So, once more I have been working in the garage on another knife, and this time I was making a larger one than last time; a hunting/bowie knife. My original design was too big to be made from a file, and anyway a hunting knife would be used to take and give powerful blows, and so if it was made from a file it would snap.
Files, you see, are made to be extremely hard so the ridges do not wear down. They are not meant to be used for chopping or whacking things, and so there is not much risk of snapping. This means, of course, the harder the better. On my other knife, it was small and thick enough not to matter really, and I am only using it for small general purpose stuff; not hacking through underbrush or other heavy chopping, like a hunting knife.
And so, I used a piece of metal given to me by another knifemaker. This metal he had gotten specifically for knives, and was, in fact, taken from the main shaft of a chainsaw. This metal is of superb quality. I forgot to ask him what percentage of carbon, and there may be some manganese, because it is terrific steel for knives.
I first came up with a design and drew it onto some sticker paper, which I then stuck onto the blank metal. Using an angle grinder, I cut out the profile. Still using the angle grinder, I ground down the edge. This part would have been made a thousand times easier if I had a belt grinder (Hint, hint, Mom and Dad XP).
I did a hollow grind for the edge, but near where the hilt is, I ground it a little too hollow, and the edge there became too fragile for a hunting knife, so I ground the edge a little further back, making a nice inward curve, somewhat in the style of a falcata.
I then went over the whole thing with a little sander bit on a dremel, so as to smooth the rough corners.
Using my new acetylene torch, I hardened the edge. The torch is so precise that I was able to harden just the edge, and I did not do any tempering until later. This is when I began working on the handguard.
For the handguard I took a piece of metal from a file, and cut a notch in it two-thirds of the way through, and where the guard would be on the tang, I cut a notch one-third of the way through. That way I could fit them together like Link’in logs (if that’s what they’re called). It may be a bit confusing here, so just look closely at the pictures.
I then soldered the handguard to the tang using a standard lead-tin solder and the actelylene torch. This at the same time tempered the blade, as the heat spread up from the guard. Using another sander bit on my dremel, I sanded down the blade and handguard, almost to a polish.
Then I began working on the handle itself. This time I used some dark walnut which I had gotten from freinds. I cut out the general outline to fit the tang of the knife, and then cut the blank peice of wood lengthwise in half. Drilling holes through the tang of the knife, I matched up the two peices of wood and drilled holes through them as well.
To get the dowels the correct size, I clamped them into a drill, and “fired it up” whilst pressing it against a rough file. Doing this enabled me to sand down the dowels to the exact size, and so I then, using a mallet, pounded them into the holes, snugly fitting the rough peices of wood against the metal.
Using a dremel, I sanded down the wood flush with the edges of the tang, and did a rough outline with the shaping of the finger ridges, getting more and more detailed, until the wood was almost done. I took off the wood, and clamped the balde into a clamp, the tang facing me. Using some detailed metal files, I filed some decorations on the back of the handle.
Using some super-epoxy stuff, I think it was gorrila glue, I very carefully glued the handles into place, and then pounded in the dowels, which fit in snugly. I sanded down the handle oiled it, which brings out the rich color of the wood, and brought it to a near polish, the blade itself I just sanded, as I don’t have good enough equipment for polishing the blade.
Finally, using a sharpening stone, I sharpened it to the point where it could slice through a piece of paper, held betwixt two fingers. Voila! A hunting knife!