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Aiden CC

Northern Knives WIP

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Posted (edited)

After asking about all-wooden sheathes in the thread below, I fell down a rabbit hole researching different knives from the far North. I have a few projects started in that vein, and I'll add any new ones here as I start them. 

 

The first one is a 20 cm leuku I just glued a handle on. Now that I have that small axe I made in December, I find that there isn't a niche for my 25cm leuku anymore (not as good at chopping as an axe, and the weight/edge geometry aren't great for fine work). This one is meant to be a bit lighter with a keener edge so it can actually carve.

 

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I've had trouble peining the tangs on big knives like this, so I scarf-welded on a piece of mild steel, which also seems to be a practice on a variety of historic knives. The handle junction is still 80CRV2, so it should be plenty strong. You can kind of see the weld line in the second photo, about 1/3 of the way from the shoulders to the end of the tang. Just from how different it felt to grind the two steels, I think it will make peining a lot easier.

 

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I typically find it easier to grind the belvels on these after HT. The low scandi grind on a piece of thin steel is surprisingly challenging. I also burned in the tang right before hardening, which saved a lot of time. This is going to be a wedged handle, so burnt up wood on the blade side will just get scraped out. I also plan on using a steel rivet plate, as a decent number of originals seem to have one. The handle is a piece of birch root burl I collected myself. 

 

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I really like wedged handles, and the technique seems to be used in knives both from Scandinavia and Siberia. I carved these wedges out of a piece of pine and also used epoxy to make sure nothing moves around when I rivet the tang. You can see of the burn-in naturally makes a nice shape for a wedge to fill. For this fit I drilled a single 3/16" hole and did all the rest with the burn in. To make room for the wedges, I just filed the opening until I felt solid wood.

 

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I also forged these two blades inspired by the knives made and used by Komi people. There is more about this type of knife in the thread I linked to at the top of this post. These knives are used for both cutting and boring, so they have very slender blades. They are also asymmetric, with the left side often either having a much higher bevel than the right, or being completely flat. 

 

I hope to have more progress on these, and maybe a few more started, soon. Thanks for looking! 

Edited by Aiden CC
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Wonderful stuff about blade geometry.  I look forward to seeing more of your work.

 

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Made a bit of progress on these. 
 

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The having a mild steel tang made a huge difference in the ease of riveting. The blade never slipped in the vice, the rivet  didn’t crack, and it took about 1/4 of the time. Definitely worth the little bit of extra effort to forge weld it on. 
 

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Got these ground and filed in the shoulders. This is definitely a unique geometry. I may test out how they are at drilling by using them to make their sheaths/the one for the leuku. 

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Got the two little ones hardened today and did some forging on my last day before online classes start up.

 

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Two Sakha style knives. The big one will be hollow ground on one side and flat on the other (like Japanese single bevel knives, but with the opposite handedness), the little one is curved so I can file in a fuller before I straighten it and chisel/file in the other ornamentation. 

 

I'm realizing this is a lot of knives to have going at once, but honestly I'm a bit scattered at the moment. Plus, I'm going to need a lot to work on to fill the extra time for the next few months.

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Great to see that bent one,and to hear you're planning on ornamenting it as well,good idea.

46 minutes ago, Aiden CC said:

I'm realizing this is a lot of knives to have going at once, but honestly I'm a bit scattered at the moment. Plus, I'm going to need a lot to work on to fill the extra time for the next few months.

 

Sometimes it's great to have several projects going at once,it gives them that Space in between that often helps to focus one's perspective on each.

 

An abstract question:Have you ever considered combining business with pleasure and see if there's a professor around who'd let you qualify your study of some of these knives as anthropology credits?:) 

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16 hours ago, jake cleland said:

ok, that fullering trick is genius...

Yeah +1 to that.

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21 hours ago, jake pogrebinsky said:

An abstract question:Have you ever considered combining business with pleasure and see if there's a professor around who'd let you qualify your study of some of these knives as anthropology credits?:) 

I've thought about doing something like that. I've done an one and a half independent studies on heat treating and metallography, and also got a bit of credit and reimbursement for materials for making punches and drifts so it's definitely within the realm of possibility. It is notoriously hard to get any kind of humanities credits for an independent study at my school because they are a graduation requirement, but I could probably get 1/2 a class or so of typeless credits. 

 

17 hours ago, jake cleland said:

ok, that fullering trick is genius...

1 hour ago, Joshua States said:

Yeah +1 to that.

It's a little tricky at first (filing the groove to a uniform depth is deceptively difficult), but it gives very clean results. It seems like it has been used for at least 100 years to make this kind of fuller, possibly longer.

 

Made a bit of progress on the Leuku:

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Here it is after 120 grit plumber's tape. I may have positioned the tang poorly in this block and sanded off all of the interesting part, but I guess I'll see once I get it to a higher grit.

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That's a handsome handle,the shape and the material too...Way cool,in all respects,i think you're doing a great job interpreting those beautiful traditional forms.Special congrats on harvesting and processing your own materials too.

 

16 minutes ago, Aiden CC said:

I've thought about doing something like that. I've done an one and a half independent studies on heat treating and metallography, and also got a bit of credit and reimbursement for materials for making punches and drifts so it's definitely within the realm of possibility. It is notoriously hard to get any kind of humanities credits for an independent study at my school because they are a graduation requirement, but I could probably get 1/2 a class or so of typeless credits. 

 

 

Right on.

I'm not of the academia whatsoever,and know nothing of the practical ins and outs of it.But i have a few friends who function very intensely in the Arctic Studies program,https://naturalhistory.si.edu/research/anthropology/programs/arctic-studies-center

I don't know if your school may have any connections to that,but i'd certainly look in that direction....

There're some Outstanding people involved in this program,from a huge number and range of schools...(it's actually who we have to thank for much of the info for all this to begin with).I'd not be at all surprised if they'd be interested in the direction you're taking with this,and possibly willing to help...

This enforced hiatus with the virus et c. may turn out to be a blessing in disguise in some unexpected ways...:) 

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On 3/23/2020 at 11:36 AM, jake pogrebinsky said:

I'm not of the academia whatsoever,and know nothing of the practical ins and outs of it.But i have a few friends who function very intensely in the Arctic Studies program,https://naturalhistory.si.edu/research/anthropology/programs/arctic-studies-center

I don't know if your school may have any connections to that,but i'd certainly look in that direction....

There're some Outstanding people involved in this program,from a huge number and range of schools...(it's actually who we have to thank for much of the info for all this to begin with).I'd not be at all surprised if they'd be interested in the direction you're taking with this,and possibly willing to help...

This enforced hiatus with the virus et c. may turn out to be a blessing in disguise in some unexpected ways...:) 

I'll have to look into that! In the past I've done research when I wasn't able to work on knives, but now I might be able to do both.

 

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I finished the leuku and it has been soaking up tones of linseed oil. I'll take better pictures at some point, but with so many knives in the works, I'll wait until a few more are done. I've tried it out a little bit, and the geometry is definitely an improvement over the last one. 

 

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The fullering on the short Sakha knife and the pre-ht grind on the other. The forge-finish fuller that a lot of modern versions of these knives have seem to be somewhat a-historic, with old originals being either flat or hollow ground on the right side. In this case, the left side is flat ground and will have a secondary bevel with the right side being ground on an 8" wheel.

 

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The shorter one after being straightened and having the second groove chiseled in. Both the fuller and the groove need to be deeper that you would think they should because they were done onto an as-forged surface. It's tempting to grind the surface clean after bending, but if you do that it will be crowned when you straighten it (ask me how I know <_<). The geometry of the chisel is also important; if the included angle is too high, you end up with a groove that is too shallow and gets ground out. If it's too low the groove won't get wide enough and the chisel will dull faster. A generous radius is also important so you can "walk" the cut up the blade. The plan is to grind this one then do some file work on the spine and go to heat treat.

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Looking good. B)

 

I also agree that the bend-and-file fullering method you show looks brilliant.

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Aiden,i think you've done and excellent job of capturing the lines and the spirit in that leuku.

 

That burl's looking great,man,right on. 

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