This project began with a knife designed similarly to a classic Russell knife and included some modifications such as a deeper and more even belly curve, and a higher, thinner bevel, as specified by the client.
The raw material was a section of a huge bandsaw blade, 12″ wide, double edged, that would have run on 10′ wheels in a mill. Bandsaw steel is subject to constant stress and flexing and is usually L6, known for toughness and difficulty in tempering. Before this project, I made a test blade with the steel and found that the Japanese style clay tempering process with a warm water quench worked very well with this steel. Because this is not a traditional Japanese design, I brought out the hamon a little more than usual as a striking visual accent and left a soft matte grey finish on the steel.
The clean, simple handle was hand hewn and carved from a large twisted section of Desert Ironwood. Known for its beautiful variation of colours and grain as much as for its hardness, this wood is not easy to shape but well worth the effort. Hand made copper rivets slightly proud of the wooden scales give a very traditional look.
Blade construction is muku and it has a strong hamon (temper line) as well as some interesting surface activity from the clay tempering process. The handle has been coated with pure tung oil for a totally natural finish. The blade is about 4.5″ long and the overall length is around 9.5″.
Material: Reclaimed mill bandsaw steel, reclaimed copper cable, Desert Ironwood
This piece is currently in a private collection on Vancouver Island.
Interesting surface activity as martensite crystals dance like aurora above the hamon (clay tempering line).
Coated with clay in preparation for the hardening and tempering process.
The original piece, used by the client since the 1970’s. One side of the blade marked, “Anton Wingen J, Solingen – Germany”, the other with a logo, “Othello, Solingen Germany” and “Yukon Hunter”.