added this to the wip sticky
Some time ago I foolishly took on two commissions for solid gold handled knives. I finally got up enough courage to give both of them a go. Having held out for years, I have caved in and purchased a cell phone to let me post on Instagram. It also makes it easy to do a little WIP, so I thought I would give it a go with this project. Some progress photos of the first one:
I decided to use hidden screw construction for this project, a first for me on a lockback folder.
Profile cut out and filing to final dimensions.
Inlay pockets and sculpting filed to near completion.
Photobucket is not co-operating very well, so I will try to add more a little later.
added this to the wip sticky
can you mail me all the filings and dust ? looks like its going to be awesome.
Website : http://www.johnaprilknives.com
That's just magnificent....that and I cannot believe that slab of gold!!!!
The blade and gold accent are incredible....
Rest in Peace my friend...see you on the other side.
NRA LIFE/ENDOWMENT MEMBER
Ready to start the inlays. I usually closely fit a pattern made from thin aluminum sheet first. This is then transferred to the inlay material, in this case Bertie Rietfeldt damascus. Making a pattern first provides a closer initial fit of the inlay material.
Inlay material cut out, and redy for repeated trial fitting and filing until a slight press fit without visible gaps is achieved. It can be a bit of a tedious process at times.
Final fit with the inlay bottomed out in the pocket.
File working the inlay.
I love it. You glossed over how you prepared the pockets for the inlay. Is that something you would not mind sharing with us? Please .
I am just loving this process, by the way.
Please visit my website: www.professorsforge.com
So very interesting!
Thanks for the insight as to the basic steps and progression for a project of this level!
I find it amazing what you achieve with files...... Inspirational!
Thank you for taking the time.
Member, W.F. Moran Jr. Foundation
I really like where this is going! I really appreciate the time involved in making one of your masterpieces and that you documented it to share. Thanks for posting Wolfe.
May I ask you a question about the templates for the inlays. Can you let us in on the secret to how you get the template to be preciously the same size as the inlay pocket? I have trouble with this even with something simple like an oval. Is your template exactly the same as the pocket or is there a margin for error that you work around when finish profiling the the damascus inlay?
I always assumed folks used something like a pantograph for something like this but I know that is not your style. Once the pocket is complete and you start the template to finish pressing the damascus in would you mind telling us the amount of time that takes?
Its just hard to wrap my brain around something like this without some mechanical advantage. I say that a lot when looking at art knives but thanks to you showing us this, its obvious there is no mechanical wizardry going on behind the scenes!
Once the inlay pocket is filed out, I use tape pressed over the inlay pocket to get an outline. This is then stuck onto thin aluminum sheet and cut out. The aluminum "inlay" is then fitted exactly like the final inlay material will be done. It is much quicker though, since aluminum is so easy to file. It is fitted very closely to the inlay pocket no gaps larger than .003". I then trace the outline onto the inlay material. This gives me some guidelines for fitting. The fitting process consists of laying the inlay over the pocket, marking the high spots and removing them by filing. Repeat endless times until the inlay fits the outline, and bottoms out in the pocket at the same time.
The damascus inlay shown here took about 12 hours of fitting, not including the file work. You must remember though that I have done hundreds of these, since each knife can contain 20 to 30 separate inlays.
It can be frustrating at times when complicated shapes are involved.
Other makers may use different methods, the way I do them is certainly not very efficient. But since I am self taught, it is the way I have always done it. I am just comfortable with slow but steady.
Last edited by wolfeknives; 03-12-2017 at 01:48 AM.
Mother of pearl cut out and almost ready for fitting.
Mother of pearl panels fitted, file worked and sanded.
All inlays completed. The knife and some of the inlays now need some final sanding and polishing. I will be getting Coop to photograph the knife and will post it here.
There has been much discussion as to what constitutes a handmade knife. For me, there is sufficient handwork in this piece to qualify as "Handmade", and I do sell it as such.
Wolfe, that's a beauty even in the imcomplete stage, as my imagination is filling in the rest. Beyond admirable.
" Tantum religio potuit suadere malorum "
Impressive and I'd hate to think what that costs! How does the blade open?
I handle and shoot SO many fine knives, including yours, that they have become commodities with little time spent understanding the actual build process. Moving along.... next!
Like looking at a fine watch, all that work just appears to have been done without fanfare and with ease.
And then I get to see the process, and it's MESSY. How can such beauty arrive from the coarse filings and rough edges.
On a scale of 1-10 defining handmade, this would be a nine. (Only if you ground out the metal with your teeth could it get any higher.) LOL!
Thank you for pulling back the curtain. I hope to see you and this at the ECCKS in one week.
Really enjoy seeing some of the steps in the making of your beautiful knives. Thanks for posting this.
Where do you get the special shaped files to do all that intricate work if I might ask?
Thank you for the WIP
Describe please the measures taken to contain and reclaim/reuse the gold filings.
Is ZERO waste your goal?
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