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For a while, now, I've been working on a surprise project for my grandfather, and now his knife--the Neal Farm Knife--is finished! It's far from perfect, but what it lacks in perfection I would like to think it makes up for in character. The blade was forged from the drive shaft of a piece of equipment on my grandpa's farm (yes, I tested it, and it hardens very well), and the handle was made from a piece of Osage Orange (hedgeapple wood) that grew on the farm, and which he often used to make fence posts. You can see the leftover steel and wood in this photo, as well. I left the blade, including the hexagonal integral bolster, as forge-finished as possible, meaning that the steel you see here has barely touched a grinder--aside from cleaning up the shape of the spine and tip a bit, the steel was made this way by my hand, with hammers and sweat. The tang underwent plenty of grinding, admittedly, to get it to fit into the handle material :P. The handle is a hidden tang construction, epoxied and pinned in place. I followed the octagonal shape of the bolster, but curved and flared it to be more comfortable. I had a bit of a mishap with vinegar, trying to re-patina the spots on the steal I hit with the file, and it soaked up into the wood, discoloring half the handle. I couldn't sand it out, and I wasn't really digging the two-tone look, so I went all-in and did a distressed look with the wood, which still has a bit of the two-tone effect, but honestly goes well with the forge-finished steel, in my opinion. There was a crack in the piece of wood my family sent me, but I don't think my grandpa is going to put much hard use into the knife, so I mixed epoxy with sawdust from the wood and filled the crack with it, which seemed to work out pretty well. It isn't perfect, but I'm proud of it, and I hope my grandpa likes it! He has always meant a lot to me, and played a big role in my life as I grew up.
A while back, a coworker of mine gave me some truck leaf springs, and I cut a piece to forge into a full-tang clip point EDC. Unfortunately, I overdid correcting a slight warp near the tip and snapped it off, so I rounded off the end and made it more of a utility knife. I feel like I did fairly well forging it close to shape, though, and didn't need much grinding on the blade. Of course, I also like forge finish and hammer marks--it's kind of my aesthetic :P. I also soaked it in vinegar overnight to give it a bit of a patina. The handle scales are red oak that I shaped, inspired by a Scandinavian design, then dyed/distressed in a similar manner to my leatherwork, gave two coats of tung oil, and sealed with a soft wax. Not the prettiest thing, but it works--it already bit me, and I haven't put the final touches on the edge yet.