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About eight years ago I made an experimental blade using cable and thin tool steel rods twisted into a rope. After grinding, polishing and etching it I put it in a drawer as I had no idea what to do for a handle.

Around May of last year (2015) a client visited my shop and asked to see what I am working on. As I opened the drawer he spotted the blade and fell in love. He asked me to finish it for him, and gave me total artistic freedom within his budget.

A month or so passed and I had a faint idea of using a tsuba type guard, so I made one, and added two brass spacers as well:

1.jpg

 

I had no idea how to continue so I put the blade away again. While doing research for some other project I stumbled across an image of a pirate flag, a skull with two crossed daggers, which closely resemble this blade. I decided there and then on a pirate theme.
The first step was to finish all the fittings; a rope carving around the guard to fit into the nautical them, and a "Jolly Rodger" pommel cap, both in mild steel:

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The handle took a while to come together. I chose red ivory and blackwood, with a red and black spacer between the two, symbolizing violence and death. I also inlaid two bits of ivory in order to add some scrimshaw:
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On one side I did a scrim of Captain Blackbeard:
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... to be continued

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...continued

 

On the other side I scrimmed a tall ship. Scrimshaw is not my favourite pastime, I find it to be extremely tiring.

The pommel cap was held in place with two drops of CA adhesive in order to have a flush finish between the cap and the handle. A light tap broke the bond. I then patinated the cap and the guard.

 

Assembly was a matter of making sure everything fit, then glueing the handle onto the blade.

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When the handle / tang joint was fully cured I pinned and glued on the pommel cap

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During the years of laying idle in the drawer the blade developed a fine layer of rust. Instead of re-sanding I used some metal polish and lots of rubbing to bring the blade to a level of polish that fit the theme:
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The finished knife:

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The client picked up the knife two days ago, and he was very happy with the result.

 

Questions and comments welcome.

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Ain't nothing wrong with that. That turned out really nice Tiaan! The scrimshaw turned out really nice. Would you mind at all if I asked what kind of tools you use with scriming? I was farting around with it(easy it is not), and was curious what you used for the stippling. Thanks!

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good work all around. I actually like the blade a lot.

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Thank you all for the kind words.

 

Ain't nothing wrong with that. That turned out really nice Tiaan! The scrimshaw turned out really nice. Would you mind at all if I asked what kind of tools you use with scriming? I was farting around with it(easy it is not), and was curious what you used for the stippling. Thanks!

 

Wes, I use a 1mm drill bit shank held in a pin vise. The tip is sharpened in a triangular shape. The sharp edges of the triangle cuts into the ivory fibres instead of just pushing them apart as a round tip would do. An acute angle makes a smaller spot in the ivory, a "blunter" tip makes a larger spot. The needle must be extremely sharp, I sharpen mine two two three times in a morning session of scrim, using a 1200 grit diamond hone.

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Tiaan, I just have to say that this is one of the coolest knives I've seen in a long time. Can I ask a couple of questions? (I'll assume the answer is yes)

1. the first photo looks like there is no tang on this knife. Is that an optical illusion, or did you weld one on after the fact?

2. How did you join the red ivory, spacers, and the blackwood? Are there blind pins, or is it butt glued?

3. Where did you get red ivory?

4. I almost forgot. Would you be willing to do a WIP on your inlay technique?

Edited by Joshua States
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Thank you all for the kind words.

 

 

Wes, I use a 1mm drill bit shank held in a pin vise. The tip is sharpened in a triangular shape. The sharp edges of the triangle cuts into the ivory fibres instead of just pushing them apart as a round tip would do. An acute angle makes a smaller spot in the ivory, a "blunter" tip makes a larger spot. The needle must be extremely sharp, I sharpen mine two two three times in a morning session of scrim, using a 1200 grit diamond hone.

 

Thanks Tiaan! In the test scrims I was doing, I was using a sharpened dental pick that has a round cross section. I will give that 1mm triangular tip a try.

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