Monday, January 14, 2013

Bar stock to Blade part 3 of 3

Rough shaped handle scales dry fitted
In the last segment I covered grinding and heat treating of the blades, now we need handles, sheaths and a final edge. Not a lot of photos from these steps as I was rushing to meet my deadline and didn’t stop to take a lot of pictures. After heat treating the blades I clean them up starting at 220 grit and working up to 1000 grit. This is a tedious process and if you rush it, it shows. Once the blades were up to 1000 grit polish, they get a buffing on a sisal wheel with #2 polishing grit. I’m not going for mirror finish but wanted some shine.

Glue up of handles with epoxy
For handle material I chose G10 Canvas Micarta in Green/Black layers that produce a camo style pattern when the handles are shaped. Handle design are traced on the micarta, then tape the handle scales together with double sided tape and rough them out on the bandsaw. Then clean them up on the belt sander. Drill the holes for pins once this is complete and attach them to the blades using epoxy and ¼” stainless pins. Let the epoxy cure for at least 36 hours. Since these are going to be abused and used, the handle isn’t going to be pretty in the classical sense. The goal was to ensure a positive grip, even with cold wet hands or gloves. I like highly polished wood and bone handles, but not when I’m quartering a moose in the dark and it’s snowing.

The knife with the recurved tip is going to a war zone, and however unlikely it will be used in close quarters combat, it had to be considered. This is where the heavy choital and thumbrest come into play along with an aggressive grip.

Kydex initial sheath molding

Per customer request, the sheath was to be Kydex with a large molle lock. I used heavy .09” kydex and molded it in the press. Gunmetal eyelets secure the sheath together and allow the molle lock screws to act as tension control. A heat gun is used for final molding and making a thumb break that you push against to draw out the knife. The molle lock allows the sheath to be orientated any direction on a belt or molle type harness.

Finally I grind an initial edge on a slow speed wet stone, then hone it using a paper wheel and polishing compound. This one will shave a bit, but didn’t take it to razor edge as it would be hard to maintain in the field like that.
Final product with kydex sheath, on its way to war right now.

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