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From Bearing to Bowie - a Knife by Stuart Branson

RogerP

Gold Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2002
Messages
13,329
Greetings all,

I thought you might enjoy a peek at Stuart’s latest knife.

I had long been a fan of Ed Fowler’s bowies, but cost a rarity have kept them at bay. I always figured that one day I’d have someone make me a knife in that general style, and when I saw some of Stuart’s Fowler-inspired hunters, I knew the day had come.

Stuart posted a very detailed WIP thread on Ed’s forum, which I followed closely and with much enjoyment. What a great example of the positive impact of the internet age on the craft of knifemaking, where, through photos, videos and forum posts, Stuart could virtually invite Ed into his shop and obtain advice, input and encouragement from the man himself. And invite us all along for the ride as well.

Anyway, for those who want to enjoy the full story, you may check it out here:

http://knifetalkonline.com/smf/index.php?topic=1297.0

What follows is a truncated summary that will still hopefully convey the transition from bearing to bowie.

And here’s where it all started.

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That is one thick, SOLID sphere of 52100 and I did NOT envy Stuart the chore of pounding that into a blade – particularly doing so by hand, and particularly when using one hand to try to swing a 20 lb hammer:

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Stuart ultimately enlisted spousal support in holding the bearing to he could swing that beast of a hammer with two hands. And he’s got a cool vid showing that very thing which hopefully he can add here.

After more pounding than I’m sure Stuart would like to recall, a knifelike object began to emerge:

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Preliminary grinding done, ready for heat treating:

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Further grinding:

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Blade hand sanded:

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Blade etched to reveal the activity in the steel:

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Part 1 of 2
 
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RogerP

Gold Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2002
Messages
13,329
Time to turn our attention to handle material.

First, here’s a look at the sketch of the overall design:

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A composite handle of wood with horn was contemplated from the outset, based upon a similar combination that Stuart had tried in a nice large Fowler-styled hunter.

I had a wide variety of premium wood to choose from, but went with the flame grained walnut in the bottom left corner:

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Here is the wood block with the horn segment and a couple alternatives:

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We ultimately decided that the horn would provide the bets contrast with the blued / etched mild steel guard.

Here is the whole deal all glued up:

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And finally, the finished knife:

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A sheath is in the works, after which the knife will be heading east – and I can’t wait!

It would be an understatement to say that it has been a pleasure working with Stuart on this piece – particularly since I was doing absolutely nothing that resembled work. But I certainly admire and respect all that Stuart put into this piece – and being able to watch it unfold, with challenges overcome along the way, will only serve to increase my enjoyment of the final product.

Roger
 
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SharpByCoop

Enjoying the discussions
Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
Joined
Oct 8, 2001
Messages
11,979
A fitting tribute to Ed's signature style, and another remarkable knife from a fresh maker.

Eyes wide open! Nice one Stuart!

Coop
 

sheathmaker

Custom Leather Sheaths
Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
Joined
May 18, 2005
Messages
4,605
Hey Stuart! One word......Superb!!!:thumbup::thumbup::thumbup:

I know the sheath is going to be equally impressive.

Edited to add: I went over to "Knife Talk" and viewed and read the whole thing and.....Just WOW! Talk about a HAND MADE knife.

Roger, my friend, this is truly one to be proud of.

Paul
 
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Joined
Nov 14, 2006
Messages
1,109
Awesome knife, awesome thread. I love it. That etched 52100 has a great look to it.

Tad
 

Jon Brand

Gold Member
Joined
May 28, 2007
Messages
4,336
Thats a cool knife Roger. Are you gonna chop with it?
 
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Joined
Oct 29, 2006
Messages
2,909
Thanks everyone.. I took about 60+ photos and several videos for this WIP.. I think I show my methods to share what others have taught me and also to garner any criticisms and tips to improve my own knifemaking. And having Ed talk me through the process was about as good as I can manage at the moment from being at Willow Bow. What a treat and an honour. I have utmost respect for Ed's theories, methods and results. I tried the best I could to stick to these as I made this blade.

Here's a couple pics I liked that show a little of the process. This is the series of the forging. Reducing the billet, each of these photos is about 2 or more hours of hammering and at least a 1/2 hour to heat up the bearing. The last forging session was the longest and from the rough billet took about 3 1/2 hours to get the blade shape.

WIP_1.jpg

WIP_2.jpg

WIP_3.jpg

WIP_4.jpg

WIP_5.jpg

WIP_6.jpg

WIP_7.jpg

WIP_8.jpg


And here's that video of my wife helping while I swing the 20lb'er.

[youtube]ERh5e0YaMvg[/youtube]

And this one was the jig I made up (the proto, I made a better one later)

WIP_9.jpg
 
Joined
Apr 17, 2003
Messages
5,283
amazing work! utilizing recycled materials is something I enjoy more then buying in everything I need ready to shape.
 

Lorien

Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
Joined
Dec 5, 2005
Messages
20,641
SO AWESOME!
Way to go, you guys!!!
:thumbup::thumbup::thumbup:
 

Kohai999

Second Degree Cutter
Platinum Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2003
Messages
12,554
That is one of the finest knives I have ever seen of the genre....all the beauty inspired by The Master, with the additions of some thoughtful material choices result in aesthetic bliss, and hopefully, exceptional performance.

Well done Stuart, and you are most fortunate to have initiated this project Roger!

Best Regards,

STeven Garsson
 
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