Jump to content

Recent work: The Bone Dagger, process photos


Recommended Posts

A project long in the works, recently came together and I thought it would make a good walk through and introduction to my process and current stage on the journey.

Materials: Reclaimed tool steel, wrought iron dock chain, copper fuse bar, mineralized cow bone, hand tanned buckskin, deer rawhide, hornet paper, Yellow Cedar, bamboo, sokui, kusune

...apologies for the length, I tend to do things the hard way 「(゚ペ) エットォ…



Island Blacksmith: Hand forged reclaimed knives

Island Blacksmith: Hand forged reclaimed knives




"The difficulty was the inside, how to get the irregular and largely hollow interior (of the bone) to solidly engage with the tang of a blade, without using epoxy to fill the gap. I solved the problem by making the handle into a three part locking puzzle, using wood, bone, and bamboo to lock onto the tip, edges, and centre of the tang in sequence. All stress points rely on mechanical interlocking joints and are supplemented with rawhide and leather wrapping and kept from shifting with traditional glues made from rice, Pine resin glue (kusune made from matsuyani), and other natural materials.

There is a keyhole opening in the bone perpendicular to the tang that the wood slides into. The bone has interior channels carved down the sides to hold the tang as well as small wooden plugs to lock the tip of the tang in place. The plugs fit tightly into the bone and are kept from sliding with kusune (pine resin glue). Once the tang is in place, the wood can no longer slide out of the bone, and once the bamboo peg is in place, the tang can no longer slide out of the handle. The joint is visually hidden by a layer of hornet paper and to strengthen the whole construction in order to support the weight of such a large blade, one and a half wraps rawhide covers the keyways, glued on with sokui (rice paste glue). Normally the rawhide would be ray skin, but for this fusion piece it is deer skin. The final wrapping is four strands of hand tanned unsmoked buckskin and uses a Celtic weave as well as a form of kumiage-maki to create a soft and strong handle grip."

The blade is 13.5" long to the machi and the overall length is about 21.5". more info: islandblacksmith.ca/2013/12/the-bone-dagger/







(very) rough forged in a charcoal fire, all by hand and from some pretty tough tool steel!
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged reclaimed knives

shaped and smoothed by drawfiling
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged reclaimed knives

coated for yaki-ire, a pretty crusty batch of clay mixture
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged reclaimed knives

...but it worked...out of the quench
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged reclaimed knives

cleaned up, nice texture of the fire/clay/water/drawfiling interaction so i decided to leave it there
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged reclaimed knives

an old fuse bar supplied the copper for the habaki
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged reclaimed knives

chiseled
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged reclaimed knives

annealed and forged
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged reclaimed knives

soldered
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged reclaimed knives

a section of wrought iron dock chain forged out for the tsuba/guard
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged reclaimed knives

finished with hammer texture and forged mimi, habaki rough polished
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged reclaimed knives

how do you solve a problem like maria?
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged reclaimed knives

channels on the sides engage with the edges of the nakago/tang
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged reclaimed knives

a bountiful harvest of pine sap that will be boiled and strained to make matsuyani(pine resin)
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged reclaimed knives

kusune (pine resin glue) made by adding charcoal powder and beeswax or plant oil
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged reclaimed knives

stopper blocks for the tip of the nakago fastened in with the heat activated kusune
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged reclaimed knives

carving out the inside of the tsuka to fit the nakago (tang)
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged reclaimed knives

after the bone shaped piece is removed, the tsuka slides into the keyway
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged reclaimed knives

the tip of the nakago goes all the way into the bone kashira for strength
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged reclaimed knives

rough shaping some copper water pipe on a wooden form (new form is in the works)
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged reclaimed knives

forged and filed to shape
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged reclaimed knives

a fuchi-esque ferrule to strengthen the front of the tsuka
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged reclaimed knives

test fit, habaki has been given a patina finish
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged reclaimed knives

preparing sokui (rice paste glue), the most oishi rice makes the best glue too!
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged reclaimed knives

gluing hornet paper on the tsuka to hide the transition and the dark kusune
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged reclaimed knives

amazing small papercrafters, aren't they!
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged reclaimed knives

deer rawhide is cut, formed, and wrapped until dry
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged reclaimed knives

working up the nerve to cut into my 20 year old hand tanned traditional buckskin...wish i had made more then
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged reclaimed knives

cut into 4mm lace
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged reclaimed knives

four strand wrap, suede side up, celtic knot weave and kumiage-maki fusion
Island Blacksmith: Hand forged reclaimed knives

  and a couple more of the finished piece:

Island Blacksmith: Hand forged reclaimed knives

Island Blacksmith: Hand forged reclaimed knives

more photos and detailed info here: islandblacksmith.ca/2013/12/the-bone-dagger/

Edited by DaveJ
Link to post
Share on other sites

Stunning work Dave! Thank you for sharing your WIP along with the finished shots. Great aesthetic and excellent use of materials. More and more I feel that the story behind what goes into a knife, whatever style or flavour, is as important as the finished piece. Excellent photography too, I might add B)

 

John

Link to post
Share on other sites

That is incredible workmanship and a beautiful finished product. Thanks so much for detailing how you accomplished such a feat!

 

-Dan

Link to post
Share on other sites

Great to see how the limits you set for yourself were instrumental in aesthetics and construction. This is a fine example of how limits will set us free rather than restrain.

 

Thank you for taking the time to document the process. The result is both informative and inspirational.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am very impressed. A very nice project, thanks for taking the time to do such a thorough documentation of it, perfect reading over the first cup of coffee today.

 

//DQ

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you very much for the step-by-step. I learned a lot. I have to admit, I always USED to consider bone handles slightly crude...but I'd never seen what truly can be done. That is just a beautiful blade, and anyone who owns it should be proud.

 

I really liked the combination of Japanese and western styles. I think you pulled it off really well. Thank you for sharing!

Link to post
Share on other sites

I always USED to consider bone handles slightly crude..

 

Amen, Buck. I'll never look at a bone handle the same again, though the bar has been raised really high by this example!

 

What's the point of the hornet paper? With the rawhide wrap, the junction should have been rather easily hidden and strengthened... or was there something else going on? I make a lot of my own primitive stuff like pitch glue and brain-tan buckskin, but your application has really stunned me. Very impressive work, hoss. Very impressive.

Link to post
Share on other sites

thanks much all! i really appreciate the deep, philosophical, and thought provoking comments and encouragement!

 

What's the point of the hornet paper? With the rawhide wrap, the junction should have been rather easily hidden and strengthened... or was there something else going on?

 

@VaughnT, the rawhide was quite clear originally....and there is some kusune (Pine resin glue) on the wood/bone key to level the transition between the two, so i roughed up the rawhide to provide some tooth for the leather wrapping and thought it would be enough to make it opaque, but the kusune still showed through so i added the hornet paper and then wished i had not roughed up the center of the rawhide at all so the patterns of the paper would be easier to see through the openings, as it is you have to look closely to see them in most lighting...

live and learn, but i will use the paper again if i find some more, its a beautiful pattern and texture.

"if it works...it's art, if it doesn't...it's research."

Edited by DaveJ
Link to post
Share on other sites

@DFogg, @Jim Kelso thank you, gentlemen, for weighing in on this, it means a lot coming from creatives like you...

@Jim Kelso, i just dug out my april 1992 blade mag and found your collab with louis mills...i know there is another somewhere that also inspired me many years ago...

Link to post
Share on other sites

This is one of the coolest projects I've seen in a while! Thanks for posting your process photos!

Link to post
Share on other sites
×
×
  • Create New...