Nick Wheeler Prototype Fighter. "Oh YEA "......

JParanee

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Dec 23, 2006
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Guys I am really excited about this one not that I'm not excited by everyone but there are a couple of things about this one that make this piece a bit special.

First off we all know how rare it is to get a blade from Mr Wheeler he is known for his Constant pursuit of perfection and even better known for always achieving it. (Not to put pressure on ya buddy) point being Nick is very respected for being one of the most gifted Bladesmiths out there

So the perfection part is where this story comes in

One day Nick and I where discussing my love of blades that where not finished to the point of being afraid to carry and use them. We all love those blades that are hand rubbed to the point of art in itself and I believe Nicks fine hand rubbed finishes to rival any from ancient times to present but finishes can be to the point of hell ya don't wanna use the blade

So I asked Nick if he would consider doing a blade for me that would be a little dressed down not to say a rough finish but something a little more user friendly

To Nick that means a finish that is probale better than most makers best finishes :)


So with that premise set we then started to talk about what to make. Well Nick is well known for his fighters and rightfully so the man makes a very well balanced and gorgeous fighter in fact a fighter from Nick Wheeler is one of the finest things in life :)


But there was a slight problem with that. I am not a real fighter fan sure I like them and I have a few real nice ones but in general when it comes to a knife that might have to save my life I lean towards the Fighting Bowie size class knives

After slot of years playing with knives hanging out with lots of cops who see knife injuries and seeing alot of critters die I have formed some opinions on these things. Actually I have two friends both guys that you would not want to play with that have been involved in knife on knife encounters. Both almost died both where sliced to pieces and stabbed multiple times one having his lung popped. Both survived and both said they would of rather been armed with a lead pipe so that they could of tried to stop the altercation quickly. Not had a wrestling match with a guy with a sharp pointy thing stabing them and slashing them


So I am a huge fan of some horsepower something that if used correctly and quickly can try and end an altercation quickly That would tend to leave small knives out and make the larger blades Bowie size 9 1/2 and up rule the day. Right ? Absolutely but here in lies the problem it is very difficult to carry a Bowie sized knife in all situations

So there was only one solution to make a fighter sized blade that could pack a wallop. One thing we proved with the wonderful Jason Knight Founders Bowie's was we could make a 10 inch Bowie out perform a larger blade. An esteemed member of this forum Mr York tested this and was blown away.

The way to do this is by using extreme distal taper in a blade. The king of fighting Bowie's Bill Bagwell has been screaming this for years in books and articles and his work.

A blade built this way will feel light in the hand move quickly but still have the ever so important and ignored by many magic thing called momentum which equates to power something I hold near and dear in a combat blade

So the stage was set we where gonna make in my opinion the ultimate carry fighter not a Bowie but a blade that would make other fighters feel anemic and make cuts expected of a bigger blade

It would be of a finish that would be durable and beg to be carried and used. There are a few makers out there that could pull this off and I believe Nick to be at the top of this few

The proto is born and I will be posting some pics of it coming to life starting with the initial sketches and the rough ground blade then we will proceed to more pics as it comes to life. not a true work in progress thread but something to keep some interested.

The blade will finished up to a 600 cork belt finish with a convex edge sharpened clip and yes a micarta handle. I know micarta is not loved by many but it's tuff as hell and this is gonna be a carry piece for me and after the mighty P Long dresses it. you can get a wood handle on yours if ya like :)

The dimensions are on the drawings and the heat treat will be gone into at a later date

Here we go I don't expect anybody to be as excited about this as I am but a few of ya might be

fightersecondround6.jpg


fightersecondround3.jpg


fightersecondround8.jpg


fightersecondround5.jpg


fightersecondround7.jpg
 
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Lorien

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I am almost as excited as you Joe!
 

JParanee

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Dec 23, 2006
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From Mr Wheeler

The info you asked for-

BLADE: 7-1/4" long, 1-5/8" wide at widest point, 0.275-0.300" thick at ricasso (I've got a couple closer to the 0.275 if somebody wants a little lighter one, but most are big fatties like you like )

HANDLE: 5-1/4" long, sculpted and contoured---

GUARD: 416 ss right?

So far this is what I've done.

Forged closely to shape from 1-3/4" W2 roundstock (same size as a pop can)
Thermal cycled in forge twice
Scale knocked off
Thermal cycled in digitally controlled salt bath in descending heats 1700, then 1600, then 1500, then 1400 three times.
Rough ground close to final shape
Heated in digitally controlled kiln at 1450F for 15 minutes and quenched in Park #50 quench oil
Tempered three times (one our per cycle) in digitally controlled kiln

That's it for now!




standard.jpg


standard-1.jpg


whellerfighter1.jpg



Not to get ahead of myself but :)

wheeler2.jpg
 
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Joined
Jan 21, 2000
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8,888
That's a very useful blade size/design in a very handsome package from all indications--and I'm sure with Nick putting it together it will be a remarkable piece of art capable of functioning at the highest level.

What's the spine thickness at the ricasso, Joe? And can you hazard a guess as to expected weight of the finished piece?

Thanks for posting this--looks like a tremendous project. Congratulations to all concerned.

Will

Edited to say--I see you posted the thickness while I was posting. Thanks.

On the weight, looks like maybe 13-14 oz finished? Any thoughts on that yet?
 
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JParanee

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Dec 23, 2006
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Thanks Lorien new you would be interested :)

Will there up there now having computer pronlems tonight
 
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"Oh Yea" for sure. That last photo's scary. The gang of eight.

Looking forward to this.

John
 

sheathmaker

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May 18, 2005
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Joey, this project ROCKS as the younger folks would say.

Nicky, looking most excellent so far, and only getting better with age.

I'll be looking forward to the prototype landing in Kerrville (I hope soon) for the sheath work.

Paul
 
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Joe,
This is great! I love Micarta...not because it looks cool it just works great so I totally agree with the choice :thumbup:

Can't wait to see how this rolls out.

Eric
 
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Dang... you fellas sure know how to get a guy pumped about a new project :)

Many of you that are familiar with my work, know that I normally strive for super light/fast ---- especially in a fighter. So when Joe's desire for the blade to have an "impact like a lead pipe" kept coming up, I knew I was going to HAVE to try some new things.

I've spent all this time trying to better understand heat-treating and edge geometry (two of the most important things that you don't really see in a knife).... but for the most part, only my hunters get used these days. This project is going to bring those things up to the front, and end up with a knife that will (hopefully) BEG to be used, and used hard. :)

Thank you Joe for working with me on this. It's a real eye opener to work on the design of a knife with someone who has the background, use driven desires for a knife, and the intense personality that we know and love Joe for. :) :cool: :thumbup: :)
 

JParanee

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Dec 23, 2006
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Nick that was really nice buddy but I am truly in debt to you my friend

Thanks Nick and thanks everyone
 

SharpByCoop

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Joey, this project ROCKS as the younger folks would say.

Nicky, looking most excellent so far, and only getting better with age.

I'll be looking forward to the prototype landing in Kerrville (I hope soon) for the sheath work.

Paul
Right after me, Pauly. ;)

Jimmy
 
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