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Blake McFarland

My Very First Knife with a carved Shark Handle.

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Hey everyone. I am new to this forum. My name is Blake and I am a sculptor artist who specializes in recycled and strange materials. I have recently been intrigued with knife making and decided to put a bit of a spin on it for my first knife. I wanted to create a carved handle that replicated a shark. Now you may be thinking "how do you hold it with the fin"? I can actually hold the knife fairly comfortable with the fin resting right in front of my thumb and pointer finger. With that being said, this knife is more of a "show" knife than actual use. As for the blade, I used a old file and I was un-able to heat treat because I do not know anybody in my area that has a forge. I was sure to try and keep the file cool as I ground and cut it. If anybody knows someone with a forge near Fresno CA I would love to connect!

Anyways, Just wanted to share and hope you guys like it!

I also have a FULL TIMELAPSE video on the entire process of this build. Link below! Check it out if you have a chance. I would love to hear what you guys think. Thank you!

Th

Sharky.jpg

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To be brutally honest (and it is just my opinion - humble or otherwise)  there is no connection between the blade and the handle. Not withstannding your very real talent as a carver etc, this is two seperate "things" somehow put together and for me it simply dosent work

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20 minutes ago, Garry Keown said:

To be brutally honest (and it is just my opinion - humble or otherwise)  there is no connection between the blade and the handle. Not withstannding your very real talent as a carver etc, this is two seperate "things" somehow put together and for me it simply dosent work

I appreciate the honesty. That is why I am here on this forum with experienced knife makers. I have no experience so all the criticism helps. How would you approach connecting the handle and blade better? A bolster? 

Thanks!

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It looks pretty sharky to me, the handle is very nicely done and the blade looks good too.

I like it.

the blade profile looks like a shark, imagine an eye under the peak of the clip and a toothy grin at the tip. 

If the blade is too hard and it chips you could probably just temper it in an oven at 380-450 degrees, someone else who is more familiar with files could give you a more accurate time and temperature. 

 

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1 hour ago, Blake McFarland said:

I appreciate the honesty. That is why I am here on this forum with experienced knife makers. I have no experience so all the criticism helps. How would you approach connecting the handle and blade better? A bolster? 

Thanks!

This just shows how it is seen differently by different people. @steven smith sees a visual connection where I do not so it really is in the eyes of the beholder. I meant a visual connection rather than a physical connection.

Edited by Garry Keown

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I agree it needs a visual connection, and I think a bolster may help.  But not just a plain bolster, maybe a cast (or sculpted) shark tail that wraps over the spine of the blade?  Had it been a smooth steel blade, even a bit of engraving to suggest a tail might have worked.

And if you want to sound knowledgeable, that's not a file.  It's a farrier's hoof rasp, used to shape and level horses hooves when shoeing them.  They're not as hard as actual files, so you're probably good on the temper.

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Art is in the eye of the beholder.  For me, I'm thinking along the same lines as Steven.   With the right blade profile I think you could make the blade the front half of the shark and sculpt the handle into the back half.  That's not something that's really in my wheelhouse though, nobody has ever accused me of being an artist!

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a tail guard or the blade shaped to be a tail would tie it together nicely

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11 hours ago, steven smith said:

It looks pretty sharky to me, the handle is very nicely done and the blade looks good too.

I like it.

the blade profile looks like a shark, imagine an eye under the peak of the clip and a toothy grin at the tip. 

If the blade is too hard and it chips you could probably just temper it in an oven at 380-450 degrees, someone else who is more familiar with files could give you a more accurate time and temperature. 

 

Thank you. I will look into tempering for my next knife. 

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1 hour ago, Alan Longmire said:

I agree it needs a visual connection, and I think a bolster may help.  But not just a plain bolster, maybe a cast (or sculpted) shark tail that wraps over the spine of the blade?  Had it been a smooth steel blade, even a bit of engraving to suggest a tail might have worked.

And if you want to sound knowledgeable, that's not a file.  It's a farrier's hoof rasp, used to shape and level horses hooves when shoeing them.  They're not as hard as actual files, so you're probably good on the temper.

Thanks for the feedback. I actually spent countless hours trying to incorporate a tail into this piece and just couldn't figure out anything that would work... I originally wanted the shark facing the opposite direction with the blade coming out of the mouth, and the tail being the back end of the handle. I would not be able to carve the shark mouth though. I also wanted to try and carve the entire shark, but the knife to handle ratio would be very very awkward. I will try and practice more on conventional handles in the near future.

The Farriers hoof rasp... Good to know. Thanks!

41 minutes ago, dragoncutlery said:

a tail guard or the blade shaped to be a tail would tie it together nicely

Im going to have to do some more research and practice on guards!

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Nice job on the carving, that is something I am not very good at.

My first thought echoes Brandon's.  It would tie it all together if it had a guard where the finger curl of the guard was a stylized lower part (fin?)of the tail, and the blade were a bit more swoopy to form the top part of the tail.

Google thresher shark, and you'll get the idea immediately.

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9 hours ago, Brian Dougherty said:

Nice job on the carving, that is something I am not very good at.

My first thought echoes Brandon's.  It would tie it all together if it had a guard where the finger curl of the guard was a stylized lower part (fin?)of the tail, and the blade were a bit more swoopy to form the top part of the tail.

Google thresher shark, and you'll get the idea immediately.

Awww Yes I see it. Next time Ill have to try that! 

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My initial thought was "why didn't he make the shark mouth pointing toward the tip, and make the mouth open wide as if it were swallowing the blade?"

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I actually wanted to do this at the very start. I decided that I would not be able to carve the inside of the mouth/teeth and the wideness of the mouth would leave empty space on the sides of the blade. The handle would not be proportionate because the thinner end section of the shark.  Maybe I can figure out a way to do it in the future, but those are some of the reasons why I did not do that. I have been trying to think of another animal/carving where I can make the blade come out of a set of mouth ect... any ideas?

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