Shop Update - July 2, 2012

Some random shop photos from the last couple of days . . .

600 grit hand-rubbed finish.

Drilling big holes in CPM154.

Starting the next batch!

A short time at the bandsaw to separate them.

A bit more time at the bandsaw to get them roughed out.

Using the 10" wheel to get a bit closer to the line.

I then switch to the small wheel attachment on the KMG with my homemade vertical rest.  Using the 1/2" and 1" wheel, I begin bringing the handles to their final shape.  Still have a lot more grinding to do, but here is the batch as it sits right now.

My daughter designed this one!



Shop Update - July 4, 2012

What better way to celebrate our nation's independence than grinding steel?

Shaping the front of one of the cleavers.  Both of the cleavers in this batch are made of .23" thick O1.

Shaping the spine of one of my prototypes.  This one is .172" 3V.

Santoku for a fellow USN'er.  I liked the design so much I made two.  Both are .103" 440C.

Knives are now profiled to their final shape.


Shop Update - July 6, 2012

Made a lot of progress in the shop today!  I took a break from the next batch to work on some lingering projects.

First, I began working on scales for the hand-rubbed knife.  I went with desert ironwood scales, Blacksite 690 carbon fiber bolsters, and black & white G10 liners.

The scales are fitted to the bolsters, everything is then ground flat, roughed up with sand paper, then cleaned with acetone and alcohol in preparation for the epoxy.

Clamped up for the night.  The beauty of traditon mated with the beauty of technology!  Always and forever.

I then ground the bevels on the Wicked Cricket.  This is my first double-edged knife.  There was much frustration with this grind, but it ended up coming out pretty nicely.

After recuperating from grinding the Wicked Cricket, I went back out to the shop and ground the bevels on the last sheepsfoot from my last batch.  

This was the largest sheepsfoot, and I've been putting off grinding it because it was a big grind on a thick piece (.23") of hardened steel.  I've learned the value of grinding these thick guys before heat treat.  I actually prefer grinding them hard, but when they're this thick, it just takes way too much time.

It took about 3 hours  . . . but here it is, ready for scales.

Shop Update - July 7, 2012

I spent most of the day cleaning the shop.  I find that I'm much more productive and comfortable when my workspace is free of clutter.  I also incorporated some changes to the shop to accomodate the evolution of my workflow.

So, here are some photos of the shop after cleaning!

My primary workbench.

Where the vast majority of actual progress is made.  Variable 2-HP KMG.

This next photo illustrates why one of three things needs to happen.  Either 1. I start making a LOT more knives with wood scales, 2. I add more wood storage, or 3. I voluntarily enter a 12-step Desert Ironwood addiction program.

I did get some work done today, too.  Here are some scales I'm making for the Wicked Cricket.  Thin hunter orange G10 with even thinner OD green G10 liners.

I also continued work on the ironwood/carbon fiber scales for the hand-rubbed knife.

First, I grind them nice and flat.  You can see there are a few inclusions that will need to be addressed, but I think these are going to be really nice.

Here's a macro shot of the fit of the scale to the bolster.


Front of the scales are finished.

Here are the scales at the end of the day.  I was hoping to get them epoxied and clamped, but I was just too run down.  Hopefully I'll tackle that tomorrow!


Shop Update - July 8, 2012

I started the day with getting the ironwood/carbon fiber scales epoxied and clamped to the hand-rubbed knife.  

I then began working on the scales for the large sheepsfoot.  As I was working with the knife I thought it would look better with a swedge or false edge.  I ground swedges on my first two knives freehand, and from that experience I realized that I needed to hold off on grinding them until I had a bit more time in front of the grinder.  That was several months (and dozens of knives) ago, but I've been apprehensive about grinding swedges.  I found several suggestions to use jigs or rests, but I like to grind freehand.  I sought advice from my online mentor, Martin Olexey, and he helped give me the courage to attempt swedges again.  

I first adjusted my flat platen to a downward 10 degree angle and set to grinding the swedge freehand.  I roughed-in the swedges with a 120-grit Cubitron before my Trizact CF progression, ending with an A30.  Success!

I then continued work on the scales for the knife.  I chose black canvas phenolic laminate scales, green canvas phenolic laminate bolsters, and thin red G10 liners.

I get the materials cut out to shape, fit the scales to the bolsters, get everything flat, rough it up with sandpaper, and then clean with acetone and alcohol.

All clamped up.  As you can see, I put a piece of the red G10 between the scale and bolster . . . something I've never attempted before.  It took a bit of time getting everything flat, square, and fitted.  I'm hoping they turn out ok!


Shop Update - July 14, 2012

Well, I've been remiss about posting updates, but it's only because I've been spending so much time working on knives that I haven't had the time/energy to post!  So here are some random shots from the last several days . . .

I made a couple of sheaths.

I sharpened some knives.  Here's a good shot of the burr that develops when sharpening (properly).

I experiemented with putting some G10 liner material between scales and bolsters . . . successfully!

I finished the Wicked Cricket and it's sheath.

Of course, more ironwood came in.

I also got the bevels rough ground on a couple of O1 cleavers.  This is the first time I've ground bevels before heat treat.  It does go faster, but I've noticed that fresh belts seem to "grab" the soft metal more than hardened steel.  This makes getting nice, crisp grind lines a bit more difficult.  Turning the KMG up to 100% speed helped with this, but I frequently found myself having to make slow, forceful passes to straighten a wavy grind line.  

The smaller of the two cleavers.  This one is more of a cleaveresque sheepsfoot, so I'm dubbing it Cleaverfoot.

The larger cleaver.



Shop Update - July 19, 2012

Had a minor setback with the current batch.  I've only ever used precision ground steel to make my knives.  For this batch, I thought I might save some money if I ground the mill scale off the steel myself.  WRONG.  Long story short, I was only able to get 4 of the 11 knives ready for heat treat.  I became so frustrated with the rest that I covered them in Dykem, wrote the steel type on them, and hung them up indefinitely.  I figure I'll finish them when/if I ever get a surface grinder!!

Not one to rest on my laurels, I dove into another batch!

Here you can see I've drilled the 1" holes through the CPM154 for the Karambit/Wharncliffe Hybrids and glued the paper templates to the steel.  I was also able to fit another FB on the sheet of 1/4" O1.  The FB is the knife that my daughter designed, and the CPM154 version is for her Grammy, who has requested ironwood scales (who am I to argue?).

After a bit of time with the bandsaw, and quite a bit more time with the KMG, I've got the knives pretty much to their final shape.  The top 4 are 1/4" O1, the middle two are .172" 3V, and the bottom 6 are .140" CPM154.

I've also been working on a santoku-esque knife.  Got the bevels ground and then hand-rubbed the blade to 400 grit.

For scales I decided to use Blacksite 690 carbon fiber with desert ironwood bolsters and red G10 liners.

Got the scales/bolsters fitted, epoxied and clamped and added an incandescent bulb to help the epoxy along . . .



Shop Update - July 22, 2012

Despite suffering through a GVHD flare-up, I've made some good progress in the shop.

Here's the current batch with the knives profiled to their final shape.

We're starting a two week road trip to Colorado this Friday, the 27th.  I'm planning to ship this batch off to heat treat on Thursday, and I was hoping to have all of the bevels rough ground by then.  That's not gonna happen in three days, but that isn't such a bad thing because I seem to have a strong preference to grinding hardened steel.  I did grind the bevels on one of the 3V knives today, and I'll likely grind the other 3V knife as well.  I've hear that 3V is a bear to grind after hardening.  I'll try to get some of the 1/4" O1 knives ground too, because of the large amount of stock to remove.  

Here is the 3V knife I ground today.  I plan to grind swedges too, but I haven't decided if I'm going to grind them pre or post heat treat.

Here is the batch as it sits today.  All holes have been drilled and chamfered, the flats have been cleaned up, and the steel type has been engraved on the tangs.


Shop Update - July 23, 2012

Another rough day systemically speaking, but I forced myself out into the shop to get some work done.  At one point I had to stop grinding, smear steroid cream all over my arm, then cover it with saran wrap and med wrap.  Doing this enabled me to grind for several more hours.

First I began grinding the bevels on the second 3V prototype.  In this photo you can see I've got my center line scribed and have ground a 45 on either side of the edge with an old belt.  Breaking the 90 strips a belt of its abrasive, so you want to avoid doing this with a new belt.  I leave a bit more than my desired edge thickness when doing this to allow a small margin of error.

I then change to a new(er) belt.  I actually switched to the belt that I finished the other 3V prototype with yesterday.  I usually use a new belt to finish the last 10-20% of a knife's bevels, so they have a lot of life left in them.  Using the new belt, I begin slowly walking the grind up the knife.  If you look closely, you'll see I'm leaving a little of the 45 bevel along the edge of the knife.  My goal is to keep this bevel the same thickness from plunge to tip, and to slowly grind it away as I grind to my desired bevel height.

Almost there . . .

Done!  I had actually intended to grind this one differently than the other prototype from yesterday, but I guess my hands didn't agree becuase this knife ended up with the same exact grind!

Next, I ground the bevels on one of the O1 wharncliffes.  Grinding this knife was a real eye-opener as far as grinding hard vs. soft.  From scribing the edge to finishing with an A45 Trizact took me exactly 1 hour.  Granted, it isn't a complex grind and I was running the KMG at 100%, but it's 1/4" thick steel.   I also had less of the "grabbiness" that I have been experiencing with the softer steel.  I think I'm just learning how to work the steel in it's soft state.  If these heat treat without issue, it looks like grinding pre-HT just makes more sense (at least with the thicker stock knives).

These 3 will still need some work post heat treat, including grinding their swedges, but I think this batch is progressing very nicely!



Shop Update - July 26, 2012

This will be the last shop update for the next couple of weeks as the whole family is headed to Colorado tomorrow!

I was able to get the bevels of one more knife ground from this batch, the big 1/4" sheepsfoot.

4 knives with bevels rough ground in this batch.

Here's the batch after cleaning up the flats and right before boxing them up.  They're headed to Peters Heat Treat and will hopefully return around the same time that I return from Colorado.  I'm really looking forward to finishing these!



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