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Bill Schmalhofer

Asking for more critique (picture heavy)

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Here is the second EDC that I made in similar style as my last posting. Cable "damascus", ebony handle, nickel silver guard and pin, G10 spacer. One glaring flaw that I could not get around without taking off more than I wanted to in any direction is the chip in the blade near the ricasso. It's the junction between two wire strands. The pitfalls of cable I guess. I have made my list of things to change on the next one (I like this style and can foresee making more of them). And Joshua (if you reply), got closer to lining up the finger notch and choil notch, but still missed (major one on the list). Thanks for all comments and suggestions.

 

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I will reply, but later. Let's see what the Hive has to say first.

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You make it difficult, but since you asked.....

The lenght of the handle and the flare at the end seems to visually unbalance the knife, almost think cutting a bit off the end would make a very pretty knife perfect.

 

If I were to mention the angle of the plunge grind vs the guard it would be under the influence of this place :lol: It's so well executed it would not bother me B)

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11 hours ago, Gerhard Gerber said:

 

The lenght of the handle and the flare at the end seems to visually unbalance the knife, almost think cutting a bit off the end would make a very pretty knife perfect.

 

If I were to mention the angle of the plunge grind vs the guard it would be under the influence of this place :lol: It's so well executed it would not bother me B)

Thanks Gerhard. I know what you mean about the handle - on the list to work on. It came about because the first knife I made in this style had a bird-head butt, and it worked out to be a 3.5 finger knife. I was shooting for a full hand handle and it worked out to this big. This was also the first time I tried this style of handle and was following a pattern. I try to recreate the pattern the first time to learn how to do it and then will in later efforts modify it to fit better. To me it does look a bit unbalanced, but it is pretty darn comfortable to hold. Having said that I think it needs to be rounded just a bit more (another list item). 

 

Not quite following the comment about the plunge grind vs guard...:unsure:.

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The handle length sticks out, and, this is just personal preference, that sculpted butt looks out of place on such a small knife to me.  I don't mind the angle of the plunge not matching the angle of the guard face, which I think is what Gerhard is talking about.  Nice polish, though!

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Well, I don't know if I'm a qualified member of the hive, but............and if you want an honest critique.............here's my 2-cents worth.

 

Yes, the handle length is way out of proportion.  That finger choil (is that the right word?) makes the handle more narrow than the ricasso.  I notice a disturbing gap where the blade goes in through the guard.

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2 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

The handle length sticks out, and, this is just personal preference, that sculpted butt looks out of place on such a small knife to me.  I don't mind the angle of the plunge not matching the angle of the guard face, which I think is what Gerhard is talking about.  Nice polish, though!

Thanks Alan.

 

I agree with your thoughts on the handle. I've been thinking about what Gerhard said about shortening it and honestly I'm scared to try because I know I'll screw it up. There's always the next one. After thinking more I figured that's what Gerhard was alluding to - angled plunge, straight guard a big NO NO ;). Added to the list. And now the next thing to try on the next one. Angled plunge AND angled guard.

 

Took the guard to 600 grit and then ran it through a buff wheel loaded with the pink compound from Jantz. Works a treat.

 

1 hour ago, Chris Christenberry said:

Well, I don't know if I'm a qualified member of the hive, but............and if you want an honest critique.............here's my 2-cents worth.

 

Yes, the handle length is way out of proportion.  That finger choil (is that the right word?) makes the handle more narrow than the ricasso.  I notice a disturbing gap where the blade goes in through the guard.

Thanks for the comments Chris. The finger notch / ricasso comment was my direct comment to Joshua in the start of the post. He made mention about that on the last knife I posted and I tried to get them to line up, but failed again...

 

Where is the gap you see? I thought I had it pretty tight, but my old eyes don't have good close up vision anymore (even with cheaters :D). Is it visible from the side or when you look down the length of the blade toward the guard? I'll have to look at it under my wife's dissecting microscope.

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OK Bill, I'm ready.

The hive and you have already covered just about everything I would have said anyway. So, I'll just give a few of my thoughts.

 

5 hours ago, Bill Schmalhofer said:

To me it does look a bit unbalanced, but it is pretty darn comfortable to hold.

This is the balance you have to remember. There are lots of things that are comfortable to hold, but only a few of them are easy on the eyes. 

A basic rule of thumb: If it doesn't look right, it isn't. The whole handle length dilemma is due to the hollows in the butt end. Visually, these make the handle seem much longer than it is.

I think if this handle were "full figured" along the length, rather than taking these dramatic plunges and flares, it would look more proportional to the blade. You didn't specify and dimensions and there's nothing to gauge size to, so I may be wrong about that. 

 

On 4/22/2020 at 1:09 PM, Bill Schmalhofer said:

the chip in the blade near the ricasso. It's the junction between two wire strands. The pitfalls of cable I guess.

Yes it is a pitfall of cable Damascus, which is why I never use it for the edge steel. You can see all along the edge where there are more of them just waiting to pop out every time this blade goes to the sharpening stone. It makes a great jacket around a mono-steel core in San-Mai construction. All of the benefit of looks, without the detriment of chipping.

 

2 hours ago, Bill Schmalhofer said:

The finger notch /

You seem to really like this element, and I appreciate that. However, on this particular knife I think it is not a good choice. Try to imagine what this knife would look like without that point just behind the notch. A nice smooth curve into the curved guard would be a much better line/flow to my eye.

 

Remember this though, your fit and finish looks great. I think what Chris is seeing as a void in the fit against the guard is the reflection of the cable in the polished guard. This can often create a visual illusion of a void by making the texture of the etched steel look bigger. Without having the blade in my hand, it is tough to tell. 

All of the other comments are subjective. They are personal preferences in aesthetics. I fully support the idea of finding something you like and trying to recreate it. Eventually, you will develop your own style. 

3 hours ago, Bill Schmalhofer said:

Added to the list. And now the next thing to try on the next one.

This. Great attitude.

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10 hours ago, Joshua States said:

This is the balance you have to remember. There are lots of things that are comfortable to hold, but only a few of them are easy on the eyes. 

A basic rule of thumb: If it doesn't look right, it isn't. The whole handle length dilemma is due to the hollows in the butt end. Visually, these make the handle seem much longer than it is.

I think if this handle were "full figured" along the length, rather than taking these dramatic plunges and flares, it would look more proportional to the blade. You didn't specify and dimensions and there's nothing to gauge size to, so I may be wrong about that. 

 

You seem to really like this element, and I appreciate that. However, on this particular knife I think it is not a good choice. Try to imagine what this knife would look like without that point just behind the notch. A nice smooth curve into the curved guard would be a much better line/flow to my eye.

 

As always, thanks so much for the critique Joshua.

If I boil down your main comments to a "simple" element and common theme from your last two critiques is; I have fit and finish down OK, but aesthetics is what I need to work on. It's not enough to throw some good "standard" elements together well. I need to step back and look at the whole picture and figure out what standard elements go well together. Will have to work on that.

 

BTW, dimensions: Blade 4" long, 7/32 thick at ricasso, ~1.25" spine to bottom of choil. Handle is a shade over 5" from spacer to end of point on the butt.

10 hours ago, Joshua States said:

Yes it is a pitfall of cable Damascus, which is why I never use it for the edge steel. You can see all along the edge where there are more of them just waiting to pop out every time this blade goes to the sharpening stone. It makes a great jacket around a mono-steel core in San-Mai construction. All of the benefit of looks, without the detriment of chipping.

 One of the things I want to try (ever since I saw your post where you did that). Have not tried it before as I was using a coal forge and was loosing a lot to scale on the cable. I've moved to a gas forge (and an awesome forge press) and throw several pieces of anthracite in the back of the forge. I just recently welded up two 12 inch pieces of cable and had almost no scale during the weld up. I am debating San-Mai"ing" them to a core of 80CrV2. Will probably try to pick your brain on your process when I get to it.

 

10 hours ago, Joshua States said:

You seem to really like this element, and I appreciate that. However, on this particular knife I think it is not a good choice. Try to imagine what this knife would look like without that point just behind the notch. A nice smooth curve into the curved guard would be a much better line/flow to my eye.

Actually these (this one and the last one I posted) are the first time I have ever tried finger notches (probably why I haven't been able to get them correct yet :D). With the large choil notch I was thinking a finger notch would be a nice element. Yes and no. I was shooting for the "three curves" you suggested in your last critique, and it didn't quite work. I almost went with getting rid of the notch when I was putting it together but I was trying for a process (three curves) to see how it looked. I wonder how it would look if I had been able to get it correct and have the finger notch be equal to the ricasso as well as making it a bit "fuller figured"? 

 

10 hours ago, Joshua States said:

Remember this though, your fit and finish looks great.

High praise coming from you. Thank you.

 

10 hours ago, Joshua States said:

I think what Chris is seeing as a void in the fit against the guard is the reflection of the cable in the polished guard. This can often create a visual illusion of a void by making the texture of the etched steel look bigger. Without having the blade in my hand, it is tough to tell. 

I think you are correct. I looked at it under 10X magnification last night on my wife's dissecting microscope and didn't see anything except at the top where the blade and guard meet. There is a SMALL gap on one side, but even with shining a 250 watt LED light from behind it, I couldn't see light coming through. It's AMAZING what you see under magnification though (her scope goes to 80x). At 30x that nice shiny guard looks like crap (yes you can see 600 grit scratch lines at 30x :wacko:).

 

10 hours ago, Joshua States said:

All of the other comments are subjective. They are personal preferences in aesthetics. I fully support the idea of finding something you like and trying to recreate it. Eventually, you will develop your own style. 

This. Great attitude.

Subjective comments and personal preferences in aesthetics only go so far in developing your own personal style. You are a knife maker who sells his work. Obviously you have a style that works otherwise people wouldn't buy your wares.  Those of us working to develop "our style" are indebted those of you who take your time to help us develop our style in a way that will appeal to others.

 

Attitude is everything...

 

Thanks again (to all) for comments.

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