Another Big One

A customer wanted a custom based on the knife seen in the movie "Predator". I generally won't make an exact copy of another knifemakers work but this one is different enough that I am comfortable with it. I changed the blade design to more of a Bowie style but most noticeably we added a D-Guard.

As usual I started with a drawing. I exchanged email with the customer as we tweaked the design a little until we had a plan.

This is going to be a big knife with a 14 1/2" blade and about 20" overall. The blade steel will be 1/4" thick 154 CM, 2 1/2" wide with a bead blasted finish. It will have a stainless steel D-guard and ebony sub-hilt handle.

I make my drawings full scale so I can them them to use as templates for cutting my pieces.

I traced the blade onto a bar of 154 CM steel.

After cutting out the blank and profiling the shape its time to start grinding. This is the rough grind. I will grind it again with finer grit belts after heat treatment for the finish grind. Freehand grinding a blade this big is a challenge. It takes a lot of practice and a steady hand to keep the grinds even and straight. I'll actually have 3 different edges to grind on this one as the top and bottom will be sharpened.

Now to start milling the big D-guard from stainless steel.

Here I have my main parts; the rough ground blade, the D-guard and a block of ebony that will be the handle. I also need to mill another stainless steel finger guard for the sub-hilt handle.

After the rough grind and heat treating, I bead blasted the blade.

As I said, this is going to be a big one!

Now I start fitting the handle pieces and the guard. This looks simple enough but it turned out to be a real challenge. The curve in the handle made this a real Chinese puzzle to get everything to fit right. I must have reworked that guard a dozen times and replaced the ebony twice before I got it right.

After a LOT of shaping, fitting, sanding and polishing its finally coming together. I really under estimated the hours for this one but I do like a challenge and it was that.

I wanted a good contrast between the grinds and the bead blasted flats of the blade but I didn't want to polish them because I wanted to keep the crisp grind lines. I accomplish this by doing a lot of grinding with successively finer grits, going through 120, 400, 600, 800, 1200, 2500 and finally 3000 grit belts until the grinds were almost polished.

Now to etch the customers initials on the guard, make the sheath and sharpen the blade.......

Finally finished! This one was a challenge but I am happy with the results.

Another good project out the door. Thanks Steve!

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