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Knifemaking - Damascus Ringed Fighter
A big san mai damascus ringed fighter with sheep horn handle for a previous customer.

Order Details:
In addition of the sketch of the knife the customer sent me, we arranged the following:
- 3/16" thick blade of a San Mai damascus with O1 in the middle.
- Coppered damascus bolsters.
- 1/8" thick sheep stag handle slabs.
- 1" diameter forefinger ring.

Knife making process
This is the sketch of the knife the customer sent me. (Picture 1)

I prepared three damascus billets to test a drop hammer a fellow knifemaker built. I also wanted to see if I could get some extra help on this damascus. This knife's billet is the one next to the hammer on the firt picture and the bottom one on the second. (Pictures 2 and 3)

Placing the billet on the oven and hammering it a bit. (Pictures 4, 5 and 6)

Testing the drop hammer. (Pictures 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11)
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Picture 1   Picture 2   Picture 3   Picture 4   Picture 5   Picture 6   Picture 7   Picture 8
Testing the drop hammer. (Pictures 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11)

The drop hammer didn't have enough weight installed to hammer strong enough, but I managed to get the billet a little longuer.
In the middle of the forging the billet started to get loose from the supporting bar from the heat and hammering, so I had to reinforce the welding. (Pictures 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16)
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Picture 9   Picture 10   Picture 11   Picture 12   Picture 13   Picture 14   Picture 15   Picture 16
I kept on forging the next day at my workshop, and just to show that this is not an exact science, after hammering the billet, I discovered it was a bit shorter than what I needed, so I needed to forge a new billet. (Pictures 17 and 18)

This is the making of the canister with the different steels inside to place later in the oven to heat it and then forge it. It has O1 in the center, and layers of 1010 and 1070 surrounding it. (Pictures 19, 20, 21 and 22)

This is how I made the hole on the steel and then hammer it to accomodate it to the right position. (Pictures 23, 24, 25, 26 and 27)
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Picture 17   Picture 18   Picture 19   Picture 20   Picture 21   Picture 22   Picture 23   Picture 24
After I had the holes and flatened steel, I cutted a stencil in paper, a little bigger than the knife so I had some room later for the grinding stage and glued it to the steel with contact cement. (Picture 28)

On this detail, you can see the stencil hole matches the steel hole. (Picture 29)

I don't use laser or plasma cutters or saws, so I modeled the steel bar into shape with a hand grinder. (Pictures 30, 31 and 32)
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Picture 25   Picture 26   Picture 27   Picture 28   Picture 29   Picture 30   Picture 31   Picture 32
After I finished that, the steel had the proper shape, but still very rough. (Picture 33)

Smoothing it with a bench grinder. (Picture 34)

Knife blank. (Pictures 35 and 36)

Grinding lines (Those curves were really hard to make) and my sugestion for the customer: the front bolster should be bigger, to provide a better finger rest with a firmer grip. (Picture 37)

This was the hardest knife to grind I have ever make, and I'm really proud of how it turned out. I made some bevels wider than on the original design to show the damascus and O1 patterns better. (Pictures 38, 39, 40, 41, 42 and 43)
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Picture 33   Picture 34   Picture 35   Picture 36   Picture 37   Picture 38   Picture 39   Picture 40
Here's how I prepared the sheep stag to be used on the knife.
First I cutted the stag in 3 parts so I could place it on a pot. (Picture 44)

I boiled the pieces of stag so they become elastic. (Picture 45)

Right after the boiling bath, ready to be flattened. (Picture 46)

On the horizontal press. (Picture 47)

Flattened stag, already marked with the aproximate shape of the handle slabs to be cutted. (Picture 48)
Knifemaking - Damascus Ringed Fighter   Knifemaking - Damascus Ringed Fighter   Knifemaking - Damascus Ringed Fighter   Knifemaking - Damascus Ringed Fighter   Knifemaking - Damascus Ringed Fighter   Knifemaking - Damascus Ringed Fighter   Knifemaking - Damascus Ringed Fighter   Knifemaking - Damascus Ringed Fighter
Picture 41   Picture 42   Picture 43   Picture 44   Picture 45   Picture 46   Picture 47   Picture 48
Cutted slabs and damascus steel marked for the bolsters. (Pictures 49 and 50)

In order to secure the bolsters and not use screws or pins (which I don't like on fixed blade's bolsters) I use a tin alloy bar to add a film to the back of the bolster so I can weld it later to the knife. (Picture 51)

Same treatment on the knife. (Picture 52)

Then I pressed both pieces in position and then heated it with a torch to the melting point of the alloy (aprox 270 C)
When it colds, the welding is perfect, so I can take it off the grip. (Pictures 53 and 54)

This is how I secure the scales on knives so I don't rely only on the pins/screws. Placing the scales on place to test the fit (check out the oversized slabs so I have extra room to polish it properly later) The blade isn't coppered, just looks that way because of the lightning. (Picture 55)

Putting poliester resin on the back of the scale. (Picture 56)
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Picture 49   Picture 50   Picture 51   Picture 52   Picture 53   Picture 54   Picture 55   Picture 56
On the press for a proper glueing. (Pictures 57 and 58)

Sanding the bolsters and slabs. (Pictures 59 and 60)

Almost ready to place it again in acid, to get the pattern on the bolsters and a little more etching in the blade.
All the drawings are a long process, as I have to protect this parts now for the acid, and later to copper just the bolsters I have to protect the slabs again and the blade and spine on the handle so that doesn't get coppered too. The knife is still missing the thumb serrations. (Picture 61)

Showing the point of balance. (Picture 62)

A preview of the just etched bolsters before coppering them. Instead of screws, I used 7 copper pins to secure the slabs to match the coppered bolsters. (Picture 63)
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Picture 57   Picture 58   Picture 59   Picture 60   Picture 61   Picture 62   Picture 63    
Finished Knife
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