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Guy Thomas

Bauernwehr WIP

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So, my recent trip trip to Ashokan made me realize I can't let bladesmithing go by the wayside as I seem to be letting it, and I really miss it. (Not to mention how embarrassing it is to stand around so many makers and have nothing you've made to show and trying to be creative in conversations so you don't betray just exactly how terribly long it has been since you made a knife!)

 

So I figure the best way to get back in is to actually finish any number of blades I have laying around here. This knife is something I treated as an exercise in forging larger blades and experimental heat treating several years ago and because I hadn't given the handle much thought I ended up with a handle shape I never really cared for, which is a big reason I never finished this one. Recent posts on the German Bauernwehr and Hauswehr knives gave me inspiration however and this knife is getting a handle makeover, it just needs an extension from the butt end which I will probably affix mechanically in some manner so I can peen a butt plate on to it.

 

The fittings will be wrought iron, which I've never worked with before and don't be surprised if this takes me an excessive amount of time between progress posts. After I decide where all holes need to be drilled in the handle and actually drill them and affix the peening stub on the end I still need to make the fittings and redo the finish and hybrid polish on the blade, as there is still a lot of activity in it i haven't captured to my satisfaction.

 

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Edited by Guy Thomas
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It looks like a beautiful blade. Looking forward to seeing the progress!

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Digging that blade shape. Looking forward to seeing this one done.

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well, you are off and running. These are great knives to make. You can always just pin rear bolsters through the sides like modern knife. That was traditional, too. Or weld on a stub to use, or file away material on the end of the handle to create a stub in the rear or even two stubs to use for peening. Any of these are historically correct.

 

Wrought iron is great, forges wonderfully. The only problem comes when you try to stretch it (like with swaging a guard into place). It can't handle even a third of the stresses that mild steel can take, due to impurities. It will just tear, and ruin several hours worth of work. At least, that has been my experience.

 

I love these knives. I am excited to see what you do with it.

kc

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looks great. I look forward to seeing this come together.

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I agree, nice blade shape...I am getting a collection of unfinished blades too. I enjoy forging them more than I enjoy finishing them off.

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Thanks for all the encouragement! Of course the moment I think of starting a project like this work heats up requiring lots of overtime. I have spent some time going through my collection of handle woods and have narrowed it down to either a set of very dark figured cocobolo scales I cut a while back, some very tight grain and dense low figure walnut from a tree on my grandparents land or some ebony from a small plank I bought years ago and have never worked with. I'm leaning toward the ebony as it would work nicely contrasted with nickel silver and wrought fixtures.

 

Rob, I think we all enjoy the "forged in fire" creation process. It is a very active in the moment process that can either be very deliberate or something that catches you up in the flow and takes you to unexpected ends but always minimizes the dithering aspect of decision making. I have enough unfinished blades however to keep me busy for quite some time without lighting up any forge other than my heat treating forge. The finishing process does have it's own rewards too though, it can focus you completely in the "now". Then there is the sheath making process to consider, perhaps my least developed skill set in all this, lol.

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Excellent! I'm glad you caught "the bug" :) Your design looks good, I'm looking forward to seeing it progress!

 

I'd be partial to the walnut btw, not the ebony. Walnut is used on some originals, I believe.

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I warned this could be a slow process, however I managed to get into the shop over the weekend. I now have a rough and currently rather inelegant widget that will be riveted onto the butt of of the knife handle which will allow me to peen a plate onto the end. It still needs quite a LOT of refining by removal of excess metal and by filing but I think you get the idea!

Peening%20widget4.jpg
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Peening%20widget3.jpg

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that looks like it will work. If you can braze or silver solder, just braze a pin onto the back of the knife and go with that as the attachment point. A long seam with a pin sticking out at the angle you need. I think there would be a lot less work with brazing because of the reduced need for inletting the attachment hardware into the handle scales.

Just my two cents. Feel free to ignore, most everyone else does, :)

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Brazing actually is a skill I need to learn and I am not currently set up for it (however, I should be!). This really is a one off thing and not a preferred method, if the blade weren't heat treated already I would have forge welded the stub onto it. I do like the fact I will have a solid "shoulder" that the butt plate will fit up against. Actually working out the 3-dimensional aspects of this widget is allowing me to become re-accustomed to shop processes and long neglected pathways in my brain. (This is also forcing me to come to terms with my disorganized and cluttered shop space and the loss of my sheltered outdoor space where I performed all my "fire" related work) It's a jumpstart so to speak! :)

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A piece that small can probably be brazed with a MAPP torch and Bernz-o-Matic coated brazing rod from the hardware store. Wrap the blade in a wet cloth and it should be fine.

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Alan is right, I do a ton of brazing with a MAAP torch from the hardware store. That way, I don't melt the brass I am attaching when I melt the brazing rod (dynaflow is the best rod, and get white past flux for brazing and silver soldering, and you are golden).

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Somewhere in my shop I have a small hardware store MAPP gas/oxygen torch though I know the small cylinder of oxygen is empty. I may just have to give the brazing a shot though at this point attaching it is not very time consuming since all I have to do is drill a hole through the flanges and peen a rivet in. Shaping it will still take some time but I'm actually enjoying making it. I am amazed how accurate an inexpensive metal cutting bandsaw combined with a machinists vise in the saddle clamp can be.

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do whatever feels right. I really only made the brazing comment for future pieces. Brazing small stuff is pretty simple. I have done a lot lately, brazing together brass to make fittings for Chinese swords. It is a great skill.

kc

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do whatever feels right. I really only made the brazing comment for future pieces. Brazing small stuff is pretty simple. I have done a lot lately, brazing together brass to make fittings for Chinese swords. It is a great skill.

kc

 

Kevin I do appreciate all input on this and I wouldn't put it past myself now to use both a mechanical fastening and brazing (overkill I know, I also know i have problems, lol). I'm actually pleased brazing was brought up because I really haven't incorporated it much in my thought process for construction and I do see how useful it would be, especially making hilt/guard or any other "fiddly" little metal pieces like metal sheath components.

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I hope this is going well.?

 

Just slowly, between my work, overtime and other matters these days I'm getting very little shop time and was hesitant to add pictures that show very little progress. However, here are a few. I was very pleased to discover Sharpies work great for lay out work (it does wear off quickly)

 

Sharpie%20Lay%20Out1.jpg

 

Sharpie%20Lay%20Out3.jpg

Edited by Guy Thomas

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