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Pieter-Paul Derks

Damascus (sort of) Take-down

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Hello everyone,

 

The last month or so I have been working on a Damascus hunting knife with a stabilized beech handle.

Since I am taking pictures for my Instagram account anyway, I figured it would be nice to post this on the ‘’old fashioned’’ forums as well.

For this hunting knife I am going for a more traditional design than I would normally do, this is a ‘’simple’’ drop point hunter with a guard and hopefully a takedown handle.

On this knife I really want to focus on my fit and finish, normally one of my weaker points in knifemaking.

As I normally make historically inspired knives doing a modern knife comes with a lot of firsts and I have really enjoyed working on it so far.

For instance: this is the first time I’m trying sweeping plunges, a takedown design or working with stabilized wood.

 

 

 

I went through several different designs and did a lot of tweaking to get this knife exactly where I want it. Carbon tracing paper is a huge help in trying out different handle shapes.

The blade material is 450 layer random pattern Damascus, the steels are O2 and 75Ni8.

To test if the grind lines I’d drawn were actually possible I ground a test knife out of mild steel, the plunges turned out to not be as difficult as I had feared.

The mild steel also made a great template to use when forging.

Normally I would forge closer to shape, but I didn’t want to risk a stray hammer blow messing up my plunges.

After a bit of grinding I heat treated the blade to +- 61 Hrc and tempered the spine and ricasso back with a torch, this gives extra toughness and also allows me to file in my tang shoulders very precisely.

I tend to do most of my grinding post Heat treat, the O2 is deep hardening enough and with fresh belts there is not much risk involved.

After the knife is ground, I start on the fittings, there is a guard and two spacers, the middle spacer is bronze I cast myself and the other is mild steel.

The spacer assembly is held together with drilled and reamed pins, a bit of extra work, but it makes alignment very easy.

 

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A threaded piece is silver brazed to the tang, I made a bronze nut for it on my lathe to keep the entire assembly together.

This allows me to pull the knife apart as many times as I want, when the knife is finished this will make re-finishing a lot easier also.

The handle is made from spalted beech wood, this stabilized wood is very nice to work with, and just needs a buff to get to a nice shine. The only downside is that it really stinks when grinding.

From here on it was a lot of boring polishing to get the surfaces good enough.

The last thing is sharpening and making a leather sheath, and it is time to take some pictures with an actual camera.

 

 

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Looking good!  Fit and finish look very good to my eye.

 

I've never done a truly swept plunge either.  I'd love to hear your "First timer's" take on it...

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That certainly came out well!  Bravo!

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May be a first time modern but it is certainly not a first time skill.  That spalted beech is wildly beautiful and a perfect match for the damascus.  I am not a fan of long guards on hunting knives though as they get in the way for some chores

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Awesome work Pieter.

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Thanks everyone! I am quite pleased with this one myself, I hope i will get my hands on some more of this handle material.

 

On 5/22/2020 at 1:41 PM, Brian Dougherty said:

Looking good!  Fit and finish look very good to my eye.

 

I've never done a truly swept plunge either.  I'd love to hear your "First timer's" take on it...

 

i ground the plunges by first doing normal plunge cuts about a half inch in front of where I wanted the plunges and then just very carefully feahtered them out on the grinder, by lifting the blade away from the belt slowly and cutting with the belt edge. I hope this makes a bit of sense.

 

the most difficult thing was that the only belts I have that track perfectly are my 40 grits, so I had to start hand sanding at 60 grit:unsure: any bit of belt wobble would mess up the swoopy plunges.

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That truly is an exquisite knife. Excellent work from blade to handle to fit and finish to sheath. Great photography too.

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On 5/23/2020 at 8:26 AM, Pieter-Paul Derks said:

... perfectly are my 40 grits, so I had to start hand sanding at 60 grit:unsure: any bit of belt wobble would mess up the swoopy plunges.

Ouch, that's no fun in tight spaces :(

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Beautiful knife! You do really nice work

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