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I Forge Iron

First Sushi Knife, feedback / comments (critique) requested.


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So I went to visit my buddy John Emmerling in Gearheart, Oregon on the way home from a business trip up north. We had a very fun day of making some pattern welded billets. I love sea level. I love BIG power hammers, and hydraulic presses. John's got a real nice shop. Thanks for letting me stop by for a visit buddy. He showed me one of his prize posessions, a sushi knife made and sent to him by a master bladesmith in Japan. There's an interesting story behind him getting that knife, the gist of it was the bladesmith was in the NW demonstrating for the NWBA and had in the past had a power hammer accident that had damaged one of his hands. John forged him a custom tong out of Titanium and several months later this beautiful knife showed up in the mail. This was the first time I've "handled" a real sushi knife and was intrigued. So when I got home all inspired I launched into making one. The billet was some odd number of layers of 1095, 5160, L-6, and 1018 (I think it was 13, or 15 layers). We welded it up, then drew it out to about 3/4" sq. and 24" long. I rounded / beveled the corners and then we cut it in half. We twisted one half clockwise and the other anti-clockwise tighter than I thought was possible without it falling apart. Then we re-squared and welded the two halves back together. I think this is called the maiden hair pattern? Anyway, I came up with a couple of new grindin techniques that I'm sure some of you pro's already know or have better ones, but I was real happy with the grind except for one small hicup on the flat side that's not really very noticeable to anyone except a knifemaker. I decided that since it was a Japanese themed knife it ought to have a bamboo handle. Where in Klamath Falls, Oregon do you go to get bamboo? I looked in every likely store, then remembered the Mike-HR was out of town and has a piece of bamboo leaning up against the side of his shop. So I went out and stole about 16" of it. I came clean when he came back to town and he wasn't to upset once he saw the knife:-) I carved a piece of myrtlewood (what I had handy) into a dowel shape that fit nicely inside the bamboo then cut a kerf for the tang to fit in. Then slathered and filled the cavity with Acraglass, so the bamboo handle is actually very solid (I was worried about it splitting) For a ferule (not sure of the official japanese name for this part), I remembered JPH's instructions for making some of these parts and parts for scabbards by fabricating from sheet metal (copper in this case) and silver soldering. So that's what I did. I was pretty trepid about it when I started, but as it turns out I'm really happy with how it came out. A one sided bevel is a more difficult blade to grind in my opinion, but overall I'm pretty happy with how the whole thing came out. Not super happy with the fit of the slot in the ferule, will do better next time.

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