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Conan Dunlap

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I just completed a new knife and I would like some critique.  I was attempting a W's pattern, but I drew it out too much and I an not sure I like it.  The spacer and pin are nickle silver and the guard is wrought-iron.  I don't think I like the shape of the guard, but it was my first attempt at this type of guard.  This is also my first try at domed pins.  

 

Anyway please let me know what you think works and doesn't.  Thanks for looking!

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Please tell us your process on the pattern.

“So I'm lightin' out for the territory, ahead of the scared and the weak and the mean spirited, because Aunt Sally is fixin’ to adopt me and civilize me, and I can't stand it. I've been there before.”

The only bad experience is the one from which you learn nothing.  

 

Josh

http://www.dosgatosdesignsllc.com/#!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdJMFMqnbLYqv965xd64vYg

J.States Bladesmith | Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/dos.gatos.71

https://www.etsy.com/shop/JStatesBladesmith

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Conan,

That you took it to completion is the best part…. I suspect you were not happy with some of this as you progressed on it…. Kudos to you for finishing it…. I think you have made a good observations on your own work….I think you already learned what to try on the next one ….. next time try using a plain back ground without the flash when you take a photo …..

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14 hours ago, Conan Dunlap said:

Anyway please let me know what you think works and doesn't.

 

You asked for it, so here's an honest opinion.  Keep in mind it is ONLY an opinion! :)

 

The pattern is nice.  I like the big bold look, it's uncommon and is not too busy.

 

I don't like the harpoon point on the recurved blade.  I don't care for recurved blades in general, but on this one the placement of the raised false edge is out of proportion.  Too long, and with it at the deepest part of the curve it looks almost broken rather than intentional.  And if you're going to do the harpoon point, it needs to be beveled back to the line of the spine to look right.  

 

Great job on the plunges and domed pin.

 

I don't mind the slab-sided grip, you see that a lot on historic bowies.

 

I think the guard transition from full width to half-width is a little too angular.  Rounded corners would flow better.  So would a little recurve in the guard, since it doesn't go all the way back.  Not a full scroll, just a little flip at the end.  A short upper branch on the guard would add visual interest to the otherwise flat plane there.

 

There's not a lot of contrast between the guard and the spacer.  A thin sandwich of vulcanized fiber and nickel or stainless would really pop.  See Cal G.'s latest post for an example of this effect: 

A single black spacer between the iron and nickel, and a black spacer with a thin line of nickel between the big nickel and the wood would really set that transition off.  It's a classic trick, and still works well.  

 

As Dick said, be proud you finished it out, you learned a lot of new stuff!  And remember, my critique is only an opinion.  B)

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8 hours ago, Joshua States said:

Please tell us your process on the pattern.

I attempted to follow your instructions in your pattern manipulation post.  I obviously made a mistake at some point. 

 

I started with a 25 layer billet

Forged in the corners

Forged down on the bias

Forged it out and cut into 5 layers and Forged that down.

Then I accordion cut and Forged flat.

 

I think one of my mistakes with this billet was having rounded peaks and valleys of the accordion which probably accounts for the straighter sections.

This is what it looked like as a bar before I forged it into a blade

 

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8 hours ago, Dick Sexstone said:

Conan,

That you took it to completion is the best part…. I suspect you were not happy with some of this as you progressed on it…. Kudos to you for finishing it…. I think you have made a good observations on your own work….I think you already learned what to try on the next one ….. next time try using a plain back ground without the flash when you take a photo …..

Yeah, this is strictly a hobby for me and I either keep or give away everything that I make.  So I always try to finish the blade so I keep learning. 

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5 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

 

You asked for it, so here's an honest opinion.  Keep in mind it is ONLY an opinion! :)

 

The pattern is nice.  I like the big bold look, it's uncommon and is not too busy.

 

I don't like the harpoon point on the recurved blade.  I don't care for recurved blades in general, but on this one the placement of the raised false edge is out of proportion.  Too long, and with it at the deepest part of the curve it looks almost broken rather than intentional.  And if you're going to do the harpoon point, it needs to be beveled back to the line of the spine to look right.  

 

Great job on the plunges and domed pin.

Thanks for the feedback, I definitely need all of the feedback I can get.  I agree about the harpoon point and I like your ideas about the spacers and guard shape.  

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3 hours ago, Conan Dunlap said:

I attempted to follow your instructions in your pattern manipulation post.  I obviously made a mistake at some point. 

You did everything right up to the point where you forged the blade to shape. An accordion cut pattern always has those flat spots.

This is another accordion cut W's blade.

 

Off side V2.jpg

 

If you want to avoid them, you need to tile cut and reweld them back together. Personally, I think the accordion cut is more visually attractive, but who am I to say?

 

This type of pattern is usually not forged to shape, and the bevels are not forged either as that distorts the pattern.

TBH, I think you should be very proud of this knife. It's a massive undertaking with a lot of advanced techniques and you did a good job of it. Alan has povided some excellent pointers and suggestions for the next one. Take notes and follow the advice given.

 

The only advice I can give you that hasn't already been offered, is to draw the blade out at full size before you start. Look at it from different angles and distances. Lay the drawing on the floor and walk around it. If something doesn't look "right", erase it and fix it on paper. Then when you have a design you like, post a pic in the Design and Critique" foum. Get feedback before you start. 

 

 

 

Edited by Joshua States
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“So I'm lightin' out for the territory, ahead of the scared and the weak and the mean spirited, because Aunt Sally is fixin’ to adopt me and civilize me, and I can't stand it. I've been there before.”

The only bad experience is the one from which you learn nothing.  

 

Josh

http://www.dosgatosdesignsllc.com/#!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdJMFMqnbLYqv965xd64vYg

J.States Bladesmith | Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/dos.gatos.71

https://www.etsy.com/shop/JStatesBladesmith

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4 hours ago, Joshua States said:

You did everything right up to the point where you forged the blade to shape.

Thanks for all of the input, have already messed up on the other half of the billet as I forged in a tip and tang, but you did give me confidence to try W's again!

 

Great idea about posting the plans, I will definitely do that in the future. 

Edited by Conan Dunlap
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I think you should work out your design in a mono piece of steel first ….. and then when you are happy with your results use some damascus… on the other hand making  damascus is good woodshedding also…. this is a life long pursuit …. failure is a learning experience as you seem to all ready know….. I’ve never made anything that  I could not make better the next time….

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Don't worry too much about how the knife turned out.  If you're not making mistakes you're not trying hard enough.  You have been given good advice, now go make another blade.

 

Doug

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HELP...I'm a twenty year old trapped in the body of an old man!!!

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14 minutes ago, Doug Lester said:

Don't worry too much about how the knife turned out.  If you're not making mistakes you're not trying hard enough.  You have been given good advice, now go make another blade.

 

Doug

I intend to do just that!  Thanks all for the advice.  Since this is just a hobby I go slow, but I do keep plugging away!

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I am following Mr. State's advice and looking for some input on this design.  I had already forged the blade before I started this post so that is already done, but it isn't hardened, s it can be adjusted somewhat.  Anyway, let me know what you think and what changes I should make.  Thanks!

20230127_173757.jpg

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I don't like the stepped transition from the spine to the spacer.  If the blade is much wider that sort of idea works pretty well, but not so much (for me) on a blade this size.  Perhaps if you did a swept transition on the top as well as on the edge side.  Otherwise, I like it.  It might benefit from a butt cap with fiber spacers.

 

Geoff

 

"The worst day smithing is better than the best day working for someone else."

 

I said that.

 

If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.

- - -G. K. Chesterton

 

So, just for the record: the fact that it does work still should not be taken as definitive proof that you are not crazy.

 

Grant Sarver

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Yep, I like that much better.  Small things but big overall change.

 

Geoff

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"The worst day smithing is better than the best day working for someone else."

 

I said that.

 

If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.

- - -G. K. Chesterton

 

So, just for the record: the fact that it does work still should not be taken as definitive proof that you are not crazy.

 

Grant Sarver

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11 hours ago, Conan Dunlap said:

What do you think about adding a hinged through tang and a pommel nut?

I was going to suggest curving the tang for that purpose, when you and Geoff mentioned adding the buttcap.

 

The other option for handling the step transition Geoff pointed out, is to add a ricasso and match the ricasso height to the spacer height.

 

add ricasso(1).jpg

Edited by Joshua States
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“So I'm lightin' out for the territory, ahead of the scared and the weak and the mean spirited, because Aunt Sally is fixin’ to adopt me and civilize me, and I can't stand it. I've been there before.”

The only bad experience is the one from which you learn nothing.  

 

Josh

http://www.dosgatosdesignsllc.com/#!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdJMFMqnbLYqv965xd64vYg

J.States Bladesmith | Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/dos.gatos.71

https://www.etsy.com/shop/JStatesBladesmith

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9 hours ago, Joshua States said:

I was going to suggest curving the tang for that purpose, when you and Geoff mentioned adding the buttcap.

 

The other option for handling the step transition Geoff pointed out, is to add a ricasso and match the ricasso height to the spacer height.

 

add ricasso(1).jpg

I like that also, thanks

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