May 2, 2013

Well, it's the 2nd day of May and the high today is 59 degrees!  And to think we'll likely see triple digit temps by the end of the month!  Fortunately I had a 12,000 BTU air conditioner installed in the shop last week.  That should make the summer heat much more bearable.

Onto the knives . . .

Here's a shot taken while hand finishing the Hayes Kukri desert ironwood & black canvas micarta scales.

After finishing the handle it was time to sharpen.  Some of you may remember the scalloped 1" yellow Klingspor belts I've started using to shape my handles.  Well it turns out these belts are perfect for grinding the final edge on recurved blades.  I'll definitely be keeping the shop well stocked with these!

And here's the Hayes Kurkri all finished.  By far my most labor-intensive project to date.  I'm very happy with how this one turned out.  Click the photo to see more shots & specs.

While taking photos of the kukri I grabbed the Falchion, my wife's kiridashi and Bybee Bowie, and my daughter's SFB for a group shot.

It feels like I've been working on the Falchion and kukri forever, so it felt good to work on other projects.

I ground the pre-HT bevels on the CPM154 Cleaver Variant.

I profiled a third Popov/Hatcher collab for this batch.  This one is in .200" CPM154.

Here she is ready for drilling.

I also began work on a project I'm doing with Chad DeTalente at Alphahunter Tactical Design.  We're calling it the God's Guardian Project.  I'm documenting this project with a full-scale WIP in Chad's subforum on the USN.  If you're into knives and aren't on the USN, you're missing out!!  I'll of course be putting many photos of the build here, too.

This project is going to be very labor/time-intensive, so I'm only making two knives (actually more like short swords!) for this first run.  Here are the patterns ready to be glued to the sheet of .350" 1075.  They are the same with the exception of the guard.

When I'm designing a new pattern, I always sight down the blade from butt-to-tip and from tip-to-butt. I do this to make sure everything is nice and curvy. I make it a point not to have straight lines on my knives, with the exception of the edge on a wharncliffe-style blade.

"Curves speak of life to those who will hear" - Ed Fowler
Making the long cut between the two knives with the angle grinder with a cut-off disc.  I'm not a fan of using the angle grinder in this way, but I'm not able to make cuts this long with my portaband.  

I put a 36-grit Cubitron on the KMG, crank her up to 100%, and go to town.

Then I start refining the shape.

A little work with the KMG . . . 

And a little bit of filing . . .

Brings us to our final shape:

And together.


May 6, 2013

God's Guardian Project.

The sheet of 1075 these were cut from was warped something terrible. Before I start drilling holes I need to get them nice and straight.

Then it's time to start working on the flats. First some good old-fashioned draw filing.

Then some hand-sanding with my xtra-fancy sanding block.

Straight and somewhat clean.

Time to layout where I want to drill holes. I'm also drilling a third Popov/Hatcher collab in .200" CPM154.

After drilling and chamfering holes I go back to the sanding station and bring both knives to 400-grit.

Next I mark the edges with a black Sharpie, lay the knives on my granite table top, and use an 11/32 drill bit to scribe my center lines.

I use an old belt to break the hard 90 of the edge.


And a vid of a couple of passes:

I leave the edges thick, about .070". After heat treat, I'll bring their edges down to about .030 or so, push the plunges back a bit, and distally taper the blades. After that I'll grind the clip and begin working on the scales.

I got the bevels roughed-in on the .315" O1 Cleaver Variant.

Which brings us to four knives of this batch ready for heat treat.

I've also been working on the shop.  Since I had the 12,000 BTU air conditioner installed I thought it would be beneficial to insulate the thin garage door.

Some of you may remember that last November I had to expand the shop to accomodate the dust collector. I'm now having to do the same thing with the heat treat oven.  Bascially my plan is to expand inward, utilizing the large amount of space I have running down the center of the shop.  While it's nice having that large open area in middle of the shop, it's a terribly ineffecient use of the space.

In the photo below you can see I've rotated the dust collector 90 degrees.  I'm also planning to rotate the bench that the oven is on 90 degrees and push it to the back of the shop.  I'll then fabricate a smaller bench solely for the Evenheat.  

I'm in desperate need of a horizontal grinder.  I had been considering a stand-alone from Beaumont Metal Works, but with the current space crunch I think the only sound option is to get a flipping machine that offers both the horiztonal and vertical option, either the Wilmont TAG-101 or the TW-90.

Oh, and I have to share this - my five year old daughter found these on the playground at school.  When her teacher asked what she was going to do with them my daughter replied that she was saving them for her daddy to use on his knife handles. Smile

May 14, 2013

Time for a long-overdue shop update!

The shop rearrangement took longer than expected.  Partly because of some side projects to improve the shop and partly because I got hit with a GVHD flare-up midway through the process.

I kept at it, working through the flare-up as much as my body would allow.  It took six days, but the Hatcher Shop V3 is now fully operational!

This layout feels much better and I left some room for the next expansion that will inevitably come.  The Evenheat oven now rests on its newly fabricated bench.  I also built a box for kydex storage using scrap plywood and old book shelf remnants.  It very well may be the ugliest box that has ever been built, but it does the job.

The other side of the shop remains largely unchanged, with the exception of the big vice and portaband resting on the far corner of my primary bench.

I also fabricated a spark arrestor so I can use the dust collector when grinding steel in addition to handle materials.

I got in some mesquite burl for handle material . . .

. . . And cut them into scales.  

I made G10 WKH and REH trainers for myself and a friend as we'll be taking the Defensive Knife Workshop at KR Training this weekend.  The class will be taught by Chuck Rives and Allen Elishewitz (who also happens to be one of best knifemakers in the world!).

I've also been making steady progress on getting the current batch prepped for heat treat.  The bevels have been rough ground on:

SFB Wharncliffe Variant in M390.

WKH in CPM154.

All three Popov/Hatcher Collabs.  Here's the CPM154 version.

All three together.  Left is 14C28N.  Right is O1.

And the prototype of a new pattern.  This one is in .280" O1.

Which brings us to ten knives ready for heat treat!




May 22, 2013

Knives are primal and pre date speech, and I believe they were the prompt of the spoken language. -Mick Strider

Before we get to my knives I want to show you a knife I recently received from Claudio Sobral of CAS Knives.  Claudio is a highly regarded knifemaker in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he and his brother craft knives out of some of the most beautiful san mai steel that I've ever seen.  Claudio forge welds his own san mai in his shop, something that I hope to do down the road a bit.

Here is the knife he made for me, along with the specs:

Steel: San mai 420 / 1095
Measurments: 13.2" overall / 8" blade
Scales: Urunday
In this shot you can see the dark high-carbon 1095 core clad with the 420 stainless on either side.
Onto what's been going on in my shop.  I got the sheaths pressed for the G10 trainers.
The trainers were used in the Defensive Knife Workshop taught by Chuck Rives and hosted by KR Training.  I attended the class with my good friend John, who wrote a thorough AAR of the class.  Here's a shot taken while Chuck uses a student to demonstrate some rather unorthodox uses of long blades.
I've been making large amounts of steel dust preparing the current batch for heat treat.  Here's a Jaybok in .280" O1 after roughing-in the bevels.
Roughed-in bevels of a CPM3V Nimrod.
Once more unto the breach dear friends, once more.
The last thing I did before packaging up this batch is drill handle holes in the tomahawk prototype.  You can also see some other prototype concepts that will be coming to life very soon!
One last shot of this batch before they fly to Pennsylvania.  Eighteen knives in seven different steels.
In addition to the knives I also sent a batch of wood to Faron Moore for stabilizing & dyeing.  First I had to cut a big mesquite block into scales.
And here's the batch of wood before shipping to east Texas.


May 29, 2013

I have been dragging my feet about making sheaths for both the Falchion and the Kukri (which has now been renamed the Mordax) due to their size and shape.  I consulted my friend Dmitriy of DP Custom Knives and he recalled Eric Ochs pressing his large sheaths in sections rather than pressing the whole sheath at one time.  I thought that was a sound idea so I gave it a shot.

I wanted these to be fold-over sheaths to reduce their footprint.  After cutting the kydex to the appropriate size I used a heat gun to heat the middle of the kydex and then fold it around a piece of 1075.

Before pressing the knives I had to make shims to ensure that the mouth of the sheath would accomodate the blades.  I used 1/4" thick GPO3 for the shims.

I then used the heat gun to heat and press the sheaths in sections, which worked very well!

The Mordax is now available.  The gentleman who commissioned it will not be purchasing it.  I had several people express interest in the kukri when I finished it, but since it was a custom order I didn't keep track of their information.  So I'm offering it to folks who read my updates first.  In a day or two I'll list it on the "Available" page and send out an email.

Please note the kukri does have some scratches from pressing and fitting the sheath.  Also note that this isn't constructed like a typical kukri.  I ground it with a very pronounced distal taper to lighten it and improve handling.  You can see specs and photos here.  If you're interested, you can contact me at:

I've started profiling knives for the next batch while I await the batch of 18 knives to return from Peters Heat Treating.  First up is a prototype for a custom order.  Here's the concept drawing above the piece of .165" CPM3V that I'll be making it out of.

I profiled this with two other larger prototypes made with .265" S7 steel.  Here are all three after rough cutting on the bandsaw.

And brought to their final shape . . .

Then it's time to clean up the flats.

And scribe center lines.

And then it's Empty Mind Time.

S7 Recurve Prototype:

3V Prototype:

And the S7 Chopper Prototype:

In hand shot of the recurve proto.

Ready for heat treat.


Google Analytics Alternative