Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Pride Knife

So, my light box came in last night and I had to give it a try.  I can see that I still need to work on my photography skills, but I believe that it is a marked improvement over my passed efforts.  Here are some photos of the latest knife out of my shop.  I call this design "Pride".  And that's just the way I feel about this knife.  It's ready for purchase over on the "Available Knives" page if you want to add this one to your collection.

Thanks for stopping by and following my work.  By the way, I'm now on instagram at the handle @brandantrobinson.

-  Brandant Robinson

Monday, April 18, 2016

Cronus Build Part 2

With all the spring yard work to get done around my house, shop time has been fairly limited.  But, as luck would have it, the weather turned off bad this last weekend and I was forced indoors.  Oh darn.  I made some very good progress on the Cronus build, in fact, I'm only a few more hours away from a finished knife.  It's turning out pretty great, if I do say so myself, and I guess I just did.  Here are some pics of the progress.

The first accomplishment was to get the blade ground.  Here's my little file guide that I use while grinding to keep the plunges aligned.  I clamp onto it with a pair of needle nose vise grips to give me a handle for better control.  The blade is finished up to 220 grit here.

Here is the blade after the grinding is complete.

I've shown my setup for hand finishing a blade before.  It's just a short piece of angle iron with a tapped hole with a bolt through to hold the blade in position.  I have a piece of liner material on top to give the blade a little cushion.

And here she is finished out to 600 grit.  Nice!

The bolsters also get a hand-rubbed satin finish to 600 grit.

This is the right liner after the lock bar has been cut in.

I think I fit my locks to the blade tangs a little differently than many makers.  I assemble the knife and clamp it into my vise.  I file off the lock face a little at a time until the lock engages the tang properly.  Doing it this way I don't have to take the knife apart and reassemble a bunch of times during fit up.

With the lock fit, I drill the detent ball hole and a corresponding hole in the blade tang where the ball will engage.  Here's the liner with the detent hole shown.

The insides of the liners get treated with a jeweled finish.  I've used a cratex rod to do the jeweling for the last couple of knives.  It gives a fairly good finish, and since this is a very subtle detail, it's good enough for me.

With all the knife mechanics complete, it's time to move onto the custom details.  Here are the liners after receiving a little file work.  I call this pattern "Curtains".  It's pretty simple, comprised of alternating large and small curves.

I went with my Twisted Ribbon pattern on the spacer.  This time I carried the file work around to the inside of the spacer for a couple of inches.  I did this on the last knife I finished and I really like the effect.

Here is the nearly completed knife.  I think it's looking good and the balance is really remarkable.  You have to hold it in your hand to appreciate that aspect.  Just a little more work and she'll be ready for someone's collection.

Here is a spine view of the knife.  Lookin' good!

I've been pretty disappointed with my finished photography as of late, so I ordered a light box off the internet last week.  It's supposed to arrive sometime in the next few days.  When it arrives I will take some (hopefully) good pics of the Pride knife that I finished up recently and maybe get this knife finished and photographed as well.  I'll get them both posted to the "Available Knives" page here on my blog and an email sent out to all my subscribers ASAP.  If your not on my email list, send me an email at theoldstump@live.com with "subscribe" in the subject line, or use the "Contact Brandant" box at the bottom of this page and I'll add you to the list.

Thanks a bunch for your interest in my work and for following along with me on my knife-making adventures.  Have a great week.

-  Brandant Robinson

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Sale Ends Soon

Just a reminder that the spring sale ends on my available knives this Saturday, April 9.  There are only three knives left at prices that I may never offer again.  Remember that there is a 3 day inspection period and your money back if you're not completely satisfied.  Thanks for your interest in my work.

-  Brandant Robinson

Monday, April 4, 2016

New Build - "Cronus"

It's that exciting time again when one build ends and a new one begins.  I still get the feelings of exhilaration upon seeing a pile of raw materials and picturing in my minds eye what the final knife will look like and how it will feel in my hand.  I thought I would try something a little different than my usual drop point knives.  The Cronus design has a nice clip-point blade and a gentle curve to the handle.  I've made this design once before on a knife I made for my sister a couple year ago.  It turned out great then and I hope I can repeat the success on this one.

This is where the proverbial rubber hits the road, the assembly of the raw materials.  CPM154 for the blade, 6AL4V titanium for the liners, 416 stainless steel for the bolsters and spacer, and finally some dyed and jigged bone for the scales.  This is the first time I've used bone, so this is a step into the unknown for me.  Should be exciting.

After several hours of grinding, drilling and hole tapping, here are the major parts of the knife laid out.  The blade is wrapped in tool wrap and ready for heat treatment.

I chose to go with front bolsters only on this knife.  In the photo above, the bolsters have been dovetailed at 30 degrees and screwed to the liners.  I thought it would be interesting to show how to work with natural materials that are not flat.  It can be a challenge to create the dovetails and even to drill the holes in material that is not flat on both sides.

The first step is to make sure that the backs of the scales are absolutely flat so that there is no gap between them and the liners.  The disk sander is the tool for the job.  Here are the scales after they have been flattened.

Because the dovetail end of the bolsters are not square with the angle of the liners, by design mind you, the front end of the scales are ground at an angle to match.  Here are the scales set in place to verify that the front angles match up correctly with the bolsters.  Looks good.

The next step is to create the bevels on the front of the scales that will mate up with the bolsters.  Because this bevel needs to be on the top side of the scales, I tip my tool rest down to 30 degrees so that the flat side of the scale can rest on the table.  I have an angle gauge block that I use to set this angle.  Being able to tip the rest forward makes this whole process possible.

Here is the first bolster after the bevel has been set.

Test fitting the scales to the bolsters shows that the fit is tight and that there is enough material to completely cover the area of the handle.

This is where it gets a little tricky working with natural materials.  The only flat side of the scales is the back side, so flipping the scales over on their faces to drill screw holes to match those of the liners just doesn't work.  So, in order to accomplish the drilling, I made this little jig.  It's no more than a square piece of tubing with a large hole drilled through it.  The scale gets clamped in place to the liner and the assembly gets inverted and clamped to the inside of the jig.  This essentially inverts the assembly and puts the flat side up so a hole can be drilled through the scale perpendicular to the liner.  Simple, but it works great.

Here's the handle assembled for the first time after the edges of the scales have been profile ground to match the liners.  In the photo you can see how the dovetail joint looks.  I think it's a detail worth the extra work.

The last process that I was able to complete was the shaping of the handle.  After a lot of work at the grinder and buffer, the handle is looking nice and shiny.  I really liked working with the bone.  It ground easily, polished nicely, and the final product looks great.  I'm going to have to use more of this stuff in the future.  I don't believe that I will leave the mirror finish on the bolsters.  I may texture them, or I may do my standard satin finish.  I'll mull that decision over for the next few days.

Thanks for your interest in my work and for following along with me on my knife-making adventures.

-  Brandant Robinson