Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Frontline Order

Well day one of '13 and I'm already back at making knives. A couple major things happened to help trigger this:
1. Christmas is over and all my presents were made and delivered on time!
2. I finished my fireplace after nine months!
3. A Marine on the front lines put an order in.

#3 is where the motivation really came from to be honest. I apologize to all my other customers, but front line orders go to the front of the list AUTOMATICALLY. All other orders are put on hold. So if you really want a Knives of Malta original, just go to combat and place an order. I took this stance because this why I started making knives in the first place and Randall Knives has the same policy. I'm a hobbyist, but if you need a knife maker to idolize, you could do worse.

So I thought what a great opportunity to share with everyone the steps it takes to get a knife to a warrior ASAP. Luckily I still have a piece of 1095 HC CRA in the shop. Well if you are going to make one prototype, then you might as well make two. This order was my favorite type, "Need a Utility knife for Afghanistan, do your thing." Meaning I have free reign and alot riding on this.

First step is to sketch a design in my notebook, luckily I had a rough idea for an all around survival/utility already in the works. I make the sketch on .25" grid for sizing, then trace and cut a template.

 The page to the right has various sketches and the cutout paper templates at the bottom that I'll transfer to the bar stock.
I use a good 'ol fashion sharpie to trace the pattern onto the steel stock. I then rough cut them out to give me the basic shape. They then go to the grinder for final rough shaping. My cutting blade blew up and I only got two blanks cut today.

 Sidebar: You can see my big Porter Cable grinder on my bench in the background and the blanks on the bench. The tool in the foreground is a 1"x42" belt sander from @ 1980. It removes alot of stock quickly and will remove your fingerprints if you aren't careful. I cobbled together a dust shield today out of scrap kydex. This keeps the mettle from hitting me in the face, always a plus.
Here are the two blanks finished with rough grinding and leveled using 100 grit. The next step will be to begin the grind of the edge bevel followed by heat treating and handle fitting. My goal is to get them in the post within two weeks. Overall length is 8.5" with a 4" blade 1.5" tall for reference.

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