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Everything posted by tsterling

  1. Yet another "knapped" steel dagger, a clovis-style blade this time. Forged to overall shape, then carved with an angle grinder followed by a Foredom flexible shaft grinder and various size sanding drums. 6 inch carved 1095 steel blade, 10 5/8 inches overall, elk antler, boxwood and desert ironwood handle with a rawhide, fossil ivory and moose antler sheath. Thanks for looking!
  2. Thanks for the kind words, guys! Finally finished the sheath for the dirk. The sheath has a leather liner, covered with rawhide and sewn with waxed linen. Here's the sheath before the final dye job, and the finished sheath and knife together.
  3. After seeing the thread by Alan Longmire on the Samuel Bell dirk blades, the little cogs got to turning and keeping me up at night, so I tried something similar. Here's the link to Alan's thread - good on you, Alan! Alan Longmire/Bell Dirk thread I really liked the blade shape with the Spanish notch, although I dislike the Sam Bell handles, so I tried something different. Hence, this is what I came up with. 4 inch blade (to the heel of the edge, not including the Spanish notch), 9 inches overall, forged 3/16 thick 1095 steel, rawhide handle wrap and rawhide thong overwrap. I'll be making a matching rawhide sheath.
  4. Thanks, BobO. Good luck in your new profession in the Guard! Stay safe...
  5. Thanks for the kind words, guys. I really enjoyed making this one, so it didn't seem to need much patience. It's also a lot easier to "knap" steel and come up with something nice, than it is to knap rock and do a good job.
  6. Carved this blade like a knapped stone knife. Was an interesting exercise, forged to overall shape (mostly!) then carved with an angle grinder followed by a Foredom flexible shaft grinder and sanding drum. I think I'm going to make another rawhide sheath for this one. Thanks for looking...
  7. Yet another of my "Ugly Fish" series. This one an Alligator Gar like I often caught as a kid while fishing - big ones are a lot more scary in person than this little fellow. Thanks for looking...
  8. You're welcome, Don! Thanks for providing the nice playground...
  9. Making the Wooden Sheath Liner: Here’s the pattern I’ll be using. The grey areas are the wooden sheath liner I’ll be making, and the blue lines are the rawhide pieces I’ll be needing. Here’s the beginning of the wooden liner for the rawhide covered sheath. I’m going to sand the center liner piece down to the thickness of the blade by using two small scraps of steel that are the same thickness as the thickest part of the blade, glued onto a waste block of wood large enough to use as a secure handle. The steel offcuts will serve a depth stops during sanding. Here’s the cut out center liner piece with the knife in test-fit. Using the outside of the center liner as a guide, I’ve cut out the left side of the sheath liner. Then tracing from that, I cut out the right side. Sorry for the out of focus shot, but you can’t go backwards on a tutorial like this. Must be more careful in the future...Bad Tom! Bad! Notice that at this stage the knife won’t sit flat in the left half of the sheath liner. I’ll cut out the wide spot for the handle. Here you can see how the knife fits. I’ve used the knife handle as a pattern and marked out where to cut out the left liner side so the entire knife will fit in the hollow. I eyeballed the extra I’ll need for the rawhide handle wrap. If you can put the handle wrap on the knife ahead of time, it would be a little more straightforward. I always seem to be rushing things so I’m making it a little more complicated than it need be. Folks who know me won’t be surprised... I’m not going to try to cut the right side yet - I’ll glue it on and then use the already cut out part as a guide later. Here’s the sheath liner glued up and the other side cut out. I used the cut out of the left side as a guide to cut the handle gap in the right side. Everything is looking good for the next step, but I’m at a stopping point since now I have to have the rawhide handle wrap on to go any further. I painted myself into this corner, but then I’ve been there, done that, bought the T-shirt, and will undoubtably do it again... Here’s the knife with the dry rawhide handle wrap. It won’t fit into the sheath, so I’m going to have to trim a little, but I expected that. Here’s the liner trimmed and carved, and the knife in the trimmed sheath liner, a much better fit. I carved the square edges down so the rawhide wrapped handle will fit in firmly. I don’t want too tight of a fit, however, as it will eventually wear on the rawhide wrap. I also cut in sort of a “funnel” shape in the lower edges so the tip of the blade will slide easily into the blade hollow. Here I’m getting ready to add the side pieces. There’s another trim job to do, since the rawhide wrap won’t fit in with side pieces on (they’re not glued on yet). I’ve enhanced the pencil marks on the far side piece for illustrative purposes. That’s the area I’ll be carving out to fit the handle wrap. After carving out the marked areas, here’s the wrapped handle in it’s final position. Everything is ready for gluing up now. Once the glue is dry, I’ll begin carving the outer shape of the wooden sheath liner. Incidentally, you could do all of this with leather if you so desired. I’ve trimmed the top corners of the sheath liner (see the arrows). This is intended to be a mechanism for the drying rawhide to “grip” onto as it shrinks. Since the sheath is basically wedge shaped, I’m concerned the rawhide could eventually slip off if the wood later shrinks slightly due to humidity changes. This way, there’s absolutely no way for the rawhide to ever come off. Incidentally, I didn’t like the way the knife sat so far down into the sheath liner, so I trimmed the liner a little shorter. I soaked the wood in a linseed oil finish for a couple of hours, and filled the cavity in the liner with oil. The outside of the wood will be protected by the rawhide, but the interior will be open to the elements, so I especially want to safeguard the inside. I sanded the outside only to smooth things out - I’m only concerned with the shape, since any bump will show up on the outside of the rawhide once it dries and shrinks. Making the Rawhide Sheath Cover: Here’s where we begin making the rawhide portion of the sheath. I’ve cut two oversized pieces of rawhide and will begin soaking them. This time, rather than clear water, I’m adding a little brown fiber-reactive dye (fabric dye) to the water. I like the Procion brand, but the stuff you can buy at the grocery store will work - I just find the grocery store stuff sometimes likes to bleed onto other things once dry, so you’ll definitely need some type of overcoating on the rawhide when finished. Notice the arrow in the image - I like to use “natural” edges of rawhide and leather in my sheaths and pouches when possible. This one even has a little nail hole where the rawhide was stretched during processing. Natural edges with their irregular shapes add a bit of visual interest. I’ll use this edge as a decorative cuff on the front of the sheath. I’ve trimmed the front section and also punched the holes. It’s now abut four hours later, and here’s the rawhide soaked in the dye. I suspect any kind of coloration that actually dissolves in water would work for this - that way, where the water goes, the color goes. This color goes all the way through the rawhide. Now we need to match the holes in the back rawhide piece. The easiest way I’ve found is to place the two rawhide pieces BACK to BACK, place two nails through two of the already punched holes in the front piece and nail both front and back pieces to a sacrificial board. Then, using a sharpened nail, punch the other holes, lined up with all of the existing holes in the front piece. I would have used finishing nails here, but my better half has them somewhere else! Now I need to assemble the things I’ll be needing during the sewing. Two lengths of thick waxed linen thread (best to WAY overestimate here if you’re not sure...). Two substantial needles, since it’s going to take some force to pull the needle and doubled thickness of the thread through several layers of rawhide. I have some short buckskin thongs for the fringe, and two long ones for ties. I’m envisioning this knife to be tied onto the strap of a possibles bag. Here I’ve done a simple whip stitch down one side, stopping at the tip of the sheath. Now simply stitch BOTH front and back sides together, starting at the top and stopping at the bottom. Just a plain old whip stitch. These stitches need to be loose, since we’ll slip the sheath liner in shortly. At this point, I need to punch the holes in the back piece for the ties. I place the sheath liner in position and mark the points where I’ll punch the holes. Now is the time to do this, since it will be VERY difficult to do this once the rawhide is dry. Place the ties in the holes, and tie them into bundles so as not to be in the way during sewing. If you’re going to have some sort of decoration on the front needing holes in the rawhide, now is the time to put them in. Sew the other side just like the first. Here’s the rawhide seen from the front of the sheath. Now place the sheath liner inside the rawhide sleeve. Now that the wooden sheath liner is in the rawhide sleeve, it’s time to tighten up the stitches. I used the antler fid to tighten each stitch, rolling those extra quarter inches of rawhide towards the back of the sheath as I tightened - pull hard, but not hard enough to rip the rawhide or break the linen thread. This view shows the back of the sheath. If you’re going to put any fringes on the sheath, now is the time. I use a pair of curved hemostats for this operation (those nice little surgical pliers). I slip the hemostats under the stitch where I want the fringe to be, grip the end of the buckskin thong, and pull it back under the stitch, centering the thong between the two pieces of rawhide. Only pull the thong halfway, of course... Repeat this operation for as many fringes as you want. When all of the fringes are in place, go back and retighten the stitches you disturbed. At this point, we are ready to go back the opposite direction (bottom-to-top) and put another set of stitches in, pulling these very tight as you go. This will end up with nice decorative looking X’s. These stitches go through the same holes the top-to-bottom stitches went through. You’ll have to put the needle in at an angle and wiggle the needle a bit to accomplish this. Here’s the front and back of the sheath, basically finished except for additional dyeing and complete drying. However, As I look at it, I think it would benefit from some extra fringe. I’ll add a few more fringes, using the hemostats just like before. The rawhide is still wet here, so I can do this. Once the rawhide is dry, you won’t be able to add fringes without stretching the stitches out of shape. Now to let it dry for a couple of days, then a dye job. Here’s the finished sheath, additional dyeing with Fiebings Dark Brown Oil Dye, thinned with alcohol (2 parts alcohol, 1 part dye). Wear rubber gloves if you don’t want your skin this color!... Sources of Supply: Oregon Leather Co 110 NW 2ND Ave, Portland, OR 97209-3996 (503) 228-4105 Oregon Leather Co 810 Conger Street, Eugene, Oregon 97402 1-800-452-5058 Tandy Leather Factory www.tandyleather.com Dharma Trading Company (Procion dyes) www.dharmatrading.com
  10. Rawhide Knife Handle Wrap and Sheath Tutorial - Here are abbreviated instructions for making a rawhide sheath (my method, so there are probably better ways...). You can find a much more extensive tutorial (free download) in the Resources section of my web site at: www.sterlingsculptures.com The tutorial is in Adobe Acrobat PDF format, about 3 megabytes. For those of you with soda straw Internet connections, sorry for the marathon download. Making the Rawhide Handle Wrap: I’ve cut off a piece of rawhide large enough to do what I have in mind for the handle wrap. I used tin snips for this job, since dry rawhide is very stiff and tough. I soaked the rawhide square in warm (not hot!) tap water. To get soft enough to work, soaking will take at least 3 to 4 hours. Longer soaking is OK - if you get interrupted in the middle of this stage, you can put the jar in the refrigerator overnight. Things won’t start to rot that way. Once the rawhide was soft, I wrapped it around the knife handle and marked it to trim to size.Here’s the final piece trimmed after several test fits. Notice that nothing is square on the rawhide piece, and the edges aren’t straight. Odd as it looks here, it will all fit nicely and look square and straight once sewn onto the handle. The rawhide will shrink about 10 to 15 percent as it dries, pulling everything tight if your measuring and trim job was good. I punched all the holes using a VERY small leather punch. If you don’t have one of these - just use a sharpened finishing nail and hammer, punching through the rawhide into an expendable wooden backing board. You want small holes so the rawhide will close really tightly around the thread as it dries. I started sewing at one end of the rawhide, (I prefer to start at the small end), and pass each needle through the matching end holes, from the outside to the inside. I like to do this off of the handle for convenience. Here I’ve gone from one end to the other. All the stitches are the same except the very first and the last. Notice I haven’t pulled any of the stitches tight yet. It’s much easier to get the needles through the holes without tight stitches. To finish the last stitches I go one more time through the last holes - the thread passes through the last holes twice. Now we’re ready to tighten them all up. I’ll use a “fid” to tighten all the stitches up. I made this one out of a piece of elk antler. It’s just a thin, (but hard and sturdy) smooth and tapered tool. The tip needs to be pointed but not sharp enough to make a hole. A crochet hook from your significant other could also be used. I’ve tightened up the doubled stitches in the last holes, and tied a SQUARE knot - not a Granny knot. Right over left, then left over right. Now, pushing, pulling and twisting I arrange the rawhide sleeve in the right place on the knife handle, smoothing everything out until I’m satisfied. Once the rawhide dries, you won’t be able to do any adjustments. Once all of this is dry, I’ll dye it with an oil dye to make it all look sort of antique. It will probably take a full two days in a heated house to dry completely. Here’s the almost completed rawhide handle wrap. All that’s left to do is to place a small drop of instant glue on the linen thread knot, let it dry, then trim the extra off.
  11. Hi Christoph, There was a problem with the domain name expiring and the company who originally filed (not owned) the thecarvingpath.COM name is aparently defunct, so could not be contacted. You can now reach the site at thecarvingpath.NET: http://www.thecarvingpath.net/forum The member login names and passwords are still the same as before. Just .net now rather than .com.
  12. When you try to fill the gaps, you might consider adding sawdust to the epoxy. The added fibers will make a stronger filler. Just be sure to first coat all the gluing surfaces with clean, unsawdusted epoxy first. Sometimes if you add too much sawdust you'll get a putty-like consistency that might not make a good bond with the handle and tang surfaces, so the first coat of clean epoxy solves that little conundrum. Epoxy bonds very well to epoxy... If you use sawdust from the same piece of wood and use a linseed oil finish on the handle, any little spots of filler that might show will blend in with the solid wood pretty well.
  13. Thanks, for the kind words, guys! The knife is 1095. For the handle, I simply soaked a piece of rawhide in water for a few hours until it was soft, fit it to the handle and trimmed to size. I punched holes down one side, then placed it back on the knife and matched the holes on the other side. Waxed linen (dark brown) in a baseball stitch, then let it dry. Painted with a dark brown leather dye, and quickly wiped it off. Knife finished (in the interest of full disclosure, I still need to sharpen it...). The sheath started out with a wooden core (three pieces, the center peice tapered and closely fit to the blade, then outer sides glued on and carved/sanded to shape, with smoothly rounded edges). More soaked rawhide, trimmed with maybe half an inch excess on the sides and top. Punched holes on one side, then placed the two sides together so I could again match the holes on the unpunched piece. Sewed with the same waxed linen with a simple whip stitch all around, starting across the top so the excess there would make the top rim of the sheath. Placed a piece of buckskin fringe under each stitch, then went back and tightened all of them. When all that was done, sewed back the opposite direction so each stitch was an "X." Dyed the same way. Did learn that you need to pay attention to the direction you sew the first set of stitches. The excess rawhide will naturally fold to the front or the back of the sheath (depending on stitch direction). That works fine going "down" one side, but when you start "up" the other side, it folds the other direction. Lesson learned, do each side starting at the top and working down (or vice versa), not down one and up the other. The neck lanyard I wove using Japanese 4-cord kumihimo technique. Nice, easy and fast, compared to tradidtional braiding. That part took about half an hour.
  14. Here's my latest, a Christmas gift for a friend. It was kind of fun to do, and I also enjoyed learning how to make rawhide sheaths and handle wraps. Anyway, for better or for worse, here it is...
  15. OK, I know it's not a knife/sword/dagger, but it’s got sort of a blade on it. It's a medicine arrow, with a snake head carved in snakewood, double inlaid fossil ivory and ebony eyes, oceanspray wood shaft (our local arrow weed), and a Pedernales Texas flint arrowhead (arrowhead by Dr Joe Higgins). I steam-bent the shaft so it is very snaky – you wouldn’t want to shoot this thing unless you like knuckle-busters. Joe and I collected the flint last year near Fredericksburg, Texas, on what came to be known as the Texas Death march, but that's another story... The flint is un-heat treated, and is as tough as an old Texas boot. Takes a real man to pressure flake the stuff. Thanks for looking.
  16. Thanks for the kind words, guys. The basic process I use for the pyrography is this: scan the knife handle into the computer, and use printouts of that to develop the knotwork. Then I glue the finished pattern onto the wood with rubber cement (so I can get it off later). I use a small knife edged burner to outline the knots, burning right through the paper. There's a little madness to my method here, since the paper keeps the interior of the ribbons from scorching. Peel the paper off, and begin stippling. For the little knife, I used a tip I altered so there is a little tiny point on it for tiny dimples. For the larger obsidian knife, I just used a regular tip that is like a bent thick wire. That makes much larger dimples, almost like a hammered iron effect. With either the small or the large dimples, I only burn away one side of the line. This leaves the edges of the ribbons with a nice smooth edge. Once all of that is done, I use a piece of maroon ScotchBrite pad in a mandrel in my Foredom to clean the overburn/scorching from the ribbons, being careful not to take too much off or the dark color in the burned areas will disappear. Oh yes, don't lose your place as you're working around the ribbons. Otherwise you can sit there for ten minutes trying to find where you left off... Here's a link to a small tutorial on my web site describing the process in more detail: Celtic Pyrography Tutorial Most flints, cherts and novaculite need cooking to tame them, but you don't want to cook obsidian. You'll just end up with a very brittle tempered glass. Obsidian is already soft enough to knap readily, and has to be treated like a lady (however, she can sometimes be a nasty bitch!). As an interesting science note, I once melted a small chip of obsidian in my kiln thinking to make cast blanks for knapping, and it turned into a large hardened nodule of foamed glass, expanding like popcorn.
  17. Here are two I just finished. The first is a small 2 inch 1075 blade with pyrographed celtic knotwork on a boxwood handle. The second is a 6 inch Mexican green rainbow obsidian blade (by Dr. Joe Higgins) and pyrographed holly celtic knotwork handle by me. I took my inspiration from medieval illuminations in the Book of Kells. The obsidian blade is a marvel - it's very rare Mexican obsidian that has a strong metallic green sheen/glow in strong direct light. The photo doesn't even catch a fraction of it.
  18. Here's my latest knife work, a little squid and his (her?) lunch. Here are the details: 1 5/8 inch welded cable blade, pyrographed and polychromed English boxwood handle with fossil ivory and ebony double inlaid eyes, red silk wrapping, 6 inches overall length.
  19. Why not a firefly? Just a nice attractive bug with no negative connotations to offset the nasty black spider...will the firefly manage to get out of the web? Will it get eaten? Every good carving should tell a story...
  20. Finally got something finished out of several pending projects. This little friction folding knife turned out to be a real handful. There’s carving, inlay, forging, sawing and grinding steel, silver soldering, non-ferrous metalwork, pyrography, lathe work, and lots of stepwise gluing/cleanup. Whew! Thanks for looking…
  21. Welcome Mariano! I like the knapped texture very much. Could you describe how you did it, and also discuss how you made the sheath? Thanks,
  22. Elephant ivory is a difficult matter, to say the least. The United Nations CITES treaty prohibits traffic in a number of ivory species, and elephant tops the list. I suggest you browse the US Fish and Wildlife Service web sites as to specific legality of selling endangered species parts. Specifically, I know there is a problem if you sell them and don't have the appropriate documentation as to the ivory being from pre-ban sources. Proper documentation is the key – without GOOD and PROPER documentation the elephant ivory is just an interesting curiosity for your own amusement and an open invitation for confiscation of all of your knives by fish and game if you try to sell them. Across state lines is even worse and a federal matter to boot. Here are a few links to get you started: Ivory Identification US Fish and Wildlife Service Personally, I’d just stick to fossil ivories and avoid the hassles.
  23. Here’s what I’ve been working on lately – another of my “Ugly Fish” series of art knives. It’s a puffer fish or blowfish, carved of pyrographed and polychromed boxwood, with double inlaid eyes of fossil ivory and ebony. The knife blade is of 1075/1080 carbon steel, left with an as-forged texture. The knife is 4 and 1/2 inches in length, with a 1 and 1/2 inch long double edged blade.
  24. Thanks for the nice words, guys. For Randal - yes, I guess I could make a brookie, but would that be as cool? A brookie is a pretty fish, so it would just be a "Pretty Fish" knife, not an "Ugly Fish" knife. Seems to lack a little pizazzz...but maybe that's just me.
  25. Here's yet another in my series of "Ugly Fish" knives. I'm almost finished with it - just a few more coats of linseed oil and a few (green?) silk wrappings near the blade. About 7 inches overall, boxwood, with fossil ivory and ebony double inlaid eyes. 1075/1080 forged steel blade.
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