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Mittwoch, 11. März 2015

Those were the days... an old knife rediscovered

 There is an advantage to being a chaotical character... you can always rediscover things you thought were long lost.;-) I recently found this knife in my attic-turned home and it made me a bit melancholic. It is one of the knives I forged in the garden of my old home with a dirt forge, with charcoal and an old vacuum cleaner for a bellows in, wait, is that 2002?. Originally the blade was a lot longer. It was forged from file steel, and it was intended as a seax. There also was a swan´s neck lanyard loop at the end of the handle. It´s a full tang blade, but the handle goes around the tang. Now I have always been a funny chap, and yeah, I know you do not throw seaxes at hardwood logs. But as it turns out, I did, and the tip broke off, for I had my heat treating not that wired in ´em days. I always used very little tempering, misjudging the need for monstrous edge retention;-), meaning, many of the file steel blades I made in these days were so hard (and brittle) they could easily cut glass. I was that naïve I was even proud of it!:-D This took the beating relatively well, for it had been quenched in a Bainite concoction after the "curicus und offen hertzig wein artzt" from the 1700s and has a monstrous spine thickness.

So, the damage was done, but it was a great knife so far out of a great steel, so I simply heated the thing all in all, with a wrapping of wet rags around the handle and took the hardness down to 59 - 60 HRC and then redid the tip with careful grinding and even put a kind of hollow grind and a fuller on it. Since the proportions were so awkward after that I hacksawed off the swan´s neck and put a butt cap on. I also carved the burned-coloured stag antler handle with some spiral ornaments and made the somewhat weird leather sheath for it.

The steel, the heat treating and the grind now work in unison to make it a most able cutter in spite of the spine thickness.
 
Whenever I am a bit doubtful about my work I remember this knife and then I realize there´s always more than one way to do things, and you can save a lot by improvising.

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