Engraved Fighter with Silver wire handle inlay. This blade is 7 1/4” long and overall length is 12”. Quite a bit bigger than an average hunter but about right for a fighter. The steel is 154CM stainless. The colors you see on the blade are only skin deep are from heat treating. The colors range from smokey gray to a golden iridescent rainbow. Normally this is ground off but I liked how it looked and left it. This colorization is only on the surface and will eventually wear off like an anodized or a hot blued steel knife would wear but it should last quite a while. It doesn’t harm the blade, in fact, it will provide some extra rust resistance. The engraving starts at the rear spine, flows up and spills over on to both bolsters and then returns to the spine to spill over on to the front of the blade to slide around the maker’s mark. This required engraving the blade soft, heat treating it and then lining it all up after the bolsters were attached and finishing the engraving. It was a bit complicated – at least for me. I am new to engraving so it’s not as fancy as some but I also didn’t want to do a traditional engraving either. It’s a fairly aggressive vine and thorn with a little poison ivy thrown in to boot. The handles are curly maple and inlaid with silver wire. The 416ss bolster has been dovetailed. The sheath is custom built and fitted to this knife with a concho accent for the loop wrap around. The sheath has been cut away to show the engraving on the reverse bolster. The swedge has not been sharpened but can be easy enough. The price is SOLD.
The reverse side engraving. Look at the blade and you will see a white patch. This is where the heat treat foil touched the blade during heat treat and left a white mark. That’s just the way it is and shouldn’t be considered a flaw but some I’m sure will so I felt I should show it and it and point it out.
Here you can see the spine has been engraved. There was a lot more detail in the handle area that was lost in clean up during sanding. Once the knife is hard, it just couldn’t be brought back. The detail comes back fully by the time the vine reaches the bolster but until then, it is simply a vine with less detail.
A view that shows how the vine wraps from the spine to the bolsters and then ends up terminating under the makers mark on the blade. I think it came out OK.
This is wire inlay. You may have seen some Bill Moran knives with wire inlay in the handle since he has made several of them. The process is fairly simple in concept, in practice it’s a bit harder than that. Draw a smooth curved line, take a tiny sharp flat piece of metal, push it or pound it in the length of the line to the depth of your wire, then convince the wire to go in the slot. I choose to tap in the line since this Maple is pretty hard.
These chisels are made out of hack saw blade sharpened to a point and polished so they cut cleanly. As you chisel, you are forced to keep a smooth line while working quickly as the wood tends to close back up after a few minutes. Here you see a practice piece in the background and handle scale I am working on for my first engraved knife.
Here the initial vine has been slotted and I have started to work the wire into the slot. I will use three different sizes of sterling silver wire on each side to give the inlay some life. The idea here is to match the inlay to the engraving on the spine, knife face and bolsters. I cut these pieces of Maple specifically for the sapwood which will take on a nearly 3d appearance when finished.
Here is a picture of 2 sizes of flat wire, one measures .015”x1.6m, the other measures .010”x1.5m and comes from Rio Grande Jewelry Supply. The odd-looking hammer is actually for hammer and chisel engraving but it works perfectly for this.
Here is the knife in trial fit just before glue-up. The scales have been roughed to size and inlaid. The bolsters are attached, shaped and polished. The engraving, of course, was done initially before heat treat.
The blade shows many different colors from heat treat and cryo. Normally, this ‘scale’ is taken off after heat but I liked how it looked so I’m trying something different and I am going to leave it on. It will wear just like an anodized coating would but it sure looks cool now.
Super Bowl Sunday – half time. I finished the engraving on this one today. Here is a quick pic I took during half time dust and all. The blade keeps the heat treat patina, the handle has been inlaid with silver wire and the bolsters engraved.
(Patriots and Eagles tied at the half 7up.)
This vine and thorns wrap along both bolsters, the face of the blade and along the spine.
Here is the backside. The square-looking white spot on the blade is where the stainless steel foil touched the blade during heat treat. Gotta take the bad with good in this case. (Pats just score a touchdown. I gotta go.)