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  • 1 Post By Shelley

Thread: making a knife and a sheath part 6 - knife done, sheath musings

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2014

    making a knife and a sheath part 6 - knife done, sheath musings

    So its taken quite a lot of sandpaper, starting from 80 grit and working up to 1200 wet and dry lubed with boiled linseed oil, which is a science in its own right.

    First off I used the 80 grit and managed to get rid of the saw cuts on the bolts and wood but it was pretty slow going, so with some trepidation I pulled out a toy I have has very little success with in the past - a dremel, these things are devil tools, they look fun and easy but I have never had much luck, but after watching some youtube vids on knife making I decided to try it once more but with the speed turned way down, well damn, it worked, no more burning up the wood and much more control, with that I managed to get the shape done, and although the finish was rubbish it took a lot of material off, then I switched to 180 grit sand paper until I ran out of that, 240 was next, and that was ok, but it kept ripping on me, so I dug out some 400 and had much better results, also I started to get a really nice feel to it, the wood grain started to "pop" and the scratches from the dremel and rough stuff started to go, 800 was next and this both enhanced the grain and smoothness, but also showed up all the scratches and uneven stuff so I used up all my 800 and then my 1000 fixing that, eventually I got rid of the scratches, and needed t go the next step, 1200 was key and with this I went through several sheets cut into thin strips with the blade in a vice slowly hand working the shape.

    Once I was happy with the shape (although it was fatter than I had thought it would be, but I figure I can always take off more later, but adding it going to be tough), I took a test piece of handle wood I had cut off and saved, polished it to 1200 and added boiled linseed oil to see what the result would be.

    Being a wood handle I wanted to treat it and the options were oil, wax or varnish.
    Danish oil is a mixture of varnish and oil and that was vaguely tempting but the more I read the less I wanted varnish, while it may be a protective cover I could imaging it chipping easily, wax has some advantaged but I have used that on wood before and it seems to wear off too quickly, that left oils, oils have some advantages and some disadvantages, first off they tend to be hydrophobic by nature, meaning that water and other stuff will not be absorbed easily, but they are not absolute so stuff will eventually get in, I read about Tung oil, but could not readily find any, olive oil was an option but in the end I went for flax seed oil, or as it is commonly called Linseed oil.
    Linseed oil come it two varieties, raw linseed oil (which takes forever to dry properly) and boiled linseed oil, which is supposed to speed up the drying process, now boiled linseed is not really boiled any more, it used to be but now it has nasty chemicals added to it which duplicates the boiling process. You do notarially want those chemicals getting on to your freshly killed game so some way of trapping the oil into the handle can be a good idea, also boiled linseed oil oxidises over time, which makes it go darker (although it may be light sensitive - opinions differ) and also loses its waterproofness. The other thing about linseed oil is that it tends to add a slight amber colour to wood, which I wanted, when first applied.
    With that decided I rubbed it with oil, then sanded it down, then sanded it with wet and dry lubed in oil to get rid of any swelling of the grain from absorbing the oil, several days of rubbing and drying went by until I had the colour I wanted then I went for one further step, I carefully painted the wood with superglue. WTF you say, well so did I but I read about the process and it seems this will stop the oil from oxidising and is also waterproof, so its a win win process, and if I did not like it I could sand it off...I even read about one guy who adds 40 coats of the stuff, with sanding in between and his work looks stunning, luckily its not a super smooth finish as I was worried about and the handle, even when wet still has a good grip, it looks good to.

    Next is the sheath, this requires carful thought, I could make one, this means buying tools and leather to finish the project, now I did but a bit of leather to give it a go but all I could find was prodded and quite soft leather, not what I had in mind, I did find what I was looking for but in whole hides whereas I only need about one square foot, not twenty! Still I will have a play with this and see what I can come up with, other options:
    1) Get HGD to make me a sheath
    2) Order a premade sheath and try and make the knife fit, there are several makers who sell on the web.
    3) search harder for better leather and get some tools and dyes to do the job properly

    I will muse on this, anyway here some photos of the finished knife...

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    Toby likes this.

  2. #2
    Member JoshC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Bloody nice work Shelley. You did a nice job of that handle. I like the shape of the blade too.
    I'm drawn to the mountains and the bush, it's where life is clear, where the world makes the most sense.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Thanks Josh, nice of you to say so.



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