After much discussion Blownnova and I have worked out a plan of action for the custom knife he won in my recent GAW.
As this is a large field knife I am building it from L6 and will austemper for lower bainite.
Here is the sketch he provided me, and the forged blank.
It's projects like this that make me consider getting a power hammer....
This blade started off as 10" by 2" bar stock and is now 14" overall and 3" across the integral guard.... Working this bar out by hand was painstaking but fortunately for me with blade-smithing the journey is the destination.
After primary forging she was put back in the HT oven to thermal cycle (stress relieved) 3 times for 15 minutes each at 1200 degrees, and then annealed at 1450 and into the vermiculite bin to cool over the next few hours.
Here she is profiled and rough ground with the distal tapers set... she
is .225 at what will be the ricasso, .90 at the butt, and .110 at the
tip.... I could take the tip down a little more but as this blade has a
false edge on the spine I find it is better to leave just a little more
meat up there.
Note that the integral guard is also tapered, will make for a lot more filing and hand sanding later but this was a necessity of drawing out the guard and also removes that much more weight... and I just think it looks better than a block square edged guard.
.... was asked recently in regards to this knife why I didn't use a bigger piece of steel and a stencil and cut it out with a bandsaw... for anyone else wondering the same thing. I equate it to asking a painter why he didn't use a camera... would it be a more identical copy... undoubtedly but that's not all that it's about.
... oh and obviously the areas that are still rough will be worked out in further sanding.
Almost there... Got both sides hand polished up to 400 grit and the
holes for the loveless bolts and lanyard tube drilled this morning....
And in to heat treat she went.
Soaked her at 1550 (once she came to color) for 10 minutes, and then quenched in salt at 450.... You might be able to see in the picture that quenching brought the salt up into the 460s.... perfect... just above the martensite point. Held her there for an hour (which according to my IT diagram should bring her to right at 50% bainite) before pulling her out and letting her air cool and transform the remainder of austentite to martensite...
My new Ames model 4 rockwell tester will arrive next week and I'll do a RC test on her to verify her temper is where I want it before putting the handle scales on.
My set up isn't fancy or high tech but using a two stage burner it holds very precise temps and so is good enough for me.
Got her hand finished to 800 grit today, then did a light acid etch (for corrosion resistance) and laid up the handles...
Here is a pic of the rough layup, and then her set up glued and screwed... The scales are bedded using Acraglas Gel. I used to use West System epoxy but as it is a much higher viscosity the joints seemed a bit starved to me and I wasn't confident that the epoxy rivets were as solid as I wanted them to be. The Acraglass gel spreads on like warm butter and gives me much more confidence that the rivets aren't starved. Not that it would matter at all with loveless bolts but why not have both (I still use slow curing West System on hidden tang knives, as there is no risk of the epoxy running out)
Click here to edit textFinished grinding and polishing the handle this morning.
Click here to And here she is leathered up and ready for shipping.
While I generally prefer the aesthetic of a taco style sheath the sandwich style was necessary for this knife in order to recess the integral guard (which is pointy and you wouldn't want poking you in the leg) Nothing fancy but rugged and functional.