Making of… «The Tom»
After finishing “The Hein” I still had a piece of the original file left over. It was big enough to make another knife out of, with hidden tang this time. I took some more pictures and you can clearly see the original branding; it’s a Nicholson lathe file, made in Holland:
A few hours of filing, sanding, and thinking about a nice combination for the handle later I get to this: a knife blank with a traditional drop point and a few thumb grooves. The handle will be made of another piece of file for the bolster, a bit of palisander (rosewood), cow bone and olive wood.
When fitted together it looks like this.A picture of the heat treating (I remembered this time ;)). This is very primitive, I just set fire to a heap of charcoal and BBQ brickets and keep the oxygen level high by blowing on it with a hair dryer. This generates enough heat to get the blanks to the critical temperature of the steel (non-magnetic state). Then I quench them in used kitchen oil (sunflower seed and olive oil) which I have pre-heated with a different piece of red hot metal.
After the hardening process I clean up the blade to remove the cooked-on oil and let it temper in the oven for a few hours. This allows the steel to rearrange its molecules and become a bit more flexible and not so brittle (does that sounds sciency enough?).
I glue all the parts of the handle together with two-component epoxy glue and when it’s dried/cured (check the glue manufacturer’s indications) I start shaping it with my belt sander and sandpaper up to 600 grid.
When I’m satisfied with the shape I give it a couple of coats of Danish Oil, letting it dry in between. After two coats or so I give it another sanding with 600 paper, this will make a gooey mess of the wood dust and the oil which will penetrate in the pores of the wood, making it more resistant to water and any other grease and dirt. Then I keep adding coats of Danish Oil until the wood seems saturated and it takes longer and longer to dry. I give it a good buff with a cotton cloth and we’re done.
Last thing to do is to sharpen the knife and take the final photos with the nice sheath I made for it.