I've been silent for a while due to the moves (second move this year), but I'm easing my way back into things. Sorry for not being around, but glad to be (partially) back!
Before my most recent move, an old student of mine announced she was getting married. As I knew I couldn't make it to the wedding due to conflicts (buying a house is time consuming), I offered to make her a knife that she could use as a cake knife as well as a decorative (but practical) piece afterward. Her immediate reaction was to send me this, an image of Orcrist from the Lord of the Rings movies.
I haven't made anything like it before, so I decided to take the challenge. I started working on this in late May, and had it shipped out early July, with the blade arriving the day before her wedding.
I won't bore you all with the step-by-step details, but here's the finished product and related details.
Made from W-2 from Aldo, starting dimensions were about 6.5"x1.5"x0.18", the wood was about 6" of a 2" square chunk of bubinga, and the guard was made from a .5" square chunk of mild steel I had nearby.
The finished product measured at 14.5" long, with the blade itself measuring about 8" of it.
I forgot to get a full weight at the end, but it balanced almost perfectly on the guard.
Not a good shot, but it shows something that I was trying to experiment with and learn from. I forged the guard a bit bigger than needed, and then used an angle grinder to get it to shape. I then borrowed a friend's belt grinder to flatten the bottom of it, drilled a hole into the guard, drifted the hole to be a bit larger, then did a hot fit (with a few taps on the sides) to ensure a snug fit.
The guard design did call for the guard to encroach upon the blade a bit. I don't think I quite got it right, though. I think next time I'll cut a better slot for this.
Doing so did heat up this part of the blade (I actually burned the wet cloth and wet leather glove I used to act as a heat sink), which did ruin the finish. I attempted to fix it with some sandpaper and a soft wheel and rouge, but as you can see, it didn't work out as well as I had hoped.
I didn't quite get a mirror on this, but I think I made some progress. Due to constraints, I couldn't make this ideal. After forging, I used an angle grinder to make a small profile tweak (mostly to smooth the curve and straighten the back), take out a few minor pockmarks, and promote the shape of bevel/blade profile. I then filed it to ensure the blade bevel was there and to promote the curve of the blade, then sanded it to 1000 grit.
After getting to the 1000 grit, I used a set of polishing wheels I picked up at HF, which really gave it a shine. I ended up catching a wheel on the edge at one point, so I couldn't get it back to a mirror when I was done.
As I haven't gotten a mirror yet, I was pretty proud of this progress.
Also, note that the blade hasn't been truly sharpened. It'll cut into things and is a great stabbing knife, but I purposely left it unsharpened for a few reasons. The first is shipping; I didn't want it to cut into any packaging. The second is a nod Japanese tradition: if you give a friend a knife, leave it unsharpened to represent that you are not cutting them from your life. As this was not a paid piece (not even a penny, as per German tradition), I didn't want to risk it (call me superstitious if you wish).
Oh, and if anyone is curious for the heat treatment/tempering process: heated to orange, quenched in 200~ish degree canola oil, tempered in the oven at 450 degrees for three hours.
Back to the handle. This is a hidden/stick tang knife. I did some minor drilling for the hole, then burned the tang in to ensure a snug fit, with just enough wiggle room for the epoxy to expand. Once the handle was properly shaped, I used epoxy to ensure it was in place before cleaning it up.
Again, the wood is a chunk of bubinga. I did the entire process of making this with an angle grinder (stone wheel then flap wheel), then sandpaper to get it to shape. After it was finished, I cleaned it and gave it three coats of semi-gloss polyurethane, sanding and cleaning it between coats. This is the end result.
Just another shot of the overall profile.
This photo does mean quite a bit to me. The top photo is this knife, created this spring into summer (May-July 2016) in what free time I had after work; there's probably about 40 hours of work into it with my current tool setup revolving around small, portable tools. This is also my first time doing a blade with a hidden tang (made one for a sword, but that involved a pommel), as well as making my own guard (again, made one for the sword, but that also involved a milling machine and our instructor's help).
The bottom blade is my first knife, forged during a weekend in a class I took in November 2013, made from 8"x1"x0.18" 1084, with a slab tang, no guard (really useful kitchen knife). I see it as an improvement from 2.5 years ago; not sure if anyone else would, but I'm seeing some progress with what little time I put at the forge.
That sums up the newest knife. I have a few I was experimenting with, but didn't finish. My time is currently taken up with fixing the house so I can then fix the garage into a shop, so I'll be a bit quite for a while still.