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Brian Dougherty

Help me finish my mosaic class blade

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I really struggle with knife handle design.  Nothing I ever draw looks quite right, and I have a hard time seeing what the difference is between handles that I like and one that I make that is supposed to be the same style.

 

I've showed this before, but it is the blade I made at Gary Mulkey's mosaic class:

 

IMG_20200223_171304643.jpg

 

I had a rough idea in my head what the handle would look like, but now it's time to put my money where my mouth is and actually commit my ideas to wood and metal.  Since the blade is done, I made a tracing of it, and have been drawing handle concepts on tracing paper over the outline of the blade.  Here is the blade outline on paper:

 

IMG_20200309_182812988.jpg

 

The dotted lines on the tang are what I anticipate narrowing the rough tang down to.  Here is the best concept I have so far:

IMG_20200309_182835244.jpg

 

Here is the same concept with the tang lines hidden:

 

IMG_20200309_182850962.jpg

 

The guard and pommel are probably going to be 416 stainless.  The handle will probably be ironwood, although I have a few other pieces of burl large enough.

 

I need feedback guys.  I want to do this blade justice, but am running into my limitations on this one.  Feel free to mark it up.

 

Thanks!

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Posted (edited)

Maybe this be the shape? 

 

 

20200309_194900.jpg

Edited by Zeb Camper
Changed it... twice
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Ew-w-w-w-w, Zeb, I like that!

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That does look much better Zeb.  I wish I knew why.

 

Must be the same part of my brain that is tone deaf, and has no rhythm!

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Brian,

 

Most people are at their most creative when physically tired.  The left side of our brains is the function, rational side and it shuts down first when tired.  The right side of the brain is the creative, artistic side and it keeps going when tired.

 

Make your decision when you are worn out and at the end of your day.;)

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Hi Brian, 

Might I ask how wide the tang is? As I look, it appears wide enough to influence the shaping of the handle.

JMHO.

 

Gary LT

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Posted (edited)

the first handle I ever made (saw handle) I measured by using a piece of clay and squeezing it until, my fingers were just about to reach my palm.
that shape I then roughly transferred onto paper and made a handle from it and I cant complain, its perfectly shaped to my hand after all  :P 

but that's just one way of making a handle, not sure how good that works for knives but...
I mean cant go wrong with something that perfectly tailored to your grip right?

Edited by J.Leon_Szesny

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Brian Dougherty said:

That does look much better Zeb.  I wish I knew why.

 

Must be the same part of my brain that is tone deaf, and has no rhythm!

Use whatever part you see fit! That's an awesome blade btw! I just added a larger angle at the butt end that really thickens up the look of the butt and increased the curve of the lower radius. If this is a takedown, or even a peened buttcap, you may run into issues with this extreame angle. 

 

You left brainers should be thankful!  I don't think I have a left side to my brain. I suck at decision making, directions (as in locational), algebra, etc. I have one helluva time reading tabs. I learn best watching someone else and think tabs would be easier to read as a mirrored image of the fretboard. Used to be able to write left handed and backwards, but was made to choose a hand in grade school (the one I wrote left to right with). 

Edited by Zeb Camper
Really no hope for me...
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Posted (edited)

I'll print that out tonight and superimpose it over the handle I drew and maybe the difference will stick out to me.  Either way, I like it, and think it would still work well with the peened tang concept I have.

 

I'm pretty much the opposite Zeb.  Totally left brained. 

 

I'm a creative thinker, a good problem solver, and a decent craftsman, but for some reason the artistic bit is just missing.  I guess engineering was my true calling.  FWIW, tabs were the only thing that ever made sense to me in the numerous attempts I made to learn the guitar :)

 

 

Edited by Brian Dougherty

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13 hours ago, Gary LT said:

Hi Brian, 

Might I ask how wide the tang is? As I look, it appears wide enough to influence the shaping of the handle.

JMHO.

 

Gary LT

Gary,  I suspect you are right.   I forged the tang out a bit oversized anticipating that it will need thinned down.  I'll make that call based on wall thickness of the handle material once I get the design right.

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13 hours ago, J.Leon_Szesny said:

the first handle I ever made (saw handle) I measured by using a piece of clay and squeezing it until, my fingers were just about to reach my palm.
that shape I then roughly transferred onto paper and made a handle from it and I cant complain, its perfectly shaped to my hand after all  :P 

but that's just one way of making a handle, not sure how good that works for knives but...
I mean cant go wrong with something that perfectly tailored to your grip right?

 

That is exactly how you shape a grip for olympic style pistol competition.  (Well, I don't because I can't bring myself to putty up the grips on my vintage Walther :) )  The idea is that each end every point of contact with the pistol is exactly the same for every shot.

 

Knives other other hand really need to be held in a number of ways.  I think that locking a user into only one hand position is a mistake for a knife handle.

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Just to be sure Brian, I mean the width of the tang (edge to spine). Not the thickness of the blade. (Heck, I’m sure you got it.)

As far as shaping it as is, a design which allows a wider circumference for first 2 fingers and thumb - then markedly reduced for the last two fingers. Still retain the flared pommel. Just reverse of what you gave now. (I’ll look for a photo to show, thinking that Salem Stroub did one some time back). 
Well enough of my babbling!

 

Gary LT

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6 hours ago, Brian Dougherty said:

 

  I think that locking a user into only one hand position is a mistake for a knife handle.

Remember that when building a knife for inventory (no predetermined buyer) that it needs to fit as many sizes of hands as possible as well as being attractive.  When I need inspiration I look at the work of the masters both historical & contemporary.;)

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2 hours ago, Gary Mulkey said:

masters both historical & contemporary.

 

And would you be willing to share that list, Gary? 

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Chris,. No secrets here.  Check Flayderman's book for the historical.  ABS masters for the contemporary.

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roflmao.gif   Well, now I know you have a sick sense of humor, Gary.  After looking at the price of that book, I don't think I'll be buying one! Whacko Crazy.jpg

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15 hours ago, Brian Dougherty said:

I'm a creative thinker, a good problem solver, and a decent craftsman, but for some reason the artistic bit is just missing.  I guess engineering was my true calling. 

I once had a client who was a professional statistical mathematician. (and a very wealthy one at that)

In a conversation he found out that I was a musician, had attended Berklee, and did woodworking, leather work, etc. He said to me "You aren't an artist. You're an engineer."

I looked him straight in the eye and said "Engineering is an art. The medium is mathematics."

He conceded the discussion.

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mhm yah, true,
a knife isn't always used like a fixed position instrument, like a saw or plane. 

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I made pretty liberal use of Zeb's concept and reworked what I had.  I still plan on a pommel nut or peen block which I haven't drawn in yet.

 

Now what do you guys think?IMG_20200312_194629399.jpg

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I think it looks great. I'm also having the same handle design issues :lol:

 

The only minor tweak I can think of is this area. The handle is just a tad narrower than the ricasso. It breaks the flow a little bit. 

IMG_20200312_194629399.jpg.0397048870e8fc7af7da01c9904e1ce8~2.jpg

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Good catch Joël

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I roughed out the guard, and the handle yesterday.  I decided to go with a blued finish on the furniture rather than using stainless, so I made the guard out of a piece of 4140 I had lying around.  (I'm assuming it will blue well, but am not sure)  I'm also planning to put in some thin bronze/black/bronze spacer pieces.

 

I've got the hole through the handle, but need to add a threaded rod to the tang, and figure out how I am going to do the pommel nut.  I'm not making it as a take-down, but since I want to blue the hilt parts, I can't do the final shaping and sanding after I glue it up.  I figured a threaded tang setup would allow me to pre-assemble everything nice and tight for shaping, sanding, and polishing.  

 

IMG_20200328_203757771.jpg

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