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For a while, now, I've been working on a surprise project for my grandfather, and now his knife--the Neal Farm Knife--is finished! It's far from perfect, but what it lacks in perfection I would like to think it makes up for in character. The blade was forged from the drive shaft of a piece of equipment on my grandpa's farm (yes, I tested it, and it hardens very well), and the handle was made from a piece of Osage Orange (hedgeapple wood) that grew on the farm, and which he often used to make fence posts. You can see the leftover steel and wood in this photo, as well. I left the blade, including the hexagonal integral bolster, as forge-finished as possible, meaning that the steel you see here has barely touched a grinder--aside from cleaning up the shape of the spine and tip a bit, the steel was made this way by my hand, with hammers and sweat. The tang underwent plenty of grinding, admittedly, to get it to fit into the handle material :P. The handle is a hidden tang construction, epoxied and pinned in place. I followed the octagonal shape of the bolster, but curved and flared it to be more comfortable. I had a bit of a mishap with vinegar, trying to re-patina the spots on the steal I hit with the file, and it soaked up into the wood, discoloring half the handle. I couldn't sand it out, and I wasn't really digging the two-tone look, so I went all-in and did a distressed look with the wood, which still has a bit of the two-tone effect, but honestly goes well with the forge-finished steel, in my opinion. There was a crack in the piece of wood my family sent me, but I don't think my grandpa is going to put much hard use into the knife, so I mixed epoxy with sawdust from the wood and filled the crack with it, which seemed to work out pretty well. It isn't perfect, but I'm proud of it, and I hope my grandpa likes it! He has always meant a lot to me, and played a big role in my life as I grew up.

















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Good job. Both my Grandfathers, maternal and paternal, had their hand in my interest in knifemaking and bladesmithing. I still use tools they left me. 

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Thank you, all! I suppose I should have mentioned that those first pictures are when I rough-forged it and pre-curved the blade before beveling it. I actually fine-tuned the bolster area and got it to line up with the blade better :P. The integration from metal to wood was really a pain, without grinding or filing the bolster, but I feel like it came out relatively okay, especially considering I have never done a bolster of any type, before. It's definitely cool to be able to incorporate old things into new things, and it has a lot of meaning for me, and hopefully for him. My grandpa played a big role in my life, and helped foster my interest in a lot of things, including working with metal--he was a sheet metal fabricator, in addition to being a farmer, before he retired. I'll be making a sheath for it, and possibly some way of displaying it, and present it to him mid-November.

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