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Wesley Alberson

Jamb Knife, Take-Down Concept

23 posts in this topic

I had the idea of making a take-down knife that uses 2 wedges to press the handle and bolsters against the shoulders of the blade. It must have been from using similar wedges to install doors on jobs with my carpenter friend, so I decided to call it a jamb knife. I had a small blade laying around, so I decided to go for it. This idea probably isn't original, but it is new to me! It works quite well, too. The wood compressing in between the bolsters creates a lot of pressure so it keeps the wedges from moving.

 

I wanted there to be as much friction and compression as possible, so I used more malleable materials like copper for the wedges and aluminum for the bolsters. the handle is holly, wrapped and lacquered with some cheap string. It makes the handle look a little like a bobbin. Turns out there was a cool hamon hiding in there, too.

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Interesting concept but I think that you need to rethink the handle shape. Consider more of a barrel shape with the front bolster not standing out as much from the blade. Match the size on the back and leave a nice palm swell in the middle.

 

Doug

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I was thinking that, too. The main reason I wanted to make this knife was to try out the whole wedge idea. I didn't really focus on aesthetics or finish on this one, just the concept. If I were to do it again, I would forge a wider blade and take your advice with the flush bolster and palm swell, as well as a handle that is actually long enough to fit my hand. For now I'm going to use this knife to see how well the wedges hold up. So far so good. There were actually some voids between the handle and bolsters when I loosely fit it together, but once I tightened the wedges on the end, the parts fit together snugly. I made a quick wooden sheath for this, which makes it look like some weird glasses case.

IhvqJE3.jpg?1

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Ok, use the heck out of it and see how it holds up. You might even think of eventually breaking the blade to see how the grain is. You can't learn how to make knives unless you break a few blades.

 

Doug

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first im not a beginner but i make knifes to get used i like the idea it look,s ok with me yes maybe some shaping on the handle my only Thoth to do def, would be Maybe one wedge with a small taper like the pin used to hold a tanto handle on less likely to loosen maybe

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I really like the concept of the test blade, so I decided to make another one. The test knife is barely usable as a knife because the handle is so short, and it isn't too ergonomic, either. I forged a drop point knife, and the design has worked out very well so far, it is still a WIP.

One design flaw of the test knife is that it uses 2 wedges, and there is nothing to align the wedges. To remedy this, I forged a groove on the butt plate going from side to side, and I am only using one wedge. The groove in the butt plate keeps the wedge perpendicular to the tang, and it also gives the wedge assembly a lower profile. It is easy to take apart with any hammer and a wooden/metal block, however there is so much friction that it is very unlikely for the wedge to come out by itself. The wedge itself is filed flush to the sides of the butt plate, so bumping it against something will not make it come loose.

I really like the shape of this one, I have never made a drop point with a ricasso like this.

jsa647e.jpg?1

 

A closeup of the assembly. Because the groove is round, the wedge is round on the bottom and flat on top to match up with the tang. A traditional architectural blacksmithing joint on a knife is an idea that I have had in my mind for a while. I'm glad that I can fully realize this, and I haven't seen any other knives that are put together quite like this. I know that some knives have a hidden pin in the pommel that act like this, but I haven't seen anything that takes a wedged tenon joint quite as literally as this.

0ggDtq9.jpg?1

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enjoyed you vid ab the process, handle looks comfy, thing of taste is the rough blade grind.

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1 hour ago, Karim said:

enjoyed you vid ab the process, handle looks comfy, thing of taste is the rough blade grind.

The knife isn't done, I will polish the bevels and give the fittings a better finish. I am just happy that the handle design works, so I went ahead and posted it.

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I have seen WWII Kabars and some bayonets with the guard wedged on this way.  There is a small hole in the tang, just behind the guard, they would fit the guards, wedge them in place and fit the handle over it to hold the wedge.

 

Geoff

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That's interesting, did they do that to make sure that the blade doesn't rattle for covert operations?

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I suspect it was more for production speed with minimally-skilled workers.  That way you don't have to worry about a precision fit, just mill the slot, pin it, and go.

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That was my thought as well, but I have seen hard used M1Garrand bayonets with the handles split off and the guard still tight.  The mount on my big post vice works that way, and I've never had to tighten it.

 

Geoff

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I never said it wasn't very strong!  Yeah, a good wedge is strong indeed.

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Hi Wes, watched all these videos and think its a good looking blade. Well done. 

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Thanks! Here's a picture of the scabbard. I am a newbie at leather work, so I made a thin oak scabbard and a frog for it. It was inspired by Japanese hunting knives, which have a similar setup.

a2AEkxj.jpg?1

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On 4/19/2017 at 7:02 AM, Wesley Alberson said:

I really like the concept of the test blade, so I decided to make another one. The test knife is barely usable as a knife because the handle is so short, and it isn't too ergonomic, either. I forged a drop point knife, and the design has worked out very well so far, it is still a WIP.

One design flaw of the test knife is that it uses 2 wedges, and there is nothing to align the wedges. To remedy this, I forged a groove on the butt plate going from side to side, and I am only using one wedge. The groove in the butt plate keeps the wedge perpendicular to the tang, and it also gives the wedge assembly a lower profile. It is easy to take apart with any hammer and a wooden/metal block, however there is so much friction that it is very unlikely for the wedge to come out by itself. The wedge itself is filed flush to the sides of the butt plate, so bumping it against something will not make it come loose.

I really like the shape of this one, I have never made a drop point with a ricasso like this.

jsa647e.jpg?1

 

A closeup of the assembly. Because the groove is round, the wedge is round on the bottom and flat on top to match up with the tang. A traditional architectural blacksmithing joint on a knife is an idea that I have had in my mind for a while. I'm glad that I can fully realize this, and I haven't seen any other knives that are put together quite like this. I know that some knives have a hidden pin in the pommel that act like this, but I haven't seen anything that takes a wedged tenon joint quite as literally as this.

0ggDtq9.jpg?1

Sweeet! That handle looks like it would fit the hand very well! Also love the pommel and guard! Well done!

 

Daniel. 

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Thanks! I am now working on my first puukko, and it has the same design, too. Here are some shots of the finished hunting knife. The blade isn't fully finished in the previous pictures.

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This is a WIP Puukko. I am polishing the blade last on this one. It has a hamon, but I still need to polish the blade to really bring it out. The handle is a maple crotch. 2 opposite pieces that have been carved halfway each and glued together. The wedge for this one is flush to the bolster, and only the tang sticks out a little.

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Thanks! Today I etched the blade and I got some good hamon activity and turnback. I mixed up my own clay, using Dave Friesen's simple recipe of 1:1:1 clay, charcoal powder, and rock dust. It probably would have had more activity if it was quenched in water, but I'm happy with the way it looks.

Lat6o1m.jpg?1

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I really love that drop point. To many it is unecessary for modern blades to be made this way with all the adhesives and fasteners available, but it adds to the craftsmanship of the peice when you can put it together with no glue and nothing rattles. And i like that you even left part of the primary blade bevel unground. I am a huge fan of forging thin with minimal grinds. Looks like you know what your doing with the wood work too. gotta be one of my favorite brute de la forge peices. I am working on a tanto right now with some of the same elements. But as far as the blade goes i have a bad habbit of not knowing when to stop, next thing you know i've buffed the blade to a mirror polish. 

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I have been thinking of different wedged tenon designs, and I have been thinking about making it more simple. I'm wondering what would happen if I somehow carved a groove into a wooden handle, drilled & filed a hole in the end of the tang, and then used a bamboo wedge to secure it all, like Japanese swords and knives. Driving in the wedge would compress the wedge and the handle, and the only issue I can think of would be if the tang is too thin at the end, which puts all of that pressure on only one little point.

With my design, there are 3 points of contact, and I can always beef up the wedge by just making the ramp deeper, and carving a wedge to match.

This is a puukko-ish design that I have, and if I can pull this off, I think that it would be an inexpensive yet reliable knife that I can make with relative ease, perfect for when I start selling at the state fair in the fall. 

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On the more ambitious side, I wanted to do a fighter style knife. This knife design is a combination of a tanto, Stuart Branson's "Arashi No Umi" fighter, and Liam Hoffman's "Jager" knife. Tanto have this continuous curve across the spine and handle, and I wanted the handle to flow with it. I like Branson's partially-wrapped handle on his fighter, and I might even make a fuchi & habaki for it. Hoffman's Jager knife has a harpoon grind on the top that I think really fits on this knife. I have been sketching a lot, and this is my favorite design so far.

ovtPRAv.png?1

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@Wesley Alberson Hey mate, nice designs. Big fan of the first one. Would be more than happy to 'try' it out for you. I would even pay for the postage to AUS. lol. 

Liked you latest vid too. Keep at it. 

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