Two Bowies - Part 4


This week I have finally reached the gluing phase of the manufacturing process for both knives, although I was in part hindered by working with experimental materials. Resin stabilized conk is an interesting-looking material but it is hard and brittle. Before I figured out how to work with it, I destroyed several pieces. But that is the price for gaining new knowledge.

For both, I started with drilling and cutting holes for the tang through all handle parts. I made the holes slightly oversized, it makes fitting everything together easier and I will fill the void with resin. Also, I ground the tang ends of both blades round and cut an M4 thread in them.

Once all facets intended to be glued were fitted, I glued together all parts except the hand guard and the pommel. Thus glued prefabricate I subsequently formed into a rough handle shape on the belt grinder with 40 grit belt and I nearly finalized the shape with rasps and abrasive cloths.

I infused the surface of the roughly shaped handle with resin again, this time slow-curing at room temperature. The wood dye behaved exactly as I expected and infused some parts more than others and the result looks very interesting. Unfortunately, it also happened that the wood was not perfectly stabilized, but that should now be remedied by infusing it with resin.

Once the handles were shaped, I glued to them the hand guard and the pommel, but I still did not attach the blade permanently. Now I need to grind the hand guard and the pommel to a perfect fit with the rest of the handle and before the final assembly, the hand guard needs to finish to its final surface finish. And I still have not fully decided on that.

For the small knife I am using pakfong and there the decision is easy – I will make both mirror-polished. But for the big one, I am using bronze. And that will inevitably get a patina with the passing of time. I have a few options there – I can polish it and let it gain patina with time, or I can polish it and apply artificial patina. We shall see.