View Full Version : A work in progress, Woodcrafter style..

G Wheeler II
04-13-2015, 11:19
Hey Guys

Here is a what I am working on now. I will be posting the work as I progress along the road to completion, along with a few comments....

X1 Is the raw forging stock of 324 layer Random pattern damascus.

x1a the stock getting up to temp in the forge to work it down under the power hammer to the right dimensions.

x2 my 25lbs Little Giant working it's magic so I do not have to work so much on the anvil. I start to shape the overall dimensions of the blade and some of the point and blade bevels.

x3 Refining the point on the edge of the anvil. as well as starting to shape the bone breaking top edge.

I do a good deal of the coarse forging under the power hammer, it saves time and I have more than enough hours on it to have real good control. The hammer and anvil time is getting everything just right and defining the shape, it takes 3 x the time as the power hammer work.

G Wheeler II
04-13-2015, 18:08
x4 primary blade bevels are established and the point and top edge are just about there

x5 I'm working the blade bevels down to the final forging work, with the ricasso fully formed. Just a little tweaking left to do.

x6 The blade fully forged, it needs to go thru 2 heats and slow air cooling. So I can check it out to ensure I have it all right and to let the blade normalize before I fully draw it to dead soft in the vermiculite overnight.:munchin

After it comes out of the vermiculite I will grind all the scale off the blade and get it ready for heat treating.

There is a lot of work not shown because with each heat you only have so much time to swing the hammer and trying to get pictures screw up any sort of rhythm I try to build up. It takes from 6-9 heats for me to forge out a blade like this.

x SF med
04-13-2015, 18:10
Top, I like your traitorous hat.... advertising for the competition, now that takes balls.:D

I like your forge, is it set up on the rocket stove principle?

G Wheeler II
04-13-2015, 20:34
[QUOTE=x SF med;580372]Top, I like your traitorous hat.... advertising for the competition, now that takes balls.:D

An as for the hat when they just give them out to anyone :D it would be a shame not to wear it...... Besides who says those guys are competition:p

it is a simple bottom draft setup, made out of a stainless steel steam pipe flange..

04-13-2015, 21:44
This thread is cool. I love WIPs.

G Wheeler II
04-14-2015, 11:22
x7 The blade flat ground down to 120 grit machine finnish, with my name and J.S. stamped into the ricasso. Ready to start the heat treating process. all course cross grain scratches removed and a quick run on the 400 grit deburring wheel.

x8 I use the oxy/acc torch to get it up to critical temperature on most blades under 6" long, it gives me a greater amount of control in insuring my temper lines are where I want them to be. ( when the blade is dunked into the quenchant tank it smokes like heck and will flash )

x9 After quenching it and letting it cool to the touch I clean off the blade to shinny steel and into the oven at 380 degrees for 2 x 1 hour soaks. This brings the fully hardened steel back to a nice hard yet flexible edge that will not chip or break during use. ( rather undramatic process ) I ensure the blade is correctly heat treated by deflecting the edge on a brass rod, to see the edge flex and return to true with no chipped or bent edge

x10-x11 I do a double soft back draw using a torch to make sure the spine/back of the blade is tough and springy, if correctly done you will be able to bend the blade to a 90 degree angle. Without the blade breaking. The hardened edge may crack after such an extreme act but the knife will not completely fail.

After the soft back draw I will grind the blade to a machined 400 grit finish. Now the fun really starts, I have to hand sand the blade down to a 600 grit finish and etch the blade in ferric chloride to bring out the pattern in the damascus. This can take from 30 minutes to over an hour, depending on the blade. Also how deep that last scratch is and yes there is always a last scratch.:rolleyes::rolleyes:

G Wheeler II
04-16-2015, 08:29
x12 Here is the blade after being hand sanded down to 600 grit and etched to bring out the damascus pattern. I know it looks like I might have buffed it, but on the last 2 fast etches for about 30 seconds each I clean and shine the blade with a 4000 grit paper abrasive. This really makes the damascus pop and shine.

x13 Now all I have to do is make all these pieces come together and make a nice clean handle and guard. I try to make at least 2 knives at the same time, it does not take as long to make 2 knives at the same time as it does separately. So the other blade there will be included for the rest of the post as it will have a different handle set up.

x14 The guard has to be slotted and filed to fit the tang and end of the ricasso, it can be done with a drill press and files. I use my mill to do this as it is precise and fast. The guard has been press fitted and silver solder had been applied to the joint, this will seal the area from moisture and blood getting in and corroding it over time. Some makers do not use silver solder and just press fit the guard then seal it with superglue, I was taught that a knife is not correctly done without a permanent seal at the guard. So this is the way I do it.

x15 Now it is time to punch holes in all those leather washers I cut out from my sheath scraps, I use an oval punch so I can get a good tight fit around the tang.

x16 All the other holes in the handle material has to be ground by hand using the dremel tool and a carbide tile bit to get a good fit. Our knife has been setup with all the handle pieces sitting next to it, waiting to be reamed out and placed onto the tang. The other knife has been done already and is ready for final assembly, each piece will be buttered with epoxy and slid onto the tang 1 at a time. The other knife has an Ironwood burl spacer in the middle of the handle, that will add more color and activity to the handle. Our knife will have leather washers and red and nickle silver spacers with a stag buttcap.

G Wheeler II
04-22-2015, 11:22
x17 The handle wafers all fixed in place by a light film of epoxy, plus the shape of the tang and pressed tight buy a slotted quick clamp. An old socket is used to keep things square. After the handle sits overnight in the clamp, I will fit the stagg butt and epoxy it in place and put a 1/8" pin in it to make sure it holds. ((My partner in crime Kim Breed just could not resist getting into the picture, yea I know buddy is only half of the correct phrase)):rolleyes:

x17a The butt is now on and the handle has been ground down to a 400 grit finish, just about done with it at this point a light buff will bring out any scratches I have left.

x18 The engraving plate pin holes have been drilled and the area to be removed with the dremel tool has been marked. The pins for the plate have been peened and silver soldered in place on the plate. This is the old fashioned way to do it, but what can I say if it works don't fix it.

x19 I have ground the plate flush on the bader grinder and will continue to use finer sanding belts down to a 600 grit cork belt

x20 The bader grinder on slow removing course grit scratches slowly so the heat does not build up and wreck the stagg. The engraving plate is a nice touch and it serves to cover the rather large hole left in the stagg, because all the pithy area has to be removed. If it is left in the stagg over time the fatty marrow will degrade and the butt will loosen and break at some point.

When I was grinding the handle I had no one around to take pictures, but I am sure you guys get the idea. Dust and more dust flying around until the handle feels right.

G Wheeler II
04-22-2015, 11:35
x21 The engraving plate done and ready for engraving. The plate is all done by hand no jigs or hardened platens, just my hands and a dremel tool hand piece. It takes a little time to get it done correctly. It looks real nice and the fit is very good, no gaps or boogers.

X22 Now a little clean up with wax and an old Tshirt and a hand buff with a clean tshirt.

x23-24 The completed knives all ready for sheaths and the new owners to discover them and give them a good home for the next 20+ years.

It was fun for me to make these 2 knives I have always liked the old Woodcrafter pattern, so it made it easy for me to put in the time to do them right.

Thank you for those of you who have followed along on this project and everyone try to stay out of trouble....:D

04-22-2015, 17:39
Beautiful work. Someone's going to receive some very nice knives. I very much enjoyed following your progress, G Wheeler.

04-22-2015, 19:46
Very very cool thread.

I'm a big fan of the "how to make/do things" type threads.

Thanks for sharing.

The Reaper
04-22-2015, 20:12
Very well done.

Excellent explanation of the steps involved.

Kind of explains why good custom knives cost what they do.


04-22-2015, 20:28
You changed hats. :munchin

Excellent looking work, no matter which hat you're wearing.

04-22-2015, 22:00
Great looking knifes. Thanks for the blow by blow steps.

04-25-2015, 19:16
True craftsmanship! I especially like the mirror-image engraving of a camera lens you did in the butt cap. ;)

04-28-2015, 12:32
The top finished one with the wood in the middle of the handle is really good looking!

G Wheeler II
04-28-2015, 19:16
True craftsmanship! I especially like the mirror-image engraving of a camera lens you did in the butt cap. ;)

Thank you oh so much, and I was worried that everyone would think it was not a real engraving... :) I needed that laugh today Thanks Razor:p

G Wheeler II
04-28-2015, 19:18
The top finished one with the wood in the middle of the handle is really good looking!

Thank you Rob I like the way it turned also,