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Stormbringer

milkbaby

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Technically, I'm not finished with this knife; the handle still needs the very final oil and waxing and the blade needs final sharpening. But I was pretty excited about how it's turned out, and the wood handle is far along enough that they can be enjoyed by the Woodbarter crowd.

I don't usually name my knives, but I was sharing a dark poorly lit work-in-progress pic on my social media and "Stormbringer" popped in my head when I was posting it. It's a wide bevel gyuto (Japanese chef's knife) made from Alabama Damascus steel, blade is 245 mm long by 53 mm tall at the heel (9.65" long x 2.09" tall in MURICAN). The tip is very low with little belly/curve to the edge. This is in the gyuto style and as a nod toward one of my knifemaking brothers who makes these really straight looking edges. This knife is an R&D project that I was planning to keep for myself, so I figured why not try new things because there's no customer to disappoint.

The handle woods are Honduran rosewood burl and yellow cedar burl. HRB is one of my favorite woods because it's just so beautifully chaotic. It's interesting how different the wood as well as the blade looks in different lighting. The final finish will be a little less glossy than in the pics here, planning on more of a pretty satin sheen. I'll post a few bonus pics of some burl woods from my collection that are intended for future knives too... I find wood so beautiful it's kinda sad to cut them up and grind them away into smaller pieces sometimes! Anyhow, thanks for looking!

https://i.Rule #2/bXrfb2nh.jpg

https://i.Rule #2/sM7QAklh.jpg

https://i.Rule #2/TC4BCDQh.jpg

https://i.Rule #2/b7nW6ZJh.jpg

https://i.Rule #2/uDZzIbLh.jpg

https://i.Rule #2/lhGV4FZh.jpg

Edited to add: I'm sad that these pics don't do a good job of showing just how absolutely bonkers this HRB is. Here's an earlier pic in full sunlight, obviously overexposed, but it does give an idea of the insane beauty of this wood. It's got the burl eyes towards the top of the handle and some nice curl towards the butt.
https://i.Rule #2/9eX3iFGh.jpg

Nice day out so I took pics of this very cool block of burl... Any of y'all have more of this or guess which species?
https://i.Rule #2/cx4dibth.jpg
 
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milkbaby

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Here are the bonus wood pics...

HRB is probably my favorite wood ever.
https://i.Rule #2/4mjl2Mch.jpg

Amboyna, so classy
https://i.Rule #2/nlY2KT6h.jpg

The American knifemaker's classic: Desert ironwood
https://i.Rule #2/O5zg0gSh.jpg

Another American knifemaker's classic, black walnut but this is burl
https://i.Rule #2/ubaj4v5h.jpg

Use chittum and dey won't know wut hittum!
https://i.Rule #2/0Qh89g0h.jpg
 

ripjack13

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Marcus, that....is flippin awesome.
I really like that design and the woods go very well together.

viannen_89.gif
 

Nature Man

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That is one righteous knife! Almost brought tears to my eyes! Other wood you showed is also showstopping! Chuck
 

Wildthings

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First off OMG!!! Now on to a couple questions. How thick was the billet you started with? Secondly is the blade thinner than the spine on the top of the blade as it comes out of the scales? AND lastly if you were to show a cross section of the blade would it be diamond shapish??
 

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First off OMG!!! Now on to a couple questions. How thick was the billet you started with? Secondly is the blade thinner than the spine on the top of the blade as it comes out of the scales? AND lastly if you were to show a cross section of the blade would it be diamond shapish??

Thank you for the kind words! :thanx2:

To answer your questions, I don't remember the exact billet thickness, I think it was around 0.110". I took the risk of cold forging extra texture into the flats which is something I almost always do on my knives to enhance food release, so a small amount of thickness was lost to sanding to flatten out any warp. I would've sanded to flatten regardless just to make sure the flats were flat because a lot of steel isn't exactly flat. :)

It might look like the spine of the blade is thinner than the tang, but it's only because I round or relieve the edges of the spine (on this knife it's pretty round). Technically the spine is thinner since the corners are basically knocked/rounded off, but other than the rounded-off part it's the same width as the tang. What happened was that when I looked at the multi-part scales that I made, I realized that I wanted the scales to go up a little further beyond where I rounded the spine to show a little more of the eye burls. So that's what you're seeing in the pic.

Edited to add: If you look closely at this pic of another knife I made, you can see how the spine transitions to round outside of the handle scales. See how the light is reflecting off the top of the rounded spine, as well as how it looks "triangular" coming right out of the scales? That's where the flat tang is transitioning all the way into rounded spine.
https://i.Rule #2/DCnGhrPh.jpg

The reason I like to round or relieve the spine (as well as the choil or the back of the heel), is that when the spine is rounded a bit instead of left square, this reduces the sharp pressure points on the finger when used in a pinch grip or finger pointing grip.

Pinch grip:
https://i.Rule #2/8lixj2H.jpg

Finger pointing grip:
https://i.Rule #2/ksiG70B.jpg

Many western makers leave the spine square, but I feel this is a holdover from making non-kitchen knives like camp knives or bushcraft knives where the square edge is advantageous for using with a striker flint to start fires. In the kitchen, it's a lot more important to relieve pressure points from square edges so the knife can be comfortably used for a long time. Regardless, many people still develop callouses where their fingers contact the knife.

To answer your last question, this is ground like a Japanese wide bevel kitchen knife. It's basically like a scandi grind, though at the very edge it's better for edge stability to add a small edge bevel.

grind_types1.png


This particular knife was a "Research & Development" knife for me. Normally I like to grind a full convex along the blade face as well as distal taper where the blade thins out along the spine from the handle to the tip. This makes the tip and area behind it thin for intricate work and slicing but leaves the area towards the heel beefier to handle harder chopping work. This makes a chef's knife or gyuto a little more of an all-rounder to do everything in the kitchen. Instead this wide bevel is inbetween the scandi and high flat grinds in the diagram above. On my knife, the unetched dark forge finish portion are the parallel flats, and the etched shiny damascus pattern is the wide bevel grind. I also didn't put in distal taper, leaving it thicker at the spine so it would cut more like what Japanese kitchen knife enthusiasts have been calling a "workhorse" knife.

I don't like to do a full flat grind on a chef's knife or gyuto because food will then tend to stick more on the blade because it's in constant contact on both sides the duration of the cut. A full height convex grind progressively gets thicker from edge to spine, so while that may increase a bit of wedging, the benefit is that it helps push the cut food off the side of the blade. Note the full convex is exaggerated in the drawing above (the spine is shown much thicker so you can see what the grind is). The Japanese wide bevel is also supposed to help with food release as the angle from the wide bevel to the flats supposedly releases the cut food off the blade because the flats are no longer following the angle of the cut.

Edited to add: Here's an example from another knife I made of asymmetric convex grind. This is a right handed knife. The left side (right side in this pic with the edge up) which is in contact with the food being held is more flat and the right side is more convex which helps release the cut food from the blade. You can also see that the edge itself is a bit offset from the exact centerline of the blade.
https://i.Rule #2/KvuYkVYh.jpg

To be honest though, a good handmade full flat grind kitchen knife will also blow people away if they've only ever used factory kitchen knives. The hardness level that the steel is heat treated to will allow the edge to remain sharper for longer and to maintain much narrower cutting edge bevel angles which cut more like a thin razor than a thick axe.

Sorry to "talk" your ears off, but this is the kind of stuff I always like to geek out about! :wacko:
 
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Wildthings

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Just something off the top of your head eh??

I'm going to reread this a few times to grasp all the info here. Thanks for this great in depth article. My plan is start making a few more knives and delve into it a little deeper this year
 

milkbaby

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Just something off the top of your head eh??

I'm going to reread this a few times to grasp all the info here. Thanks for this great in depth article. My plan is start making a few more knives and delve into it a little deeper this year

Barry, I'm happy to answer any further questions you might have! If I don't know, then I probably know somebody who does. :)

Be careful about taking up knifemaking, it can be very addictive. Also another reason to hoard wood. :treehugger:
 

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This is a genuine masterpiece! Love the HRB, also my favorite wood too. I love every single crook and cranny in it. I love it and the knife too!
 

NeilYeag

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Flawlessly executed handle, and knife. How did you get those brass pins so close to the corner edges without getting any chipping or blow out?
 

milkbaby

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Flawlessly executed handle, and knife. How did you get those brass pins so close to the corner edges without getting any chipping or blow out?

Thank you for the kind words, way too kind as this is far from perfect! :thanx2:

The rear pin on the top side is way too close to the end of the handle compared to the one on the bird beak bottom side. If you look closely, there's sapwood on that one side of the rear of the handle. When I was sanding, even though I used a hard backer, the sapwood was getting sanded away faster than the steel and the heartwood. I guess I was tired and wasn't holding the sandpaper tight enough to the backer and checking my work often enough. I had to go back to the grinder and grind the handle to curve a teeny bit more which brought the pin a lot closer to the edge!
 

SubVet10

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Man, that is one fantastic blade. Every piece. I am especially digging the recess on the ricasso(? )
 

milkbaby

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Thats a sweet knife! Was the song by Deep Purple your inspiration by chance?


I believe that's the first time I ever heard that song, but I dig it! Like a lot of other people, I'm only familiar with "Smoke on the Water"...

The name popped into my head because of Michael Moorcock's novels about Elric whose sword was called Stormbringer; I think the second Elric novel is actually titled "Stormbringer". It was a black sword covered in runes that was actually a Chaos demon that devours the souls of the people the sword kills. Blue Oyster Cult wrote the song "Black Blade" with Moorcock and it's the first song on their 1980 album Cultosaurus Erectus.
 
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