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Thread: Custom made knives and sheaths

  1. #1
    Member Rancid Crabtree's Avatar
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    Default Custom made knives and sheaths

    As a custom knife maker Im always interested in exchanging ideas/patterns/tips with other knife makers. Are there any custom knife makers here? I searched the forum and I did not see much in the way of talk by bladesmiths or shadetree knife makers. I enjoy seeing what others have made with their hands and sharing my methods with them (and stealing good ideas when I come across them) especially unconventional materials/methods and designs. Is there an interest in knife talk?

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    Member ADUKHNT's Avatar
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    Damascus skinner blade with a musk ox or bison horn handle would be cool.
    I have such a hard time trying to decide which outdoor activity to do every chance I get!! Living in AK is a mental challenge

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    Member Rancid Crabtree's Avatar
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    That does sound nice. I have made a bunch of Damascus knives from blade forms I buy from two fingers out of Idaho Falls, Idaho. Ive not used bison or musk ox for scales though. Mostly antler, bone, stabilized wood andhomemade mycarta scales

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    Member Rancid Crabtree's Avatar
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    A member of our archery club asked if I would make him and his young Son a set of knives with shed antlers he had as the handles. I agreed.



    I sent him all my blade forms and he picked a Nesmuk style blade.



    I did a bit of custom file work on the backbones of the blades to dress them up and then polished the file work



    Then I applied gun blueing to the backbone and gave the blades a brushed finish leaving the blueing in the deep areas of the file work



    He asked that I fill in the white bases of the antlers with "Dad" and "Mitch" I saved the brow tines for display bases.

    The blades are O1 steel heat treated and twice tempered to RC58 hardness









    For the sheaths, I used 8 Oz. Oak tanned leather with a medium brown dye to give an "Old" look to the leather..



    http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c2...d1_horn991.jpg








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    Quote Originally Posted by Rancid Crabtree View Post
    As a custom knife maker Im always interested in exchanging ideas/patterns/tips with other knife makers. Are there any custom knife makers here? I searched the forum and I did not see much in the way of talk by bladesmiths or shadetree knife makers. I enjoy seeing what others have made with their hands and sharing my methods with them (and stealing good ideas when I come across them) especially unconventional materials/methods and designs. Is there an interest in knife talk?
    You should petition the forum moderators to create a knife or knife and tool sub forum here. (Lord knows they've made a lot of other sub forums this past year that aren't nearly as useful.)

    Simce you mentioned "unconventional materials"' I suggest you check the IRBI knife shop down in Moose Pass, AK on the Seward Highway. They're going into their third generation of family knife makers down there. They make some really nice knives (priced accordingly). He gave me, my son, my girlfriend, and her nephew a tour of his shop a few years back. They're really nice folks. His wife makes all the leathers sheaths by hand for each knife individually, and his adult son is apprenticing with him.

    They make knives from hammer forged pieces of chainsaw bar (the part the chain rides on). He is using his father's electric hammer forge, which, if I remember correctly, was made in like 1910 1915 or there abouts. He takes a used chainsaw bar, hammers it into a a knife blank and the goes from there. He also makes Damascus knives using heavy braided wire rope in a similar manner. He makes his handles out of anything imaginable, but uses a lot of exotic stuff. (He gave my sone some left over fossilized mammoth bone that was left from a recent knife he made.)


    http://www.irbiknives.com/

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    Do you have a picture of the backbones before you filed them? The end product looks great.

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    Member Rancid Crabtree's Avatar
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    Its just a piece of bar stock to start out with. 1/8 or 3/16 inch think O1 tool steel (or other steel). Then I draw a idea for a pattern on with a sharpie and get to filing with all manner of little files. Here is a practice piece I pondered. Then its buffed and polished or blued with gun bluing and polished of given a brushed finish. There is any number of patterns one can do.








    Itís a lot of putzing around but it gives the knife a unique look.
    Here are some other ones I filed.















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    Member Rancid Crabtree's Avatar
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    Here is a crazy stupid file job I did a while back. Too many hours in this sort of work to ever do it in volume.

    I thought I would try my hand at carving a bit of detail into the blade of one of my own knives. This goes way beyond simple filing.

    The blade is O1 flat ground annealed. Here are a few images along the way. I am trying to make vines.









    Files and chisels help remove the material from the opening. It's pretty slow going.



    I use a Dremmel tool were ever I can.







    I have it pre-beveled but not completly and will finish the bevel after I heat treat the blade.



    I used a chisel to add texture to the vines and then applied gun bluing to color just the vines.



    As I type this, The blade is sitting in the oven taking a temper after I heat treated it. I am thinking of using Cocobolo wood for the scales.

    I made a set of Cocobolo Scales and then gave them 3 coats of super glue as a finish before epoxying them to the blade. Once I trim down the pins, I will give them one more coat of super glue.

    I apply the super glue with my finger tip. You have to move fast and keep moving or you and the wood become one.





    I struggled with the lighting for the pictures. The gun bluing does not photograph well.











    This was a real challenge and one I don't see me tackling again any time soon but it's good to have it in the bag of tricks.

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    Member tjm's Avatar
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    That blade is freaking very neat...thanks for the pictures...
    ------------------------------------------------
    pull my finger....

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    Man, that is a cool skill set to have. Turning that out of a straight piece of steel. Wow.

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    The backbone on the top one is so consistent I would have thought machines would have to be involved.

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    No machines. Just small files and a vise and a stool to sit on and a buch of time. Thankfully most knife blades are only 6 or 7 inches long so you can see the light at the end of the tunnel as soon as you start. It really adds hours to the job and is hard to justify in terms of functionality/use since its only for show. Sort of like fancy sheath/leather work. On the up side I enjoy doing it.

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    Here is one of the knives that I filed the backbone. A friend from Maine (a Maliseet Indian) sent me a small moose antler and asked that I make a knife for a friend of ours, using the antler.

    I cut the handle from a section of the antler that provided a finger guard.





    Then picked a blade form from my stach of patterns that matched the handle.



    Then made an O1 steel blade with a little file work.





    Then contoured the brass to match the antler and added a some ink.





    Next I made a sheath with a moose antler image.



    I used the tip of the antler as a display base.







    These are the pics I got from our friend. He got several diff bucks in diff states and used my knife for his adventures.













    It's a good feeling to make a useful tool that can be enjoyed by another.

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    How much do you charge to make a skinning knife like that with a sheath? I never thought about it but I the antlers off a deer I shot a few years ago I didn't mount. I would love to have them made into a good quality knife set that I could give one to each of my sons for them to actually use. So something like a drop point with decent steel they can keep sharp relatively easy with the curvature of a skinner.

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    Member Rancid Crabtree's Avatar
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    I donít sell knives any more (never really did) Ive been making knives since 1982 (still have that first knife) I make knives as a hobby for relaxation. I gift my knives but have on occasion done a trade or barter for a knife. Most of my knives go to non-profit orgs as donations. They in turn raffle or auction them off to raise funds. Ive done knives for hunting orgs and churches and cancer centers and hospice, ect. The problem with gifting and donating knives is the word gets out pretty fast and the calls and emails start rolling in. I let it get out of control and it stopped being a hobby and darn near became a job (and I avoid work at all costs) so I had to start saying no. At this point, Im very selective in my knife making and its once again became a relaxing and enjoyable hobby.

    Speaking of bartering. When our first son graduated from high school I was shocked at what the costs were for professional photography for senior photos. I happened to know a pro photographer and we arrived at an arrangement.

    I told him to pick a blade form that he liked and I would make it using the materials of his choice and decorate the sheath based on his input. He picked a bowie design. This is called the"Trade Knife"

    I used O1 steel and he picked brass and bloodwood.



    Just add a little labor and................







    Plus a little file work.





    Wrap it all in some leather and.............





    I think this is a fair trade.

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    Member Rancid Crabtree's Avatar
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    Its a great old knife from a simpler time. It needed a restoration so I gave it a new lease on life. This is the story of L39.
















































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    Can't thank you enough for taking the time to share. Hand crafted items are a joy to behold. Absolutely beautiful work!!
    "I refuse to let the things I can't do stop me from doing the things I can"
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  18. #18

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    That's incredible workmanship! Thank you for sharing.

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