Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Seven Day Knife Project-Day VI & VII

Finished a middle-eastern style knife with a highly curved blade, and a dagger with a needlepoint blade. Both have stained birch handles with brass pins.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Seven Day Knife Project- Day V

Today's knife, in keeping with the recent (and necessary) quick and dirty blade construction, is styled after a prison-fashioned weapon, colloquially called a "shank" or "shiv." It is made from an old wood chisel, exactly the kind of object an inmate might have access to.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Seven Day Knife Project- Day IV

I wanted to try something new today, sort of like a skinning knife, and it had to be quick. This one is made from a bicycle sprocket.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Seven Day Knife Project- Day II

 My previous every day knife was a Kershaw 1670TBLKST with SpeedsafeTM spring assist. I love having spring assist, unfortunately the blade was less than high quality, the tip bent and broke while folded in my pocket. So I used the same high carbon mystery steel from before to make myself a new blade.*

I started by covering the original blade with masking tape and outlining the space available inside the handle.

Then I drew the new blade shape on the tape, cut off the remainder, and traced it onto the steel and cut it out.

Next I had to make the new blade work with the old handle, this meant grinding and hand filing the two to be identical.

One problem I was having was in locating the detent on the new blade. I didn't want to drill through the hardened steel to transfer the mark through, and I don't have any precision measuring tools to aid me. 

After some contemplation, I noticed that the detent had worn a line into the paint of the blade, and after repeatedly testing the swing of the new blade a similar line had been left on it. So I simply punched a deep divot at the end of that line and it seems to work perfectly.

You can see that I changed the blade length and profile, and added a flapper to help open it with a thumb-stud.

My grind is nowhere near as good as the original unfortunately, but once I get better I can make redo it or make another one. That's the beauty of having these kinds of skills: you're never stuck with something inferior if you're always improving your craft.

*Kershaw's warranty position is that if your blade breaks, you broke it, and it is not covered by warranty. They will replace and sharpen blades with new stock for a fee of $10. For them to be able to cover the blade and labor for only $10 there's nothing telling me that I'll get any better product than I had before, and another chipped blade will be only a matter of time.

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Seven Day Knife Project

I've recently become very interested in knife making. I've been collecting knives since I was a tween and now I want to make my own. Pursuant to this goal, and for a school project about ritual and artifact, I've decided to make one knife a day for one week. I will attempt different styles and techniques, and not work on them again once the day is up. This will be difficult not only because I've never made a knife but also because school is in session and I have plenty of homework already.

Regardless, here is my first knife build:

I wanted to start by setting up real quench tanks, no more plastic bottles of water. I've had this medical oxygen cylinder kicking around for years, so I cut it in half. 

I wanted to use both halves but the top (valve) side didn't like to stand up, so I whipped up a quick and easy stand.

One half will hold water and the other will hold oil, both for quenching hot metals.

Starting with a piece of mystery steel from my pile (not the best way to start, but it was Friday afternoon and I wasn't going to go on a high-carbon hunt) I made the length about the same as my current pocket knife.

I sketched my first idea with soapstone onto the cleaned metal and rough-cut it with a cut-off wheel.

Then I smoothed the lines and started grinding the edge.This took a while.

When the edge was nearly done I heated the blade and quenched it in oil

New quench tank.

After finish-grinding the blade I used some wood I had lying around (pine? again, not the best start, oh well) to make the handle sides.

And used high-strength epoxy to attach them. Next time I will probably use brass pins as well.

Once the epoxy had set up I sanded the wood down into a nice grip-able handle.

Again, this was my very first try at making a knife, I have a long way to go still.

Another new thing I'm trying is time lapse photography of my work sessions, I cherry picked from the 400+ photos from today the ones that I thought were cool and in which I don't look too flabby.

Hipster safety goggles.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

New Work, Ceramics and Leather

After a nice vacation and plenty of video games I got back to work.

Fetus animal totems, fertility totems, a fictional animal skull, and a skull based on Paranthropus aethiopicus

New sugar skulls, made by me and glazed by my mother.


A new style of mask I'm playing with is to boil vegetable tanned leather in water, and press it over a a plaster mold of my face with one of my bronze masks

I wasn't happy with the first try so I boiled the leather longer and did it again, with much better results,

Isn't the color of my kitchen walls terrible?

Four done so far: