Here is my latest knife design that I call the Jaguar. It's a little larger than the usual knife I make, with a blade just over 3 inches. I'm excited to see how this design works out.
I decided to mix up my build order a little bit and start with the blade. Since I'm not planning on doing any spine file work on the blade, I think I can get away with it. The above photo shows the blade after it has been profile ground. I'm drilling out the holes for the pivot and the thumb stud before heat treating the blade.
All wrapped up in foil and ready for heat treatment.
Into the oven she goes.
While the blade is heat treating, I'll get started on the handle. Here you can see some 416 stainless for the bolsters and spacer and a sheet of titanium for the liners. I was going to use this buckeye burl for the scales but I changed my mind a little later and went with some burgundy-colored Micarta.
Here are the parts after rough cutting on the band saw. You can see the Micarta there at the top.
The liners have been temporarily glued together with the pattern on top. The liners get profiled at the same time so that they are identical twins.
After drilling all the holes in the liners, It's time to begin fitting the bolsters and scales. The bottom liner in the photo has the front bolster clamped to the liner. I will drill through the liners into the bolsters to get the screw holes aligned.
After the holes have been drilled through the bolsters, they get pinned together in order to get the rear end of them ground even. The next photo shows what I mean.
The face of the bolsters that will mate with the scales around ground down to match one another. The photo shows them still pinned together.
Now that the bolsters match, the back side of each gets ground down at 30 degrees to create dovetails.
This shows the complete dovetails.
Here's a little tip when working with dark-colored scale material. Put some masking tape over the scale and trace the pattern onto the tape. Easy to see and the tape peels right off without any trouble.
After a short trip to the band saw, here are the scales ready to be fitted to the front bolsters. They are cut slightly large so that there is extra material to help with fitting.
Dovetails have been ground into the front of the scales to mate up with the bolsters. The photo shows how they dovetail together.
The scales get clamped in place and holes drilled in the same manner as the front bolsters.
The back end of the scales get ground to match each other and ground at an angle to start the dovetails with the rear bolsters. The rear bolsters get dovetailed, clamped to the liners, and holes drilled just like the other parts.
You may have to get out your magnifying glass, but if you look very closely at the bottom corner of this liner, you will see a little black dot. That's what it looks like when you break off a tap in a hole when trying to cut threads into titanium. This doesn't happen to me very often anymore, but I used to just scrap the liner because that little piece was impossible to get out. I recently heard of a trick used by other knife makers when this happens to them.
Here's the trick. Acid! Titanium is stable and unaffected by acid, but the carbon steel tap isn't. This is the first time I've tried this trick, so my fingers were crossed when I dipped it into some ferric chloride.
It worked! After leaving the liner in the acid over night, the acid has eaten away the steel and left the titanium unscathed. I'll for sure have to remember this trick.
Here are all the handle parts assembled. Looks kind of "chunky" and uneven, but we'll take care of that right now.
After a few minutes on the grinder, all the parts are ground down to match the liners. Building my scales and bolsters this way, the handles are perfect mirror images of each other. There's nothing worse than dovetails that are a little bit off from each other.
I assembled the handle together and rounded over each side. I really like how this handle looks, and it feels very comfortable in the hand.
Confession time. While grinding the first blade, I made a fatal mistake and had to scrap the blade completely. It doesn't happen very often, but after throwing a little tantrum like a 2-year-old, I built a new blade and through the old one into the drawer of shame. Here is blade #2 after getting hollow ground. Looks much better now. Once I get the blade fit to the handle, I'll work on the blade finish. I don't want to get everything polished up at this point as inevitably it will get scratched and I'll have to start over.
Here is what the knife looked like when I knocked off on Saturday afternoon. The open position for the blade has been dialed in and the blade has been ground to the handle for a seamless fit. This is going to be a nice knife! I'm toying with the idea of going with a full mirror polish on the bolsters and the blade, but I haven't decided for sure. I like the looks of this knife enough that I might also leave the knife without any file work to embellish it. I'll toy with these two ideas throughout the week before I get back to the shop. Either way, this knife is sure to be a winner.
Thanks for tagging along with me on this new build. I hope you are enjoying your time spent here on the Robinson Edge.
- Brandant Robinson