Friday, October 11, 2013

Gentlemanly Pursuits

This is part one of an idea I started a year ago and am just wrapping up part one. I enjoy outdoor pursuits of almost every kind and like most outdoors people I long for those days when hunting required tweed vests and fishing was done with bamboo flyrods. It seemed each item was crafted by an expert and it was just as much fun to maintain your gear as it was to use it. Oh, yes I'm nostalgic for a time I never lived, the days of WDM Bell and Jim Corbett. Which brings me to the idea of a gentlemen's combination for the field; a matched set of bird and trout knives and tobacco pipes. I've always enjoyed upland bird hunting, it is a great way to spend a day. You can talk while working a field and catch up with friends while pursuing game over a fine hound. It's not about tromping mountains or carrying giant packs through swamps, its a relaxing pursuit and the tools should reflect this effort. They should be crafted to the task and be of the finest quality.
The shorter three are the bird and trout knives. 3/16" 01 tool steel, all being fit with brass bolsters and choice wood. The longer blade is for a Major sorting out some nefarious fellows abroad.

Etched blades and olive wood handles
Fitting and roughing out handle blocks

Wet fit 8oz leather belt sheaths

I did everything on these knives in house. I cut and ground the blades by hand, heat treated in my kiln. The olive wood was cut from larger block and hand fit and finished to each knife. The sheaths were made from a piece of vegetable tanned leather, just a big piece of cowhide. In these days when many "custom" gun and knife makers are nothing more than assembly men for factory made parts I think it is important to be truthful of who makes what. These are all mine, even the minor flaws that no one but me will ever see.

Now it is on to making the matching pipes to complete these sets. It just so happens my oldest friend ordered this set, now we just have to make time to pursue birds together again.  

Finished, 6 coats of tung oil on the handles to build up depth and a wax finish over the top. Double etched blades to create a pattern on the steel. 8.5" overall with a  3.5" cutting edge. The leather is finished in oil and wax as well. I despise tools that are hard to maintain, a little regular maintenance will keep this set going for a couple generations.

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