Monday, March 22, 2010

The Waccamaw

Scott was the blacksmith at the Lake Waccamaw Southern Heritage Days festival this weekend. He knocked out a few hooks, decorative leaves, a fire poker and a door handle on Saturday, but by Sunday he was done with Blacksmithing 101 and was ready to show off his bladesmithing skills. Scott found an old file a few days prior to the show and decided he'd try making a tribal style knife out of it. No power tools were used - just a coal fired forge (circa 1800's), a hammer and a variety of files. Scott's dad dubbed the knife "The Waccamaw".

Even the festival farrier and bullwhip master were entranced with the knifemaking.

We had a great time and plan to do it again next year!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Gentleman Hunter

Scott was recently commissioned to produce the following knife. The blade was hand-forged out of 1095 tool steel, was normalized 3 times, annealled, rough ground, edge-quenched , final ground and triple tempered. The lines on the knife are the result of etching with ferric chloride to show grain structure and differential hardening. The blade is a hidden tang design with hand-rubbed finish to 600 grit. The handle is desert ironwood, with a brass guard and black spacer. The guard and handle were hand-rubbed to 600 grit, then buffed with 4-ought steel wool to bring the brass and wood to a high polish. As a finishing touch, the wood was treated with Danish Oil and the entire knife was waxed with Carnauba. We're calling this style a "Gentleman Hunter". This Gentleman Hunter is 8 7/8 inches in total length (4 inches from guard to blade tip).

So how did this knife come into being? In the fall of 2009, Scott (with the help of his son Jacob) forged out two hidden tang knives of similar design. The blade above (sans handle) and the one below were made at that time.

While Scott did a great job on his first hidden tang knife (the one with the purple heart handle), he found the process challenging enough that he set the second hidden tang blade aside and worked on some simpler knives for a while. After producing a few for friends and family, Scott tried posting some designs on BladeForum and immediately sold a couple. This got him excited, so he made some new ones, and (as we were preparing to post them on the forum) I decided to throw a few knife pics up on my personal Facebook page. To my surprise, we sold one immediately to a childhood friend and got a commission to produce another for a friend from high school. She wanted a custom hidden tang design (like the purple heart one) with a wooden handle and a leather sheath. She asked that it be made as a birthday present for her husband (another childhood friend), and gave Scott free rein on the design. Thank goodness we had a blade already forged to fit the bill, because we didn't have a ton of time to complete the job.

Well, Happy Birthday Les! I hope you love your knife. I think it's Scott best work to date and I've posted some photos below showing how it was produced. Many of the stages are absent from the photo diary (mainly the grinder section), as Scott has a hard time making me sit still and photo every stage of the process. He is determined to hold me hostage with the camera one weekend so I can produce a complete photo diary showing all the steps involved in producing one of his knives, and I'm sure one day I will. For now this should give you some idea of how your knife was created.

Gentleman Hunter with leather sheath $375 (includes USPS shipping anywhere in the continental US) Taking orders now!