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  • Writer's pictureBrandant Robinson

The Talon Knife Begins

Well, the wedding is over and now my son is married and I have a brand new daughter-in-law. Family is everything to me! The one thing that I regret though is that I didn't get a chance to take any photographs of the finished kitchen knife set before I gave it to them. It's really a shame since they turned out so nice and it would have been good to document them. Oh well. I may have to take my camera with me the next time I go to visit him and take a couple pics then. If I do, I'll be sure to share.

The kitchen knife build was fun, but I'm so glad to be back to making folders again. This next knife, which I have dubbed the Talon, is a custom order for a client on the west coast. This is a completely new design, so this knife will be the prototype of that design. It's something very different than what I have made in the past and it should be an exciting new challenge. Let's get going.

Here is the blade for the Talon knife which has been profiled, drilled, and has already been through heat treatment. It's a hawksbill design which is something new for me. I'm a little apprehensive about grinding the bevels on this blade, so I made a second blade at the same time, just in case I mess things up. The steel is my favorite CPM 154 that I use on most of my knives.

Here is my hardness tester. I really love this little gizmo. I always knew that my blades were hitting a good hardness balance since they performed so well, but now I have empirical data to back things up. This blade is a solid HRC61. Perfect for this steel.

Here is the gathering of raw materials. It's always hard for me to believe that inside this pile of stuff lies a beautiful custom knife. This knife will get titanium liners and back spacer, copper bolsters, and red shred marble carbon fiber scales.

Here are the major components rough cut and ready for profiling.

The copper that I have is 3/16" thick, which is about 1/16" too thick. 1/8" is ideal, but I can't seem to find bar stock in that thickness. Since my shop-built surface grinder has a magnetic chuck, and copper is non-magnetic, I superglued the copper pieces to a piece of precision ground steel which will stick to the magnetic chuck for grinding. I use the same method to surface grind the titanium back spacer down to specs as well.

Here is the copper ground down to 1/8" This method works really well.

Here are the major pieces after the bolsters and back spacer have been surface ground to proper thickness and the metal parts have been profile ground. The scales will get profiled after they are attached to the liners.

I use the paper pattern to locate where I need holes drilled in the liners. I use a center punch and punch right through the paper.

Here are the two liners with the pilot holes drilled in all the right places. Some will get threaded, other will be made larger, and some will be counter sunk for hidden screw heads.

After fitting and drilling the two bolsters, I pin them together and grind the edge that will butt up against the scales. This way, the bolsters will be exact mirror images of each other.

With the disc sander table set at 30 degrees, I grind a dovetail bevel on the back side of each bolster. The scales will get a matching bevel ground in the same way.

Here are the handles with the bolsters fastened to the liners with screws and the scales clamped on, waiting for holes and screws.

Here's a pic of the handles with the scales screwed on and profiles ground to final shape.

The whole handle has been fastened together, including the back spacer, and everything has been ground down flush. I love it when everything fits up nicely. You can see the dovetails in this pic as well as no daylight showing between parts. I love a nice tight fit.

And for an overall feel of this knife, I set the blade into the handle loosely, just to see what it will look like. I think I'm really going to like this one. As for the feel, the handle is incredibly comfortable, even before rounding things over. This is going to be a sweet knife!

Well, that does it for this week. I hope you'll follow along with me on the rest this build. It should be a fun ride.

- Brandant Robinson

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