Saturday, May 7, 2011

My Final Project: Part IV

My camera battery was dead while I was making my handle, so I'll have to describe it. I found a great piece of tiger maple just the right size. I squared all the sides of it and marked the centers of the ends, and drilled a small hole all the way through it, from both ends. This was to be the pathway for my first attempt at burning a hole into the handle. The way this is done is heating the end of the blade's tang to a red heat, and forcing it through the pilot hole. Smoke comes out and it burns the shape of the tang, but it takes many, many heats, and one must be very careful to hold it perfectly straight or it may go off course. I think this may have happened to me, and it was a time-consuming and somewhat frustrating process, but I was pleased with the experience.

Next time, I know to make the tang more gradual in its taper, heat the blade up hotter, and drill a bigger hole, rather than make it too small like I did, which allowed for some wandering of the hot tang in the handle and a crack in the wood when I pushed it too far.

Next, I made the bronze bolster for the bottom (blade end) of the handle. I found a piece just the right size and drilled holes the size of the blade. I drilled much bigger holes on the back so the only sawing and filing I would have to do would be on a smaller thickness, and there would be more space for the glue to expand when I glued the bolster on. Here I am with the forever-breaking jeweler's saw:

Here is my bolster laid out:

After that was finished, I used my new knot-drawing and carving skills!

Maple is much nicer to carve than the walnut I've experience previously. It's harder, but far far less rippy, and could have looked extremely nice if I'd had the time with it. Unfortunately, I could only carve roughly and the finishing wasn't complete! It looks authentic though, if not the absolute best of my ability.

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