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James Simonds

A fancy letter opener

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I don't make normal things, and this is one of the more eccentric projects i have completed. A vaguely tanto inspired letter opener that pairs a san mai blade with a lovely bit of two tone blackwood. The blade resembles dawn over dark mountains, and the two tone case pairs with it perfectly.











The reverse side of the blade is very different. pure dark heartwood, and a blade that is mostly dark, with pools of light.








I like the contrast between the two sides. Everyone here knows that the difference in the steel is caused by simply grinding more on one side of the san mai, and that you cannot deliberately plan what pattern will come out. Origionally i was going to make the reverse side pure black, grind the nickel layer right out of it, but that would have made the blade too thin, and i liked the 'pools' that were appearing, so i left it like that. sometimes the steel dictates what it wants to be.


A few pics of the internal construction, this is 'visually' tanto inspired, but it is not built like a true tanto Tsuka/saya.



Raw materials



Nickel silver spacer. this was required to keep the sapwood on the outside lining up, because i didnt have a saw fine or accurate enough to split and re-glue the wood without losing appreciable thickness. i also really like the silver spacer, i like it visually and it adds a nice weight and cool touch to the saya.



The saya is felt lined and has a rubber seat along the bottom edge and the front to protect the blade in its tight fitting space.



Glued it up as a squared block before final shaping.



Ready for final assembly



The blade is not a stainless/carbon san mai. it is carbon/carbon sandwich with two nickel layers. the bright/dark contrast was acheived with nail varnish painted on the top part pre-coffee etching. the effect with stainless clad carbon would have been better, but you have to work with what you got!


A wierd project, but most of it totally new to me and i enjoyed the shit out of making it. and it feels mighty satisfying in the hand, tight fit, weighty, the blackwood is gorgeous, it polishes down to a glass like feel.



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3 hours ago, James Simonds said:

I don't make normal things


Feels good, doesn't it? ;)


I really like this.  Cool project!

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That is a pretty inspired piece.  I really like both the idea and execution.

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