Drac

Kilted Texan's Bowie

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Hello all,

I took on a commision to make Kilted Texan a bowie using a mesquite burl. Getting things setup has been slow but it is now underway. He wished to have a picture record of it making. I will send him a disc once it's done but there is no reason I should keep him wairting until it is done. Also thought you folks might like watching it come to life as it were.

The steel scetched out -

Cutlass01_zps43df6d10.jpg

My metal cutting bandsaw -

Bowie001_zpsfea21cdb.jpg

After hacking the extras off -

Bowie003_zpsb5c60053.jpg

And smoothed out a little on the disc sander -

Bowie004_zps599f0728.jpg

The edges are marked to give guides for grinding the primary bevel -

Bowie006_zps7f67395a.jpg

Next step is knock off the edges with an old belt to allow for grinding on a new belt without wearing it too quickly -

Bowie007_zpsf8ddfcf0.jpg

On to "hogging" this is the removal of the largest amount of metal. This is done with the coarsest grit. In my case I prefer 60 grit. A lot of makers start with 36 but I find that leaves a lot of deep scratches to get out with little return for the size of blades I make. On this one it is a great deal more work and heavy work at that -

Bowie008_zps3e43e064.jpg

Here is one side ground pretty close to where I want to start moving onto a finer grit -

Bowie009_zps36953e3d.jpg

As I move finer grit the lines will get closer and smoother. I want to "walk" very slowly for the most control. At a point in the process I will round up the tip. Once I know the blade is good then I will cut the stick tang and thread it before sending out to heat treat. My oven can't handle the blade let alone the blade and tang.

More to come hopefully,

Jim

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Looks great! Now I am getting excited!

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Hope you enjoy. It will be a slow work to make sure everything is right. This is a very different project then any I've done. The hunk of steel weights a ton while grinding. Really makes me concentrate to keep everything even.

Right now I'm waiting on more belts. This went through the last one I had just doing one side (it was used but not worn). Should be here by the weekend I hope.

Jim

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Actually should get a belt in in the next day or two. Pops (my normal supplier) is backed up so I got a quick order to get me through from another supplier and since they are just on the OK side of the Red River I should get it in a day or so. Also should be getting the rest of the handle material in. I got to fit it all before it goes to heat treat.

Jim

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I wrote my state senator and representative to look at changing some of the Texas knife carrying laws. We will see where that goes, if anywhere.

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And onto the next step. Let me preface these with this is a shop in my garage, not a kitchen. It is rather messy.

Working through finer grits I start walking the grind lines closer together -

Bowie010_zps68ac4376.jpg

Bowie011_zps504e95d6.jpg

Onto the next grit -

Bowie013_zps57f29b15.jpg

Bowie014_zps77f2726f.jpg

Moving on to hand sanding. I like to use die makers stones, an abrasive stone that comes in various grits and compounds. Works much faster and better than sandpaper -

Bowie015_zpsc79c5c4a.jpg

After half an hour of sanding and as you can see there is a lot work to go on this one bevel let alone the other three. You can see how much of the stone has been worn away already -

Bowie016_zps7a0b6326.jpg

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:KILT::laughbounce::KILT: I'm going Crazy! waiting!

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You do great work......

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Thanks for sharing the pics of the process. Fascinating and a true work of art!

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Ok, after A LOT OF SANDING I finally got it ready to start cutting out the tang -

Bowie017_zpsf167ae2f.jpg

Bowie018_zpsb5226084.jpg

This is sanded to 1000 grit. Normally I don't take pieces past 400 then I take them back to 200 to clean up the scale from heat treat and than finish to 320 for most working knives. Dress pieces I may finish to 400 but I think this needs a bit more polish :D I will probably finish it to 600 after heat treat as the person doing it won't have much scale. I feel I get a better finish by taking one past where I want and then stepping back.

More to come...

Jim

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looking good so far.

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Thanks for sharing Drac. It's easy to understand why the Celts considered blacksmiths magicians and ranked them so highly in the social hiearchy

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wow... nice job. that looks awesome.

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And the latest addition to the ongoing saga of Kilted Texan's bowie.

Mounting it up with a file guide. This is a set of hardened, machined steel guides that are used primarily as a "guide" for files. Mostly used for squaring up shoulders. I'm also using them to give me a square for doing all the layout marks for the tang -

KiltedTexansBowie019_zps1a38d0f7.jpg

Before laying out the marks I had to cut the pieces so I would know how much tang to use. The nickle silver spacer, and inch thick and took a half an hour to cut (I'm adding $10 for the sore shoulder after that) -

KiltedTexansBowie020_zps1deea48a.jpg

Lining everything up -

KiltedTexansBowie021_zpsb44c187d.jpg

And laying it out -

KiltedTexansBowie022_zpsb50d0e5b.jpg

And on to the band saw to remove the extra metal -

KiltedTexansBowie023_zps42bde01a.jpg

This was the real scary part. I needed to take just enough off to put the threads on. If I took to much off and the whole blade is scrapped -

522750ed-b018-4da3-912d-4003dd4eb6a5_zps

I got lucky -

KiltedTexansBowie025_zpsed2b0a0a.jpg

Here I am actually using the file guide as a file guide. Squaring up the shoulders and removing the metal around the shoulder area of the tang so the tang is narrower than the blade so I have a little wiggle room when fitting the guard -

KiltedTexansBowie026_zps7e2f416c.jpg

Shoulders ok -

KiltedTexansBowie027_zps73b325d1.jpg

And cleaned up and ready to ship off to be heat treated -

KiltedTexansBowie028_zpsc1182b8b.jpg

I normally heat treat my own but one (the biggest reason) my kilt is way to small for this blade let alone the blade and tang. Also I wanted it to be perfect and my heat treat can leave slight warps in a blade. If it's slight I can fix it but if large ones are a "start over." So it's off to Paul Bos' apprentice. Paul Bos is the God of heat treating air quenched steels. He was the supervisor of Buck Knives until he retired. His apprentice served under him for 15 years. I know it will turn out great.

Now we are back into the holding pattern until it returns, probably another 2-3 weeks. Assuming I didn't screw up the grinding so bad it will be onto the handle.

Jim

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If you are coming to TRF, we could square up there

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double post.

Edited by KiltedTexan

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triple post

Edited by KiltedTexan

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If you are coming to TRF, we could square up there

We'll see how it goes. Lots of places to screw up but I am feeling a lot better about the chances of success.

Jim

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Next installment:

Got the blade back from the heat treating -

Bowie033_zps0ef4b06c.jpg

Getting it wrapped up with painters' tape to protect it while working or at least try. I will have a couple of places to touch up already :pale:

Bowie034_zps8ac44315.jpg

Laying out the guard -

Bowie035_zps90dc44af.jpg

Quite a bit of time later from tweaking the tang, drilling the holes and fitting the tang to the hole. A lot of little adjustments, more adjustments, and yet more adjustments -

Bowie036_zpsf17bd423.jpg

And we have linkage -

Bowie037_zpse049d8de.jpg

And soon to move on to the next piece -

Bowie038_zpsd54802df.jpg

Jim

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sweet!

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Excellent work Jim, I'm glad that the project for mine shouldn't be as consuming. Nice seeing your work, you ought to see the machines our toolmakers have, but then most if this is hand work and it takes time.

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Excellent work Jim, I'm glad that the project for mine shouldn't be as consuming. Nice seeing your work, you ought to see the machines our toolmakers have, but then most if this is hand work and it takes time.

Trust me, I would kill for a nice milling machine and a surface grinder. Both would open up more blade styles, integrals for the mill and folders for the surface grinder and mill. Add in a band saw that can handle 1" blade and I would be setup!!!

Hell, the slotting of the guard would have been a lot easier and cleaner with a mill. Using machines varies from maker to maker. As long as you are up front with what you are doing there isn't much issue in the custom knife field. It's when you get into the "handmade" knives that you really start a "Why are we here" level of arguments. One of the reasons I just normally go with the phrase custom knives :D

For me as long as the machines are controlled by hand and not CNC I'm cool. Don't get me wrong I'm not bashing those who use them, I just want to be more involved then pressing buttons.

Jim

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Onward to the spacer.

Well this took three days and a bit of a screw up to help things along -

Oops1_zps2183177f.jpg

While it looks just a bit off but usable... that is if you don't look at the other side -

Oops2_zpsae9250a1.jpg

Well on to round two. Got it laid out and ready to drill -

Bowie039_zpsbb159492.jpg

This is definitely a "do as I say not as I do" situation. Do not drill without using a vise!!!

Much better this time -

Bowie040_zps9800112e.jpg

Now comes the part that took most of three days to do, fitting it to the tang. Granted my "days" are only a couple hours long but this was a lot of file a little, try and fit, file some more, try and fit, and on and on -

Bowie041_zps92627fc5.jpg

I did cut some corners on this by starting with a rotary tool since I can slip here and not see the mistake. Add in there is a lot of metal to remove -

Bowie042_zpsb31a6dbc.jpg

Unfortunately it can only go so far and then it is back to files -

Bowie043_zpsb6935855.jpg

And here is the final piece -

Bowie044_zpsf24602f3.jpg

All fitted up and looks like a good match -

Bowie045_zps72c708ce.jpg

Next comes the wood -

Bowie046_zps6d0a81a8.jpg

More to come,

Jim

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epic awesomeness! love the attention to detail here.

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