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A Ton of Work No One Will See

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by Valkman, Jul 15, 2008.

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  1. Valkman

    Valkman Member

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    Except for whoever reads this, I guess! :)

    When I went out to the shop last night to start working, this is what I was looking at:

    [​IMG]

    First I sharpened and etched my logo on the Super Camp on the bottom and now had all those Fighters in the middle to work on. Look about ready for heat treat? No. Not even close! :fire:

    First I set up the grinder with a 1" rubber wheel and a 60 grit belt and ground out the 2 choils per knife. Then each handle area got painted with blue Dykem and I laid out the pin holes with a caliper. Each knife is different since they're hand made so each much be measured and laid out. I only did the CPMD2 knives as they're much different from the ATS-34 knives and much heavier. I was determined to lighten them up some. :)

    Over on the drill press I used a 1/4" drill bit to drill the pin holes and lanyard tubing hole, then started drilling "lightening" holes. I drilled 2 or 3 between the rear pin hole and lanyard tube hole, then a bunch in front of the front pin hole. Then I take a carbide "G" bit and run it through the pin and lanyard tubing holes as a 1/4" pin will not fit in a 1/4" hole. The "G" bit doesn't take much more out, just a little and that's what's needed. Drilling all these holes in CPMD2 is not fun and looking at the expanse of steel between the pin holes I decided to go to the mill rather than stand at the drill press all night.

    I set up the mill with a 1/2" end mill and plunged it in like a drill bit near the rear pin hole, and once it was through locked it down and hit the power feed to move it towards the front pin hole. When it got near there I stopped it, got the knife out and did another. I wound up with the 5 CPMD2 knives all done and ready for heat treat but it took all night to get this done! Tough stuff for sure.

    Here's what they look like now - Browning's is on the right and it's a hair under 5.5". After heat treat I'll cover up all that work with the handles - sniff. :( Ah well, on to the ATS-34 ones tonight, and they'll be easier.

    [​IMG]

    I hope you like this glimpse into making knives - it's not unusual for knifemakers to drill 20 or 30 holes in the tang to balance the knife. All of our work isn't glamorous like those.... those "tinkers" who just sharpen stuff. :D

    I have steel for 6 more in CPMD2 and I have to get those made also!
     
  2. 1 old 0311

    1 old 0311 member

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    Great work. Be proud!
     
  3. Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow

    Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow member

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    Awesome - I do indeed enjoy seeing how a craftsman such as you does his work. :)
     
  4. wheelgunslinger

    wheelgunslinger Member

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    Me too.
    More pics!
     
  5. Valkman

    Valkman Member

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    Thanks, I thought some might be interested. Little steps mean so much, like drilling out of the pin holes with a "G" bit. I've gotten knives back from heat treat to find I didn't do that step - that's why I now have carbide bits. After heat treat drilling this stuff is very difficult but doable with the right bits.
     
  6. Eleven Mike

    Eleven Mike Member

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    I once made the mistake of deciding that my Barteaux Machete needed a thong hole in the front part of the handle. Wow, that was a long, tough job. I can only presume you use a harder steel/heat treat than what I was working on.
     
  7. Brian Dale

    Brian Dale Member

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    Wow - that's impressive. Many of your terms and techniques are over my head, but I get the point, and I understand the goal: weight and balance are important.

    Your title caught my eye, and I do know what it's like: :eek: I'm doing a major expansion and remodeling of the kitchen right now. I hope whoever invented carbide bits and saw blades got very rich. ;)

    Edited to clarify: I know what it's like to put effort into what will not be seen. I'm not claiming skill at metal working. Great stuff, Valkman! Thanks for bringing us in to see it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2008
  8. Smokey Joe

    Smokey Joe Member

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    Niiiiiiice!

    Valkman--It's always a pleasure to see a craftsman at work. Or his work. I'm not a knifemaker, I'm a knife appreciater.

    Question: About how do your knives Rockwell scale for hardness when finished?

    That finished Super Camp is nice looking. Just looked @ yr website (nice arrangement, BTW) and the fighters are very nice also.

    What's the deal by which you send knives to the military?
     
  9. Valkman

    Valkman Member

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    I tell Paul Bos what I'd like the steel hardness to be and he makes it happen. I usually tell him 58-60 Rc and the last time I wanted to drill a 1/8" hole in hardened CPMD2 I had to use a carbide end mill - a drill bit just "walked around". I tried to centerpunch it and it flattened the centerpunch! :)
     
  10. Valkman

    Valkman Member

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    Joe, I just sent 3 Fighter's by way of the MAP program that Dan at Relentless Knives has. Try www.relentlessknives.com and look for the MAP Program. I also have a customer who wants to outfit some Marine spec ops guys and we're working on that deal right now.

    Anyway, it's out to the shop for me and I'll take more pics!
     
  11. sm

    sm member

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    Valkman,

    I can truly appreciate what you and other craftsman do.
    There is a l-o-t of thinking ahead on prep work, many steps ahead, that make the finished and polished product what it is.

    Thank you for sharing with pictures, and I await more sharing from you.
     
  12. The Tourist

    The Tourist member

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    Valkman, if I ever migrate to NV, can I come stay at your house? Yikes, the knives look fan-tas-tic!
     
  13. Valkman

    Valkman Member

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    You know Chico, I had a kid (29) ask me about stuff and he wanted to make knives. He lives here in town so I told him to come over and he couldn't believe it. He came that night and has never shown up again.

    If I had ever EVER ever had the chance to work with a knifemaker I'd of been camped on his lawn waitiing to get in. I told this guy he'd be making what I did in 1 year instead of the 3 it took me leaning everything the hard way. Ah well, guess he found something more important.

    Yes, I'd teach anyone who wants to learn. Many do it and many charge for it but it's a way to lean that's invaluable.

    More pics and stuff soon.
     
  14. The Tourist

    The Tourist member

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    Funny you should mention that. I just got an invitation to a "grind in" from Mike Stewart over at Bark River Knives.

    As you know, there are about six really serious working tinkers who haunt the Keeping Sharp section of Knife Forums. Mike had heard some of us discuss "paste and glass" polished edges, but I got the idea he had never seen one.

    Last week I sent him a mirror polished Veff fillet knife to test. While he did not care for the knife itself, he got to see a mirrored edge.

    His invitation was out of the blue, and I'm flattered. Now I'm scrampling to switch my schedule around. It's only a four hour drive from my home.
     
  15. Valkman

    Valkman Member

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    I'm going to WA, probably in Sept., to learn from Todd Begg for 3 days. It's $700 but you get him to teach you anything you want for that time - and he's a master machinist besides being an awesome knifemaker. One way or another I'm going!

    Anyway, tonight I got the 7 ATS-34 Fighters ready for heat treat. I like big handles and this knife has a 6" handle, a lot of steel especially since when I'm done grinding I've removed 2/3rds of the steel from the blade. Some have told me they like a knife to be handle heavy and not to drill holes, but I like balance in a fighter and since no one in the Group Buy has requested a heavy handle I'm drilling them all.

    If you look at my Super Camp, I don't drill any extra holes:

    [​IMG]

    Being 1/4" steel and having a 5" handle it's already balanced just the way it is.

    So here I lay out where the holes will be:

    [​IMG]

    I just drill the lanyard hole where I feel like - it doesn't matter much.

    My drill presses - I only use the 2 bigger ones:

    [​IMG]

    Just drilled the pin holes and lanyard tube hole:

    [​IMG]

    Now just drill a whole bunch more!

    [​IMG]

    Over 20 holes each, 7 knives, and went back over the pin holes and lanyard tube hole with a new G bit. Sanded down any ridges from drilling on the 9" disk grinder, used acetone to remove any blue stuff and etched my intials and "ATS-34" into each knife as Paul Bos requests.

    [​IMG]

    12 done for Bos now, but you can include up to 20 for the same price. Now I'll make 6 more Fighters from scratch out of the 2 remaining bars of CPMD2 (visible by the drill presses with the tape at the top) and profile some CPMD2 Small Skinners. As soon as those are done off to heat treat they go!

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Tom Krein

    Tom Krein Member

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    Looks good Don. Give me a call sometime...

    479-233-0508

    Tom
     
  17. ChrisVV

    ChrisVV Member

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    nice to see people take pride in their work, thanks for documenting it.
     
  18. lordgroom

    lordgroom Member

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    Thanks for posting your progree and explaining. It is fascinating. You do great work!
     
  19. Browning

    Browning Member

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    So that's the one huh?

    Cooooal! :D

    I'm getting kind of excited.
     
  20. Eleven Mike

    Eleven Mike Member

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    Hey Browning,

    Wait until after the heat treat, then tell him you want all kinds of little custom touches. :)
     
  21. Browning

    Browning Member

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    Hmmm, that's a good idea. ;)

    Maybe have last name stamped on the hilt or something.
     
  22. Valkman

    Valkman Member

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    Thanks Tom - folks here's a guy that could show me a lot. I struggle to get 20 knives ready for HT and gets 200 ready. I could learn a ton from him.

    Yep, that's when most ask for that and I say NO! LOL
     
  23. PTK

    PTK Member

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    That settles it, I'm buying one of your knives in the near future.
     
  24. Valkman

    Valkman Member

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    They're like Dorito's - buy all you want and I'll make more! :D

    Man what a day! A local guy called about ordering a knife and I told him to come on over, so he did and he ordered 2 knives and bought the one Landshark I had done and for sale. He brought the page from Blade about my Super Camp so I signed it for him. I love that stuff!

    Then I called Tom Krein and had a great time talking to him. Knifemakers are not all equal in talent and Tom is far above me on the knifemaking "ladder". I love talking to other knifemakers and that was a lot of fun.

    Dang, now I'll have to go do actual work! :p
     
  25. TrapperReady

    TrapperReady Member

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    Don - With all the fun you're having (and all the work you're doing), you aren't talking about your shoulder anymore. Is it better? Or are you just living with it?
     
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