Shop Update - May 19, 2012
I've been busy the last several days working on the Hatcher Knives website. But I have made a bit of progress in the shop, too!
My father has a collection of large granite slabs in his backyard. When he discovered that I was using some very tiny scrap pieces for checking flatness in the shop he offered me a large piece. He even cut it to size for me!
I also took some proper photos of my recently completed ringed wharncliffe/karambits.
I've spent the last 2 days catching up on sheath-making.
Here's a shot taken while waiting on the kydex to reach proper forming temperature.
Random workbench shots:
This one is a birthday present for my father. I think this is the best sheath I've made yet. Props to Martin Olexey for inspiring me to attempt the thumb-flare!
Shop Update - May 20, 2012
More sheath work today.
If you look very closely in this photo, you can just barely see a karambit ring poking out of the kydex press.
Some work-in-progress shots.
Here is a small OD green sheath I completed today for a kiridashi I made for my wife.
I also finished a sheath in coyote brown for one of the ringed wharncliffes.
The obligatory on-the-belt photo. I'll be keeping and carrying this one for awhile so I can further refine the design.
Shop Update - May 21, 2012
Today I finished the sheath for the pikal.
Here's a shot from the bench. The kydex has been heat-formed and the 1/4" rivet holes have been drilled.
Rough cutting to shape using the bandsaw.
After using the KMG to bring the sheath to it's final shape, I use the heat gun and various instruments to shape the mouth of the sheath until proper retention is achieved. This is by far the most time-intensive part of sheath making.
Shop Update - May 22, 2012
Today I finished the last sheath for the 3 kiridashi batch.
Here you can see the .060" black kydex has been heat-formed to the kiridashi and I'm starting to layout where I want the eyelets. This one will be drilled for a small Tek Lok or IWB loop. I'm also including 2 inline eyelets at the bottom of the sheath that will be oriented perpendicular to the knife for use with paracord.
This one came out nicely.
After finishing the kiridashi sheath, I began grinding the heat treat scale off of my next tanto.
Here she is after a bit of work with a 60-grit Cubitron.
Belt progression for this one: 60-grit 984, A300 Trizact CF, 120-grit 977, A100 Trizact 307, A65 Trizact CF, super fine Scoth-Brite.
Shop Update - May 23, 2012
Today I continued work on the American tanto.
The flats were nice and clean from yesterday's work, but I still needed to clean up the thumb serrations.
I then mark my center line so I have a reference point when grinding the bevels.
Here's a progress shot taken while roughing-in the main bevel with a 60-grit Cubitron.
Here you can see the main bevels have been finished, and I'm ready to begin work on the tip.
Here's a progress shot taken while grinding the tip. I do this freehand against the flat platen.
This one is now ready for scales. Here's a shot of the left side.
And the right.
It's always a nice feeling have a compound ground knife hanging on the pegboard ready for scales!
I also received my latest batch of sheepsfoot blades back from the heat treater today. Lots of grinding ahead of me!
Shop Update - May 25, 2012
I made some nice progress in the shop today.
Throughout the day I did several tempering/straightening cycles with the some of the blades from my latest sheepsfoot batch. I'm still learning my way through this process. I've straightened a couple of very warped blades and broken a couple of very warped blades. Both success and failure are instrumental in helping me learn this craft.
Here is my straightening jig.
I also started working on a couple of the knives that came back nice and straight.
First I ground away the heat treat scale from the spine and tang of the blades.
After that, I clean up the flats.
I then ground the bevel on the wharncliffe. This one is chisel ground with a right side bevel, as spec'ed by its new owner, who will be finishing it with his own scales.
Here's a shot of it next to my recently ground tanto. It'll be heading to Houston soon.
Shop Update - May 27, 2012
I started today off with crafting some bolstered scales for the American Tanto. For these I'll be using black & white G10 liners, desert ironwood scales, and black G10 bolsters.
It takes time to fit the bolsters to the scales. The objective is for there to be no visible gap between the two materials. Here's a shot taken when I'm very, very close to where I want to be. Still needs a bit of work, though.
Once I have the bolsters and scales properly fitted to one another, I epoxy and clamp them to the liners. The spring clamps have a tendency to pull the scales and bolsters apart, so I add a couple of adjustable clamps to ensure a tight fit between them as the epoxy dries overnight.
A couple of my knives that came back warped from being heat treated didn't quite survive my efforts to straighten them. One of the larger blades broke in half at the ricasso, but the blade portion was quite straight, so I decided to make a smaller kiridashi-type knife with it.
At first, I thought about making something cool and zany, despite the fact that I am neither cool nor zany. I did a quick sketch on the blade with a pencil and got to grinding.
As the grinding commenced, it quickly became apparent that zany just wouldn't do. A friend of mine (the namesake of the REH), recently suggested that I make a smaller reverse-edge knife. That was influential to how this little knife turned out. My plan is for this to be my first double-edged knife.
I'm really happy with how it's turning out. I'm thinking of calling it "Wicked Cricket".
Here's a size comparison of it with the biggest blade from the same batch.
After getting the little double-edged blade profiled, I began grinding the heat treat scale from it and 3 other knives that I was able to straighten. All 3 of them came back warped to varying degrees and it was immensely satisfying saving them from the scrap bin!
Shop Update - May 28, 2012
Today I continued working on the American Tanto.
The ironwood/G10 scales were nice and straight after drying overnight. The ironwood I used for these scales was thicker than the G10 bolsters, so the first order of business was to tend to that.
Once I got the ironwood flush with the G10, I was better able to see how the two materials fit together.
Next, it was time to drill holes for the micarta rod I'll be using for pins. Here's a shot taken while drilling through the tang into one of the scales.
I then clamp that scale to the other, making sure to get the bolsters properly aligned. I then drill through the first scale and into the second.
I use the bandsaw to rough cut the scales to the shape of the tang. Because I want this knife to have an etched/stonewashed finish, I need to shape the scales to the tang before epoxying them. Here's a shot taken while checking the front of the scale's relationship to the plunge line.
I'm happy with the fit, so it's now time to bring the scales flush with the tang. I dry pin the scales to the knife and use my vertical rest with the 1" small wheel on the KMG to accomplish this.
Here she is after getting everything shaped with a 60 and 220-grit belt and then cleaned up with a Trizact A45.
Here she is as she sits right now. Next I need to etch the blade, stonewash the blade, then I can epoxy the scales to the knife, shape/contour the scales, sharpen the knife, and finally, make the sheath. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.
Shop Update - May 30, 2012
I've been making steady progress on the American Tanto.
Here's a shot of it going into the etching tube. The tube has a mix of 9% vinegar and lemon juice.
While the knife was etching, I hand-finished the edges of the scales to 600 grit.
The knife stayed in the etching tube for about 6 hours. I then removed it, neutralized it, and it went straight into the tumbler for 50 minutes. Here she is with her new etched/tumbled finish.
Here's a shot of the knife and scales prepped for epoxy. I drilled shallow holes in the liner inline with the epoxy holes of the tang. I then roughed up all surfaces with 60 grit paper before cleaning with acetone.
Then I give her the clamps.
I then started working on the heat treat scale of these 5, which are now finally straight.
While working on them, I received a package containing my new marking machine. I also have stencils en route!
3 down, 2 to go. Then they need a progression of finishing belts, then they'll be ready for bevels!
Shop Update - May 31, 2012
Today I finished the ironwood tanto.
I started by grinding and then sanding the carbon fiber pins flush with the scales.
I then began shaping the scales using a carbide cutter in the trusty Dremel.
Once I get them roughly to shape using the cutter, I switch to hand sanding. I start with 150 grit and work up to 600 grit.
I fill any voids with cyanoacrylate.
While waiting for the glue to dry, I receive a package from Pops with some much needed belts. It also had some black and green canvas phenolic for scales, which I've never used before.
Once the glue dries, I sand the flats of the scales to 600 grit and then begin the process of putting on the final edge. I start by adjusting my platen to a 15 degree inclination.
Here's a progress shot while grinding the edge on the main bevel.
Putting the edge on the tip is somewhat more difficult. It's important to ensure the edge of the tip remains perpendicular to the length of the platen. It's also important to ensure the rest of the knife is perpendicular to the ground. And finally, it's important to ensure the the edge of the tip contacts the belt evenly. Failing to do any of these will result in unpleasantness.
Because of this, I use a bubble level to assist me in keeping everything in the proper relationship with the platen.
After sharpening, I bring the scales to their finished state using 600 grit paper, then 0000 steel wool, and finally buffing it with white compound.