Calling this Part 1 is a bit of a lie. It's Part 1 of this incarnation.
Back in 2004, the first blade I bought was a Lauri factory made stick tang blade, shortly followed by the blacksmith's knife pictured below and the stick tang blade that this build is for, from Trond Pedersen.
So, my first attempt at a handle ever was done using the Trond stick tang blade. I was a bit naive as to what I could achieve.
It looked like this:
The black wood is Ebony, the spacer is a piece of Silver and the main section of the handle is Snakewood.
Snakewood is very hard and at the time I only had hand tools so found it slow going.
I didn't slot the bolster out, but instead made it in two halves and glued it on. The arrow indicates the join. I wouldn't do it like that now.
I abandoned the build after a while, in the belief that the handle was all wrong and would never be any good. If I still had it in that state now, I could confidently remove the excess leaving an elegant handle.
That's experience for you!
I don't have a good picture of the second attempt at a handle, but it's indicated in this pic
I think this was about 2006
This time I slotted a piece of Cow Bone as a bolster and fitted a block of Amboyna burl for the handle. I think there were a few thin bits of Birch Bark between them. I did a fair bit of shaping before realising that the blade was sat in the handle wrong, with the point far too high to be usable.
That one got removed too!
I managed to salvage the bolster and that'll be reused this time round.
So, onto the knife as it is today.
The blade has a forge finish which I love.
the bevels look a bit uneven but that is due to where I have started to flatten them out to remove the hollow grind that Trond gave it.
The blade tapers from the handle to the tip and from the spine to the edge, all hand forged.
The red arrow is to indicate the hint of the lamination line. The blade is made in a San Mai fashion, essentially a metal sandwich. It has a high carbon steel core with mild steel forge welded either side. This is how they are traditionally made to save money (the expensive steel is used for the cutting edge but the steel that won't do any cutting is cheaper) and possibly to give added strength by allowing the blade to flex.
When the handle is finished I'll see if I can polish the spine and bevels up then lightly etch them to highlight the lines.
The old bolster:
The outline isn't right but the slot is perfect and I'm confident the correct sized bolster is waiting inside.
Sat with glue. A perfect fit. no clamps required.
One of the hardest parts of knifemaking for me, is choosing what materials to use for the handle. I love lots of different types of woods and want to use them all!
This knife is for me and these are the options I'm looking at, at the moment.
Top to bottom: Desert Ironwood, Yellow Mallee Burl, Axe Head (seriously!), Stabilised Curly Birch
They're all very different to each other. I'm not intending to use much of a spacer between the bone and the handle but may do some carving towards the back of the knife so the handle needs to hold the interest.
I think they can all manage it though!
The intention is for it to be seen as a puukko knife, which is why I was thinking of staying fairly simple, although many puukko knives can be quite ornate. The Curly Birch would be the most 'true' choice (even more so if it wasn't stabilised) but I find it hard to use such an expensive bit of wood on myself! The Axe Head wood is fairly plain but I've never seen it before which is why I have kept it for my own use. It's very dense and will polish up beautifully. The Yellow Mallee has lots of interest with the burl eyes and the Desert Ironwood is just a bloomin' nice bit of wood!
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