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Salem Straub

Integral Explosion Damascus Kukri WIP. PICTURES FIXED!

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Glued the handle up, and clamped it overnight.  I love this jig...jsMzt4J.jpg

I roughed the handle sculpting in.  I know it's a lot of work without pics, let me describe some of the process...
I drew some of the planned lines onto the handle, ground a bit, re-drew when necessary, to define the major features.  When I began to reach a point where the grinder became clumsy and dangerous, I went to files.  The sharp angle changes were all defined with files and "snuck up on" with files and paper to refine without rounding things where not wanted.  G10 is pretty obliging material for this.  Blackwood is the best, though!
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I tried to make the pommel end reminiscent of a knight's shield, from the end view.

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Edited by Salem Straub
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On ‎2‎/‎12‎/‎2017 at 11:37 PM, Salem Straub said:

Oh, the guard has got a lot of shaping with files and finishing with sandpaper afterwards.  Not infrequently I will work areas like this, that could be gotten with the grinder probably... you get more control and it doesn't take too much longer.  So, the guard front is all finish filed with a fine cut mill file, and then taken to 220 and 400 grit paper.  Also, I use die-sinker's stones a fair amount for areas that are a pain to get with sandpaper, typically bits where the detail is small or paper and backer would be clumsy.  The bolster curve is mostly filed, but there were areas that I roughed in with the edge of a platen.  Or, if you mean the "scallops" in the front of the guard, those were just put in with the corner of the 2" bottom platen wheel.

Thanks for watching!  I apologize that it's not more in-depth, this one started as an informal Facebook buildalong for a customer and so didn't have a lot of text or minutiae. 

Salem, thanks for explaining this. I would use files with a safe edge, too. I am going to make a few with the welded bolster/guard. I just love the idea.

Also, I have a jian I am finishing (the story of my life) and the pommel needs the touch-up polish you have to do after all of the inletting of the grip and fitting to the tang is done. I always dent and scratch them when taking them off and on during the inletting because I hammer them down onto the wood firmly and look for polished or grooved spots in the wood. I always braze or silver solder the pommel and guard to the rings that go with each of them, as an extra measure to insure that neither can wiggle once everything is finished. Because of brazing, I had to pickle them. They each have that reddish-pink tint from the oxides due to pickling. Die maker's stones are Perfect for this. I have a box full of them that I haven't used for years.

Edited to add: The tint from pickling is over the entire surface, including inside the engraving. The engraving is supposed to have a bright cut bottom. At least it is not supposed to be pink. So, stones will get this out better than teeny files will.

Thanks for the reminder! You know I respect your work. This is an awesome piece.

Edited by Kevin (The Professor)

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Thanks Kevin!  You are the only guy I'm aware of in north america who gives making Jian the priority they deserve... my favorite swords, I don't get to mess with them nearly as much as I'd like right now but at least you're out there doing the good work, and a damn fine job at that!  One of these days it would be nice to meet you, as geographically unlikely as that seems... 

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Thanks a lot, Greg!  Your pattern welding is totally nuts, by the way...

Now, lots of sanding.  Everything steel up to a clean 400 grit, and the handle to 1000 and buffed.
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Everything sanded, mark etched, masking mark and handle off with nail polish.  I use an optivisor and fine tip brush to cut in right to the guard line.

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Edited by Salem Straub

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It's chilly often in the shop, woodstove notwithstanding, and so I have wrapped electric pipe thawing tape around my sword-sized etch tank to make the ferric bite like it should.
The blade goes in, until the steel of the guard is under the surface by 1/2" or so.  

I like to etch until black, scrub with toothbrush over the tank, etch some more, etc until there is a definite topography to be found with my fingernail.  On this knife, the guard is somewhat but not fully hardened, as it was austenitized in the kiln yet the thermal mass of the guard slowed the quench there.  So, the oxides from the etch won't be quite as black there, but as long as the etch bites deep, that won't matter....

ImjK9hw.jpg

 

Edited by Salem Straub
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Great work! I love this WIP, you do a great job of showing the process itself. I make one of those handle clamp thingies, glue up is always a wreck of me...

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'Tis a pity this is almost over.......

 

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Almost done, yes- but some of the most technically interesting content, to follow!

OK, after etching good and deep, I windex it, then with water scrub the oxides out by toothbrush again, and then use 1500 grit paper and wet sand the entire surface lightly.
What this does, is smooth the high/shiny layers and polish them a bit, wile leaving the low/black parts in a raw-etched state still.  Parkerizing does not stick well to polished steel, rather it likes an already etched, blasted, or rough sanded and clean surface to bond with.  So, it helps a lot to prevent the phosphate coat from sticking where I'll need to remove it.
With the manganese phosphate solution heated in the tank to 190f, I immerse the knife in, still wet from sanding.  Throughout the scrubbing and sanding of the etch process, I've left the nail polish intact at the logo and rear of the guard, so it is still masked against the hot solution.
The solution with bubble a lot when the knife is put in, when that subsides after about 10 minutes, the knife is ready to take out.  It will dry immediately from the residual heat.

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You can see below, that the handle was electric taped over up to the nail polish, just to keep anything from marring the pre-polish.  It is pictured right out of the bath.  This has no oil, if I wanted it just black I would heat it to 150 degs. or so and rub oil onto it, which makes it all tough and jet black and uniform all over.

vKjG4JX.jpg

Edited by Salem Straub

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The next step is to sand back the high layers for contrast.  This is much easier to do with water, and sanding wet also helps to keep the blacks black.  Particles are carried away from the sanding action, rather than building on/under the paper and dragging into the low layers.  If a good job is done on the pre-sanding before parking, the black comes off the high layers readily when wet sanded afterwards, leaving nice bright clear non-muddy or pitted highs.  I use 2000 grit for this, and flat hard backing when possible.

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Edited by Salem Straub

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nice documentation of the finishing process. I don't do the Parkerizing thing but I appreciate it. Love the attention to detail.

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Here's a blurry shot of the pattern coming up...sVsmUn6.jpg

And a rough preview of the pattern flow into the guard area.Dc6NwOO.jpg

Edited by Salem Straub

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....And then I had to take a break to play some banjo for the baby.  His name is Fire, he's 6 months old!
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Edited by Salem Straub
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OK.  Sorry for the delay!  I took a few pics of the sheath process that I'll share here before posting a few finished pics of the whole shebang.

Tracing the blade, I made a cardboard pattern set, then cut the leather pieces out of some Hermann Oak 10 oz.LV64Qmo.jpg

Using a piece of scrap 15n20 saw steel made into a little skiving knife, I beveled the strap end where the loop sews onto the sheath back. Works great! 

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I made a tooling stamp from a 3/8" allen wrench, softened and modified with a triangle needle file. It gives a "star hex" tooling pattern. I used a commercial border stamp as well...

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Here is the tooling in progress, on the stitched sheath.

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Next post will be finish pics of the whole package.

Edited by Salem Straub
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I absolutely love that stamping tool!

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The sheath...l4ZYRcv.jpg

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Edited by Salem Straub
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Such an amazing piece. It has been awesome seeing the whole process. Thanks for posting this.

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Edited by Salem Straub
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And there it is, finished.
Thanks for following this, everyone!
Anyone who may have questions, feel free to ask...
Off to the shop now to continue work on the Bowie version of this knife.

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That really is inspirational work Salem; seriously.  Thank you for documenting that so well.  It was a pleasure to read.

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Thank you for sharing this. It is a beautiful blade.

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I just found and read this whole thread....I'm mesmerized.  That work is just gorgeous.  Thank you for the detailed posts.

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Oh thanks fellas, glad you enjoyed it!

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