Monday, December 28, 2015

Three New Beginnings

First off, I hope that everyone had a wonderful Christmas.  I sure did.  There is nothing like family gathering around for the Holidays to cheer up one's heart as we celebrate the birth of the Savior of the world.  A belated Merry Christmas to everyone!

I still need to take some good pics of the Jaguar knife that I just finished last week so I can get it posted on my "Available Knives" page here on the Robinson Edge.  I really hate taking knife photos.  I can never seem to get a good image of my knives, so I end up putting it off.  Some day I think I might have to take a photography class to figure out what I'm doing wrong.

Since the Jaguar knife is finished, I decided to begin a new knife-making adventure.  I recently lost my own Virtue knife that I have been carrying for the last two years, so I thought I would make myself a new one.  I'll really miss that knife.  I chose a new design that I call "Glaucus" which is named after the Greek god of the sea.  It's a small little knife with a blade just a hair over 2 inches.  It should be the perfect size to keep in the coin pocket of a pair of jeans or slip into a pair of slacks for Sunday dress.  I know I'm going to regret this, but I opted to make these knives at the same time, one to keep, and the other to offer up for sale.  I've also always wanted to make a straight razor, so I thought I would give that a go too.  I made up razor design some time ago and have been anxious to try it out.  I guess three knives at the same time isn't too crazy.  I just hope I can keep all the parts sorted out.

Here are the raw materials that I will be starting with.  All the blades will be from CPM154, my very favorite steel.  Liners are all 6AL4V titanium.  The bolsters and spacers for the Glaucus knives will be from 416ss and the bolsters for Polshed (the straight razor design) will be from nickle silver.  I chose to use some mammoth ivory for the scales on one of the Glaucus knives and stabilized buckeye burl for the other.  I thought that I would use green-dyed and stabilized maple burl for the scales on Polished as pictured above, but changed my mind and decided to use black Micarta since it will be around a lot of water.

After a lot of work, all the parts have been rough cut and laid out.  I can already see that I'll have to be very careful to keep from getting all those parts mixed up.  I decided to make the Glaucus with the buckeye scales with front and rear bolsters and the other with the mammoth scales with front bolsters only.  I really love those mammoth scales and wanted to show as much of them off as possible.  I should be able to keep almost all the bark on that mammoth intact if I really careful.

Here are the three blades after being profiled and surface ground.  I've center punched some divots where the holes will be drilled for the pivots and for the thumb stud screws on the Glaucus knives.

All blades have been drilled and are ready for heat treatment.

Here are the blades all wrapped up and ready to enter the Evenheat oven for hardening.  The blades get heated up to 1850 degrees F, air quenched between two steel plates, sub-zero treated with dry ice and then two temper cycles at 400 degrees for two hours each cycle.  I don't have a hardness tester, but this "recipe" should yield a hardness of around 59-60RC.

I accomplished a little more work over the holiday weekend, mostly fitting the bolsters and scales on the Glaucus knives, but I really got into it and neglected to take any photos.  I have several days off this week for the New Years holiday and hope to get out to my shop for some extra holiday shop time.  Thanks for stopping by the Robinson Edge and a Happy New Year to all.

-  Brandant Robinson

Monday, December 14, 2015

Almost There!

After this weekend in the shop, I am almost finished with the Jaguar build.  I know I say this about every new knife, but this one represents some of my best work.  I'm also quite happy with this new design.  It's slightly larger than I usually make with a couple other "firsts" for me.  Here are some pics of what I was able to get done.

This photo shows the scales and bolsters in their finished state.  The Micarta scales are nice and shiny and the bolsters all have a hand-rubbed 600 grit satin finish.

Before I cut in the lock, I need to get the closed position of the blade set.  This entails grinding away the tang where it engages the stop pin and a little grinding of the inside of the spacer.  This above pic shows the end product.

If you look closely at the photo, you can see a line scratched into the black marker on the liner.  This is the outline of where the lock will be cut out.

This is my setup for cutting out the lock.

Here is the lock after it has been cut out.  I'll clamp it in my vise and use some strips of sandpaper to polish up the cut.

In this pic, I'm dialing in the lock face.  I assemble the knife, clamp it in my vise, wrap a little tape around the lines to avoid scratches, and file away at the face of the lock until it engages properly.

Moving on to the blade.  Starting back at 220 grit, I start cleaning up the grind and begin the long and laborious task of hand sanding the blade finish.

Here's the blade after I reach 600 grit.  Looking good!

This is the carnage of sandpaper that went into polishing out the blade.

Now it's time to begin some detail work.  To start with, I blacken in the edge of the spacer and liners with a Sharpie and scratch witness lines at 1/8" intervals to keep the file work uniform.

I decided to go with one of my favorite patterns on the spacer, the twisted ribbon, with an additional twist (pun intended).  After about six twists, I reverse the pattern so the twists go in the opposite directions.  It's a combination of my alternating twist pattern and the twisted ribbon.  I'm sure you all wanted to know that.

Here's a little closeup of the completed spacer.

Here is a pic of the spacer after it has been sanded up to 600 grit.  Once it has been sanded, it goes for a spin on the buffer and then I hit the highlights again with 600 grit paper to give it a little contrast.  I like it!

For the liners, I'm going with a climbing vine pattern.  These thin spacers are a challenge for this type of detail, but it looks really cool when finished.  The photo shows the two liners with the initial cuts.

Here they are after the file work has been completed, the work has been sanded, and after a turn on the buffing wheel to make them all nice and shiny.  I might dedicate a post to file work sometime and take some pics with the good camera so you can see how it's done.  Look for it in the future.

With the file work complete, I was able to move on to jeweling the inside surfaces of the liners.  It turned out pretty good.

I chose to anodize the liners an ice blue color that compliments the red scales really well.

Here is the completed blade with my logo etched into it.  I'm thinking about changing my logo to something with some name recognition.  I've got a design sketched up, I just need to find someone who can make me a stencil.

The final task that I accomplished this week was to polish up all of the exposed hardware.  This little jig is a little piece of titanium that has threaded holes.  I use it to trim screws to length and to hold screws while I polish up the heads.  It works pretty well.  I still need to get around to drilling and tapping a few more holes so I can do multiples instead of one at a time.  But, for now, it works just fine.

Well, folks, that's it for this week.  I should be able to easily complete this knife in the coming week.  If you're interested in purchasing it, just shoot me an email.  It will go on sale publically as soon as I get it finished up.  Thanks for following along with me on this knife-making adventure.

-  Brandant Robinson

Monday, December 7, 2015

Progress on the Jaguar Build

It was a busy weekend, full of setting up Christmas decorations around the house and hanging up the lights.  I was still able to make a little progress on the Jaguar build this last weekend.  Here are the fruits of this week's labors.

To start things off, I was able to finish out the bolsters and the scales.  The Micarta scales get polished up to a nice, glossy finish.  The bolsters get a hand-rubbed satin finish.

Here is the knife once the closed position has been dialed in.  This is done by grinding away the tang where it makes contact with the stop pin.  I also had to grind away the inside of the spacer slightly so that the edge doesn't contact the spacer.

With the open and closed positions of the blade set, it's time to create the lock.  I color in the lock area with black marker and use a razor blade to scratch lines where the edges of the lock will be cut.  I also use a center punch to locate the position of a hole at the front and rear ends of the lock.

Here is my set up for cutting in the lock.  I clamp the liner in my drill press vise and use a thin cutoff disk mounted in the drill press.  I hand feed the liner through the cutoff disk until the lock is complete.  It usually takes 1.5 to 2 of these disks to finish a lock.

This is what the lock looks like after cutting it in with the disk.  It makes a nice, crisp line.  I uses some cloth-backed sandpaper to clean up the cut edges and finish things out.

Here is how I dial in the lock face surface to match the tang.  I assemble the knife except for the bolsters and scales.  I wrap some masking tape around the liners so that I don't accidentally scratch up the liners as I file the lock face and mount the knife in my vise.  Then, using a flat file, I grind away the lock face until it mates up with the tang and engages at just the right position.  Fitting the lock this way eliminates the need to disassemble and reassemble the knife a dozen or more times before getting the lock right.

The last thing that I worked on over the weekend was to begin the hand sanding on the blade.  I wasn't able to complete the satin finish, but I did get it done up through 400 grit.  This week I'll finish the blade up through a final 600 grit.  I also hope to get a lot of the detail work done on this knife.

Well, thanks for following along with me on this knife making adventure on the Robinson Edge.  I hope everyone has a fun and enjoyable Christmas season.  Stay tuned next week for another update on this build.

-  Brandant Robinson