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Posts Tagged ‘hand forged’

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.

osageburn

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

osageburn2

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.

briar10843

1084, Walnut, and Italian Briar for the bolster.

johnL

1084, Peach wood,and copper

walnut1095

1095, Walnut

lignum1095

1095, Lignum Vitae

lignumbrass

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

petrknife
petrknife2
petrknife3
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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.

brokenback

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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Here is a project that I just finished up, it’s a kit that I made to be used for mushroom hunting and wild foraging. It consists of a knife, a trowel, a brush, and a bag to carry your finds out of the forest.

 

The knife is another laminated blade with a copper guard, antler, and oak that I darkened with vinegar and iron filings. The sheath is leather with copper reinforcements and a depiction of fiddleheads growing on the bottom of the sheath.

 

 

The trowel is a piece of an old cymbal, iron, copper, and cherry. The brush is boars hair, and antler.

 

The bag is stitched out of burlap, and the patch on it is a hand cut hand printed block print done by my wife Rosie.

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I generally use new materials on all my knives, especially for the blades.  With a lot of used materials there is no telling what it’s really made of (metallurgically speaking) so it can be difficult to get the best heat treat out of the steel. When I sell a knife I like to have peace of mind, and know how it will preform over long term use.  There are some things that I love to repurpose for blades though, and good quality files are among my favorites.

This blade is made from an old Nicholson file that was dulled beyond use for much of anything, however it makes a wonderful knife! The handle is a black walnut cutoff from a local wood worker that I know  Chris Otto. The blade is 4″, and is very handy for all sorts of different tasks. This knife is for sale at my etsy store.

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