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Ed Caffrey's Workshop Talk to Ed Caffrey ... The Montana Bladesmith! Tips, tricks and more from an ABS Mastersmith.

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Old 09-06-2014, 02:17 AM
Jeremy Jeremy is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Idaho
Posts: 234
Clear examples of how not to make knives...

Sooooo, I'm what you call a really slow knife maker. I think, then I ponder, and eventually I finally move. I have a problem as well with knowing how I want something to look and my skills not being there yet, too. This has equalled more knives in the unfinished state, broken, or in the shame bucket than I have completed.

But-I have been doing much better lately (or so I thought). I have 3 full tang bird and trout knives I made and only 1 got ruined after a heat treating incident. But shoot-I'll take 3 out of 4 at this stage. I was also working on 4 hidden tang hunters. Left one of them behind when the guard fit was painfully bad. Got the other 3 handle blocks pinned and epoxied up and shaped the guards. Again, I thought things were going swimmingly. I was grinding the handles today when disaster struck-the ironwood went down first....I found the epoxy.... I grumbled and moved on, then the Cocobolo one went down the same way.

I decided to beat the handles off with a hammer as I actually have a deadline for these to be done and that's next weekend. I cut some more wood and thought I'd at least made it through with the flame maple one. Then I looked closer and took some sand paper to it. 3 for 3....

I cut some more wood and went to working on getting them slotted for the now slightly narrower tangs (trying to help myself out for round 2). There were a few times I thought I was going to throw something at the wall-I was having fits trying to get that last tiny gap gone between wood and guard... But, somehow I managed to get all three worked out and they're now pinned and epoxied.

I'd say miracles happen, but the jury's still out on these... The lousy thing is, I've been having to travel a lot recently for work and only have my weekends to get much done. At least I got them glued up tonight. Now they can set up and I can go to handle shaping like a madman (slow, methodical, and enjoying the journey) late tomorrow.

So, lessons learned: pay more attention to the tang slot when deciding my handle shapes. Then, don't grind into said tang slot. Aren't hobbies supposed to be fun...?

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Old 09-06-2014, 08:57 AM
jmccustomknives jmccustomknives is offline
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Alabama
Posts: 554
That style of handle is tough some times. I feel your pain. What's fun is when everything goes together like it should and you go to drill out the pin only to find out some residual hardening took place in the quench.
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Old 09-09-2014, 12:56 PM
Jon Kelly Jon Kelly is offline
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Montana, USA
Posts: 21
Jeremy, Hang in there. It will come to you through persistence and much trial and error. I have far more blades and finished knives in the junk drawer than I have successfully produced for sale, and fully expect to ruin (LEARN ON) quite a few more. The most important thing is to enjoy the process, and never send out a knife that is not a fair representation of your skills at the present time. Ed's work, along with many others, will sometimes make us feel like tossing our lowly creations in the garbage, however on a good day their work gives me a reason to push through the hard times and get serious about my growth as a maker. I no longer put time deadlines on my projects; knife making itself is stressful enough at times.
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Old 09-10-2014, 07:20 AM
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Ed Caffrey Ed Caffrey is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Great Falls, Montana, USA
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All I can think is...... Some days YOU eat the bear.....and some days the bear eats you! Can't count the number of times I've been in the same situation.

"Nobody cares what you know.....until they know you care."
See me at table 2Q at the Blade Show!
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Old 09-10-2014, 07:52 PM
Jeremy Jeremy is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Idaho
Posts: 234
Ya, definitely got eaten on that day . But glad that I'm in good company. On the plus side, it appears I'm good to go on two of the three for this weekend. Could've been worse, so I'm thankful.

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bee, epoxy, fixed blade, full tang, grind in, grinding, guard, guards, hammer, handle, heat, hidden, hidden tang, ironwood, knife, knives, made, make, maple, problem, sand, tang, throw, tiny, wood

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