Saturday, November 19, 2016

Paring Knife Complete

The paring knife for my wife's kitchen set is now finished.  Here are a few photos showing the build.

Here's a group shot showing the four knives.  As you can see, I have started the grind on the paring knife.  I'll take this knife through to completion before I start the next.

This is a close up of the blade after receiving a 600 grit hand-rubbed finish.

All ready for some bolsters.

Here are the front bolsters after they have been drilled and fit to the blade.  I have them pinned together and I'm putting a 600 grit finish on the face of the bolsters.

Now, the front bolsters get a 30 degree dovetail that will lock in the scales.

Here the bolsters have been peened onto the blade and the pins have been ground down.

This is a spine shot to show off the dovetails.

The Micarta scales get attached in a similar way except they are not peened in place yet, just held in place until the rear bolsters are attached.

Here's the knife after the rear bolsters have been attached and the scales epoxied in place.  Looks like a hot mess at this point, but it gets better soon.

Looks much better now.  After a trip to the grinder, the handle gets ground down to a pleasing and comfortable shape to hold.  At this point the handle has been taken to 120 grit.  I will take the finish all the way up to 1200 grit.

And here's a somewhat decent pic of the finished knife.  Looks pretty darn good and feels even better in the hand.  Only three more to go before the big day.  I sure hope I can pull all of this together in time for Christmas.  If not, it might turn into a Valentines gift.  Thanks for following along with me on this build.  Now, on to the boning knife.

- Brandant Robinson

Monday, November 14, 2016

Another Chef Set

I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend.  First of all, I wanted to give a shout out to all of our Veterans out there, those who served and who are currently serving.  A heartfelt thank you from a simple man in Southern Utah.  I deeply appreciate your service to our country and to my family.

Since Christmas is approaching, I decided to put the Guardian Knife on hold for a few weeks in order to kick out a gift for my sweet wife.  I have made her a couple mismatched kitchen knives in the past, which honestly make me cringe each time I use them.  I made them several years ago when my skills weren't the best.  They are heavy, clunky, poorly finished, and the edge geometry is pretty poor.  I decided to make her a matching set of knives of the same design that I used for my daughter's set which I made this past summer.  Hopefully I can get these done before the big day.  Here is some of the progress on this new set.

This pic shows the four knives in the set.  They are from top to bottom: paring knife, utility or vegetable knife, boning or carving knife, and the chef's knife.  These are all made from 1/8" thick 440C steel.  At this stage, all knives have been profiled, pin holes have been drilled, and the tang weight reduced by drilling additional holes.  These knives will all get front and rear bolsters made from 416 stainless steel, just like my daughter's set.  I have some maroon Micarta that I will be using for the scales.  Micarta is very stable and works great for knives that around a lot of water like these knives will be.  It's also really easy to work with and doesn't present the same challenges as working with natural materials.  Not to mention, I think this particular Micarta looks great on a finished knife.

The next step was to taper the tangs.  To my eye, a tappered tang speeks volumes about the finished knife.  It shows the makers skills, as it's not an easy thing to accomplish, it helps to balance out the weight of the knife, and asthetically, it looks really sharp (no pun intended).  I taper my tangs freehand on the flat platen on my grinder.  I use a welder's magnet to hold the knife against the platen as I grind.  It works pretty well.  I'll true the tapers up on my disk grinder and granite surface plate during the finish process after they are heat treated.

Here's a group shot after all four knives have gone through the heat treatment process.  Each was hardened, plate quenched, deep-cold treated with dry ice, and double tempered.  The steel is as close to peek performing specifications for this type of knife that I can get it.  Most makers will grind the bevels or hollows before they heat treat their blades.  I'm always worried about warpage, especially with the long, skinny boning knife.  So, I opted to grind these blades post-heat treat.  It costs me a little more for grinding time and belt ware, but it's worth it to me.

I had enough time to get started on the paring knife grind.  I took it up to 220 grit before I had to leave the shop.  I might try taking these knives up to a mirror polish, or maybe my standard 600 grit satin finish, or I just might just leave a belt finish on them.  I haven't quite decided to what level I want to finish them.  I guess I'll have to watch the clock to see how much time I have to work on them before zero hour.

Thanks for following along with me on this new build.  We'll get back to the Guardian as soon as these knives are done.  I'm anxious to see how those LSCF scales look on the finished piece.  See you next week.

-  Brandant Robinson

Monday, November 7, 2016

Guardian Knife Begins

Time to start a new knife.  I purchased some really cool lightning strike carbon fiber (LSCF) scales a month or two ago and have been itching to give it a try.  As this kind of material would look good on a tactical style knife, I decided to build one of my Guardians, since it's design is as close to tactical as I have.

This build may be interrupted by some Christmas knife projects that I have planned to start on just as soon as the materials come in, but I thought I would go ahead and begin this new folder.  Here are a few pics of the progress on the Guardian knife.

As always, here is how a knife looks in the beginning stages, all raw materials ready to be shaped at the will of the artisan.  CPM154 for the blade, 440C for the spacer (overkill I know, but I had a piece the perfect size), 416 for the bolsters, 6AL4V titanium liners, and LSCF for the scales.

Here are the handles after the bolsters and scales have been fastned to the liners.  At this point it looks like some random chunks screwed together, but I'll grind them to the right profile in the next step.  I didn't get any pics of the blade, but I did managed to get it profiled and heat treated before finishing up for the weekend.

Here is a final look at the handles.  The LSCF is some cool looking stuff, even at this rough stage, but it's really messy material to work with.  Black powder gets everywhere and the stuff made my hands all itchy like when you work with fiberglass insulation.  Hopefully the final look of the knife will be worth the discomfort.  Thanks for following along with me on this build.  Your comments are always welcome.

-  Brandant Robinson

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Woodcarving Knives and Father/Son Time

Well, it's been a while since I've posted anything here on the Robinson Edge.  I haven't done much work on any folders for the last couple of weeks.  I've been itching to get back into doing some woodcarving, so I decided to make myself a new carving knife to maybe spark my interest again. Since I was making one, I decided to make a bunch and sell them to my woodcarving friends over on my sister website at The Old Stump.  They have been well received and I've already sold half of them.  Here's a crummy group photo of the knives and a couple closeups of my favorites:

Admittedly, they are kind of blaw and primitive when compared to my handmade folders, but this is where I got my start into knife making.  Still, they are kind of cool in their own right and you won't find a better carving knife anywhere.  The blades are made from 1/16" thick O1 tool steel which are mortised into the handles with dovetails and epoxy, so there's no way these blades are coming out of their handles.

This last weekend I had the privilege of spending a few hours in my shop with my oldest son.  He asked if I would teach him how to build a knife, so I jumped at the chance to pass on some knowledge and spend some quality time with my boy.  He picked out one of my folder patterns and started roughing things out.  In fact, we got his blade through heat treat, so he's well on his way. We'll see if he can stick with it to the end.  He's a great kid and I've enjoyed helping him along.  Best few hours that I've spend in my shop in a long time.

-  Brandant Robinson