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I Forge Iron

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fleur de lis

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A kid at work wanted a new blade for his pops. Something for skinning with a short blade & a fat belly. Somehow or another word got to him that I've been fiddling around with bladesmithing, & he brought me a drawing of what he wants. Asked if I'd give it a go. 


5160 material forged to shape & 3/16" thick. 5 1/4" blade. 9" overall before handles. Normalized twice & annealed before grinding & file work. Heat treated & quenched in warmed canola oil. 2 temper cycles at 425-450° F. For 1 hour each. Finish ground to 180 grit then hit with a red scotch brite wheel. I will change that to a gray scotch brite wheel if I can find my stinking arbor adapter. 


I have been given liberty to do the scales to my own discretion. So I've chosen to do a hidden tang and figured hard maple with a copper/nickle mokume cap or guard. Not sure which that'll be yet. Made enough today to do either or both. Got the scales mostly inleted while watching a movie tonight. Gonna do some danish oil when finished. Got a big slab of wenge I may do a simple scabbard out of. 


Truth be told, I'm not crazy about this one. The shape is just out of proportion to me. But the kid likes it so far, which I suppose is what matters. Even if it does look like the bastard offspring of a puukko & a chef's knife. 


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This is true. Either of those would most likely be a better choice. I like the warmth of wood though & I'm not particularly fond of making micarta. So dang messy & I've never worked corian. 


Anywho, the picture is where I'm at as of now. I'm not real happy with the mokume I made for the guard. So I'll be after another stack this weekend. Amongst the 50 other tasks to get done & the half a dozen other guys at work who now want something made. 


Not enough hours in the day. 




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Because I'm a cheap skate & I've never found any ready made that I've liked enough to buy. Add in the tactile personality I've got. If I can't touch & feel it first, I don't wanna buy it. I've got a good wood store local, but not a single blasted blade supply store. This personality trait has been the cause of more than a few ummm disagreements with the misses. She occasionally gets sick of my grumbling about stuff & just gets it only behind my back. Primarily truck parts. 


Now if you could direct me where to look for some locally besides my usual haunts ( steel supplier, fab shops, gun shops, leather store ), I'm happy to look & try it. 

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The "Touch and Feel" is why I used to go to Guild Shows where they sold all that stuff.  Any knifemaker supply places near your general area?  Back in Columbus OH there used to be a catalog  dealer that you could get permission to wander the racks.  Very handy when you need to match a friction folder blade with the exact needed curve on a tine...

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The only real source of supplies around here would be the traveling gunshow. There are some venders there who sell some odds & inns for the knife maker. 


However, I am loath to go to the shows. My ex-wife works for the promoter. To say that we do not have a cordial relationship, would be an understatement.


I suppose I need to get over my anti online shopping problem & just deal with it. 

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  • 5 months later...

Ironically I forged this one out about a year or so ago. The blade is only about 2.5” and the handle is about equal. But surprisingly it’s one of the best skinning knives I own for white tail. I know it seems really small but I’ve actually skinned out and boned dozens of deer with it. I made the handle short and round so I could easily turn it around the hip knuckles etc. works great and it will be one I keep in my truck forever. 


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