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Joshua States

A tale of 6 blades.

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You made some of these same suggestions on the critique of my last knife. It's great to see pictures of the process.

 

Interesting to see how you finish the handle off the knife. Was wondering how to get everything to stay together while working it. Simple solutions...

 

What do you use if the tang is thinner than a drywall screw diameter? Just smaller screws? And what is the smallest diameter that is practical?

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2 hours ago, Bill Schmalhofer said:

What do you use if the tang is thinner than a drywall screw diameter? Just smaller screws? And what is the smallest diameter that is practical?

I just posted the how-to.

 

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Just saw it and read. Thanks again!

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So next up is that big ol' Bowie. There's a lot to show and a lot of pics.

I ended up remembering that I had left a divot in the plunge cut on one side (slipped with the disk grinder don't you know) and spent 4 hours sanding it out yesterday.

So, while I edit the photos and resize them all, enjoy this short video of the finish that I finally ended up with.

 

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Beautiful blade, Josh.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks Chris. There's a few new uses coming for the 1/4" MDF I told you about.

This handle is a classic coffin handle, but it will be a frame handle design. The process for making this basic shape is on page 2 of this thread.

The process for making the blind alignment pins is on page 3 of this thread.

The process for getting everything shaped is slightly different that it was with the hunter. For this knife, I will shape the spacer package first, and shape the handle to the spacer.

I'm a big fan of making and using templates. I will make a template for the spacer package out of 1/4" MDF board. I buy this in 4x4 or 4x8 sheets and use it for all sorts of stuff.

First I drill the holes in the MDF to match the holes in the spacers. I munt the spaces (still rough cut rectangles) onto the MDF and scribe the perimeter with a pencil.

Then I pull a handy template out of my Gatorade can of fitting templates and using only one quadrant of the template, scribe the curves onto the MDF. I use only one quadrant so the new template is symmetrical in two dimensions.

 

1 Spacer Template.jpg

 

I cut that out and cut a notch in it so that it fits onto the ricasso. Load the spacers onto the tang and push them up tight (no guard in place), blacken the face with a Sharpie. and mount the template onto the ricasso and sitting flush on the spacers. Scribe the profile.

 

2 Template on spacers.jpg

 

While I have the spacers mounted, I scribe a series of lines on the face of the spacers, parallel to the ricasso face. Do both sides exactly the same.

 

3 Scribed spacer.jpg

 

Now I remove the spacers and mount them to another piece of MDF and cut off the excess with the bandsaw.

 

4 Bandsaw cutoff.jpg

 

Cut off all the excess MDF, leaving the spacers attached to the rest of it and grind down to the line on the 2x72.

This is the rough ground spacer package profiled to 320 grit.

5 Rough shaped spacers.jpg

Edited by Joshua States
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Been checking in every so often. Looking pretty right! Thanks for the detailed steps. 

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First, I put the handle in a Panavise and finish the profiles to 600 grit.

 

600 grit profile (1) V2.jpg

 

600 grit profile (2) V2.jpg

 

On this handle it is absolutely critical that the two truncated corners are matched in size or the whole thing looks wrong. When I get done with the profile sanding, this is what I had.

 

Uneven corners V2.jpg

 

Now I mount the handle and spacers to each other and use the drywall screw to hold it all together. I shape the scales to match the spacer on the disc grinder.

Because the shape is curved on the profile, the ends grind down faster than the center.

Now the whole thing, all held together, goes back in the Panavise to even out the flats along the profile center.

This is a lot of shoe-shining and hand rubbing to get it even and straight. Eventually going to 800 grit on all surfaces including the spacer package.

This is now ready for file work on the frame and/or spacers. I will only file work the frame. The spacers will get a different treatment, ala Lin Rhea and his "intermediate forging" application.

 

6 800 Grit (1).jpg

 

7 800 Grit (2).jpg

 

 

 

 

I'll post the guard shaping process tomorrow.

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Have I ever mentioned how much I like using templates? :P

 

So I have a variety of guard & spacer templates. Some are made from fiber/paper stock some are made from thin copper sheet.

One of the two up front will be used to get the bottleneck shape. Maybe eve both of them.

Various templates (2).jpg

 

The first step is to isolate the perimeter of the spacer on the back of the guard. Blacken the back of the guard. 

BTW-anytime I talk about "blackening" a piece of hardware, you can use Sharpie pens or dykem, or any of the conventional layout fluids.

Put the guard onto the blade and get it seated in the finished position. Add the spacer and make sure everything is snug. Put the whole thing point down in a vise.

Scribe (lightly! no sense in scratching an otherwise finished piece) around the outside. You need just enough to remove the black and leave a shiny line.

 

8 Guard layout (1).jpg

 Take the spacer off and position the template to scribe around the part you want to keep. Do all 4 positions exactly the same. Remove the guard.

9 Guard layout (2).jpg 

 

Now this is not exactly what I want to end up with, so there's a little redrawing/fudging with various curve templates to get the final shape.

 

10 Guard layout (3).jpg

 

Cut off the excess and grind the profile down to the line.

Set the guard back on the knife with the spacer. Check to make sure the profiles are even and symmetrical side to side.

If you are having trouble seeing how much guard is sticking out from the spacer, I find it helps to put a layer of blue painter's tape on the guard.

 

Blue Tape Trick 2.jpg

 

Finish on the 2x72 to 220 or 320 and finish out by hand.

11 Guard shaped (1).jpg

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6db3b93210de140175211a0ff5cd1543.jpg

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Excellent, I'm saving your bowie video for this weekend B)

 

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Fantastic tutorial, thanks for sharing Josh.

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Well, I have been working on this project for a year now. I think I forged more than a dozen knives in the process (just for these six) and took at least 10 of them to finish grind before ditching about half of them. It's been an on and off project (more off than on) full of mistakes, recoveries, broken dreams and small successes.

Here's where things are>

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Posted (edited)

The bird & trout I finished earlier had some funkiness in the blade, so I made another one. Both have full tang handles with a slight taper.

 

The original with 416 SS bolsters and stabilized box elder scales. O1 blade steel

Finished (2) V2.jpg

 

Its replacement with Ironwood scales and nickel-silver bolsters. O1 blade

B&T (1).jpg

B&T Handle.jpg

Edited by Joshua States
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Next up is the small hunter. This is ready to glue up and dome the handle pin.

Also an O1 blade, with 410 SS guard & spacer (black vulcanized between) and a Myrtle burl handle.

Hunter (1).jpg

 

Hunter (3).jpg

 

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Posted (edited)

The boot knife. This is a 1095 blade that developed some cloudiness in the steel during hand finishing.

I made another blade for the handle, but couldn't make it fit...….so,

I bit the bullet and heat treated the original blade again last night. I was stressed out big time, but it worked.

This has 416 SS guard, the 3-piece spacer is 2 3/16" 1095 which will be blued, a .06" 15N20 middle spacer which will be file worked, probably just coined.

The .06" 416 SS frame will get some vine file work and sits between two ebony spacers. 416 SS pins. (8 of them) It stills needs my mark on the ricasso.

Boot (1).jpg

Boot (2).jpg

Edited by Joshua States
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The camp knife. Also a 1095 blade & nickel-silver guard. The 3-piece spacer package is N/S center spacer with two shibuichi spacers.

The center spacer is supposed to get a groove filed in. The handle is a really nice piece of amboyna burl I got from Hancock a while ago. It still needs my mark before glue up. 

Camp (2).jpg

 

Camp (3).jpg

 

Camp Handle (2).jpg

 

 

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The dagger needs more work than I care to admit. This is a W2 blade with a mixture of 416 and bronze hardware.

Everything has the blind alignment pins in place (except the pommel)

The handle was supposed to be blackwood, but I screwed up a perfectly good piece of blackwood and changed it to stabilized buckeye burl. The pommel needs to be slotted to accept the end of the tang and will eventually be drilled for a retaining pin after everything else is shaped and ready to glue up.

Dagger process (1)_opt (1).jpg

 

Dagger process (2)_opt (1).jpg

 

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Posted (edited)

The Bowie. I almost forgot it.

This is O1 and a video of the finish is in the link above.  This has a complex hardware package. The guard is nickel-silver, the spacers (as shown) are nickel-silver sandwiched between two pieces of 416 SS. The center spacer is supposed to be replaced with an oversized spacer of Shibuichi that gets peened down to overlay the two SS spacers. The only problem is the replacement spacer I already have slotted and drilled for the spacer package is a tad too small. So, it either remains as-is, or I have to remake the shibuichi spacer. I could just groove the two SS spacers and leave the N/S one, or file the N/S one and leave the two SS. Decisions to make..

The 1/8" N/S frame will get some rope file work. The handle scales are stabilized black ash burl.

Bowie (1).jpg

 

Bowie (2).jpg

 

Bowie Handle (2).jpg

 

Edited by Joshua States
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Massive effort. Some great diverse work there Josh. That Bowie is my favourite so far but I am looking forward to seeing that dagger finished. 

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Really digging the handle woods! Along with the fine work of course. 

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Minor Dagger update:

I changed the guard design. I just wasn't digging the original after I got the arches ground in.  After making a template for the front spacer, I did get the handle and double spacer packages pinned together and ground to shape.

Front spacer ready to shape.

spacer pkg.jpg

 

Front spacer and handle wood held together with threaded rod.

Threaded rod.jpg

 

Both spacer packages and handle ground to shape and sanded.

Seven Pieces.jpg

 

Now to fit the pommel.

Threaded rod.jpg

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And the pommel goes like this.....

Take a piece of 1-1/2" round 416 bar and lightly forge it to shape. Surface the sides and cut out my profile drawing, super glue it to one face to rough out the shape.

Forged 416 Pommel.jpg

 

Set the height gage and mark a reference line for the tips at the curve junctions.

Pommel reference line.jpg

 

Slot the bottom to fit the tang nice and tight.

 

Pommel slot.jpg

 

And get it fit to the tang.

P{ommel fit (1).jpg

 

P{ommel fit (2).jpg

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Nice work Joshua and a lot of good tricks as well.

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Posted (edited)

No kidding! Look at that thing! Gonna be hard to part with if you're selling it.

 

Do you plan on a fairly substantial champher on the guard? I think it would add presence or,,, mass? Volume? What am I trying to say? 

Edited by Zeb Camper

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