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All the wrong handle for all the right reasons

Brian Dougherty

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A friend did me some favors this summer, and I quipped that I would have to make him a knife in return. Then he said, "Well, I was going to talk to you about that.", and handed me the broken off crown of a little deer antler and a Pakistani blade from a flee market.


The antler was from the only deer his son ever shot when they were hunting together. (20 years ago) It was the only antler the deer had, and it had been broken. My friend always thought it would make a neat knife handle, and had picked up the blade to put in it, and asked me if I could mount it.


I said "NO!!!!!", but I'd be happy to make a blade to go in his antler.


The antler is all the wrong size and shape to use as a knife handle, but I did the best I could. The other side of the antler is split almost to the 1/2-way point for about 2" so I really couldn't mount the blade the other way. I toyed with the idea of trying to build it up with some poured pewter, but those skill will have to wait for another day to develop.


The blade is just ground out of a piece of 1/8" 1095 I had left over from stacking a billet. I was shocked to see the auto-hamon show up as I wasn't trying for that. I'll whip up a quick sheath this weekend, and give it to him before Christmas.



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That is one of the great things about custom knives. They can have a connection with the owner that would be impossible with a mass-produced blade.


You did great with what you had to work with, and bless you for refusing to use the Pakistani blade on the project! :lol:

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James Helm - Helm Enterprises, Forging Division


Come see me at the Blade Show! Table 26R.


Proud to be a Neo-Tribal Metalsmith scavenging the wreckage of civilization.


My blog dedicated to the metalwork I make and sell: http://helmforge.blogspot.com/

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Very nice blade for that handle. This reinforces my hard learned motto about designing a blade to go with an antler, rather than finding an antler,or horn, to go with a blade.

Edited by WES
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I really like it Brian. I think you have done very well. Nice clean blade too.

"Old dogs care about you even when you make mistakes" - Tom HALL - Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon wine.


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Brian, love the story, and you done exactly what you had to ensure that his memory of the hunt with his son was preserved!! Its good you drew the line at the blade though and I am sure your friend will be very appreciative of what you done for him!!

C Craft Customs ~~~ With every custom knife I build I try to accomplish three things. I want that knife to look so good you just have to pick it up, feel so good in your hand you can't wait to try it, and once you use it, you never want to put it down ! If I capture those three factors in each knife I build, I am assured the knife will become a piece that is used and treasured by its owner! ~~~ C Craft

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