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Posts Tagged ‘bushcraft’

I’ve been really busy with custom orders lately, but I thought I’d make time to make a knife that doesn’t already have a buyer. This one is diver salvaged red oak from lake superior, copper, and 1084 high carbon steel. The sheath is vegetable tanned leather with a beeswax coating. Go to my etsy from more info.

 

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Here is a little knife I just finished up. It’s got a 1095 blade with a nice distal taper, and it’s pretty much zero ground, which means the edge is nearly sharp before you even hone it.

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The handle is some Black Oak that has been sitting on the bottom of Lake Superior for over 100 years. When all the old growth virgin timber was being logged in the upper peninsula of Michigan and Canada  there were a lot of logs that were lost to the bottom of that frigid water. Recently there have been people diving down and salvaging those long lost timbers.

In addition to the Oak the handle has a piece of moose antler, with a classic ring and dot motif and a copper bolster.

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The sheath is hand stitched vegetable tanned leather, stamped with the ring and dot motif as well. It has a copper reinforcement, leather hanger, and antler button.

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This knife is for sale. Please visit my etsy store for more information.

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Several seasons ago I was asked by a customer to make an everyday knife for him. He’d be traveling all over the world, and needed something useful and reliable.  On his latest visit home he told me that, without realizing it he dropped his knife at the edge of a camp fire over night. When he found it in the morning the handle was burned, but other than that the knife was in fine shape. However, since the handle was smaller it didn’t really fit in the sheath anymore.  I made a new sheath for it, and sharpened it up. He wanted to keep the burned handle, and I’m glad he did.

The wood used on this knife was Osage Orange, I chose it because it’s natural oils help it remain stable in changing climates. I never would have guessed that it would hold up so well to being in a campfire!

Notice how the middle pin acted as a heat sink, the area right around it isn’t burned.

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This end, with the exposed tang can be used as a bottle opener now!

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Here are the new and old sheaths next to each other.

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I’m a big fan of simple, well made things, and knives are no exception. I have the utmost respect for bladesmiths who spend so much time with carvings, scrimshaw, and inlays in their work, but for me at this point in time, that’s just not how I express my idea of a knife to the world.

I’m also a huge fan of small knives, which I think at this point is rather obvious to anyone looking at my work. The old timers say that the better you are with a knife, the smaller your knife generally is.  The knife I carry around on a daily basis has a 2 1/2″ blade and a very simple lilac handle. I’m not saying I’m good with a knife, just that my preference is for smaller blades.  Now there are plenty of folks who use larger knives and are excellent with them, my point isn’t to say one knife is better than the next… that’s stupid.

So here are some knives I’ve been working on, simple little guys for the most part.

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1084, Walnut, and Italian Briar for the bolster.

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1084, Peach wood,and copper

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1095, Walnut

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1095, Lignum Vitae

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1084, Lignum Vitae, and brass

Some of these knives are for sale at my etsy shop.  Other are already sold.

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Here is a small little knife I made for a friend. It is a simple design that isn’t based off of anything other than my own thoughts. It’s intended to be a useful knife that is also nice to look at.

The blade is wrought iron/1084. The handle is beechwood, antler, and brass. The sheath is vegetable tanned cow leather.

Dimensions are:

Blade: 70mm
Handle: 95mm
thickness: 4mm

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One of my wonderful repeat customers asked me to make him a Viking style every day sort of knife that he could use for small game hunting, eating, and camping.  I decided not to follow a strict historical pattern, rather I was influenced by many different archeological finds and my own imagination.  I wanted a relatively simple design with little adornment, and a traditional look.

Here is the result.

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The blade is made of 1084 high carbon steel. The spine is a little over 3/16″, and the length is about 5″

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The handle is made of Red Oak that I darkened with a vinegar and iron mixture. It’s about 5″ as well

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This type of sheath holds the knife very tightly. To make it easier to draw out, a copper ring is added onto the back of the knife.

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Finally a sheath is made of thick vegetable tanned leather. It is coated in beeswax and has a leather hanger.

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There is a certain aesthetic that I prefer for my knives, and part of my goal is to really develop my own voice in this craft.  However, in order to truly find your style I feel that it takes years of experimentation. You must be open to new designs and techniques, or you will  become stagnant.  I suppose this goes for all aspects of life, not just craft.
This summer and fall have been quite busy for me, in personal life, and work. Here are a few knives that I completed from August to October.

First up is a custom order for a knife and spork set. Laminated blade with curly oak handle.

A traditional Scottish Sgian dubh that was made for a customer’s son’s wedding.  Much simpler, and cleaner than I prefer, but it was very rewarding to make.

Here is a style that I love, I actually based it off of my own knife that I made myself many years ago. The handle is local peach wood.

Being a blacksmith first I welcome jobs like this bottle opener.

I always try to keep some less expensive knives in stock.


Here is another departure from my normal style, very clean, but hopefully it still has character.

Finally a larger knife, somewhat of a camp knife. I’m experimenting with different size blades. It is my desire to make a useful tool, and lots of big blades are far to fat, heavy, and have much too obtuse of a cutting edge. this one is durable, and light.

Some of these blades are available for purchase on my etsy site. www.etsy.com/people/NateRunalsBlacksmith

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