Wednesday, February 9, 2011
I regularly make knives from files, and wrap the handles with leather cord, but decided to try something new. The handle here is spalted poplar, the colors and pattern are caused by a fungus that invades the wood. Too much spalt and you get decay, somewhere between healthy wood and punky wood you get a sound piece with amazing color patterns.
I call this my Schmoo knife, which dates me I'm afraid. Anybody out there remember the Schmoo from the Lil' Abner comic strip? Used to read it every Sunday as a kid. Google it if you want.
The blade is a new material for me too- it's a floor scraper blade, you can buy them from the big box home improvement type stores. They mount in a tool one would use to remove linoleum from a floor you wanted to re-do. They're hardened steel, half inch or so wide, 8 inches ling and .035 inches thick. That's bout half the thickness of the blades I generally make from files, and they tend to flex a bit. They are softer than my files too, I'd guess RC 59 or 60 (estimate files to be RC63 or more), so they can flex a bit without breading. They're easy to grind, the blank fits in a bandsaw slot. A little epoxy and away you go.
I tried to make the handle and the blade flow together- most wood handled knives are a piece of steel stuck in a hole in the end of a piece of wood, and they look it. I also kept the circular feature at the pommel end I use in my leather wrapped knives, a little 'signature' item for me. I could wish for better pics, the color is less than true and the overall shape of the knife is less than clear. The photographed side of the knife is the more spectacularly spalted side, the opposite side lost it's pattern as I carved. it was bound to happen, Murphy says so. I'm glad one side held the coloring so well.
This one is shipping out- payment to the man who gave me the wood I made the handle from. I did not get to carve with it past the test cuts I take when making a knife. I have enough wood to make a couple more, with luck I'll get to make myself on this weekend.....
So, Whittle on, even if you only have a Whittle time- the chores can wait.