This is another project for a good repeat customer. It will be a large custom dagger and a pretty ambitious project with several inlays of nickel silver and ivory.
We start with a scale drawing. This will be a 14 1/2" dagger with a 10" blade, stainless steel fittings, nickel silver inlayed bolsters and a ivory inlay in the handle. It will have filework and black micarta handle scales.
I get started with the rough grind
After heat treating and more grinding.
I start working on the fittings. This will have a thick stainless steel guard. I select some steel from my stock and start cutting the guard.
A little clean up before I mill the slot for the handle tang and refine the shape.
I also start making the 4 nickel silver inlays.
Now I have parts cut and shaped so i can start matching things up with the micarta handles.
All of these inlays will be tricky and require a lot of fine work to shape and fit everything perfectly.
I decided to make some stainless steel bolsters that will be polished and fileworked to fancy it up a bit more.
Here is a mock-up of where we are going. The guard still has to be shaped and finished.
Here are the stainless steel bolsters that I will put on either side of the stainless steel guard. You can see how I marked them as a guide to do my filework.
Here is an idea of how they will look.
Now I need to work on shaping the guard. I want it to have rounded ends. I grind the outer radius with a 3" grinding wheel.
The 3" wheel is too big to get into the inner radius so I switch to a 1/2" grinding wheel.
Now I have the guard shaped. I will worry about the sides later as I will have to grind them down to match the handle thickness.
I am going to work on the handle now. The handle scales are black micarta. I want to inlay two nickel silver inlays on each side and an ivory oval on one side. This will require some precision machining. I had to make some templates 300% in size and I used a Deckel pantograph mill to accomplish this task. The Deckel pantograph is a specialized piece of equipment that I don't yet have in my shop so I asked Gil Hibben if I could use his.
Here you see the inlays cut into the micarta scales and the pieces that will be inlayed.
This is a mock-up to get an idea of where we re going.
Well it's been a long time working on this one off and on. I really wanted this to be something special. I tried some new things.. some worked, and some didn't and I had go back do something else.
Sometimes I know there is something else I want to do but I need to set it aside until I figure out what it is. In this case, it was a fleur de lis butt cap.
"Thor" is finally finished and shipped to the customer. I feel bad that this one took so long but I really like how it turned out. We topped it off with a sharkskin sheath with stingray inlays. I hope Tom thinks it was worth the wait.
Thanks again Tom.