Lock the welder

Coffin Handle Bowie

This knife started out as a bar of 01 tool steel, and was shaped by sander, file, and stone. I apologize for not having pics of the beginning of the project. Here is the blade getting the final stoning before heat treatment. The heat treatment consists of heating the blade in my kiln to 1550 degrees, then quenching it in oil. This takes the steel from its relatively soft state to its max hardness. Directly after the quench it goes into the oven for 2, 2 hour 350 degrees heat cycles to temper it. People often seem confused as to the purpose of this second heating. When the blade comes out of the oil quench it is so hard that it can break- sort of like a piece of glass- super hard but brittle. The tempering reduces the hardness slightly to give it more resilience, while still retaining 90% of its post-quench hardness. At this point, I have approx 20 hours into the blade alone. The candles are because I was doing this during the hurricane power outage!

Now on to the guard and handle. This is a paper template for the upper portion of the handle.

Here it is transferred onto the steel it will be cut from. I use a plasma cutter here.

Cut out, but rough...

Using my vintage surface grinder to remove the rust and scale from the steel, and to ensure that it is perfectly flat.

Now to the old Bridgeport mill to begin the long process of maching the rough steel to exact dimensions. This mill is all manual- no power feed or digital readouts... just my eyes!

OK, rough shape done, and approximate pin hole locations marked...

With the two halves held together, you can see what i achieved with the milling. The blade will recess down into the top of the guard, but not protrude through to the bottom.

Pin holes are drilled (and also drilled through the blade itself), and using the TIG welder to carefully weld the halves together.

Final polishing of the blade. After the heat treatment the blade is discolored and has oil stains, so this is necessary.  Of course, now the blade is rock hard so it takes even more effort to sand it!

Tapped off the blade to protect it while I continue with the handle.

Guard on but not permanently pinned, while I shape the top portion. It has to come back off to be polished.

Guard has been on and off a dozen times at this point, simply sanding, shaping, polishing, filing, fitting. It is important to note that I cannot simply lay this up on a large buffer to achieve this finish, because it will round off all my sharp edges. That means that 95% of this finish needs to be achieved by hand sanding.  This is solid steel.

Now on to the handles scales, made of stabilized amboyna wood

And all polished and blended..

file work in back of blade

finished product! If interested please contact me at easternfabrications@gmail.com

and yes it shaves hair