We will be at Brewster in Bloom this weekend. It is our first craft show ever! We have been working around the clock on a brand new batch of knives. We have a new sanding technique for the blades and the finishes on these new knives is coming out really nice. Here is a sneak peak of where we are at with 2 days to go. The last knife is sold but I like it a lot. Tt has a sassafras handle which Tom and I are both highly allergic to the dust from so making a knife with this on is a labor of love which takes about 2 weeks to recover from. I do love it though.
The forecast was gloom and doom. The morning was overcast and we even felt a drop of rain while setting up. I had a conversation with the Thunder Beings letting them know how important the day was to me and they saw their way to letting it be a beautiful day. Brian Dimmock of the Knotted Devil Manufactory and Forged in Fire was present and made a cutlass!! We made a couple of sets of wheel barrow axle brackets for a landscaper that happened to be there and made loops on the end of rebar posts for one of the event organizers to use to rope off areas. We then worked on a dagger while Brian’s apprentice Dave worked on armor and repaired a viking warriors helmet that had met with some Dane ax blows and was not up to the job. We made it into pictures on Capecod.com. Our apprentice Marwin was on hand and made it into some of the pictures as well. The day ended with us meeting a really cool knife maker from Virginia who just moved up to Wareham a few months ago Matthew Lajoie and we can not wait to hang out and make some knives with him.
We have three of the four knives made from an old Land Rover coil spring finished. We have a bird and trout knife with cherry burl and a red liner. We have a bush craft knife with ebony and a yellow liner and a beautiful bird and trout with brass and snake wood with a black liner. The fourth knife is a Skinner which we finished forging today and will hopefully be finished in a couple of days. The Skinner having a taller blade then the others required us to upset the spring forcing more metal into a smaller area. Our first attempt using the springs normal size ended up with the metal being far to thin. Coil spring steel is really great steel for making knives out of . It is hard and flexible. However it has the ability to air harden which makes it impossible to anneal and drill so all holes need to be hand punched while hot. I like the end result but it is really hard making a knife out of spring steel compared to other steels we work with.
So we have been keeping busy recently with custom orders. As a matter of fact most of the sales we have been making are custom orders. The requests are often strange and unusual but I guess we like the challenge We finished up a model 1855 Prussian pioneer sword rehandleing project. We also got three of a four knife order forged to shape out of a land rover coil spring. We also took on a project to make a Seax out of grand dads meat cleaver which should arrive sometime next week. The handle of the Prussian sword was made from the old method of stacking birch bark into a handle. It is quite involved but in the end makes a nice looking and sturdy handle. Enjoy the pictures of the process.
April 29th 10-4 at Mashpee Middle school will be the Cape Cod Mini Makers Faire.
Cape Cod Cutlery will be in attendance. We will be co sponsoring a Black smithing demo along with the local chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronisms of which we are also a part. We hope to have local medieval weapon smith Rusty Griffin at the Anvil along with weapon and armor smith Brian Dimmock. These master craftsmen will be joined by Cape Cod Cutlery and the local metal workers group within the SCA. There will also be fighting and fencing and music and dance and all sorts of other demonstrations of the things we do in the SCA. You can of course purchase Cape Cod Cutlery knives as well. We look forward to seeing you there and come see people make things by hand. If you don’t make something ask yourself, “why not ?” If you don’t know what you will like to make come on down there are plenty of people to help you figure it out.
If you have been following this blog for a while you have seen us make knives out of recycled materials. You have heard me explain how just like every person who owns a Great Dane wishes they had a dollar for every time they were asked if “they had a saddle for that thing?” knife makers are always asked the same questions. Have you ever made a knife out of a ….. ? Well up until now I have be able to say yes to files, yes to rail road spikes, yes to lawn mower blades, yes to saw blades but no leaf springs. My friend Fergus who has connections in the auto repair world got us a set of truck leaf springs. So here it is our first leaf spring knife. Our number one customer Jon asked for a Nessmuck as a gift for his brother who is an outdoors guy who likes to bush craft. so we took the idea of our Nessmuck and Camp Chopper and modified it. We had new steel and a new project so the path was clear. The steel was incredibly tough even after two annelings it ate through cut off wheels and belts. We left the original spring thickness of 1/4 inch in the spine to give it weight for chopping and tapered the handle for comfort so it did not feel like you were swinging a leaf spring. To make a big knife like this still be usable without tiring you out we lightened it by drilling holes in the handle and giving the blade a deep hollow grind. The bevel was brought up high like a kitchen knife so it is super sharp for the fine work but the steel along the edge is still thick enough for the hard work. The handle is Walnut with one brass and one mosaic pin. Our in shop sheath guy Ken is getting better at his craft too! The sheath is comfortable and attractive with a glossy waterproof finish. Happy Birthday Bro! hope you use it in good health for many years to come!
So you get into knife making cause you want to make a knife. Then you think I could sell this and pay for my hobby. Then you think I could sell these and do this for a living. Then you realize you have to take your product to market which is an entirely different skill set then making a knife. From a knife makers stand point this should be as simple as getting a table and laying the knives out flat in neat rows so people can look at them. However, after your first trip to a craft show or farmers market you realize it is just not that simple. Some people spend hours setting up their booth with very elaborate displays. In an effort to broaden our flat table world view we are trying to add some height in the back and some variety of presentation. We were going to go with an ocean theme but could not find any drift wood so we went with chunks of Cherry burls, because that is what we had on hand. We then messed with some flower pots and bricks. Someone suggested magnetic strips in the wood. The long and the short of it is we are messing with presentation. If you have any good ideas please help us with developing a new skill set.
Removing the blade and end cap was tricky. The blade had been glued in as had the silver cap on the end. We were not sure how things worked so we chiseled off the end cap to find that it had been brazed to a rod and glued in one end of the knife. The blade came out with a little twist and the round short tang offered little resistance. We tried to make a blade out of the steel. Here it is hammered flat on the right. We ground it into a long and elegant filet knife but after 3 efforts at hardening the back half of the blade would not take a temper. So we switched to Plan B. We had a file from Johnson Brothers File Co. circa 1860-1914. We turned it into a multipurpose outdoor knife with a much beefier tang. So in the end the wedding knife from the 1800’s met a file from the 1800’s and lived happily ever after.