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Well I thought it was time for another WIP thread unfortunately my last thread was somewhat derailed by a family crisis and I still won't be returning to that knife for sometime, but since this build is somewhat interesting I thought I would share. Each year I exhibit at a trade show called Canoecopia (an event for all things canoe and outdoors) and each year I feel the need to up my game from the previous year. So I was wracking my brain for a suitable center piece that would (hopefully) really stand out. This is what I came up with:




I wanted to go BIG literally and figuratively in size and complexity, I decided on changing a couple of design elements later on in the process that I feel are much more pleasing to the eye, but 90% of the drawing is accurate. The biggest changes I made were the size of the blade (I ended up making it an inch longer) and the coined spacer which I removed from the middle of the spacer. I intended for the blade and fittings to be damascus and planned on making this my first frame handle take down knife. Now in concern to the name "La Brea" refers to the La Brea tar pits outside of LA where several mammoths were found so I will give you two guesses as to what the handle will be made out of. ;) But onto the build!


I wanted this knife to be a multi bar turkish twist so I started with a billet of crushed Ws and a billet of jelly roll damascus:






So each billet is 1084 and 15n20 measuring 2 inches x 3 1/2 inches x 4 1/2 inches so pretty beefy billets.


The crushed Ws will only be taken to two layers for a very drastic effect:




And the billet for the jellyroll:




Each billet was drawn down to 1 inch square by 12 inches long or so




And then cut into four pieces




So the billet is starting at 2 inches square x 6 inches and will be drawn down to a 1/2 inch bar. This resulted in 60 inches of bar.




And the resulting bar (this end cut is always a bit wonky but it is better further up.




Unfortunately, due to the length of the 1/2 bar when drawing it out I had to cut it into two separate bars in order to easily forge it so it would stop flopping around. This resulted in two bars that were extra and not long enough to make a six bar. But all of that aside I have now cut the 60 inches of bar into five 10 inch bars and two odd length bars.




Ready for twisting:




This was the first heating for twisting, I was aim for about 10 twists per inch and I ended up with twelve so not to bad. Then I squared them up and ground the mating surfaces clean.



Unfortunately I forgot to take photos of the forging step on this knife (it was mostly stock removal anyway due to not wanting to disrupt the pattern) But here is the rough knife blank, frame, spacer, and guard components.




At this point the illustrious Karl Anderson was kind enough to have me over and help me by surface grinding the frame, guard, and blade while walking me through doing a take-down build for which I am infinitely grateful for his generosity in sharing his knowledge. After everything was surface ground the spine of the blade was sitting at just over .25 inch think and the blade measures in at 12 inches long. I did a small test etch of the tip to see what was going on in the steel and so far so good.




There is much more to this build and I will post more updates tomorrow as I finish up the spacer and guard, then on to heat treat!


Thanks for looking and all comments/ questions are welcome.





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Well I thought it was time for another WIP thread unfortunately my last thread was somewhat derailed by a family crisis and I still won't be returning to that knife for sometime, but since this build

Thanks guys! This is one of those builds that stays in your dreams at night, so I am glad others are enjoying it. Here is today's progress:   Today involved a lot of file work which, while tedious,

Here is the next round of photos:   At this point I am now fitting the frame to the tang:     Then I move on to fit the spacer and guard. At this point the guard is only partially ground to sha

I am waiting for the next installment on this one! It is looking good so far, real good!!!

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Thanks for the comments guys! I have to say though I am having an conflict of interest at the moment and it is all because I saw one of Don Hanson's frame handle knives this evening. It is seriously making me question the aesthetic of having the screw hardware on this mammoth ivory. But I seriously want to do a take down...oh what to do! I feel though in my gut that I have to not make this a take down sadly. Still my first frame handle though.


So in essence I would replace the screw hardware with hidden pins and a singular bronze pin more like in my original drawing. So what do you think? Am I'm going crazy?

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Oh man, I was so wrapped up in my own stuff that I almost missed this. This is a wonderful example of pattern welding. Thanks for walking us through in detail. I love these in-progress threads. I can't wait to see what you do with the guard and frame, and also the spacers. This knife is really promising.


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Here is the next round of photos:


At this point I am now fitting the frame to the tang:




Then I move on to fit the spacer and guard. At this point the guard is only partially ground to shape and the spacer has not been shaped at all yet. Hence the big blob in the middle of the handle...




Then I start roughing in the shape of the spacer to match the external curve of the mammoth ivory.






Then I lay out my scribe lines on the spacer and then use a small cut off wheel in a drill press to begin the cut on each scribe mark. I only just remembered this handy trick so for those that don't know if you want to easily lay out horizontal lines on a curved surface, take a dremel (or any rotatory tool) cut off wheel bit and put that in your chuck like a drill bit then just set your table height to the scribe line and instant grooves!






The two outer channels will have a bronze wire inlay and the two inner ones will be removed with a chainsaw file.




At this point I had also finished roughing in the shape of my guard as well.





And then a quick mock up of the blade with some of the ivory:




You can see in this picture where I intend to change my plunge lines and I still have to add in the slight bevel on the ricasso, but then it is on to heat treat and the rest of the guard fittings.

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You aren't posting progress fast enough Robert. I am excited to see this finished and you are making me wait :lol: Seriously though, this is outstanding so far.

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Thanks guys! This is one of those builds that stays in your dreams at night, so I am glad others are enjoying it. Here is today's progress:


Today involved a lot of file work which, while tedious, I find quite enjoyable. My main goals for the day were to fully fit the guard and to do as much shaping of the guard as possible in the day. Unfortunately I forgot to photograph the first step which was to reduce the arms of guard to their final width and to checker the now proud side of the guard. But following these steps I began the initial scalloping of the clam shells.








After the primary grooves are cut in then I add the "veins" with a small triangle file:




And the reverse side:




Then I begin contouring the back. I remove much of the initial material with a dremel and carbide bit, the clean up is done with a small half round file.




All contoured and sanded to 120 grit (The black dot you see is a small inclusion which I was able to get out by going back with some file work after this picture was taken.)




Showing the coining on the guard:




And now before I get to anymore shaping I need to finish fitting the guard:






And finally all fit and ready for the rest of the shaping. More to come tomorrow:



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Thanks for all of the comments guys, this is a really fun build and it keeps getting more exciting as I go along. Now I did make one large design change or plan change. I have decided to not do this as a take down. I know I know its lame to change it at this point but when I saw Don Hanson's bowie he just posted I was sold and so I will be doing a hidden pin construction with a single domed pin instead of doing it as a full take down, as my plan for doing it as a take down would have looked to busy and made the flow of the knife feel "clunky". But all of that aside here is today's progress.

I started the day off shaping the rest of the guard, here is what it looks like after the initial hogging off of material with the dremel before I use the files.


Then it was just a rinse and repeat of what you saw yesterday, file, and the sand everything to 120 grit. I find if you get rid of the deep scratches when it is flat and soft it makes clean up when it is harder and awkward much easier.

Now to start the bend:


Then do the other side and check the fit:


At this point I also drilled the six holes to receive the hidden pins as you saw in the previous picture. I also wanted to tighten up the frame in a couple of places hence the two dimples. This was a trick Karl Anderson showed me and it works great.


And then onto heat treating all of the fittings. Thankfully there were no issues and now to temper them. Much more to come tomorrow. Thanks for following along!


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Well yesterday was a slightly major back, but I will get to that more later. At this point the knife and hardware are successfully heat treated and on to clean up. But first for a quick test of the knife.


A 1 x 6 pine board:




And a complimentary arm shaving picture:




I also test chop using antler as well, but I was running short on time at the end of the day and skipped the pictures. I'm still not really used to stopping and photographing every step I do for these WIPs so I apologize for some missing photos.


Now rewind to earlier in the day. I was very excited that my bronze wire finally arrived so that I could begin the inlay on my spacer...


This is when disaster struck, as I was inlaying the bronze I was expanding it with a flat punch to fill the slot and that expanding metal found an undiscovered weld flaw, blowing out a small section of the bottom lip. I was just quiet for a few minutes....


After going out for lunch and cooling off for a bit I was convinced I would have to start over from scratch with a new piece of damascus, I was resigned to this fact and told my wife I would be home until near midnight. As I began the prep work I went over to my round bar pile to grab something to use as a handle. And lo and behold a MIRACLE! A small left over piece of the same bar of damascus!


So still not great having to start all over, but at least I was a few steps ahead, so after a bit of work last night I have the slot ready to go and the rough shaping in.




More to come tonight.

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Yeah finding a flaw always sucks, but I 'd rather find it now than the customer find it later. Unfortunately today ended up being a lot of fiddling which I hate but finally everything is now fitting back to where it should be.


And now I have the opportunity to change aspects I wasn't so fond of in the original spacer by tweaking the file work. Still another hour to finish roughing everything out and cleaning it up, but at least it is getting back on track.


And onto something new! Sanding! Yay!....


And one side brought up to 400 grit:


More to come soon, lots of pattern revealing in the next post so stay tuned!

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Well, I had totally missed this before, and I'm rather glad I did! It makes reading it so much more enjoyable when there is this much material.

This is coming out great and is a very valuable WIP for our readers. Thanks so much Robert.

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Thanks for the comments guys. Finally I have something interesting to show you all. Dah Dah Dah Dah...!






Still one more etch to go and final clean up, but an exciting moment none the less. Now on to polishing and etch the guard.

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Thanks fellas I was pretty pleased with this combination and it was a fun pattern to put together. Here is today's progress, small but important. I am still waiting for my bronze sheet to arrive to make the guard shield, but that won't stop me from working on the rest of the guard.

Here I am cleaning up the file work post hardening and tempering:


Then it was polished, etched, and heat blued:




And some pictures showing off some of the chatoyance in the pattern:



Tomorrow I will be finishing the spacer and then depending on whether the bronze arrives either making the shield or starting to work with the ivory. Thanks for following along everyone!

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Thanks Deker, I have to say I am looking forward to it being done simply so my brain doesn't hurt anymore lol.


Here is today's progress.


I started off by sanding and polishing the spacer to prepare it for the etch:



Etched and gun blued:



I will be heat bluing it a little later on to darken up the spacer to match the guard and make the pattern much more subtle. And now for a quick explanation about what you will see int the next photo. 99% of people do not does this, but it is simply what I do and I have a reason for it. Several years ago I was talking to Ray Rybar about an integral knife he did that used ivory and he talked about needing an expansion barrier or compensator. In essence, a material to allow for the difference in expansion and contraction rates between the ivory and the steel to prevent delamination and cracking many many many years down the road. I am a believer in this philosophy and I also quite like the aesthetic it can have when done right. So even though my frame is surface ground truly flat and my ivory has been ground truly flat I still add in a leather spacer to act as an expansion barrier fifty years down the road.


Now that that is explained you will see in the next photo me fitting the hidden pins which are 3/32 inch stainless steel sunk about halfway into the ivory.:






And now finally the handle is ready for profiling so I can begin the filework on the frame.




And the other side:




And for the first time 99% dry fit:




With the frame, handle shaping, and shield left to go this project is nearing the end of the tunnel; but, oh wait I forgot about the sheath too. Nevermind... :P

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