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I’ve been concentrating on making kitchen knives for the past year or so and thought I’d try my hand at something different. And watching a lot of Kyle Royer’s videos have influenced me into making a Bowie style. Using 4.5”x1”x.25” 1084 I came up with this blade. It is 6”x1 3/8”x3/16” at the heel and not hardened yet.


I need help with the guard and handle design. And this a rough idea of what I was thinking.
 

09E4AACB-FBEF-41DF-BCC8-2DF0C2092B95.jpeg


This one is slightly different. The handle rise spot is a little bit forward and the curve is steeper.

1D8D6507-6134-4F84-9AD5-4B726215AD41.jpeg
 

Any ideas?

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I think this is a good plan to enter the style with a blade of this size.

If that is as-forged, that's pretty impressive. I have a bunch of questions about the drawings/plan for this one.

The guard is going to be a bear to slot at that thickness, what's your plan for that? What's the material? What does that half-moon at the front of the guard represent?

The sculpting of the handle is a nice touch and very ambitious, but may be gratuitous. The knife would be no less attractive with a simple belly curve or just the center point.

I know Kyle does a lot of those sculpted handles, and it's terribly tempting to go for it, but if this is your first attempt at the whole style, it may be a lot to achieve.

Make a few drawings without the pimping and frills and see what you think. I often do multiple handle designs before deciding on a finalist.

Lots of things to consider.

Draw the guard and handle heel in cross section to get a full idea of what this looks like in 3 dimensions.

What's the handle material going to be? A simple handle material may need the extra stuff, a really nice burl or a figured/colorful wood may not.

Are you planning to shape this handle after final glue-up or before? 

What about a single pin? Sometimes they add that right amount of grace to an otherwise plain-Jane knife and make it pop.

All said, I think you have a great beginning. And for the record, I think the second drawing is sexier. (although the thinness of the handle material above and below the tang may cause you problems)

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10 hours ago, Joshua States said:

The guard is going to be a bear to slot at that thickness, what's your plan for that? What's the material? What does that half-moon at the front of the guard represent?


The guard material is going to be mild steel. As for the slot, the back side is going to be drilled halfway through with a >.25” drill  bit. Flip to the top side with a 1/8”-1/4” bit and drill series of holes. File to size. The reason I oversize the back is so that the smaller drill bit has less material to go through and wander. And is easier to file to shape. I do this with hidden tang kitchen knives where I use needle files that flex and take material off where it not needed.

 

I am also going to step down the tang from the ricasso a small amount.


The half moon is a divot to put your thumb if needed. Maybe not absolutely necessary but I kinda like it.

 

11 hours ago, Joshua States said:

What's the handle material going to be? A simple handle material may need the extra stuff, a really nice burl or a figured/colorful wood may not.


The only blocks of wood that I have that would be large enough are Bubinga, wenge, or Birdseye maple. I’m leaning towards the wenge.

 

11 hours ago, Joshua States said:

Are you planning to shape this handle after final glue-up or before?


I am going to bed the tang in the wood with epoxy so that I can take it on and off while shaping.

 

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The guard width pictured is .75”, looking at it I think .625” would be better. Added the pin also, probably copper.

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Sounds like a solid plan. Well thought out anyway. Go for it.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Got this heat treated and ground to 120 grit. This is a very slim knife for this style, the ricasso is at about .140”. Probably going to end up as an oversized letter opener.
 

Tomorrow I think I’m going to try and hot punch the guard. I drilled a series of holes today and am curious to try punching it out.

 

 

F480CE1E-CF00-4AE5-AAC7-BF738EB90B44.jpeg

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The one I'm doing for the KITH is about that thick, nothing wrong with it imo. Thin is in! 

 

Just leave enough meat at edge and it'll be fine. I left 0.015" before putting an edge. Should be around 0.025" behind edge.

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Found the edge to be about .01” for most of the edge and .025” where the convex starts. Hopefully, it’ll be fine. 
 

I used a piece of coil spring to make the punch and it worked a treat. The guard is very close to being fit up nice.

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FADA3C4F-3C09-49D6-BFB0-F72492AF2BB3.jpeg

 

DAED7A9C-E1F7-410D-94AC-CE1B7C72A87B.jpeg

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Finally got the guard fitted right, only took 3 days, and rough cut the guard out. Started to work on the handle, drilled it out, and bedded the tang in epoxy for a good fit. 

 

Next steps are to match the faces together between the handle and guard. I’m thinking of adding a copper spacer. Should I? There is going to be a copper pin holding it together also.

 

07AF815E-1C52-44C9-9FAC-78FEE910CE46.jpeg

 

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I love copper. If you're also using a copper pin, it will tie in well enough I think. Just make sure the knife looks balanced. You might grind some out of your guard to make the spacer look at home. 

 

Looking good!

Edited by Zeb Camper
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How thick of a copper spacer? You already have a pretty thick guard.

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Thanks Zeb! The copper is .025” thick. The guard is .535” thick, if I take to down closer to .5” i think it’ll work. 

 What do you think?

79A82C9C-E3E1-46CA-8DE5-84A90783E47F.jpeg

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I got the guard lugs filed down to near finish thickness and shaped them to a point. It’s all pinned together and profiled.

 

Next I’m going to handsand the blade to 600g and glue it all together.
 

11F5012A-E792-47DF-92AD-F3F9EDD540EA.jpeg

 

ECF13C8A-265A-4BC2-AED5-432E755335FB.jpeg

 

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