Copper Bowie

January 17, 2009

Finally Finished Copper Bowie

I’ll be working on my Copper Bowie today. Right now, I have to shape the feral where it meets the guard……have to do that before assembly or I won’t be able to later. Might also heat treat today…..if not possibly tomorrow.

Finally finished the Copper Bowie… has a 10″ blade, 15″ OAL. The guard and butt plate are copper & the handle is spalted maple. This is a through tang design with the tang threaded by a 10/32 nut and also to the butt plate.

4 Responses to “Copper Bowie”

  1. bobbywett said

    Messed up the handle on the Copper Bowie….had to start from scratch with a new piece of material. I actually like this handle material better….gaining more skills with each mistake. This new handle material appears to be spalted maple, really beautiful stuff. Got most of the new handle shaped today….hoping to heat treat tomorrow.

  2. Bob said

    AFC and NFC Championship games today….sounds like a great time to do a little heat treating. Gonna prepare the Copper Bowie by sanding out a few nicks (acquired during handle fitting/shaping) and finishing to 320 grit or so. Most of my knives are edge quenched….just the edge gets hardened and then drawn back to relieve stress. This is supposed to give the best results for the type of steel I use (1095 High Carbon). The Heat Treat sequence is as follows:

    Heat the blade up in my forge until around 1400 degrees or until the metal becomes non-magnetic.

    Place the blade edge down into the quenching solution (mix of used motor/hydraulic oil, candle wax, and bacon grease). Just the cutting edge or 1 third of the blade is submerged. After 15 to 30 seconds, the rest of the blade is submerged. The blade is now allowed to set in the quench until it can be handled with bare hands, just warm. This is usually about another minute or so.

    Now the blade is taken inside to an already warm 425 degree toaster oven and heated for an hour. Then placed on a cooling rack until it reaches room temperature. This cycle is completed 3 times.

    According to the professionals, this sequence will leave the blade in an optimal state for usability. The edge should be hard enough to accept sharpening/resharpening, but not so hard that it breaks. The remaining two thirds of the blade should be soft enough so that a light flex occurs during heavy cutting/chopping chores. Another result of this hardening procedure, is the “Hamon” or Heat Treat” line that clearly separates the edged quenched portion of the blade from the supple back. High grit sanding usually brings out the best lines.

    Before any of this I normalize the blade’s carbon molecules by heating the blade to non-magnetic and then holding or soaking for about a minute. Then I allow the blade to cool at room temperature in still air. This sequence is performed 3 times.

    Back later, time to heat treat.

  3. Bob said

    Cracked the blade during heat treat….very disappointed. Got some e-mails in to forums and friends to see if I can salvage a smaller blade….and find out what might have gone wrong. Oh well, such is the life of a newbie…..

  4. Bob said

    Cracked the blade during heat treating, will have to start a new one from scratch.

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