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Wrought Iron San Mai Puukko


Tim Tracey

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Here is another puukko. This time a little fancier.

Wrought Iron and 1095 San Mai puukko, birch bark handle and copper bolster and pommel.

8 inches overall with a 4 1/4 inch blade.

 

I already know the handle is a quarter inch too short, but other than that I can honestly say I'm fairly pleased with this. But any hints, tips, admonitions, etc.

 

 

FullSizeRender (21).jpg

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Cool knife! How did you do the birch bark? I have some in the closet and was thinking of moving forward with it.

I have always thought that one man of tolerable abilities may work great changes, and accomplish great affairs among mankind, if he first forms a good plan....

- Benjamin Franklin

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Thanks Phil, the bark is pretty easy to work with. The biggest pain is preparing it, peeling off all the papery stuff and making sure there are no holes or cracks in it. It takes a bit more than you think to create the handle as it compresses quite a bit, that and cutting/punching the holes for the tang for a tight fit is a bit tedious.
There are some really great tutorials out there were I learned. But it's honestly one of my favorite materials at the moment. Here is a pretty good one.

http://imageevent.com/paleoaleo/makingabirchbarkknifehandle

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Hey Tim!

I love it! Glad to see you are still smithin! I bet the san-mai was a huge step up for you!

Great job!

-Gabriel

The fundamental cause of trouble is that the stupid are cocksure, while the intelligent are full of doubt. -Bertrand Russell, philosopher
follow me on Instagram @raggedravenforge

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Thanks Gabriel!

I've been pretty active in the shop this summer, actually churning out quite a few knives. They are mainly designed for the local hunters and bushcrafters up the U.P. here so nothing that would fit on this forum.

I felt that this would fit in nicely here, so here is a better photo. Pictures work differently on my tablet so sometimes they look ok to me, but on my computer it's a different story.DSC03908.JPG

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seems a little charred on the bark layer next to the copper, is that from heat during the shaping and polishing?

Of the four elements, air, earth, water, and fire

man stole only one from the gods. Fire. And
with it, man forged his will upon the world.

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Not charred but I think some tarnish from the copper fittings that got on the sides of the handle I like the look of it so i left it on there, I could sand it off but it adds to it.

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nice knife. You have the same thing that I struggle with, which is getting the center core thin enough that the outer cladding is thick enough to actually support the blade. You may want to use core material only half as thick relative to the outer layers, next time.

 

That is just a style thing. The knife looks functional and attractive, and I love the look of wrought iron, and also I love the copper.

 

could the darkened color be from copper dust that got stuck into the birch during finishing?

 

It doesn't matter, overall, unless you were entering the knife in a contest or something. Otherwise, it is just character.

 

keep forging!

kc

please visit my website http://www.professorsforge.com/

 

“Years ago I recognized my kinship with all living things, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on the earth. I said then and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it; while there is a criminal element, I am of it; while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.” E. V. Debs

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Thanks for the feedback Kevin. You hit the nail on the head with both the thickness of the core vs. the cladding, and the copper dust.

Lesson learned to start with a thinner core. I had started this one with three equal thickness pieces.

I also ended up taping the bolster and pommel off, then sanding the bark down. Then taped the bark and sanded the bolster and pommel down. Now it looks good, no dark lines at all.

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I've started wrought iron san mai cores with every ratio imaginable and still usually have what I need where it needs to be. I think the main thing is the choice between forging and grinding after forging when it comes to how much iron you want to show. I've been making some things that require the iron to be pretty close to the edge. To do that I have to forge it pretty close so that I don't grind away the iron to get the bevel I want. When I'm using wrought iron san mai for decorative purposes I tend to treat the billet more like a stock removal knife and plan to do lots of grinding.

 

One thing is to not allow your iron to overwhelm your steel when it comes to mass and carbon migration. I've tried to make wrought san mai swords where the blade would take a set with minimal flexing due to carbon migration combined with the mass of the iron overwhelming the thinner steel core. Using a carbon migration barrier.. like pure nickel.. sometimes makes sense.

 

My main criticism on these would be the overall geometric flow.. when designing a knife try to look for things that interrupt the flowing of a smooth line. In the second picture simply making your bolster a bit more narrow would make it work much better. Take a look at some of the wonderful Scandinavian puukkos that are being made with birch bark and note how organically beautiful and simple the shapes are.

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Thanks for the feedback Scott. I had to take a long hard look at it to remove my pride from your advice to really see what you meant.

I can see a few things to help the flow immediately. The size of the bolster for one. Taking the handle diameter down a millimeter more overall, and adding a few millimeters to the handle length, would have helped tremendously.

I just forged out some more wrought to make three more, with the wrought being thicker than my steel core so we'll see how they turn out.

I also just bought the book "Norwegian Knife Making" by Havard Bergland to help out with some of my due diligence for research. Anyone read this one at all?

 

Thanks again everyone for the feedback, it's much appreciated.

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Hi Tim, nice puukko. I'm new here but I recently read Havard Bergland's book. It has many details on handles and fittings as well as sheath making. Lots of excellent photos as well. It answered many questions I had. Also a good read as well as a great reference.

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