custom knife

WIP: Conestoga Bowie

Knife-makers | | | |

Well, this is an interesting one.Some of the guys at Primal Fires are into wagon wheel rims, because they're usually wrought iron, for making guards and pommels for knives. A guy sent me some wagon axle, telling me that it was a simple, high carbon steel. This started giving me an idea. I have a couple old wagon wheels in my yard that are falling apart, and it made me curious. What if I made a Bowie knife entirely out of old wagon parts? Call it a Conestoga Bowie, after the Conestoga wagons. The gears in my head started turning. So, first thing was to cut into one of the rims I have. Tried bending and tearing it. It's pretty tough, and finer grained than I'd imagined:

While I'm Waiting

Blacksmithing | Knife-makers | OT: Sandbox YAK | Steel | Money Makers | ArtMetal NextGen | | |

Well, I've been in California for two weeks now, and my workshop is ready to go-- all except the forge... On Christmas day I ordered a new forge from NC Tool Co. Call it a Present to myself. My first forge was homemade from diamond plate and a circular plough blade for a bottom and cover with a horseshoe welded at top for a handle (picture a rustic Weber BBQ Grill). While it got the job done, it was still notably inefficient and I couldn't quite get the working temperatures I desired. Maybe it was by design that I simply couldn't fit the forge into the moving trailer from Texas to California, and it had to be left behind...

The "Big Bear" Hunter

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The "Big Bear" Hunter

I made this knife for my brother and delivered it on Christmas day! It's made from a "Black Master" horseshoe rasp my Farrier friend threw my way (note the vertical file lines running the length of the blade). The handle is American Oak with brass pins. It's the first full tang, wooden handle I've attempted and it still requires a sealent.

The "Twitch" Fish and Game Knife

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The "Twitch" Fish and Game Knife

This is my first knife. My good friend Alex "Twitch" procured the first Anvil for Woodford Knife & Forge, so I felt it was only appropriate that the first blade to be struck on it be for him.

"Wild Weasel" Tanto

Blacksmithing | Knife-makers | OT: Sandbox YAK | | |
"Wild Weasel" Tanto

Blade Tempered, Anealed and Blued
Aprox. 4 in. Blade, 8 in. Overall
Complete with Japanese style handle wrap, blued steel and #002 to signify as the second knife to come out of the forge. It was made special for an F-16 "Wild Weasel" Pilot, hence the name.

California Forging

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Hello everybody, I've been looking around here for a couple hours now and I'm pretty happy to find a site that brings so many talented metalsmiths together! I've just finished my service enlistment and have been forging my own knives and nick-nacks for about a year now. I would really like to work for a professional forge if there is work/help needed in the southern California area. Maybe you, or someone you know is in a situation to take on a hard worker and motivated learner? Thanks for reading, Happy New Year!

Getting the hang of the etching. This is the latest, the Frontier Steak Knife.

Knife-makers | | | |

1095, hardened to HRC 60. Curly Eastern Maple scales, Nickel silver pins. 4-3/8" blade, 8-1/2" OAL.

Some progress pics. Blade ground:

For Gimperfi. Some fun with steel, a hamon, and heat treating

Knife-makers | | | | |

Hey Gimperfi,

I mentioned some of the fun you can have with differential hardening, so thought I'd share some pics. This started out as a dull old Nicholson file. I annealed it, then ground it, packed the spine with Satanite refractory clay, and hardened it, creating a differential temper (soft at the spine, super hard at the edge), as well as a hamon, the traditional Japanese visible hardening line. Thought maybe the pics would inspire you to upgrade your rig and get into heat treating. The clay coating:

WIP: Tactical Sgian Dubh

Knife-makers | | | |

Ok, so I accepted a commission. Navy guy wants a high performance, rugged,
'tactical' Sgian Dubh, easily concealed, for close quarters defense. I think
he thinks he's a SEAL. Heck, maybe he is. Anyways, I ground, drilled,
hardened, and polished the blade, start to finish yesterday, 5 hours. 440C.
Going to have brass bolsters and antler scales. Couple pics...


Knife photography (experience, some tips, etc)

Knife-makers | | | |

Hey gang,

From time to time I have people ask me if I do my own photography. Yes, all of it. Then they ask "How do you get such nice pics?". This is a brief rundown with some tips and such that I posted on another forum, and thought there might be some interest here. So, here we go:

I do all of the photography of my knives myself. My current camera is a Canon Powershot A95. 5MP digital. Here are the basic guidelines for doing pics, in no particular order:

Lighting. Generally, if at all possible use natural lighting, the best you can obtain. That may mean taking your pics at a certain time of day, or on a certain day, etc. Cloudy is nice. I also hold up bright white sheets at different places around the subject (knife) to bounce light around and minimize shadows. Alternately, sometimes I place my hand, fingers spread, or cardboard over the subject, to scatter light. Or even something opaque and transparent, to diffuse it.

Background. Select a background as solid as you can, or uniform, at the least, something that does not distract from your subject.

Get as close as you can to your subject, fill the viewfinder with it. Digital cameras focus less well the more you zoom, even an optical zoom. Zoom as little as possible. Speaking of viewfinder, I don't use the optical at all, strictly the LCD.

Use a tripod AND the longest available timer on the camera. I have 3 tripods: one is a small tabletop, one a large pro model, and one that I made myself, years ago. Get it as perfectly framed in the viewfinder as you can, ready to go, then press the shutter release and get your hands away from it. That way, the camera will settle and be moving the least amount possible when the shutter snaps.

I try to avoid using the flash, generally even shut it off. I also use the Macro autofocus function. Speaking of which, I allow the camera to automatically select everything. It has manual controls for everything, but I pretty much go full auto.

That's basic tech stuff, the rest is judgment and experience. One thing, some of you may know, is that you have to take thousands of pics, to get good. I've been doing amateur photography since I was a child, using a little Instamatic. Been through a dozen cameras since. The beauty of digital is that you can snap pics, then upload them immediately, see if you nailed it, and if not, go right back and take more. No waiting for them to be developed, etc. Also, as many pics as I take (deleting probably 2/3 of them), I save thousands in film developing by using digital. Last thing is you need decent photo editor software and you need to be proficient with it.

So, that's it in a nutshell. Once you have the tech stuff down, then judgment plays a large role. I think about, when I'm photographing, what precisely it is that I'm trying to communicate. You know, a general overview, versus a specific detail, etc. When someone looks at my pics, what are they seeing? Is it what I'm trying to show? Etc.