This is my first KITH project, and this year’s theme was Spear or Hawk (tomahawk). For those of you who do not know what the KITH is, it is an event from a bladesmith’s forum (http://forums.dfoggknives.com) called Knife In The Hat (thus KITH). It’s sorta like a secret santa thing, where everyone makes their blade (in this case, and spear or tomahawk) and signs up for the KITH. At the end of the deadline (September), everyone draws a random name from the “hat”, and sends their blade to that person. This is mainly so people can get their blades critiqued, I.e., so they can be given tips, advice, and techniques on how to make their future blades better, judging on the KITH blade. So, really it’s awesome for me; practically all the other people entering are experts, and whatever I receive is gonna be awesome. About a month ago one person said he couldn’t do it this year; he didn’t have enough time!
The spearhead is forged from 5160 spring steel, into the shape of the spearhead, and finished by grinding on an angle grinder which I clamped in a vise. I then hardened it by heating up to critical temperature (the point of heat where a magnet will no longer stick) and quenching it in motor oil. To temper it (soften it a bit so the blade does not crack under stress), I borrowed my neighbor’s sun oven, which got about 400 degrees or so. I heated it up to 400, let it air cool, re-heated to 375, let air cool, then heated to about 350, and let it air cool.
After making a snug cavity in the maple handle for the blade’s stick tang, I drilled a hole through both the wood and tang and held it in place with copper wire, which I wrapped around the handle several times for decoration, and then sanded down the blade to about 220 grit (I’ll sand it down more later).
I then did chisel work on the wood, into which I rubbed Jojoba oil to give it an aged look. I then soaked leather cord in water (which expands the leather) and wrapped it tightly around the wood, starting and finishing by threading through a hole, and held in place with epoxy. When the leather dried, it shrunk slightly, tightening over the wood.
I technically haven’t finished yet; I will sand down the wood, and finish polishing the head soon. This has been a lot of fun and given me a lot of experience, so I do think I’ve already walked away with something to my benefit!