Lucky

This was a project in trade for a friend, for a variety of woods and some leaf spring steel. T’was also her birthday very soon so I spent some extra time on it, something I need to focus on doing more with /all/ my knives, not just this sort.

So-called “Lucky” because I had several instances in which things had about a 50-50 chance of going horribly wrong, but in each case they worked up perfectly. When I was fitting the tang to the wood, I drilled all the way through it thinking the tang would be that long. In fact, because of the thick guard, It was shy of the edge of the pommel by about half a centimeter. I would need about half a centimeter further if I wanted to peen it over. This left me with a gaping hole in the pommel. The way I fixed this was by inlaying some turquoise into the pommel, very carefully carving out a depression around the hole with a dremel, and using epoxy and the end of the tang to support the stone. It worked perfectly. A bigger problem that scared me far more was when I was fitting the pin. The drill bit was too aggressive, and chipped the wood around the pin’s hole. The chip was too deep to grind down to. I nearly had to throw it away and restart right then, but managed to find the tiny splinter that had been thrown off by the drill. With a bit of epoxy it fit perfectly back into place, without a trace where the seam was.

The last bit of luck was with the heat treat. This blade is very thick, and so retains heat very long. When I quenched it in oil, only the steel near the tip hardened, and not the inside of the curve. I tried the quench again, with the same result. I tried it once more at a different angle and again it failed. My guess as to what was happening is the tip of the blade cooled and transferred the heat to the oil, heating the oil too much to harden the next section of steel. Whatever happened, I needed a more aggressive quench. I decided on the risky proposition of warm water. Water usually cools the steel too fast, putting a lot of stress of the steel and one time out of two will fracture it. If it cracked, I would have to throw it away and start the blade again. It went perfectly, quenched the edge, counted to three, took out of the water, waited a second, and repeated. Once the spine had lost color I cooled it fully. I took this photo just after quenching. The lighter area is hardened steel.

A perfect quench line. The darker area remains soft, while the lighter is very hard

All in all this knife was very fun to work with. The steel was forged from a rasp which belonged to the customer’s dad, which he had originally got when he was a kid. The guard is wrought iron, a type of pre-bessemer iron which is characterized by many slag inclusions, which show up with a light etch in acid. I used a brass spacer, brass and steel mosaic pin, rosewood from the customer, and turquoise inlay in the pommel.

Advertisements

One thought on “Lucky

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s