Thursday, July 30, 2009


So in ancient days, a masterpiece was made by an apprentice. After studying his/her craft for a time, and practicing and practicing and practicing some more, the apprentice would produce a piece to submit to his mentors to determine if he/she was ready to become a master.

I tell you that to tell you this. Tonight, after a weeks worth of work on this single knife, I would gladly submit it to a master to have them tell me if I were ready to become one myself. I don't want to brag... ok, yes I do... so here goes.

Observe... The Seki II

The bolsters and butt (yes, the rear end of a knife is called the butt on a full tang knife like this. Quit your giggling.) are made of German Silver. Hidden pins hold the bolsters on, so you could throw this against a wall and those suckers would stay attached. Mammoth tooth in between held in place perfectly by flawless custom pins. All sanded and polished to a very high gloss. File work on the spine of the knife to compliment the blade. It is the best knife I have made.
My masterpiece.

Also tonight I finished this one.

Called the Redwood, it's a camp knife (suitable for all your camp cooking needs!) with copper bolsters held in place with a custom pin, and indigo diamondwood scales (handle). Inexpensive but fun to make.

Man I love making knives. The Redwood is knife number 24 that I have made.
Two 12 hour shifts coming up starting tomorrow. I'd better get some sleep.
More Later

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

More Knives

I've been a busy little beaver in the shop lately. That is if beavers had well supplied shops and made knives... hmm... there's a picture.
Anyway. I have three knives in the works and finished two more today. I need to run to the hardware store tomorrow and get a metal cutoff wheel. It's hard to cut nickel silver with a hacksaw!
Here are the two I finished today.
The Fox

Bloodwood and Wenge on a Pakistani Damascus blade.

The Lion

Mexican Bocote on another Pakistani blade.
The Pakistani Damascus is not as good as the stuff made here in the US. Mainly because of the steels they use for their blades. I'm going to give one of these to a friend of mine to use and abuse a bit to see how well they hold up. The other I'll try to sell. I don't usually work with wood on blades, but these two are starting to change my mind a bit. They came out really nice!
Bocote is pronounced boh-KOH-tay inn case you were wondering (as I was).
Many thanks go to the Wife for giving me time to play around in the shop.

More Later

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Then Came the Rains

After returning home from the adventure, a thunderstorm rolled through. The whole thing took less than an hour and dropped this...

In case you can't make that out, it's right at one inch... in less than an hour. We got to see some neat flooding in the backyard too! And nothing in the house wet, so it must be graded well!

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Surprise Adventure

We had a rare day off together, and the Wife planned a surprise adventure for our little family. At 10 am we headed out, I driving, but without knowledge of where we were going. After a bit over an hour, we arrived here..

The Childrens Museum in the Twin Cities! They were having a Clifford the Big Red Dog exhibit, which thrilled the Boyo. It's a really neat museum. Lot's of hands on stuff, things to explore, and programs throughout the day geared towards kids. The Boyo even got to touch a live milk snake! He was a little nervous at first, but warmed up to the cold blooded critter pretty quick.

There was an outdoor exhibit featuring a little stream with paint brushes for "painting" on the rocks with the water. Nearby they had a watercolor station where kids were painting with color. The Boyo, not one for modesty, walked in and announced that he was "a wonderful painter who would paint great things!" He is quite confident.

He was awesome for the day, sharing with other kids, waiting his turn, encouraging other kids to try stuff. It was neat to watch. Sweet Pea was a little little for most of it, but had a fun time grabbing at things and watching the crowds and generally being cute.

The Wife took us to a nearby Italian place for lunch, some of the best Italian that I've had since Rome! They even had gelato, though we were so full after the lasagna, pizza, mostaccioli and canoli's that we didn't have room for any.

A fun time was had by all though, and it was an excellent adventure.

More Later

Monday, July 20, 2009

New Things

After the great ebay mammoth tooth fiasco a couple of weeks ago, I decided to look for some new material for my knife handles. I love the look of wood, but as anyone who knows me will know, I really love the unique and rare kind of stuff. Hence the mammoth tooth.

So in my search, I found a new fossil - fossilized coral. I had never worked with it before, so got an inexpensive set of scales (that's what the handle pieces are known as) and a relatively inexpensive knife, and tried it out.

The results were quite more than I had imagined! Take a look...

The coral itself is a deep shade of purple, and very intricately patterned. I was going to try them on a Damascus blade, but the Wife convinced me that there would be too much going on. Also, the Damascus blades are spendy, and if it didn't work, I didn't want to be out a pricey blade.

Anyway, I think I'll add coral and fossilized coral to my arsenal. I've got some seriously cool knives in my future!

You know what else I've been thinking? Since today is the anniversary of Neil walking on the moon and all, wouldn't it be cool to do a knife with moon rock scales!

Happy walk on the moon day! Forty years ago, three guys showed the world just what potential humans had. I wish we had followed up on it. Well. Slowly but surely I suppose.

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Ghost Squadron

So, all day yesterday this was buzzing our house...

I'm pretty sure it's the "Aluminium Overcast" out of Oshkosh. It goes on tour every now and again and passes through here giving rides and raising money. Anyway, since our house is near the airport, we got buzzed many times! It was AWESOME!

I wish we could get to Oshkosh for the big airshow this year. But vacation time is short and iffy, so we'll head to the Island instead for a couple of days. Sweet Pea hasn't been there yet, and the Boyo has only been a couple of times. And he is all about the camping right now!

More Later

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Singing in the Rain

My kids and I have been wrestling around since the Wife went to work. I am pooped and need to get supper started. So I popped in one of their new favorites... Singing in the Rain, with Donald O'Connor, Debbie Reynolds and Gene Kelly.

We borrowed it from my folks awhile ago, and it has rapidly become one of the most watched around here. That's OK with me, because I love little more than old musicals if I have to watch TV.

Right now the Sweet Pea is sitting at one end of the couch, completely engrossed and dancing when the music plays. The Boyo is doing the same, except he's singing along with the songs.

Very little more amusing to hear your five year old singing,

"I'm laughing at clouds
So dark up above
The sun's in my heart
And I'm ready for love"

Of course, he also does a pretty great version of "Make 'Em Laugh" too! Complete with the dance. Though he gets frustrated that I won't help him do the back flips.

More Later

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Another One Gone

My favorite little knife has found a new home in New Jersey. Along with the other I sold to California, I guess we can now say my knives have been sold coast to coast!

Here it is.

This one is just neat. Ah well, I can always make a similar one I suppose. That blue mammoth tooth is hard to find though. And contrary to what ebay thinks, there won't be any more fresh mammoth tooth produced.

More Later

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

To the Zoo

We went to the zoo today. A good time was had by all! The Boyo bonded with a white wolf, and Sweet Pea charmed a cow. I saw quite possibly the biggest buffalo ever in the history of buffalo. I'm not kidding. This thing made the other bulls standing around look a little weak and unimpressive. The other bulls just stood around him in awe.

Look at this thing!

I'm guessing he's pretty laid back too, cause that sissy wire mesh fence between him and us would not have really stopped him if he really wanted to come out and trample our livers. Really not at all.

He was bigger lying down than the other were standing up. The Buffalo King.

That's a serious buffalo.

Night shifts tonight, so I leave you with zoo pictures. The last one is the lion that we didn't see. The Boyo decided to draw him when we got home.

More Later

Sunday, July 12, 2009

One Less Knife

One of my knives has found a home with a collector in California.

This was the sixth knife I completed, and one of my favorite blades. I hope its new owner takes good care of it!
For those of you wondering, here is a brief overview of what goes into the making of a knife.
I start with the "raw" materials, deciding what will go well together. I consult the Wife on this, as she has come up with some really good ideas for handles... as in this very knife!

After some careful drilling through the parts to accomodate the hidden tang (long skinny part behind the blade) I fit them all together, then glue them solidly. It still takes some imagination at this point to see the finished project.

Then after some hours at various sanders and shapers, and lots of hand sanding later, you get this...

It is a lot of work. But so much fun to watch it come together.

More Later

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Mysteries of Ebay

So, some of you may know that among my many hobbies I include knife making. I don't make my own blades (yet) but do have a great time choosing materials and making really nice, hardworking knives.

Here are a few of my recent builds...

Finished this one tonight. Brass guard and pommel, maple, purpleheart, and mammoth tooth. Yes, Mammoth tooth.

This is one of my favorites. Blue mammoth tooth and German Silver bolsters on a Damascus blade.

My Collection.

Well, I had been selling knives on Ebay, that wonderful online garage sale. Recently I listed one for sale and it was removed by the Ebay Police. They sent a nice note letting me know that knives containing mammoth tooth were no longer allowed because... wait for it... mammoth tooth comes from an endangered animal. That's right. Due to the complex international treaties restricting elephant ivory, Ebay no longer allows ivory products to be sold. Into this category they mysteriously lump the tooth of the Woolly Mammoth.

I tried to explain to them that mammoth tooth was not from an endangered animal, as it has been extinct for about 12,000 years. But received another nice note saying that I cannot sell ivory.

So I asked to be forwarded to someone higher on the food chain, and I explained that not only is the mammoth extinct, but the "tooth" is a fossil. Formed when minerals slowly replaced the organic material over ten or twelve millennium. So essentially a "mammoth tooth" is just a pretty rock.

This time I got a terse reply saying "sorry you disagree, but we are right. No Ivory."

I thanked them for their time.

Upon digging into Ebay a little closer, I found that mammoth tooth stuff is still selling, but now it is called "stabilized fossil" or "Pleistocene fossil" or my favorite "Prehistoric fossil" (as opposed to the modern fossils). So now I sell my knives as having "stabilized fossil" handles. Just pretty rocks.
Ahh, Ebay. When logic fails, always fall back on the old "because I said so."

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Monday, July 6, 2009

The Garden Groweth

Well, the garden is growing nicely, weeds and all. Seems all I can do to keep the weeds to a minimum. Scrape with the hoe every now and again. Oy. The Mayflower bean plants are nearly to the top of their tower, the others are not far behind.

I also found little baby tomatoes on the Czech Bush growing in the Topsy Turvey a week ago. I'm very ready for fresh veggies!

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Friday, July 3, 2009


Can I just tell you about the awesomeness that is my kids. They are funny and charming and remarkably polite sometimes. Some highlights from the past few days...

The Boyo has been working on vocabulary lately, and trying out new words to be used in appropriate situations. Proper meanings of words and such. (Today's word: filigree) Anyway, he climbed into bed with the Wife and I the other morning and was talking and mentioned that outside looked contabulous.

Hmm? Looked what? I asked.

"Contabulous." He repeated.

"What does that mean?" The Wife asked.

"Nothin'!" He exlaimed proudly!

For this next story we need a little crowd participation. Open your mouth and sing an "ahh" note. Hold it, stick out your tongue and waggle it back and forth while still singing. We'll call that the " laba-laba" sound.

Now, the four of us are riding along in the family vehicle, singing together. And by that, I mean one of the three of us over the age of four would pick a vowel and a note, and the rest of us would join in, Sweet Pea included.

We got through "Aaaah", "Ooooh" and "Eeeee" quite well. Then I tried a bright "Aaaaay", which the Boyo and the Wife joined in on.

Sweet Pea, however, just sang "Laba-laba-laba-laba!" Happily and loudly.

I love my kids.

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