This one just shipped out to John (86mets) yesterday! Thanks for your kindness and patience with me on this one John!
I'll start with images of the finished knife & follow with the WIP-images; which is opposite than I normally do, but what the heck nothing normal about this knife.
I hope you enjoy the finished images and stay to learn about the journey that this knife was to make.
Forged-to-shape out of some of Don Hanson's .75" round W2
Approx (I forgot to measure the OAL before shipping)16.5" OAL with a 9.25" blade.
African Blackwood handles with lemonwood inlay over peened blind pins & some detail carving to boot.
Now for the journey on this one.
I think I put about 75-hours into this knife.
Again starting with the .75" round bar that was 12" long...I did end up cutting some off of each end as it was getting a bit big as I went along.
Starting off with the design concept John chose the bottom sketch
then on the the forge and initial "pinch to isolate the bolster,tang & blade portion of the knife to be.
And again with a loaded bench....which was how I fought off post shows burnout & depression!
Employing Godzilla the 3-rd....
I used to do the shoulders all by hand anvil & hammer and still will from time to time, but this Monster of all hardy-tools really help keep the "pinch" uniform.
Bringing out the BIG hammer for the drawing. This hammer designed and produced in extremely limited numbers by my Mentor Tai Goo. 4lbs and lots of nose expressly for drawing out integrals!
Next I knew I would need to "upset" the tang-end for there to be enough metal to do the rear integral bolster.
.......remember I have never done one of these before...and later realized that I could have upset the bar at that end like 3X-as much!
Then it was time to start drawing out the blade portion.....I ended up realizing that I would have like a 10-12" blade if I kept all the steel, so I cut a bit off....which helped create a bit of a preform for the tip...which always helps!
Then on to starting to draw out some of the bevels. Working this area of the integrally forged knife is a real challenge to do right.
You certainly can't get freaked about how bent and tweaked these get in the process.
...but the more you keep them straight and all the blows even side to side, the better chance you have later-on of no warping in the quench!
Here in these two shots you see some pre-form place into the blade where it is "hooked" like a claw to allow for the drawing out of the bevels. As they get pinched down the blade straightens-out.
....and like I said, integrals go through lots of stresses in the whole forging process....knowing how to use the hammer to straighten them is a must.
this is one of the main reasons I was really stoked to have learned from Tai to make integral knives from the very first knife I ever made!
They do kick your butt, but they also really teach you how to move steel and straighten blades!
NOW, the blade is pretty-much forged, and the tang needs to be drawn-out, the rear integral-bolster isolated and created.
I honestly was not 100% sure how to taper the tang in-between the two integral bolsters.
I could have chosen not to as you see on the Anton Wingen Carvers created in the 1040's from Germany.
.......but I know that this is a custom knife and has to be what I want it to be...as best I can anyhow.
As you can see the rear was "upset" quite a bit....but it needed to be more.
(upsetting= mashing the end of a piece of steel while really hot to increase the diameter and mass)
I did not have any shots of working the tang....I was pretty focused and really never did so many process shots of making an integral before & was pretty spent after about 5-hours of forging to make this blade!
BUT>>> I was able to taper the tang in-bewteen the front and rear bolsters.
Here is the blade, all forged-to-shape resing upsidown after some normalizing cycles.
(Normalizing= thermal-cycles in the range of non-magnetic to let the steel molecules re-align into the new shape that has been created)
AND a shot of the blade after cleaning up the profile, sitting next to a steel ruler....the only piece of measuring-device I use in my studio....that may change someday
Then on to some stock-reduction done primarily with hand tools...but I did use a bit of power to help me along on this one.
and the first sub-critical thermal cycle or black heat. this continues to de-stress the blade and also helps with grain-refinement.
Then on to the carving of the integral bolster, which starts out my doing a circumference cut around the entire bolster with a hand hacksaw then carving with files to shape the ball.
and one shot of the integral with two camp knives I was working on.
And one last thermal-cycle before the quench.
As I said.......I had to re-heat treat this blade to get the quench right.
Not that many people ever talk about the difficulties they have in the shop.
Not many will talk to clients about how things are going, or not going.
I really struggled with the HT on this blade!
It truly drove me just about out of my skin!
Below was the first HT where the hamon went wrong.
You-know, you can check with a magnet judge with you eye all the right stuff & still not have it come out right.
I even have talked to makers who pre-heat the bolster with a torch and use a digital Evenheat Oven & still struggle with integrals!
No perfect science, just lots of learning & often by making so-called mistakes.
I titled this image HAMON-HELL!
So Finally after realizing that the hamon was not going to happen. I did a straight quench! That thermal-mass that is the integral bolster & tang & rear integral bolster in this particular knife, really suck lots of heat.
More than you would even realize. They are challenging as you have a fine tip & edge with all that mass of steel that needs to get how while keeping in mind that you do not want to over0heat the rest of the blade.
Sometimes I think I could have been Magician!
Ready for the next quench...but only after a quench to "homogenize" the steel-structure & several normalizing-cycles & sub-critical thermal cycles to refine the grain and de-stress....all-over-again!
And finally on to the handle making. Fitting the scales to a front and rear integral bolster was also a first for me...and not that easy.I did just OK. I will have to work out a more sneaky-way to do these in the future.
BUT, the pins will be hidden underneath the inlay of lemonwood which I thought would look cool. I have been enjoying making some knives lately that show no pins at all.
And not only was John happy with the knife, but his Mom liked it too...and I'm sure this roast never stood a chance!
Thanks for taking the journey with me! There are so many other images that could have been documented, but I was mostly focused on the forging process.
I will try to round-out my WIP threads more-so in the future.
Thanks again John! Your the best!
Blessings if Health and goodness to You All this Holiday Season & for the New Year!!!