February 11, 2013

Well, Disney World didn't happen for me.  It DID happen for my daughter, which is far more important.  

Two days before our flight I was experiencing shortness of breath and had audible crackling from my lungs when exhaling.  So instead of flying to Florida I had a contrast CT scan, antibiotics by IV, and several days of rest.  My wonderful wife stayed here with me and my parents took my daughter to Disney World where she had the time of her life.

Some of you may have noticed that my order book is now closed.  This will allow me to make some headway on my existing backlog of orders.  It will also allow me time to prototype several (dozens, actually) new designs that I want to see become reality.  I will be offering these prototypes for sale and subscribers to my email update list will get first shot at them.

Despite the recent setbacks, I've been making progress in the shop.  The last 3 days have been especially productive.

I finished up the Magua.  Here you can see I'm adding my maker's mark.

Here she is all finished up.  Click the photo if you'd like to see more shots/specs.

Pressing the sheath for the Magua.

Got a good press.

Sheath completed.

I made a couple of other sheaths while I was at it.  First is for my Hoback Meat.  I received this from Jake a couple of months ago and ordered it without a sheath (since I'm a sheathmaker and all Tongue Out).  I decided to use coyote kydex.

Holes are drilled.


This one has adjustable retention.

I also made a sheath for a small kiridashi that my buddy and fellow maker Will from Awesome Edges made.  He used Chad Nichols Moku-Ti, which is a laminated material that Chad forges using commercially pure titanium and 6AL-4V titanium.  The result is a damascus-like titanium that can be finished to startling beauty.  I recommended Will name it the "Mokudashi".

It's nearly impossible to capture all of the colors in a photo.  This thing is quite striking in person.

Taped up in preparation for molding the kydex.

I struggled with this one.  Other than the recent ferro rod, I haven't needed to mold kydex to such a small item.  After some trial-and-error, I was successful.  It is now headed to Hawaii for the edge to be carbidized.

Yesterday I finally resumed working on my tomahawk proto.  The first thing I did was clean up the flats, becuase it looked like this:

This wasn't really necessary because I intend to put this proto through hell in the name of ever-important R&D.  But it looks better, no?

Next I scribe my center lines.

Then the fun part.  Grinding 1075 is a delight, especially after grinding the 3V steel of my last Magua!

Front bevel done.  Now I need to figure out how I want to grind the spike.  I'd be delighted to hear any advice from you tomahawk experts!




February 12, 2013

Today I worked on the ringed recurve persian that recently returned from being heat/cryo treated.  This pattern was designed by a good friend who recently returned from serving in Afghanistan.  The Ringbok was actually a trial-run to see if I could pull this grind off.

First, I had to clean off the heat treat scale.  I clean up the profile of the knife by hand with 400 grit paper.  I tackled the flats with a 120 grit ceramic belt on the flat platen of my grinder.  I've been working the flats to higher grits by hand.  It's more labor intensive and makes my hands hurt, but the results are so much better than when I use the platen.  Hopefully I'll get a disc grinder in the future as it's the ideal tool for getting things nice and flat.

Here you can see my hand-sanding station.  Just a 2x4 in the vice with several 1/4" holes drilled to match the tang holes of my various patterns.  I then insert 1/4" micarta rod through the tang of the knife and into the 2x4.  Simple and easy.  Working the 3V persian with 400 grit paper & windex:

Then it was time to finish the bevels.  I've been asked by other makers how I grind recurves, so I shot a bit of video.  I use the 10" wheel on my KMG and track the belt over the side of the wheel about 1/3".  I then make passes following the shape of the edge, only making contact with the outer 1/3 or so of the belt.  It took about 1,000 hours of grinding before I could do this successfully.

Here's the result.  Tomorrow I grind the clip!


February 17, 2013

More progress on the persian, which has been dubbed the "Sevbok".  Quick vid of grinding the clip:


Now it's time to start working on the scales.  The future owner of this knife thought using amboyna would be fitting since that's what this knife's brother, the Ringbok, has.  He also chose black canvas bolsters and liners with stainless steel rod for pins.

Cutting the amobyna to size on the bandsaw.  Check out the color of that dust!

After cutting the black canvas micarta, it's time to get everthing flat, squared, and fitted to each other.

Then they get epoxied and clamped for the night.

Before I could work on the scales the next day, I had to tend to my dust collecting ducting, which recently gave up the ghost.  Some of you may remember that when I set-up the dust collector many months ago, I utilized a "temporary" PVC ducting arrangement for a proof-of-concept.  As is sometimes the case, temporary turned into long-term!  But since I didn't use any PVD cement, the ducting finally fell apart.  

I had done the initial flattening and fitting of the Sevbok's scales while the dust collector was inoparable and I found myself in a dense cloud of amboyna dust.  So it was worth the time to clean up the PVC and get it properly cemented. I also ordered a .5 micron pleated filter for the dust collector from Wynn Environmental.  Many thanks to Tyson at Blacksite for helping me get my dust collector properly set-up.  

After getting the Sevbok's scales cleaned up, it was time to decide how I wanted to use them.  You can see from the different inks that I changed my mind once or twice! Tongue Out

When I finally make up my mind I move to the drill press.

After drilling, I cut off excess material on the bandsaw.

Then I start the process of bringing the scales flush with the tang and hand sanding to progressively higher grits.

Once the scales are shaped, I use the Dremel and non-woven attachments to soften any remaining hard edges of the Sevbok and then toss it into the tumbler.

While the Sevbok tumbles I turn my attention to the WKH that was recently sent back to me for some upgrades.  Some of you may remember that this particualr knife spent some time in Afghanistan.  In this shot you can see I've already ground in the new swedge and I'm ready to sculpt the G10 scales with an Anso pattern similar to my personal WKH above it.

After sculpting the scales I use the Dremel/non-woven attachment to break the hard edges of the scales, the ring, and the thumb serrations.

By this time the Sevbok has been moved to the muriatic tube for etching, so the WKH goes into the tumbler for an "acid-washed" finish.  Here she is after about 45 minutes.

Here's a good shot illustrating the softened edges.  The goal is to break the edges without losing the defined lines of the knife.  This results in a knife that can be used hard with no hotspots.

And here's the Sevbok after a few etch/tubled cycles.




February 25, 2013

Well, after refinishing the WKH that was sent in for upgrades, my personal WKH was somewhat jealous so she got refinished too.  Here's a shot of the twin prototypes:

Then it's back to work on the Sevbok.  Here you can see I've ground fullers into both the tang and scales in preparation of the epoxy.

Here she is epoxied and clamped.

After drying overnight, it's time to shape the handle.  I start by grinding down the stainless pins.  I do this slowly and stop frequently to give the pins time to cool since I can't dunk this knife in water due to the amoyna.  If the pins get too hot they can burn the wood, which at this point would cause some serious consternation!

Next is basic stock removal.  I decide where I want my palm swell and then begin pressing the area above and below that point into the 10" wheel.  A few minutes later I have this:

The next step is similar, but requires much more concentration.  As I press the handle into the wheel, I begin rolling the knife from side to side, being mindful not to turn so much that I grind into the tang of the knife.  In this shot you can see the beginning of the "X" pattern in the micara:

Next I switch to the slack belt and begin removing unwanted material from the palm swell.  Then I use the 2" wheel to grind shallow reliefs where the amboyna meets the ring.  At this point I'm finished with the grinder and will be hand shaping from here on out.

After finishing the handle by hand I grind the final edge and etch my maker's mark.

Sevbok completed.  Click the photo to see more shots & specs.  This one will be headed to North Carolina once its sheath is completed.

Next I turn my attention to the kukri.  It came back from heat treat with a bit of warp, so I grind the warp out on the grinder and then proceed to the glamorous job of getting things flat again on the granite.

Now we're getting somewhere.

I get the inside of the ring cleaned up using the Dremel.

Then I decide where I want the thumb serrations to be.  Since the kukri was differentially treated, I can still use a file to mark the location so I know where to grind.

Filemarks in place.

I move to the KMG and use the .25" small wheel to grind the serrations.  Clean them up a bit and I end up with this:

I rescribe my centerlines and commence finishing the bevels using the flat platen on the KMG.  I go for a full flat grind with an aggressive distal taper so she'll be fast in the hand (for a kukri, anyway!)

After a few hours of grinding I have my daughter give me her best Gurkha face.

Close-up of the plunge.

Then I grind the forward choil and top swedge and things are looking good.

Oh, and I got my .5 micron dust collector filter from Wynn Environmental.  Very happy with its performance thus far.  Much improved airflow.


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