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Alex Middleton

Latest Knife

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Some pics of my latest knife and it's case. While it's far from perfect, this one incorporated a lot of personal firsts for me. For my 4th knife, I think it turned out as good as I could have hoped for. It's on it's way to a fundraiser auction for a local church this weekend.

 

Stats: Blade is 5" long, 1.5" wide, and .125" thick at the spine. Forged (kind of) from a reclaimed spring harrow tooth. OAL is 9.5". Handle and case are all made from the same piece of black walnut that I stumbled upon in my woodshed. Guard and spacers are all salvaged scrap copper from a couple of different sources.

 

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Please feel free to offer any critiques that you may have. I'm a firm believer that brutal honesty is the best learning tool in the world. :D

 

Thanks for looking!

 

Alex

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For a 4th knife, its certainly well done, I really like the walnut you used, has a lot of character to it and goes well with the Copper.

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Great job on every thing. My only criticism would be more of a personal pref. and that is the handle looks a little chunky. But there's a million guys in Finland who would disagree. I love using scrounged junk on my knives, it 's kind of a necessity for me usually . The accents on the case look cool too. I also like how you kept the wood grain lined up between the spacers, nice touch.

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Thanks guys, I appreciate the feedback. The little accents on the case were a spur of the moment thing. I was at Hobby Lobby looking at carving sets and they were hanging right next to them.

I do kind of agree with you about the handle Hoy. That, and one tiny gap at the guard/blade junction still bug me a little. One of the learning experiences I had with this knife was tang placement. I cut it in too low on the blade and it only sits about 3/16" above the bottom of the handle. I wasn't comfortable doing any real profiling to the handle as I was too afraid of cutting through into the tang pocket. That's also why there is no pin in the handle, it would have been too far off center and wouldn't have looked right.

I do have a question though. When I did the handle, I epoxied all of the pieces together except the guard before I did any sanding on it. I had a hell of a time with the epoxy heating up and letting go around the copper. Is there a good way around this? I tried doing it by hand with a rasp, but that just skated off of the copper spacers. I ended up drilling in 3 roll pins to hold it together while I sanded it. It worked well enough, but kind of seemed like overkill to me.

Edited by Alex Middleton

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Try to get your copper as close to finished size as you comfortably can before final assembly.

 

Copper is a notorious heat conductor. And it heats up fast on a grinder. If you can't water-cool it, you just have to go slow and not let it heat up.

 

A file usually cuts it well, but it will gum the file quickly. When your teeth get loaded it will cease to cut.

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Thanks guys, I appreciate the feedback. The little accents on the case were a spur of the moment thing. I was at Hobby Lobby looking at carving sets and they were hanging right next to them.

I do kind of agree with you about the handle Hoy. That, and one tiny gap at the guard/blade junction still bug me a little. One of the learning experiences I had with this knife was tang placement. I cut it in too low on the blade and it only sits about 3/16" above the bottom of the handle. I wasn't comfortable doing any real profiling to the handle as I was too afraid of cutting through into the tang pocket. That's also why there is no pin in the handle, it would have been too far off center and wouldn't have looked right.

I do have a question though. When I did the handle, I epoxied all of the pieces together except the guard before I did any sanding on it. I had a hell of a time with the epoxy heating up and letting go around the copper. Is there a good way around this? I tried doing it by hand with a rasp, but that just skated off of the copper spacers. I ended up drilling in 3 roll pins to hold it together while I sanded it. It worked well enough, but kind of seemed like overkill to me.

I always use blind pins to hold a multi-spacer package together. It's not overkill, it's necessary to maintain alignment.

 

If you are going to use blind pins to hold all of these parts together at final assembly, you can do the following:

1. Get all the pins indexed and holes drilled before any shaping occurs. (copper & wood pieces will be rough cut to size)

2. Remove the copper spacers, replace the wooden ones, pin together and shape the handle without the copper in place.

3. When satisfied with the shape and 95% complete, blacken one side of the copper spacers with a sharpie pen and reassemble the entire handle.

4. Scribe a line on the blackened side where the edge of the wood is on the copper.

5. Remove the copper spacer and grind down to just through the line.

6. Reassemble and check the fit.

7. Adjust and sand/file as needed until the entire handle is smooth.

8. Complete final assembly and glue up.

 

You can also pin everything together and hold it all in place using a wood screw. Sand, grind and finish the handle off the knife as one piece. Forget gluing the pieces together until ready for final assembly. The only problem with this method is that some metals (copper particularly) conduct heat fast enough to burn the wood next to it. That can really get out of hand fast.

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Well it's good to know that I wasn't too far out of line. I guess my biggest mistake was trying to glue it up first instead of waiting until I was done shaping everything.

Last night my 10 year old daughter informed me that I wasn't allowed to start another knife until I have helped her make one for herself! I think that we're going to start this weekend, it should be a fun experience. :)

 

Thanks again for the help.

 

Alex

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nice blade shape!i like it.well done.

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Thanks again. The knife went for only $45 at the auction Saturday night. I guess it's a good thing that I'm not trying to make a living making knives. After consumables, I would have made about $1 an hour on my labor! LOL

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Don't let it get you down. Auctions are a terrible way to determine market value.

The box alone is worth at least $45!

 

Think of it as someone bought the box and you felt so giddy, you threw the knife in for free.......I guess that's not really helpful is it?

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lol. I wish it was the other way around. Someone bought the knife and the box got thrown in for free! Honestly though, it doesn't really bother me. As new as I am to this hobby it was just nice to see it go from a starting bid of $25 up to $45. At least 2 people wanted it enough to bid on it. I don't really plan on trying to sell any knives until I get to the point where I feel that they are perfect when I'm done with them. Knowing me, that'll probably never happen.

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As your skills improve ( and as you see some of the EXCELLENT work others here do ) you will soon realize that " Perfection " is as likely as solving world hunger or world peace.

But as long as you always seek to improve with each knife you make, You will be happy with your results.

Im into this addiction 2 or so years now, the stuff I am working on now, is WAY better then the stuff I churned out a year ago ( In my opinion ) and im sure this time next year, I will say the same about my then current works vs the stuff I am making right now.

Keep at it....

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