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Joshua States

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Everything posted by Joshua States

  1. First, I put the handle in a Panavise and finish the profiles to 600 grit. On this handle it is absolutely critical that the two truncated corners are matched in size or the whole thing looks wrong. When I get done with the profile sanding, this is what I had. Now I mount the handle and spacers to each other and use the drywall screw to hold it all together. I shape the scales to match the spacer on the disc grinder. Because the shape is curved on the profile, the ends grind down faster than the center. Now the whole thing, all held together, goes back in the Panavise to even out the flats along the profile center. This is a lot of shoe-shining and hand rubbing to get it even and straight. Eventually going to 800 grit on all surfaces including the spacer package. This is now ready for file work on the frame and/or spacers. I will only file work the frame. The spacers will get a different treatment, ala Lin Rhea and his "intermediate forging" application. I'll post the guard shaping process tomorrow.
  2. Thanks Chris. There's a few new uses coming for the 1/4" MDF I told you about. This handle is a classic coffin handle, but it will be a frame handle design. The process for making this basic shape is on page 2 of this thread. The process for making the blind alignment pins is on page 3 of this thread. The process for getting everything shaped is slightly different that it was with the hunter. For this knife, I will shape the spacer package first, and shape the handle to the spacer. I'm a big fan of making and using templates. I will make a template for the spacer package out of 1/4" MDF board. I buy this in 4x4 or 4x8 sheets and use it for all sorts of stuff. First I drill the holes in the MDF to match the holes in the spacers. I munt the spaces (still rough cut rectangles) onto the MDF and scribe the perimeter with a pencil. Then I pull a handy template out of my Gatorade can of fitting templates and using only one quadrant of the template, scribe the curves onto the MDF. I use only one quadrant so the new template is symmetrical in two dimensions. I cut that out and cut a notch in it so that it fits onto the ricasso. Load the spacers onto the tang and push them up tight (no guard in place), blacken the face with a Sharpie. and mount the template onto the ricasso and sitting flush on the spacers. Scribe the profile. While I have the spacers mounted, I scribe a series of lines on the face of the spacers, parallel to the ricasso face. Do both sides exactly the same. Now I remove the spacers and mount them to another piece of MDF and cut off the excess with the bandsaw. Cut off all the excess MDF, leaving the spacers attached to the rest of it and grind down to the line on the 2x72. This is the rough ground spacer package profiled to 320 grit.
  3. So next up is that big ol' Bowie. There's a lot to show and a lot of pics. I ended up remembering that I had left a divot in the plunge cut on one side (slipped with the disk grinder don't you know) and spent 4 hours sanding it out yesterday. So, while I edit the photos and resize them all, enjoy this short video of the finish that I finally ended up with.
  4. Ok. Time for confession. Most of what I know about this craft, I learned from my mentor, the late great Tim Hancock. I would spend hours in his shop talking about making blades, handles, hardware shapes, the whole gamut, and watching him work. Sometimes I would just call him up and ask about a project I had and what to do with it. He didn’t spend any time on forums or FB, he barely even used email. He taught probably hundreds of students. Some of them are still making knives and swords. Many of those who studied under him are now ABS journeymen and master smiths. I will be forever grateful for his friendship, his generosity, and his integrity. I will forever live in his shadow. He was a giant among snails.
  5. The only thing I forgot to add is when the screen won’t fit through the slot you have to grind down the section of the threads that remain inside the spacer/guard all the way around. Otherwise, the threads bite into the hardware instead of the wood.
  6. I often mention using alignment pins and a drywall screw to hold the handle piece together while finishing the handle off the blade. I just did a search and realized I never posted the technique on this forum. So here it is. My alignment pins are laid out in relation to the tang, and I purposely offset them in relation to both center lines so that there is only one way to assemble the spacer to the handle once it is made. (pretend this spacer is not shaped yet)Now, the drywall (DW) screw will not fit through that slot. So, you have to grind off the teeth on opposite sides of the screw to make it thin enough to pass through the slot.Hopefully, your slot in the handle is not much wider than the slot in the spacer, but if it is (like this one) you will need some wood shim material. I use thin pieces of cedar shims from Home Depot.Slide them down the handle slot (fat end first) and break them off. They should be loose in the hole, but wide enough to overlap center.Now put your spacers or spacers & guard in place using the alignment pins.Slip a couple of washers over the screw, (put a leather one against the guard face so not to scratch it up), slip the screw through the slot and in between the wood shims. Tap it down until it is tight against the face and give it a 1/4 turn. It will hold everything together tightly.
  7. Yeah I know. It drives me up a wall that the nanny filter at work will only show some photos of the work on this site and others get blocked. Then I have to come home to see decent sized photos.
  8. Sounds like a solid plan. Well thought out anyway. Go for it.
  9. I did a bunch of work on these blades over the last few days. I'm going to post the progress shots in groups over the next few days...... I kind of lost track of where I was and when I picked up a knife thinking it was ready to work on the handle, I realized I still had some work to do on the blade. First up was that little hunter. After spending several hours refinishing the blade, it was ready to do the handle. I already showed you how I shape the guard and spacer profile and the prep work of drawing the lines around the profile. Now I'll show how I do the shaping. Well, I'll show some of the process anyway. This really kicked my butt yesterday and I didn't take too many pics. First I use my drywall screw and washers to hold everything in place. The blind alignment pins are set ever so slightly into the guard. Just enough to hold it steady. Initial shaping of the sides is done on the disk sander, using the lines on the profile to keep everything even. You can easily see in this pic how one side is ground down further than the other. Once both side are even, the whole thing goes in a Panavise for some rasp & file shaping. This is where the roughing in for the finger slot and pinky slot happens. It is also where you start to pull in the center of the belly. A good cabinet maker's rasp is an indispensable tool for this work. Then a small wheel (3/4") is used to carve out the recesses in both places and start finishing to 400 grit. You have to take extreme care not to get into the pin area. Eventually you end up doing a lot of hand sanding and get it to shape. Add a little Danish oil and let it dry. Check it again and do a little light sanding. Reapply the oil as needed (I like 2 or 3 coats before glue-up) Eventually, you are ready to glue it together.
  10. Awesome Seax. I have a nice piece of oosic sitting in my ivory stash just waiting to the right application. It's only about 4.5" long though.
  11. By the gods Jul it is good to see your work here instead of on my phone......
  12. Bill, I have a couple more helpful tips for you. You can do it that way, and I used to. There is a way to do it which I will outline. I don't do it this way anymore because it requires a "best guess" at the pin location, and it never ended up where I really wanted it. If you do it before HT, you need a drawing of the finished knife to work from. Lay the rough ground blade (ready for HT) on the drawing. Approximate where the guard shoulders will end up and mark the spot for the pin hole. Drill it a little oversized as it will never line up perfectly.( Sometimes it never lines up at all and well that's another set of how-to-fix-this post.) After you have HT'd and finished the blade, get your hardware all fitted and tight. Slot for the tang and profile the handle shape, leaving the sides flat. Now Lay the tang on top of the wood block instead of inside the wood block, get the spacers pushed tight against the face and clamp the tang down. Now drill the hole in the block. Drill towards the front of the hole rather than in the center to account for the taper in the tang (unless you have made the tang hole size much larger than the pin). The trouble with this method is that all the work prepping the guard and spacers, prepping the shoulders, and the minor differences between the drawing and real life, all add up to the hole placement moving from your original position that you thought was aesthetically correct. Does it work? Yes, but I hate it when that pin is not where I originally wanted it. Yes, you have to draw the tang way back in order to drill it. I draw all my tangs back anyway. You will also need cobalt or carbide drill bits to drill through it, unless you can isolate the heat well enough to fully normalize the pin location 3X. I noticed that and I like the design element. I would just prefer that the top didn't do that. It just takes some hand sanding to blend that in so the spine is straight and the sides have the flare. I figured as much. Really nice design idea. Hard to achieve, but worthy of repeated attempts. I did notice the ring around that pin. As for preventing the staining, I also have a trick for that. Seal the wood with whatever finishing oil you plan to use before glue-up. get a little bit inside that pin hole. This also helps with keeping the overflow epoxy from sticking to the handle material, and helps keep the Vaseline resist from staining the wood. I do 2-3 coats of Danish oil before glue-up. Good plan and good luck to you sir.
  13. Ok Bill. I'll give it a go FWIW. First of all this is a well designed and executed piece. There are a few things I would not have done, because of personal preference, but they are minor. The fit and finish is great. It looks like you took your time with it. The Damascus looks very clean, no weld flaws visible and the random pattern came out well. It's difficult to tell from a photo, but it looks a little washed out on the left side. It may have benefitted from a more aggressive or longer etch. Hard to say. It could just be the pic or the lighting. What I see that needs some further technical attention (on the next one) is the pin hole. It looks like it's off from one side to the other like it was drilled crooked. There is also what looks like a gap between the pin and the wood on one side. I find that many people try to drill this hole after the shaping is done and it never comes out right. If it does, it's a stroke of pure luck or tremendous fiddling. I do not drill this hole until the guard and spacers are fitted to the tang and still in rough shape. The face of the guard is finished to about 320 grit. Then what I do is take a square block of wood and slot for the tang. Once I get the tang slotted, I insert the tang with the guard & spacer package attached and get the front edge of the block sanded flat to the spacers. Once everything is all nice and tight, I draw the profile on the block and cut it out. Sand the profile down to 220 or better. The handle is very chunky at this point with flat sides. Now mark the pin placement, take the block off the knife, and drill straight through the whole block in a single go. Mark one side of the tang with a black Sharpie pen. Stick the tang back into the block (black side up) and hold everything tight while you reinsert the drill bit just far enough to mark the tang. Remove the tang and drill the hole in it at the mark. Works easy-peasy. I'll admit that I sometimes have to over-size the tang hole a little to get a clean passthrough. Another technical suggestion is the buffed Nickel-silver. Just don't do it. That stuff never buffs out right and remains scratch free unless you are prepared to sand it to like 2000 grit. I just take it to a nice 600 grit satin finish and call it good. It just scratches too easily for a buffed shine IMO. It also looks like there's a hiccup at the very top of the wood to spacer junction. The line of the top of the wood does not flow straight through to the blade spine. Now for the minor stylistic points. I think the finger slot is too high. I like the crest of the finger groove to be tangent to the line of the bottom of the ricasso. The backmost fiber spacer is too thick. I would have left it out or matched the thickness of the front fiber spacer. It looks unbalanced to my eye. The guard is too short. I like the guard to come down as far as the blade edge or a little more. The point behind the finger slot, and the belly in the handle and the upcurve for the pinky doesn't work for my eye. The line is just wandering around along the bottom of the handle. Too many elements to cram into one line. I think it would have looked better with less. Maybe forget the point and make the belly a little more pronounced, coming right off the finger slot. Maybe leave the point and loose the belly making the bottom of the handle curve upward and then down to the bird head. That would have continued the theme of the curves you started with that choil and the finger slot. Three curves. Each one bigger than the last one. Speaking of the curves, there's something in the curved choil and finger slot that bugs me and I cannot truly say what it is. Maybe it's the finger slot being too high. If it was lower, they might seem more like brothers than cousins, if that makes any sense. Well, there you have it. I think this is a great first partial tang creation. Now go make another one!
  14. Why use the whole tusk on just one knife? I have seen these tusks used for an ivory spacer between a guard and other natural handle material. Jean-Louis Regel did a great Damascus Bowie that way. I have three of these tusks in a box waiting for me to decide what to do with them. Anxious to see what you come up with. I think the ivory spacer would look great at the front of a seax.
  15. I think this is a good plan to enter the style with a blade of this size. If that is as-forged, that's pretty impressive. I have a bunch of questions about the drawings/plan for this one. The guard is going to be a bear to slot at that thickness, what's your plan for that? What's the material? What does that half-moon at the front of the guard represent? The sculpting of the handle is a nice touch and very ambitious, but may be gratuitous. The knife would be no less attractive with a simple belly curve or just the center point. I know Kyle does a lot of those sculpted handles, and it's terribly tempting to go for it, but if this is your first attempt at the whole style, it may be a lot to achieve. Make a few drawings without the pimping and frills and see what you think. I often do multiple handle designs before deciding on a finalist. Lots of things to consider. Draw the guard and handle heel in cross section to get a full idea of what this looks like in 3 dimensions. What's the handle material going to be? A simple handle material may need the extra stuff, a really nice burl or a figured/colorful wood may not. Are you planning to shape this handle after final glue-up or before? What about a single pin? Sometimes they add that right amount of grace to an otherwise plain-Jane knife and make it pop. All said, I think you have a great beginning. And for the record, I think the second drawing is sexier. (although the thinness of the handle material above and below the tang may cause you problems)
  16. I have two questions for you before I comment. Both of them only require a single word answer. 1. Have you made a list of things that you think you could/should have done differently or better? (this is a simple Y/N question) 2. How detailed a critique would you like? A few more pics would also help. Maybe a shot from the top and bottom, if you can manage.
  17. Do not rush this. You have made an awesome effort thus far. Sometimes slower is better.
  18. It's good to have you back, sir. Always sound advice from the Saxon sage. It's good to have you back too Jul.
  19. Also true. If a customer asks for something because he thinks that will suit him best, who am I to argue with him? It's not my job to tell someone how to spend their money. I have another customer who wants me to make a "Japanese vegetable cleaver". (As he described it) He also wants a straight edge. I have not made it yet. I am waiting for him to pester me for it.
  20. If civilization collapses, people like you are going to be in high demand.
  21. I have a feeling that Drennon has a lot of these on hand for some reason (stockpiling maybe?) and is trying to unload them.
  22. Funny story. Three years ago I made a group of kitchen knives for the annual art show. Every one of them had a slight to moderate belly toward the tip before coming to a straight edge at the heel for a couple of inches. I sold none of them. Everyone who came and handled them said they wanted the edge to be completely straight with no curvature at all. I did manage to trade a 10 inch model for a black jade and turquoise belt buckle, but that's another story. I gave the rest away to family for Xmas gifts. Anyway, the next year I made some 410 SS and 1095 san-mai blades and left the edges perfectly straight from heel to tip. Sold every one of them and one guy bought two of them. One for him and another for his son. Go figure. That same guy showed up last year and told my wife that he wouldn't use the one he kept anymore because there was a small spot where the edge turned a little. He told Liz it was about 1mm out of pure straight. Last year I made five 1095 kitchen knives with Hamons in the regular style. Small curvature toward the tip. Four of them sold. I kept the small petty. There's a saddle for every butt, and a butt for every saddle.
  23. This. Most of my knives end up being able to cut me during, or after I'm done, hand sanding. I often am running a sanding stick with 320 grit along the edge to keep from taking a piece of my finger off. I also finish my disc grinding at 320 grit and have an edge that is right around 0.02", so it's pretty thin at the point where I start hand sanding.
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