July 5, 2013

After roughing the handle scales to shape with the grinder, I move to my hand sanding station.  I bring the scales to their final shape with 60 grit paper.

I bring them to 220 grit before removing them.  They'll be taken to a higher grit after they're pinned & epoxied.

Curvy . . .

The scales of the other two knives are brought to their final shape as well.

The scales of all three knives are removed so I can begin applying their respective finishes.

The two O1 knives were requested with the Force Aged Finish and the CPM154 cleaver will be getting the Tumbled Finish.  Here is the smaller O1 proto midway through the Force Aged process.

All three knives with their respective finishes and ready for scales.

Epoxied and clamped.

After the epoxy cures overnight I grind & sand the pins flush with the scales and bring the handles to their final finish.

Finished!  Click the photos if you'd like to see more shots and specs.

The Shelton Cleaver:

The Song Cleaver:

The Plissken:

The Plissken after having coyote brown kydex molded to it.

The Song Cleaver and Plissken with their sheaths.  I'm waiting on some black kydex to finish the Shelton Cleaver's sheath.



July 15, 2013

I wasn't able to make a sheath for the Shelton Cleaver last week because I didn't have any pieces of black kydex large enough to work.  These cleavers use up amazingly large chunks of sheath material!

Once I received more material from USAKnifemaker I was ready to begin.  This material is actually Boltaron.  While I was making the sheath for the Shelton Cleaver I decided to make a sheath for my Jaybok at the same time.  Partly because I recently reshaped my Jaybok's handle (primarily to make it smaller), but also because the first sheath I made for it wasn't as functional as I would like.  

Here you can see the Shelton's handle sticking out of the press while its sheath is being formed.

Sheaths are pressed and prepped for drilling.

A bit of drilling, grinding, and shaping later . . .

As you can see above the Jaybok's handle is much slimmer now than it was.  Here's a shot of it refinished.

I finally had an electrician come out and run a new 220V line for the 27" Evenheat.  Next on the list is a quenching vessel.  I've been reading and studying heat treating protocols and recipes every night.  I'm very excited about learning this process.  The learning curve is unbelievably steep, but I think that's part of the appeal.  I'll continue to use Peters for my stainless knives until I get a liquid nitrogen setup for cryo treating, but I'm hoping to begin heat treating my O1 & 1075 knives in the near future.

I've been dealing with another GVHD flare-up, which has unfortunately impacted my productivity.  But I try to take advantage of these times and either study or draw new patterns.  Here are a couple of new patterns that I'll be prototyping.  The top concept is about 16.5" overall and the bottom pattern is around 12" overall (they're the same, excepting the thumbramp).

My ever-helpful 5 year old daughter has also drawn some new patterns for me.

I've been doing some rearranging in the shop to better handle supplies and materials storage.  I've been wanting a better solution for storing my wood and I was finally able to clear out one of my tool chests for just this purpose.

I've also begun finishing the three collab knives that were designed by my good friend Dmitriy Popov.  Here they are still with their patriotic colors from Peters' heat treating process.  CPM154, O1, and 14C28N.

First I had to straighten the 14C28N blade.  It returned from heat treat with some significant warp, which was my fault due to not keeping the rough-in bevels as symmetrical as I should have.  Here she is shimmed and clamped to reverse the curve before going through a tempering cycle.

The first two cycles had little effect.  For the third cycle I shimmed it very aggressively, hoping the blade wouldn't fail.

Fortunatley the third cycle did the trick and the blade came out nice and straight.  I decided these three knives would be my first tapered tangs.  There is an excellent tapered tang tutorial by John Barker over on KnifeDogs, which I generally followed.

First I ground a hollow into both sides of each tang.

I use the magnet to hold the tangs while tapering them against the flat platen.


I then work the tangs against the granite surface plate to ensure flatness.

Once the flats are cleaned I begin finish grinding the bevels.


Then it was time to grind swedges.  I had put a lot of thought into how I wanted to grind these.  I wanted the swedge to be somewhat understated so as not to disturb the clean lines of Dmitrity's design.  I thought about fabricating a jig and using the 2" wheel, but opted instead to grind them freehand on the flat platen.  I'm very happy with the result.




July 20, 2013

"The reward for doing an exhaustively thorough job can sometimes be monetary, but it may very well go unnoticed by one’s customer or boss. The most fulfilling reward of living by the craftsmanship ethic is the feeling of pride that comes with knowing you gave a certain job your damndest effort. It’s the unmatchable satisfaction of seeing one’s inner integrity displayed in the wholeness and quality of one’s external labor." - Brett & Kate McKay


 This is the first time I've had to drill scales for a tapered tang.  The goal here is to keep the centerline of the knife perpendicular to the drill bit.  To accomplish this I measured the thickness of the knife at the ricasso and then measured its thickness at the end of the tang.  Then I subtracted the latter from the former and divided by two.  The resulting number is the amount I need to shim the end of the scale as I drill to compensate for the taper.

Thanks to my good friend Aaron I have a huge drill bit set with seemingly every drill bit size known to man.  So after working out the above equation I just had to find a drill bit of the needed size to use as a shim.  If you look closely in the below photo you'll see the bit sticking out from under the end of the scale.


Repeat the above process for the other two knives and it's time to start shaping the desert ironwood/copper scales.

I use the bandsaw and grinder to remove the bulk of excess material from the scales before dry pinning to their respective knives.  Now I can begin shaping them to the tangs.

This is a slow process because neither the ironwood nor the copper like to get hot.  But patience and persistence always pay off.

Then its time to begin shaping.  Here are the scales after I've shaped them with the 10" wheel.  Next I'll use the 2" wheel followed by the slack belt before bringing them to their final shape by hand.

After the 2" wheel and slack belt.  They're now ready for final hand shaping.

I begin the hand shaping with 60-grit paper, followed by 120, 220, and finally, 400-grit paper.
The O1 knife.
The 14C28N knife.
The CPM154 knife.
I then remove the scales so I can begin the process of finishing the steel.
I've learned to keep natural materials clamped to each other or to a flat surface when they're not being actively worked.  Otherwise they may warp!
I grind the guard-to-edge transition.
At this point I decided to try something new.  I feather a convex grind into the bottom 1/4 or so of the flat bevel.  This allows for a thinner final edge thickness but with some meat behind that edge so it isn't too fragile.  The goal is to create better cutting geometry without sacrificing strength.  I then use a rubber sanding block to blend the convex part of the bevel to the flat part of the bevel.  While doing this I bring both the flats and the bevels to 600-grit in preparation for the tumbled finish.
If you look closely in this shot you can see the convex shape of the tips.
Here's a shot looking down onto the spine/tip of the O1 knife.
In other news I got in some nice big chunks of CPM3V for some orders . . .
And I'm pretty excited about some new concepts that I'll be bringing to life in the near future . . .

July 28, 2013

Make every product better than it’s ever been done before. Make the parts you cannot see as well as the parts you can see. Use only the best materials, even for the most everyday items. Give the same attention to the smallest detail as you do to the largest. Design every item you make to last forever.” – Shaker Philosophy of Furniture Making


Now it's time to mark the Popov collabs with Dmitriy's mark, which happens to be one of the coolest in the biz.

After getting marked they get their first ride in the tumbler.  

Now it's time for a relaxing bath in muriatic acid.  The stainless blades are etched for about 35 minutes while the O1 blade is etched for about 25 minutes.  Here they are right after being pulled from the etching tube, sprayed with water, and neutralized with ammonia.

Once more unto the tumbler, dear friends, once more.

The knives are now ready to be reunited with their scales.  Here they are after the scales have been epoxied with West Systems G/flex and allowed to dry overnight.

I use a 1" scalloped slack belt on the grinder to very carefully bring the carbon fiber pins and lanyard tubes flush with the ironwood.

Next I finish hand-sanding the desert ironwood, starting with 400-grit paper and finishing with 1500-grit paper.  I wipe on a bit of danish oil, let it soak for about 1/2 - 1 hour, then buff with a microfiber cloth.

The knives are sharpened, cleaned, and lightly coated with Rennaisance Wax.  Dmitriy has officially named this pattern "Fervour", which I think is very fitting.  Click the photo to see more shots and specs:

Kydex sheaths heat molded and ready for drilling & shaping.

A bit more work and the sheaths are finished.  One of these is going to a local friend.  Another is going to a friend in California.  And the last one will be headed to Dmitriy in Australia.  I hope to make many more of these!!

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