December 1, 2012

I use the 2" small wheel to lay in the top grind on the CPM154 prototype.  I need to find a name for this one!

For scales I decide to go with desert ironwood with cocobolo burl bolsters and black/white G10 liner/divider.  

The proto then gets its first ride in the tumbler.  It will be lightly etched and tumbled again after I get the scales fitted.

Scale materials just prior to epoxy/clamping.

Clamped for the night.

At this point I need to turn my attention to the batch that I'm prepping for heat treat, but I get distracted, as I am wont to do.  The below knife was one of my original concepts for the Plamann Santoku.  I ended up going with a different pattern, but I felt this one had potential as a camp knife so I profiled one out of 1/4" O1 and had it heat treated with my last batch by Peters.  It's been hanging on my pegboard for sometime now and over that time I've been cultivating an idea of how to modify the profile to make it a better knife.

So I finally took it to the grinder and reprofiled it to what you see below.  I really don't know how this knife would be classified.  I'm tempted to call it "Chop Suey" because it shares an assortment of design cues taken from several of my other patterns and being as beefy as it is, would make a decent little chopper!!  I'm planning to give it a 3/4 or full flat grind with a big honkin' swedge.

Once I get that out of the way I turn my attention to the Hayes Kukri.  I've had this one profiled for awhile and after grinding the bevels of the recentl recurve bowie I felt confident enough to attempt my first ever kukri bevel grind.

But first I had to straighten it.  This knife had a pretty significant warp in it, which was present in the parent sheet of steel that it was profiled from.  Being .350" thick, I knew I had a major fight on my hands.  

The first thing I tried were clamps.  I don't have metal clamps large enough, so I used 3 of my largest plastic Irwin clamps.

This method had exactly zero impact on the warp.

Next I tried the vice method, using scrap pieces of O1 as shims in an effort to reverse the warp.

This method had exactly zero impact on the warp.

It was time to get creative.  The addition of heat would have helped, but I don't have a torch and before I tried the kitchen oven I had one last tool to try.

Enter the 2002 Nissan Kukri Straightener.

Finally, I started seeing results.  But it wasn't until I put a sizeable shim under the tip of the kukri and put the center of the tire only a couple of inches away from the tip did I get it mostly straight.  Not 100% straight, but about an 85% improvement.  And with the steel as thick as it was I had ample material to grind out any remaing warp, the upshot of which left me with a gentle distal taper.

Flats cleaned up and ready for edge scribing.

I get my center lines scribed and grind a small relief where the middle of the forward choil will be so I have a reference for my plunge line.  Then I break the 90 of the edge with an old belt.

Then I rough-in the bevels on the flat platen.  The 1075 grinds very easily.  When it returns from heat treat I'll bring the bevels to full height.



December 3, 2012

More work on the prototype!

After drying overnight the scales are flattened and drilled.  I then trace the tang onto the scales with a silver sharpie.

Rough cut them using the bandsaw.

I shape the front of the scales and then give them a 1200 grit/danish oil finish.  This cocobolo burl is outrageous!

The scales are dry pinned to the knife and I grind them flush with the tang.  I bring them up to 240 grit on the grinder.

I then hand finish them to 1200 grit with the danish oil.

I give the knife a short 20 minute soak in muriatic acid to knock back the reflectivity a bit and tumble for another hour or so.  Then I drill and grind epoxy/weight-reduction channels in both the tang and the scales.  All mating surfaces are roughed with 60 grit paper and cleaned thoroughly with acetone and alcohol.  I have yet to test a knife put together like this to destruction, but I don't think these scales could be pried or ripped or even hammered off by machanical means alone.  Bringing the knife up to 300 degrees or so would obviously destabilize the epoxy, but if you're holding or wearing a knife that hot, you have more pressing concerns than your scales coming off.

And clamped . . . I think this is gonna be a very purdy knife.

I've also been doing lots of grinding!  I'm working diligently to get the new batch prepped for heat treat.  Some of the carbon blades will go to Lee Oates for his differential treatement and the stainless blades will go to Peters so they can be cryo treated as well.

Here's a shot of roughing in the bevels on the O1 CleaverFoot in this batch.  This one is a custom order by a fellow Austinite.

Next up is what I have been referring to as the "cutlass", but after studying a bit I've decided that it is more characteristic of a "falchion" than a cutlass.  So for the time being I'm referring to it as the falchion prototype.  This one is also in O1 tool steel.  I'll bring the grind to full height and grind the foward choil post-heat treat.  I'm really liking how this one feels.  It has much more of a sword-like quality to it than the Jaybok.  This one is right at 18" overall, and I'm thinking I should make one a bit longer and see how it scales up!


December 7, 2012

Time to shape the ironwood/cocobolo scales of the prototype.  I use a 36 and then a 60-grit belt on the 10" wheel to remove the bulk of excess stock.

I then switch to a slack 60-grit belt for a bit more shaping, after which final shaping is done by hand.

I bring the handle to a 1200-grit danish oil finish, put on a subtle convex edge using a slack belt, then mark my name and steel type.  I officially dubbed this one the "Nimrod".  Click the photo to see more shots/specs.

Size comparison with the Jaybok and SFB.

Next I turned my attention to the current heat treat batch.  I have two WKH's in this batch that I profiled out of 1/4" CPMS35VN.  This steel was "descaled" by Crucible by sandblasting the mill scale.  I absolutely abhor mill scale and usually have my supplier surface grind my steel before shipping it, but due to certain factors I wasn't able to have that done with this sheet.  This is my first experience with Crucible's "descaled" steel, and while I was hopeful that it wouldn't be pure hell to grind off, I wasn't overly optimistic.  It was obvious the scale had been blasted, but only haphazardly.

I started off with a used 60-grit on the flat platen and it was immediately apparent that the "descaled" steel would be little better than regular scaled steel.  Shit.

Here's a shot of the two knives in question.  The one on the right has the "descaled" scale in all of its glory.  The knife on the left is after I attacked it with a fresh 60-grit belt on the flat platen.

So it was now time to pull out all of the stops and use the 2" wheel.  This method works great due to simple physics.  Same pressure on a smaller surface area = bye bye scale.  Unfortunately, if you don't have a very steady hand, it's also bye bye flatness.  It only takes one billionth of a second to round off edges and leave ripples in your pretty knife.  I use my grinding magnet to hold the knife while I make steady and smooth passes from one end to the other.

This is what I'm left with after a few firm passes on the 2" wheel.  There is still scale at both ends because I avoid those areas so as not to round them off when coming off the wheel.

Repeat for the second WKH, bring them both to 65 microns on the flat platen, and they're ready for bevels!

The first ever hollow ground WKH.

Next I work on the large sheepsfoot from my last heat treat batch from Peters.  I had cleaned the heat treat scale from the flats some time ago, so today I tackled the bevels.

Then I lay in a big honkin' front grind.  I kinda like the yin-yang effect.

In this shot you can see just how reflective the bevels are when taken to 30 microns on the grinder (Trizact A30 belt).


December 10, 2012

I was feeling a little sparky while working on the big sheepsfoot and decided the knife might be happier without a thumb ramp.  So I bellied up to the ole' KMG and ground it right off.

I'm going with black linen micarta scales for this one.  I've used quite a bit of canvas micarta, but this is the first time I've used the linen material.  I'm also using screws & standoffs instead of pins, so these scales will be removable.

The scales are ground flush with the tang.

Next, I started shaping the scales with my palm-swell treatment.  I wasn't happy with it so I ended up going with a random-pattern sculpting using the 2" wheel.  It turns out the black linen material has a high-contrast black/grey pattern, which I dig.

At this point the modified sheepsfoot goes into the tumbler and I shift my attention to other projects.

I recently received two knives returned from Peters Heat Treat.  One of them is the ringed recurve bowie.  In this shot you can see the clay pattern from the differential treatment I requested.  The high alloy content of the O1 steel will prevent a visibly active hamon, but the performance benefits will be present.

The second knife from Peters is the prototype chef's knife in AEB-L.  I start working on this one next because it is to be a Christmas present.  After removing the heat treat scale from the flats, I finish the bevels and bring them to 30 microns.

After finishing the bevels I begin working on the hand-rubbed finish.  Here it is taken to 400 grit.  I'll take it higher once the scales have been shaped to the tang.

Here's the modified sheepsfoot after a light etch and heavy stonewash.




December 17, 2012

Time to grind the final edge on the modded sheepsfoot.  Here you can see the all-important burr.

I usually use a sewn buffing wheel to remove the burr, but I've never liked doing it that way.  So I recently picked up a 2x72 felt belt for my grinder.  I loaded it with white compound and ran it slowly to remove the burr.  It was much more controllable than the buffer and I was very happy with the result.  I use a small magnifying glass to inspect me edges.

After that all I needed to do was mark my name and steel type and this one was done.  I named this pattern "Cerabok".  Click the photo to see more shots/specs.

I then knocked out some more bevels in the batch I'm prepping for heat treat.  I ground the second S35VN WKH.

I ground the Bybee Bowie in N690.  The N690 was super easy to grind.  So easy that I only ground the bevels to about 30% and will do the rest post-heat treat.

I also ground a Magua in 3V.  This one is going to get some very nice dyed redwood from Burl Source.

I've also been working on completing the AEB-L chefs knife.  The gentleman who commissioned this knife requested carbon fiber scales with yellow liners, so that's what he's getting.

After the scales were shaped to the tang, I bring the hand-rubbed finish to 1000 grit.

Then epoxy the scales and clamp for the night.

The next day I start shaping the scales.  I use a 60-grit AO belt in the slack belt configuration on my grinder to do the bulk of the shaping.  Mid-progress shot.

I then move the knife to the Panavise to finish shaping by hand.  I start with 120-grit paper to break all of the hard edges and remove the 60-grit scratches.  

Finished at 600 grit.

I've also been working on the ringed recurve bowie that recently came back from heat treatment.  This is a complicated grind and I wasn't sure if I'd be able to successfully finish it.  I gave it a go and the Knifemaking Gods were with me.

I wanted this knife to be capable of back cuts, which means it had to have a sharpened swedge, which I've never done before now.  I used the 10" wheel, a 60-grit ceramic belt, and mostly importantly, an empty mind.


Time to fabricate scales.  I decide to use stabilized amboyna and black G10 liners.

The materials get flattened, roughed up, and cleaned.

Clamped for the night.

I've had an idea for a hybrid falchion/Chinese dao short sword and I recently sat down to get it on paper.  Here you can see that I draw some reference lines first to help me be aware the handle's relationship to the tip and cutting edge.  I'm also planning for this project to be my first use of a guard.

Here's the final concept.  Overall length is just shy of 24".  I'm planning to use Blacksite carbon fiber for an integral guard/bolster.


December 19, 2012

I finished up the AEB-L kitchen knife and officially dubbed this pattern Anthophila (the name is a nod toward the gentleman who commissioned this knife).  Click the photo to see more shots and specs.

I've also been making steady progress on the ringed recurve Bowie.  Here's a shot from the bandsaw table of the stabilized amboyna/black G10 scales after being rough cut to shape.

After shaping the front of the scales, I dry pin them to the knife and grind them flush with the tang.  I take it up to 400 grit on the grinder.  If you look at the top pin in this photo you can see I experienced some significant tear-out when drilling the hole.  This was entirely my fault for not using a fresh drill bit or backer board.Yell 

I remove the scales and grind the forward choil.

Once that's done I begin the etching & tumbling process.  While the knife is tumbling, I begin finishing the profile of the amboyna.  Here's a shot of them with a 1200-grit/danish oil finish.

Etched and tumbled.


December 27, 2012

I hope everyone had a great Christmas!  Despite taking a couple of days off for the holidays, I've been making good progress in the shop.

I made sheaths for a few knives . . .

The Anthophila.  I don't normally make sheaths for kitchen knives, but the owner requested one and I'm happy to oblige.

The Nimrod.  I may be violating some unsaid law by putting ironwood-scaled knives in kydex, but I've begun researching leather-working and I plan to start making leather sheaths in the very near future (well, very near in knifemaker time anyway!).

The Cerabok.  This one will be headed to southeast Texas very soon.

I continue working on the ringed recurve bowie.  Here's a shot taken just before I begin shaping the amboyna burl scales.  I've epoxied the scales on using stainless steel pins and the blade is wrapped and taped to protect it while I grind the handle to shape.  You can also see one of my original WKH's that recently returned with its owner from Afghanistan.  I'm giving it a bit of a tune-up for him.

I use the 10" wheel and slack belt with 36-grit and then 60-grit belts to rough shape the scales.  This is how they look when I'm done with the grinder.  I do the final shaping by hand.

400 grit.  This amboyna burl is amazing.

After bringing the scales to 1200 grit I grind the final convex edge and etch my maker's mark.

Done.  Click the photo to see more shots/specs.

Next, I turn my attention to the custom persian.  The first thing I need to do is grind away the mill scale.  This task is complicated by deep line that ran across the entire sheet of 3V that this knife was profiled from.

I've learned that when dealing with mill scale, it pays to be somewhat heavy-handed when grinding.  Here's the knife cleaned up at 60-grit.

I ask the gentleman who commissioned this knife if he'd like me to add a recurve to the edge á la the Ringbok.  He is game, so I grind the recurve and clean up the flats a bit more.

Then it's time to grind the bevels, which I do with the 10" wheel.


December 31, 2012

Grinding.  Lots and lots of grinding.

Bevels roughed-in on a CPM154 WKH using the 36" radius platen.

Cleaning up the perimeter of a Plamann Santoku.

I was hoping these 5 would be included in the current heat treat batch, but I don't think they're gonna make it.  Two CPM154 WKH's, two CPM3V Nimrods, and one 440C Plamann Santoku.

I got the holes drilled and chamfered before I decided to set these aside for the time being.

Hollow grinding the bevels of an O1 Nimrod with the 10" wheel.

Next I turned my attention to the Bybee Bowie prototypes.  I decided they would benefit from a slightly recurved edge.  Here are the two O1 protos after grinding the recurve and cleaning up the flats.

Center lines are scribed.

I then flat ground the bevels.  I really liked how these turned out, so I ground the N690 proto the same way.

Just need a bit more work and this batch will be headed to Peters for heat/cryo treating.  Adding thumbramp serrations to the 3V persian proto.

These three just returned from differential treating today.  I'm very excited about these!


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