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Another Serpent


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Well, my 3D printing/CAD classes being cancelled has been a mixed blessing. It gave me time to work on this knife (without which I would be properly stir-crazy) and will more likely than not end up with me taking welding classes in a few weeks (just looking at my atrocious tack welds on the billet it's clear I could use some).

 

test grind.JPG

 

I hit up the blade blank with an angle grinder to check some spots I think there could be problems. It all looked good. When I was forging in the bevels, it seems like there might've been a separation of the bars near the blade-tang junction. Lots of heat and it appears to have closed up *vigorously knocks on a piece of wood*

 

finish forged.JPG

 

Well, here it is. The last few straightening heats I did starting just above critical and then I normalized it with several cycles. Out of the forge it bears a striking resemblance to the uneven, oxidized forms of blades buried in the ground for more than a thousand years.

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I'm glad you like it. The main reason I made this WIP (other than the great suggestions and guidance I've gotten) is because most of my knowledge of knife making has come from other people sharing the

The first good look at the pattern after heat treatment.

WooHoo! What say the brethren?

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Aiden...

 

Thank you for this WIP.

Now I want to try my hand at it!

 

-Gabriel

I'm glad you like it. The main reason I made this WIP (other than the great suggestions and guidance I've gotten) is because most of my knowledge of knife making has come from other people sharing their process like this, and a lot of the most helpful WIPs to me were made by someone trying something they didn't have a lot of experience with.

 

Don't get me wrong, I love following the process of very knowledgeable and skilled makers, but sometimes it takes seeing someone less experienced trying something ambitious to say to myself "hey, I might be able to do that!"

 

Well, none of the welds opened up like a zipper in the quench (yay!), so now I can start to think about polishing and a handle. I sketched out a simple waisted handle (I really love the look of them), and noticed that the outline comes pretty close to the tang :blink:. I will grind the tang a little narrower, but was wondering if anyone who has handled some blades like this has advice for making a relatively precise slot for a 4" long tang which is also fairly wide. I think I'm going to try for a simple all wood (curly maple) handle.

 

handle sketch.JPG

 

I also have a question about etching: do you guys normally etch before or after fitting to the handle? The last PW blade I burned in the tang, which got soot/other junk on the base of the blade which was hard to clean off of the etched surface.

 

Thanks,

Aiden CC

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Looking cool. Good luck finishing it. I usually etch before final sharpening but after getting everything ready. However, since I always impatient to see the pattern. I will etch before then, too, to take a look :-)

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I usually polish the blade to a grit below finish, and then burn in the handle. Once it is all fit up I finish polishing and etch, then assemble and sharpen.

 

That blade is looking great! I love the tightness of the twist and the serpent bar is very attractive, not to mention the shape is right on!

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Nice! I like the proportions of the blade, and the waisted handle will look great on it.

To fit your handle without breaking through the tang hole, you need to make sure you have a precise fit to the tang. If you're making it out of a single block, what I do is I drill a hole in the center of the wood, with the depth being the length of the tang, and the diameter of the hole should be equal to the thickness of the tang at its mid point, and then I slowly enlarge the hole into a slot with tools that are shown in this thread http://www.bladesmithsforum.com/index.php?showtopic=33356&hl=

If you did everything right, then you should be able to shape down the block without too much stress.

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Thanks for the advice about the etching. I have to blade polished to 600 grit and I'll fit the handle, go back over the blade with the same grit, and then etch.

 

Neil's, I can definitely relate to being eager to see the pattern. I did a test etch before heat treat and could see most of the pattern while sanding (strangely, it appeared at 400 grit and then was less obvious after 600, which I think was due to the direction I was sanding).

 

I'm glad the shape/proportions and the steel looks good to you guys! I looked at pictures of originals and at some modern seaxes from makers who seemed to care about the historical forms.

 

Collin, I like the idea of starting with a single hole and widening to match the shape of the tang. Tomorrow I'll probably make a couple of broaches (1/8" and 3/16"), which is something I should've done a while ago. Hopefully I can do more work on the knife itself Tuesday.

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handles glued.jpg

 

I just epoxied up these snaggletoothed monstrosities. I forged the blanks from the piece of W2 I was going to use for the edge of the seax I ended up replacing with a different piece of steel. None of my files could make much progress on them, they were thin enough I guess the annealing didn't work, so the teeth were made with a dremel cutoff disk (which you can tell I'm not great with) and the belt sander. I heat treated them with a torch, quenching in water.

 

I tested them on a scrap piece of flame birch with a hole in it and they work well. Tomorrow, I'll grind down the pins and make the handles more ergonomic and then continue working on the seax.

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Great looking blade shape and pattern! I'm really looking forward to seeing it finished with that curly maple handle

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With a couple hours of burning and broaching, I got the handle fit to the tang. Between the sap, smoke, and water the blade was subjected to, I'm glad I hadn't etched it yet. All the gunk polished off quickly with 600 grit.

 

block and broach.JPG

 

Next, I etched it in ferric chloride. I used three 10 minute etches, cleaning the oxides off with scotchbrite between them. I like the look of oxides on some pieces, but for this blade I thought it would look best if the contrast just came from the depth of the etch.

 

final etch.JPG

 

At the moment, the epoxy is curing, and I can take a break to go for a run, have some green chile, and practice my bluegrass fiddling.

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that is beautiful! I want to try one some day, now!

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pattern detail.JPG

 

handle detail.JPG

 

overall picture.jpg

 

Put in the work to finish up the handle. It took some care to get a long handle and blade properly lined up, but I'm happy with how it turned out. Now time to think about a sheath. My plan is a pouch style sheath held together with brass sheet and rivets.

 

From what I've picked up, to make a sheath like this you cut out the leather oversize and soak it, fold it around the knife, stretch it along the fold with a dowel/folder to make it follow the broken back, clamp the edge where the "seam" will be between two flat pieces of wood, and let it dry that way to put in the rivets. Would that be a good approach?

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That looks awesome!

 

Yeah, that's the basic process for the sheath. I use a piece of 1/4" plexiglass with a good sharp corner to start the bend, pulling the wet leather down over it to stretch it. Be sure to wrap the knife in plastic or something to protect it from moisture, oil or wax the knife, give it a few wraps with saran wrap and then tape it up real good.

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We'll wait for the sheath, but gentlemen, I smell smoke!

No pressure to make the sheath really nice then :D

 

sheat test.JPG

 

This is what I was thinking for the sheath, with the fittings made from brass sheet. I'm debating if I want to do much tooling on it, or if my lack of much experience with it could make an otherwise clean looking sheath too busy. I did a quick test with a scrap piece to see what a serpent might look like on the leather. I may try some background texture to help it stand out more.

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