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Old 02-06-2011, 05:12 AM   #1516
RogueClimber
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Hey Smithy

That steel shot adds a certain uniqueness. Great work!
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Old 02-06-2011, 06:31 AM   #1517
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Did you cast an over sized guard and drop the in the steel shot?

Quite unique - thinking out of the box!
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Old 02-06-2011, 08:50 AM   #1518
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Natural materials used on knife handles have a tendancy to shrink or expand, depending on humidity and temperature. Stabilizing them with a polymer solution (I think) replaces all the little air pockets and moisture, so it can't wiggle around and cause gaps or warp or do unpredictable things later on. Poorly stabilized wood has a very plastic look to it - this batch I'm using looks really good to my eye. It's a little heavier than normal wood would be, and is more costly, but it makes for a very high quality handle.

The bronze guard was made by melting about a pound of bronze in a crucible, and adding a cup or so of steel shot, until it was all good and mixed. I then cut out a variety of blocks for use in future guards or other little bits. Casting the guard to shape would have meant very few of the steel shots being exposed, since cutting through their cross section was needed to get the desired effect. It's the first time I've ever seen it done quite this way, and I'm very pleased with how it turned out.
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Old 02-06-2011, 09:00 AM   #1519
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Let's say that knife goes through a few temp changes.

Is there not a chance those steel parts could work themselves loose from the bronze?

Or do something else weird?
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Old 02-06-2011, 09:42 AM   #1520
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Brazed in place
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Old 02-06-2011, 02:39 PM   #1521
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There's an outside chance that any steel piece, not anchored in place by being more than 50% inside from the cut, could come lose at some point - but it would take significant force to dislodge it, not mere temperature variations. They were added to the bronze at around 2200* F.
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Old 02-06-2011, 02:40 PM   #1522
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Huh.
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Old 02-06-2011, 07:39 PM   #1523
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Wink

The bronze forms a shot shaped sphere around the shot. As long as the bronze hollow sphere goes more than half way around the shot, the shot is captured by the bronze... Ain't likely to come out.
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Old 02-06-2011, 08:08 PM   #1524
Signal
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithy View Post
Natural materials used on knife handles have a tendancy to shrink or expand, depending on humidity and temperature. Stabilizing them with a polymer solution (I think) replaces all the little air pockets and moisture, so it can't wiggle around and cause gaps or warp or do unpredictable things later on. Poorly stabilized wood has a very plastic look to it - this batch I'm using looks really good to my eye. It's a little heavier than normal wood would be, and is more costly, but it makes for a very high quality handle.

.
That wood is beautiful
I would think heavy is good.

How many hours are you into a knife such as this?
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Old 02-06-2011, 08:34 PM   #1525
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Signal View Post
That wood is beautiful
I would think heavy is good.

How many hours are you into a knife such as this?

I've never been able to keep an accurate count, as I'm usually multi-tasking several phases of several projects. Figure a couple hours for the forging, a couple more at the grinder, some time to visualize the whole piece... an hour to heat-treat, descale, and 2 more hours to temper the blade... the guard material took an hour to make, another to segment out for a dozen different projects - another hour to grind to general shape, 2 more to cut the slot accurately... Figure a couple hours for the handle shaping, and another couple for fine-tuning everything.

I guess that comes to about 16 or so for a knife like this. I've done a complete blade in a day, but it suffers in quality, so breaking things out into steps certainly helps. One can get burnt out on inspiration, like any art, if one doesn't take time occasionally to just stand back and look at it. Coming up with the handle shape took me some time, and quite a few sketches until I found what I wanted.

If I had nothing else occupying my time, I suppose I could get a couple of these out a week, if it were my full-time job. Which still doesn't come close to replacing my current income, so I'm nowhere near ready to quit my day job. There are some places in the process that would benefit from either an assembly-line approach (heat treating in batches, for instance) or better tooling (a hydraulic press, a better grinder) that would cut hours from my work... but the art part of it just takes time and vision, and that's what makes a hand-made blade great, in my opinion. Metallurgically it should compete with anything factory made, but it must also have a soul, which is hard to get from a CNC-ground piece that has tight tolerances to perfect lines, and may even have some real artistic flow from it's designer, but lacks that X-factor a hand-crafted piece can have.
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Old 02-06-2011, 08:48 PM   #1526
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Another pic for no reason. BM 960

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Old 02-06-2011, 09:08 PM   #1527
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithy View Post
I've never been able to keep an accurate count, as I'm usually multi-tasking several phases of several projects. Figure a couple hours for the forging, a couple more at the grinder, some time to visualize the whole piece... an hour to heat-treat, descale, and 2 more hours to temper the blade... the guard material took an hour to make, another to segment out for a dozen different projects - another hour to grind to general shape, 2 more to cut the slot accurately... Figure a couple hours for the handle shaping, and another couple for fine-tuning everything.

I guess that comes to about 16 or so for a knife like this. I've done a complete blade in a day, but it suffers in quality, so breaking things out into steps certainly helps. One can get burnt out on inspiration, like any art, if one doesn't take time occasionally to just stand back and look at it. Coming up with the handle shape took me some time, and quite a few sketches until I found what I wanted.

If I had nothing else occupying my time, I suppose I could get a couple of these out a week, if it were my full-time job. Which still doesn't come close to replacing my current income, so I'm nowhere near ready to quit my day job. There are some places in the process that would benefit from either an assembly-line approach (heat treating in batches, for instance) or better tooling (a hydraulic press, a better grinder) that would cut hours from my work... but the art part of it just takes time and vision, and that's what makes a hand-made blade great, in my opinion. Metallurgically it should compete with anything factory made, but it must also have a soul, which is hard to get from a CNC-ground piece that has tight tolerances to perfect lines, and may even have some real artistic flow from it's designer, but lacks that X-factor a hand-crafted piece can have.
Much better answer than my question.
Certainly the hands on approach lends itself to the soul of each piece.
Making a large batch, each the same, would certainly loose each knife's identity.
Certanly time intensive, and it shows. FWIW, I was guessing 20 hrs.
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Old 02-06-2011, 09:34 PM   #1528
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Speed comes with practice. For instance, forging would take me longer if I wasn't so comfortable with it. Same with grinding. I have a better sense, after a decade of doing this, where to stop with each grit and move to the next.

I always have to repeat to myself an essential mantra, though...

Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.

Works for lots of skills.
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Old 02-06-2011, 10:18 PM   #1529
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Another pic for no reason. BM 960

Nice knife and really nice photo!
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Old 02-07-2011, 01:23 AM   #1530
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Nice knife and really nice photo!
Thanks. Its too bad that knife is discontinued. Its been my favorite for the last 4 years
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