'll do some experimenting with an angle grinder/contact wheel/maybe a spacer. One of the design choices I've been struggling with is how much to apply the fit and finish I would normally aim for on knives to pieces inspired by originals that were meant to be practical rather than pretty, especially when an original wasn't made by a specialized knife-maker. My approach has been to use the time and tools I have to aim for a tight fit and homogeneous finish, but sometimes it seems like aspects of the fit/finish are a part of the design/ Some examples are the as-forged non-flush shoulders on many old Scandinavian knives or a bit of the reverse case with the concave side of Sakha knives where many modern ones leave forge scale while older originals usually have a clean surface. There are also always exceptions; at first it seemed like leaving forge scale on Sami/Scandinavian knives was a modern trend to make them look "rustic", but as I found more information and pictures on old knives, many of them (especially leukus) were ground enough to be flat, leaving in the deepest pits of forging, and there are lots of simple old Finnish knives with forge scale on the flats/spine (though modern versions usually clean up the whole profile, only leaving scale on the flats). With antiques, it can also be difficult to tell forge scale from pitting due to age and it seems like a lot of the time archaeologists don't think too closely about the exact abrasive process used to finish a metal artifact (at least from my past attempts to learn about historic finishing techniques).
  21. Thanks! I've definitely found that studying these knives has gotten me to do a lot of thinking about the design choices that go into making a practical knife (as well as how to go about doing internet research on an obscure topic in a language I don't speak). On the topic of fish processing, I found the video below that shows a large rigid knife (with a hotokon-like profile, but much thinner) being used to break down a pike in a way fairly similar to how you might use a deba (though in reverse because the bevel is on the opposite side). It's hard to tell in the video, but it seems the knife might also be slightly concave on the right side? I also found an interesting video where Nikolay shows the drilling and planing processes, interestingly enough he turns the knife clockwise, but with his left hand (which to me seems like the worst of both worlds, but he clearly knows what he is doing), it's possibly that with a relatively low bevel angle the direction of the turning is not so critical. My experiment was with a Komi style knife with has a somewhat stouter edge (and mine was on the thin and wide side compared to some originals), which could help to explain why those knives have the flat on the left. Watching the planing, I can see how he might have cut his knee a lot when he was learning, which he mentioned in one of the videos you posted. I also found a video with lots of close shots of the narrow Evenki style knife he uses for the drilling, and he talks for a bit about the heat treating as well (though the specialized words don't translate well). I'm beginning to really like the lines on that knife, and might make something based off of it soon, the main detail I'm still fuzzy on is the size/method for the groove. It looks sort of like the filed-in ones on Sakha knives, but maybe a little wider and shallower. I think the one in the video where he is reading outside was made with a grinder, but I'm not sure about this on. He has a few longer videos about Sakha/Evenki knives I'll probably dive into later as well.
  22. That makes sense, most of the knives in the first shot look like modern-ish hunting knives. That's an interesting point about not using axes for breaking down game. I guess meat processing could be one reason to have the bevel on the left instead of the right, as in a cut most of the pressure is on the beveled side with the flat side touching the work more gently. Not sure how applicable it is to Evenki butchering, as the insight comes from (my limited understanding of) Japanese deba and yanagi-ba use where the bevel goes against the "sturdy" side (the carcass for a deba or the bigger side of the block of fish for a yanagi-ba) and the concave side goes against the piece you want to treat gently (either the flesh of the fish or the small piece of sushi you are shaving off). It seems like a similar principle applies when making stroganina where the bevel goes against he bulk of the frozen fish and a thin "chip" curls off of the flat side, and I could imagine something similar with taking meat off of bones. I was looking back at a video I found last December, and I think I actually may have made one of these knives already, though since I was thinking of it more in the context of Sakha knives, the blade is a little wider and thinner, with a more asymmetric tip: Thank you very much, I don't want to take up too much of your time, but I'll definitely let you know about any interesting sources I find. Google translate can get fairly far for text and I know a handful of native Slovak speakers who can understand spoken Russian fairly well and have helped me with videos/pictures of Russian text, but current events mean I am a long way away from them.
  23. Looking closely at the video again, I can see what you mean. I think he is left handed, he says something about it in the video below around 1:20, though through the translation I'm not sure if the knife is meant for a right or left handed person. I'll also look around for more sources on these knives, like all of this stuff, definitive information seems hard to find. A quick google image search turns up mostly knives with grooves on the right with a few exceptions, though most of them are modern replicas which are often unreliable. Looks like it's time for more research.
  24. I might have to add another knife to my schedule! If I understand the video/your description of the uses correctly, these knives are slightly concave on the left side, and slightly convex on the right side? I got turned off of that shape when I was making my first Sakha knives (though the other "handed" version), as the exaggerated convexity on the forge-scale bearing modern versions just doesn't cut very well (at least in my experience with the few knives I made that way). Having the bevel on the right seems to help with boring (at least for a righthander), since you can tilt the knife a bit and twist clockwise to cut chips instead of painfully scraping out dust and possibly chipping the edge. I'll check out a more of his videos too, I watched a bit of the stuff recommended from the sheath videos. I really like these multi-purpose knives and the depth involved in learning all the different ways to use them.
  25. Got the Sakha knife and one Komi knife rough polished ready for handle fit-up. Pretty labor intensive to polish the hollow side! It took twice as much sand paper as the flat side. You can see the relatively small depth of the hollow. It's enough to make sharpening easy, but not nearly as much as on a lot of modern versions. I decided to test out the boring capabilities of one of the Komi knives. I think if the knife was dedicated to this it would make sense for it to be narrower and thicker, since I could imagine damaging the edge on this one if you didn't do it right. It would probably be somewhat easier in green wood. For a more versatile cut-and-drill blade, I would say it works reasonably well.
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