Jump to content

Recommended Posts

So,fairly recently Aiden brought up this interesting matter,the knives of different people inhabiting the northern regions and the Arctic coast of Eurasia.If anyone is interested we've been discussing it here:

 

And that reminded me that i actually been asked some time ago to make something of the sort,and so am finally getting off my duff about it.

It isn't an objective to reproduce any of those very specific knives,but more to work "in the spirit" of that region.

 

This will be a weird thread,kind of a making of a knife by a non-knifemaker,and for everyone really interested in this subject i suggest you find Aiden's thread "Northern knives" for a legit process.

 

Anyway,not really owning a grinder or any other knife-making gear,i decided to be sneaky and use WI in all critical parts that'd need to be ground and filed(and fullered,this thing will need a considerable fuller on one side).

 

So i forged out a piece of WI,and welded a identical size piece of 15N20 to the back of it.I tried to keep the steel as flat and nice as possible,so i wouldn't have to work too hard at shaping it after:)

 

This knife will be convex on the back,which will act as a single bevel.The other side will be dead-flat,plus have a sizable fuller.

That is how many of this region's knives work,and it is also so that my friend,who's terrible at sharpening(worse even than me:(..),can place the flat side down to the stone,and sharpen without worrying about maintaining angle(then just de-burr lightly on convex side).

 

So since i've welded a rectangular blank i now had to convex the back somehow.The edge steel is only .100 thick,so i couldn't very well screw around too much...

 

So,before i pointed the blank,i drove in the fuller.I did it using my cross-pein as a set-tool(please don't ever do that;you're never supposed to strike two hardened surfaces together).After the fuller was in i went to correct the edges some,couple missed blows et c.

In the process i realised that because of fuller being there the blank curved up in just the direction i needed it to...So i helped it to do that some more,and didn't have to try to figure nuffink out-i had my convex back surface.

 

So then i just used an angle grinder to grind most of the thickness of WI off of the edge that will be the Edge.I couldn't very well forge that in,as WI is Way soft,and 15N20 so skinny already...it wouldn't have worked.

After grinding i did hammer the edge with the flat against the anvil face,close to one of my(nicely radiused)edges.It worked well,it was easy to keep the forging from twisting,it being cupped and all.

So now i had this skewed to a knife-edge blank that i went ahead and cut the point on,for good measure.

And that's what it looked like: 

 

2007.jpg

 

And the back side:

 

2008.jpg

 

 

I wend immediately to grinding the whole deal,and these were my regrets very soon:I was so happy to've had good access to forging in the bevel that i overdid it,in one place,and not being able to grind that thin steel too much,i may get screwed there yet...we'll see. 

 

But i didst grind it pretty darn flat,using my filthy little upsidedown 3x21,and then was up against having to clean up that fuller.

I wanted to try scraping it clean,so quickly and dirtily(like i do everything:(... i shaped a left-over chunk of file to about the right shape:

(sorry about the lousy photo,wanted to show what that bit of file looks like.I then chucked it into a broken axe-handle,and went to town on that fuller).

 

2014.jpg

 

Now i regretted not doing a better job forging the fuller...I easily Could have.My too-ugly-to-be-called-sen workied ok,but as such tools  do,it actually accentuated the bumps and gullies...So i may have to use my peanut grinder to brush that disgrace out afterall...

(it also jumped out of the fuller at times gouging my beautiful newly-ground flat!I'm learning that it takes a lot of patience to be a knifemaker...but it's kinda fun too:)

 

2017.jpg

 

Well,i'll finish the blade the best i can,see if i can explode it in HT,and add to this if it survives.I did learn a couple things today,and have food for some further thoughts too,so it's all worth it. 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking good! I think you might find that it's hard to make just one knife, I know that I've found this style in particular to be pretty addictive. Those grooves are a bear to clean out. The only one I've done flat I used an angle grinder, small stone on rotary tool, and 80 grit sand paper with a round wooden block, which was very labor intensive. I found that using a combination of tools helped; the angle grinder got out the uneven forging, the rotary tool got out the grinder marks, and the sand paper brought everything in to flat. It seems like if you wanted to get the fuller even you might be able to angle-grind out the high spots then scrape out the grinder marks. If I understand the way you laminated the steels correctly (WI on the fullered side and 15N20 on the convex side?) it seems like you also have some leeway to remove material from the flat side to bring it down to where the fuller has a clean profile.

 

12 hours ago, jake pogrebinsky said:

And that reminded me that i actually been asked some time ago to make something of the sort,and so am finally getting off my duff about it.

It isn't an objective to reproduce any of those very specific knives,but more to work "in the spirit" of that region.

 

This will be a weird thread,kind of a making of a knife by a non-knifemaker,and for everyone really interested in this subject i suggest you find Aiden's thread "Northern knives" for a legit process.

 

I think you're capturing the spirit very well! Legit is a strong word, a lot of what I'm doing is pretty hacked together, I've just been doing if for a little while :D.  Also, if you're making a knife are you really a non-knife maker? Good luck with the HT and I'm excited to see where this goes!

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/9/2020 at 7:19 AM, Aiden CC said:

 

 

Is this contagious?Addictive?You guys could've warned me,at least...

 

Ah well...I'm (of course) making every beginner mistake possible,and my blank is melting away like a popsicle...

 

Most of the terrible damage i've done to it with my hammer is going away,but i just hate to be loosing any more mass,especially on the steel side,this was supposed to be a thick-ish knife...

 

I think i've done all i really could.There'll be a few dark pits on the back(consistent with historic puukot:)),none close to the business end/edge of things.

The thing is at about 120 grit,and i think that's where it'll stay(i honestly don't know if i own any finer anything).

The fuller is also to 120;not a True 120 with Every scratch out,but fairly close.

I never corrected it with my disc,decided to leave it "naytural/organic-loike",as in irregular in shape.I think it'll match most of the other lines in the final product.

Finish-wise,i scooted it around on the kind of a stone that my friend is likely to use on this,and it left scratches coarser than 120...So,my only concern is with bacterium.Is he likely to dig around with it in a critter or a fish and put it away without washing-Oh YES.

Will crap get trapped it scratches and putrefy and poison him-i doubt it...or there wouldn't be any nomadic hunter-gatherers left...:)

 

Heck of a job trying to photograph a shiny object...but it looked somewhat like this,towards the end of the process(i dod raise the shoulders from as -forged to those marker lines,my steel has meandered too low there anyway):

 

2013.jpg

 

The back is similar,with a few dark,oxidised pits...Those i actually burned...(darn it,i dunno how you guys do this-these forgings are so tiny...have to bend right to the anvil to see,but the worst part-it comes to heat before ever i had my smoke!That messes up my thinking process,see..:(..(and burns good material...ought to be a law...is That why you guys get so into swords?"Cos they're bigger?:)

 

Anyway,i figured it'd be the right time to burn in the tang.Originally i wanted to tap it into a green,boiled piece with bark on,pretending i'm out in camp on the tundra...But,one of my hammer faux pas was that lethal thinning of a spot Right above the handle...And it may've not been happy getting pounded into unrelieved wood.

So i just used an older chunk kicking around and burned it in.

It went very well,i tapped it with a rubber mallet,and it went like butter,in 4-5 heats(to black,using little propane torch,so knife could stay in the vise).

 

2004.jpg

 

The grain is oriented across the growth rings(to help prevent splitting),and edge is towards the bark-side.That side will shrink more,helping to preserve that comfortable egg-section of the handle.

 

On to HT.Normalised x3,held at temp for a minute,and edge-quenched into hot canola oil,about a gallon and a half of it.

It bent pretty severely,the convex side arched backwards...I didn't have a clamping jig,as i didn't know just where and how much it'll go(to plan for a shim for over-bending slightly).So i did Aleksey deal,and 12 seconds into the quench took it out and straightened it on a piece of slightly concave wood,using rubber mallet.

It straightened out,but a few minutes later,as i came into the house to temper it,i noticed that now it went the Other way,Lots.

So i gave it an hour at...?...but the dial of my little dumpster-find toaster oven set at about 380F.

At the end of 1 hour cycle straightened it out again with rubber mallet(i do Everything with it:)...Seems to've worked.

It definitely hardened,and after that first tempering cycle felt,oh,maybe just a tiny touch softer than my commercial processing knives?

I don't really want it diamond-hard...Especially for experimenting with using that delicate long tip as a drill and a mortising attachment...But,we'll see.The learning process continuing!

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking great so far, glad it survived heat treatment!

 

18 hours ago, jake pogrebinsky said:

Ah well...I'm (of course) making every beginner mistake possible,and my blank is melting away like a popsicle...

 

Most of the terrible damage i've done to it with my hammer is going away,but i just hate to be loosing any more mass,especially on the steel side,this was supposed to be a thick-ish knife...

I've had the same problem with knives like this, especially having them thin out too much near the tip. Sometimes it feels like steel comes off 10x faster where you need it than where you want to get rid of it :D. A peculiarity of single bevel knives is that for the same grind, they have half the included edge angle of a symmetric knife, which means they can get delicate fast. On the first few I made, I would stab the tip into a board and bend it sideways until it popped out a chip of wood as a test of the geometry/heat treat. Definitely had a few tips bend/snap which I reground until it didn't happen (kind of accelerating what might happen organically with use). Not sure if that would be a good approach for a composite blade which is already prone to taking a bend though.

 

18 hours ago, jake pogrebinsky said:

Finish-wise,i scooted it around on the kind of a stone that my friend is likely to use on this,and it left scratches coarser than 120...So,my only concern is with bacterium.Is he likely to dig around with it in a critter or a fish and put it away without washing-Oh YES.

Will crap get trapped it scratches and putrefy and poison him-i doubt it...or there wouldn't be any nomadic hunter-gatherers left...:)

That's a good approach to finishing a knife that is sharpened like this. I think most of the whetstones in the world are 80-120 grit. Higher is nice for doing fine woodworking etc, but unnecessary for most uses. A few years ago I met a handful of ranchers in Chile who all used knives on the regular. For the most part they would have one knife that they used for slaughtering, skinning, and butchering sheep as well as other cooking stuff and light wood working. All the maintenance was done with a single ~100 grit stone and maybe a knife steel, which seemed to work fine for them!

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Aiden,thanks-this is a Lot of really cool,sound,useful advice...That's great,I'll keep on thinking about all these things you bring up.

 

I'm very happy to hear that you mean to venture into cutler resins,good for you man!I think aside from practical issues it also adds soul,some more of that intangible "cool factor".

Btw,one point about resin sealants that rarely comes up is Hygene.Not only it seals any minute cracks where that deadly to us Anaerobic bacterium can find refuge from the large/predatory/symbiotic with us airborne yeasts (that eat them),but also many volitile compounds in these resins act as an antiseptic,or even antibacterial substance.

Birch tar,say,used in medicine to cover extended burns,et c.(pine or spruce resins as well contain similar antibiotic compounds to n-th extent).

Some of these cutler's resins will preserve the wood of the handle as well as keeping it safe for work around food.

 

I badly wanted to experiment,and may yet(though i lack your systematic,patient,rational approach).But also have none on hand,and would like to get this handled so that i can play with it to see how it Works,and to do it's own sheath,hopefully.

 

I'm just lazy-woods around abound in resins...But still too much snow on the ground,be a pain to set up an extractor for birch tar,and though i can easily access spruce pitch it'd take a while to dial-up consistency/viscosity/drying time... 

 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

The learning process is progressing most productively,i'm doing most of the stuff i'm not supposed to do,and results are very educational.

I left the handle very bulky hoping that it'll have an easier time reconciling with it's new shape,but it started checking anyway.

That's perfectly fine since i'm doomed to using epoxy on this one anyway,and that epoxy will hold everything together.

I went ahead and shaped the handle a bit closer,which allowed me to experiment with actually using the tool.

 

2002.jpg

 

Here's an important concept that hasn't come up yet(i don't think).It may be hard to tell from my crap photo,but the idea is to orient the blade in the handle a few degrees Off(short vertical line is the axis of handle,and maybe you can see those few degrees of deviation in plane from that of the blade).

That is done(by some)to ease the motion of using a single-bevel knife.It automatically orients it with the Median of it's combined angle towards the work,at natural wrist position(does it make any sense?):

 

2008.jpg

 

I'll use these hose clamps to control checking for now,and once ready to epoxy i'll relax them to allow epoxy enter the checks and tighten to glue it all up.

 

2013.jpg

 

 

Meanwhile,since i can now kinda use the knife,i'm following through on Aiden's sage advice and experiment with it best i can.

Broke off the tip drilling a pine 1x,which is Very cool in a number of ways:It was Way too thin anyway,and i got to see How it broke:It bent very easily over,and snapped almost immediately at attempting to be bent back.

I was beginning to think that it may be too hard yet,but now this tells me it's about right,i think.There's plenty length to re-grind the blade another even time or two...And,i got to see the grain-looks perfectly fine and satisfactory to me...

 

I'm having a good time with this,it's a very practical,down to earth process,very enjoyable.

Tons to learn!:)

 

2017.jpg  

 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Ground the tip back to where i can easily and reliably drill through a 1x...And if need be it can be done again...I Did like the look of that break,even through a 10x prospector's glass couldn't see individual grains(somehow managed to get a tiny bit of WI even that far out to tip...that looked weird under magnification,very dirty:).

 

Then again following Aiden's example wedged and epoxied the blade in,photo of dry fit:

 

2002.jpg

 

After epoxy set somewhat cleaned up excess,and whittled the handle down to about what it needs to be;may cut it down shorter still,i'll see...

My sneaky plan with that one check didn't fly,it didn't get glued up,and maybe even grew longer overnight in spite of my having given the wood a couple coats thin raw linseed oil(thinned with lots of mineral spirits).

I think i'm a nitwit,and that check is old,i've just taken my chunk out too close to the end of that piece of firewood:)

But,it ain't a pie'ano,as they say,and we'll deal with it if it becomes too much of an issue later.Meanwhile i'm itching to start on the sheath...

 

2007.jpg  

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

And so we embark,to make a sheath based on method shown by N.Aboimov,as has been shown him by the  tundra Evenki.

I've barely,kinda/sorta enough of this same birch left from making a handle,and will try to use it as i So much liked the way it carved...lovely soft evenly-grained wood.

If i screw this up i've plenty of spruce,which will be more traditional anyway,and more practical being lighter and stiffer.

 

22009.jpg

 

Through a slot sawn along one side i keep cutting and sawing more wood out for the blade till i can insinuate it deep enough to scribe the bolster on the face of that standing-off part:

 

2003.jpg

 

I was too lazy and spaced out to've put any kind of an edge on the knife yet,it has a couple sharpish sections though,and works Great for practically all these operations,Very much as advertised.Brilliant design based on the very knife that we're working on here.

So on like this till the knife is bedded enough:

 

2004.jpg

 

2005.jpg

 

I Really like this process,and method itself appeals to the way i myself like to do stuff.It's very "conservative",for lack of better term.Similarly i always leave the end of a board wild untill i'm ready to make that final decision,or leave the nailing off of a structure till i square and level it,et c.This has a similar risk-free factor,the outside is done last allowing you to adjust it to whatever expedients you've maybe had to resort to shaping the inside.

Top view of a still-square,axe-finished blank:

 

2009.jpg

 

But finally i Am ready to shape the outside...and indeed it was the most pleasant process...Here's where i Really could've used the knife itself,but it only has the lousiest pre-edge on it,and i'm a bit concerned with having to stretch them tin parts on in a bit here,so just use a drawknife...The tool-kit has been totally minimal,it could easily have been just that knife,but i Am in the village vs camp,and like the rich white guy i am exercise my prerogative and use my drawknife!:)

(other than that i only used a short Stanley "Short-cut" and my utility knife that i seem to use for everything...and a pencil...

 

2010.jpg

 

2013.jpg

 

2015.jpg 

 

And now one more action-as instructed by Nikolay i lash the deal with some nylon cord,tying clove-hitches gradually squeezing that slot tight.It works fine,and i'll let it hang over the woodstove for the night to let it get used to it's new shape,before fitting the tin parts....

 

2016.jpg

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Love it Jake and how you roll with things. I also have enjoyed this build and looking forward to seeing what you do next. That sheath is looking great.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks,guys:)

 

I got that thing all metalled-up...And i tell you what-this design is something that is ancient,i'm convinced now.

It is like a pebble,that was smoothed over perfectly by uncountable oceans of human experience...

For me to Not  screw something up takes something like Divine Providence,and all these processes so far went off without a hitch...Not even a hint of treachery,whatever came out flawed was perfectly foreseeable,and was not prevented due to my laziness or lack of focus Only.

It's crazy,i've never done a single project that went This smoothly before

 

This was what that kerf came out looking like as i took the cord bondage off.It went a long way towards coming together,in just one night's drying.

Now if i wanted to make it appear seamless,i could've run a flat needle file in that crack to lap it perfectly,but i'm a slob,and am interested in where it'd go naturally,on it's own,so i don't do nuffink to it.

 

22018.jpg.

 

At the last moment i realise i forgot to bore the suspension orifice...I used a drill,and even filed the shape smooth  afterwards,but i sure didn't Need to-the tip of that knife could've accomplished this easily(if maybe not so accurately,not that it matters here).

 

22017.jpg

 

Working with that brass shim stock turned out to be very easy(no idea how thick it is,i'd guess .025?).

Marked it by wrapping it in place,gave it maybe 5/16" for flanges and locking seam(eyeballed those distances but used a straight edge for lines).

Made the bends over a sharp edge of a plank,flattened those flanges nicely.(metal gets doubled-over at all edges except the very bottom that just gets flushed up).

Photo of top piece flanges bent and hammered but the locking edges not shaped yet:

 

22021.jpg  

 

Then it just all freaking went on...Practically in spite of all my attempts to mess it up...Look how ridiculously,undeservedly smooth and even and regular it all is:

 

22031.jpg

 

 

22030.jpg

 

This last photo shows that kerf,now closed.As i said above,if i bothered about lapping it,or simply cleaning it down to fresh wood,it'd be literally invisible.

(i rarely do clean kind of  woodwork;all my tools are badly contaminated with scale,burned waste oil residue,charcoal dust...from my forge,that Black Hole of Calcutta,crap propagates to all other corners of my messy establishment...:(..):

 

22026.jpg

 

The knife has Beautiful locking/release action...Yet another ridiculously fortuitous thing in the run of them,feels utterly Undeserved

(and Is,i'm a slob).So yet again,this is a literally fool-proof design.

 

I still got some trimming to do at mouth there,and those pricked-in designs(to help the metal adhere to the wood),and the suspension loop too.And as i work on all that i'll keep on wondering:Wassup with this tin stuff,what did it replace?!

Was it always metal(not like these guys were not capable of making thin sheets;half the ornaments sewn onto Evenki shaman's garb are of forged sheet)?

Or did this WWII/Lend-lease era tin replaced some other material?Birch bark,with it's exposed rim finished in some manner?..

(it wasn't leather;Nikolay specifically warns against tying knots in babiche thong  that forms suspension,it gets wet and comes loose;so rawhide couldn't have been relied on to keep the knife in place).

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, jake pogrebinsky said:

It's crazy,i've never done a single project that went This smoothly before

Uh-oh...Hopefully you're karma is better than mine.  Verbalizing that would certainly incur some rough seas if I said that about my project in mid-stream:wacko:.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, billyO said:

Uh-oh...Hopefully you're karma is better than mine.  Verbalizing that would certainly incur some rough seas if I said that about my project in mid-stream:wacko:.

 

Right on,Billy!I totally share in this very sort of "utilitarian shamanism"(as Nikolay puts it:)

 

I'm being cavalier only because i'm but a passing visitor in this knife-making world!:)...But you're entirely right,that's asking for it...

 

33 minutes ago, Alan Longmire said:

Now that is interesting!  Maybe rawhide well-greased to keep the moisture out? 

 

Darn it,Alan,i dunno...Everything(almost,obviously)about this design screams "function".

 

And,when lacking history,archaeology,et c.,and we must go out on that conjectural limb,Function is one of the good threads in that maze(or can be).

 

Those guys were always very athletic.I  see why their sheaths are wood,i can picture how they body-slam that deer,and what could happen if the knife wasn't correctly shielded...

So many other separate factors are similar.Handle-comfortably bulky,soft/warm wood,no decoration to trap grime,a slight conical section to wedge in the mouth of the scabbard like a cork,to keep the crap out and of course to retain your knife during any kind of gymnastics...

Same as the single-point suspension,ditto,stemming from functional factors.

 

So a soft-ish(oiled or in any way treated hide would be pliable to some degree) material surrounding the insertion port...I can just imagine having to feel with your fingers down to the knife-point to guide it properly down into scabbard...:(

(for years i used a moosehide sheath i made for belt knife,it was just that kind of dysfunction... and i actually ended up loosing the knife because of atmospheric-related looseness issues with it:))

 

Casting my pea-brain about the World's knives,seems like great many are filed in scabbards in rigid materials primarily...If leather is used it's often secondary,as covering...(i may be Way off,not like i'm super informed on knife history..).

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Alan Longmire said:

Now that is interesting!  Maybe rawhide well-greased to keep the moisture out? 

I could see this being the case, especially with the wooden liner enclosing more of the handle. Some examples of Sakha sheaths have a liner almost exactly like this but with rawhide (I think usually from tails) stretched over it. In the wooden sheaths threads there are a also few examples of leuku sheaths that work in a similar way to the metal but with leather; the wood would be enough to retain the handle, the leather seeming to mostly be there to act as a spring to put pressure on the handle. All-wood construction also seems possible as it it seems to be used at least with contemporary Komi designs, or the use of smaller metal bands or a wire wrap as a substitute for a larger metal sheet. Some composite of wood, leather/rawhide, and sheet metal doesn't seem out of the realm of possibility either.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmm...Well,there's lots to what you guys say.Leather can of course be used in any number of creative ways.

All Northern people were great innovators and engineers,and they sure did like laminating stuff...Wood and sinew and baleen and ivory all went into the sandwich,duct-taped with birch bark smeared with fish glue...

(the characters i camp with here,when PR with the Inuit was particularly bad,and trade for sealskin boots not an option,used to laminate moose-hide with layers of spruce pitch,to make it in some marginal way usable for soling boots...).

And we do have those Ugric jobs in the main thread with that same stand-off wooden part pierced with some sort of lashing holes,too many for suspension...

Also here the rim of a birch-bark basket is reinforced with roots(and sinew+pitch in the past) in such a manner as to make that pretty stiff,and long-lasting...

 

2004.jpg

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...