Monday, January 30, 2012

Ryan's knife 2

This is actually the third restack and draw. Drawing out simply means I am taking a short fat hunk of steel, and making a long skinny one out of it. This billet has been folded until it is a little over 150 layers of steel and nickel. It should make a real pretty knife.

Handle welded, and ready for the forge.

Welding up, and drawing out.

Squaring up and getting the width close.

The drawn out billet. It is now ready to start making a knife.

Band saw cut blanks.

Sizing the blanks. I want these 1/8" thick, and the surface grinder attachment on my ttp:// grinder does the trick, best tool I've invested in in a long time.
The finished blanks. I had enough of the billet to do two. Waste not want not.
Next I will drill holes for handle pins, and big holes to lighten the handle. Grind the bevels into the blade, then heat treat.
More in a day or two.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Ryan's knife

The start.
This is a stack of 1/8" 1095 steel and .010" pure nickel. I will weld the ends together, then a handle on.

Into the forge and up to welding temperature.

The forge was made by Riverside Machine, of DeQueen Arkansas. Uncle Al makes some real nice tools. I would recommend his forge and forging presses to anyone.

Drawing out the billet.

I will draw out this billet until it is around a foot long, cut it into 3 pieces, restack, reweld, redraw, then  do it all over again until I have the steel and nickel mixed up enough to hopefully make a good looking knife.

I intend to take as many pictures as possible all the way through the finished product, as Ryan follows the blog and might want to change something as it goes along. You can check out his blog   He is real handy with a camera, as well as mules!

Attention Roper;
Here are some real good things to read through until you can come spend some time in the shop.
I learned a lot through these 2 forums, as well as others. One can pick up a lot about the art of knife making through things like these before he ever picks up a tool. I wished I had found them before I started, I wouldn't have wasted near as much time trying to teach myself.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I got these finished yesterday. The look we were going for was something in the old McChesney style spurs. I guess I accomplished it. These are one piece spurs with nickel silver mountings. The originals where hammered out of old car axles I think. I didn't use an axle, but I used the same type steel, 4140. It is some tough stuff, but sure polishes out nice.

I got these back from Armoralleather. He did his usual top notch job on the sheaths.

5160/8670/15n20 damascus, plain leather left handed sheath.

These two are ball bearing and 1095 damascus. the sheaths have a snake skin inlay. The little one has a pocket clip on the back side. Nice if you don't wear a belt, or want to keep it near the top of your purse.

We got 3.5" of rain at Cottonwood, and 2.5" at my shop last night. I saw one tank run around the spillway for the first time in three years. Maybe this is leading to a better summer than we had last year. This country has a lot of healing to do before things get back to normal. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Knife price

 Rick from Stephenville trailers asked for a price on a simple every day carry knife. These are about as simple as you can get, and cost 165.00$ with a leather sheath. I make these using W1, 5160, or 52100 steel. These knives have a 3" cutting edge, and a 4" micarta handle. These lengths can be changed to fit the customers needs and preferences.
 I have a lot of these out there. They are easy to carry, don't get in the way while you are working, hold an edge well, and are easy to sharpen in the field.

I usually try to have some of these on hand, but Christmas wiped me out. I am still trying to catch up and get some things built to keep posted on the blog for sale. I guess being busy is a good problem to have.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Makers Mark

I've had a call or two lately asking how to identify my spurs. Here it is, I stamp the inside of the bands before I finish bending them into a spur shape.

The cent mark goes on everything I build. The 1 pc is signifying that it is a one piece spur. The 113 is how many I have done since I started numbering them.

Here are some pictures I took yesterday around the ranch.

Drawing Medicine

Kyle and Steve are about to doctor a sick one. I learned a lesson on this one. I was so busy taking pictures that I didn't rope, and had to lope down there and be the ground crew. It won't happen again.

These calves have been through a sale barn, loaded on a truck, and shipped half way across the country to a vastly different climate. some of them are bound to get sick. The "doctorin"is done by healing the calf, and giving him a shot of what we think will cure him. In these two pictures, they have cut out the sick one from the bunch, and are attempting to walk up and catch him with out much fuss. The less they run, the less stress, and the faster they get better and start making money.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Mokume buckles

Mokume is made much like damascus, you take two or three different metals, weld them together using the right amount of heat, and draw it out till you get the layer count and or pattern you want.

This mokume is made from nickel silver, copper, and brass. I buy this in sheets from Chad Nichols of Blue Springs, Mississippi. The initials are sterling silver.

I make my hangers using 3/16" stainless steel tubing, and 1/8" stainless rod. This way seems to make the buckle fit your belly a little better, and it will fit any thickness belt you want to use to hold your pants up.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


Kim and I had to attend a wedding reception yesterday a couple of hours northeast of here. On the way home, we stopped at an old cemetery north of  Breckenridge to stretch our legs and found some interesting stuff.

The tombs were the first two graves in the cemetery according to the sign, both infants. Times must have been tough, there are lots of children in all the old graveyards I've visited.

These dates may not seem old compared to some places, but keep in mind, the Comanche and Kiowa indians hadn't been defeated very long, and were still making a few raids from the reservations in Oklahoma.

This was the South Prairie cemetery, probably in Stephens county, but maybe Young county, Texas.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Receiving cattle

Here are three little knives I finished this morning while waiting on daylight. 5160/8670/15n20 damascus. Amboyna, spalted oak, and ironwood handles.

We started getting in some calves today to put out on some wheat pastures. These calves are weighing 450 pounds and are fresh off their mama's. we run them through the chute, vaccinate, and brand them, then turn them out on the grass in a few days,  hopefully to gain a lot of weight and make a few bucks.
These little darlings came out of Mississippi, were in surprisingly good shape, and bawled for their mama's very little today. We will get these straight and out of the lot pretty quick.
The cattle, just off the truck

Getting started

The tub, a simple way to describe a cow funnel.
Bringing the cattle to the tub was my job today, when I wasn't busy taking pictures.

Branding, vaccinating, and dehorning. This is run kind if like an assembly line. If nothing breaks, we can run 100 head an hour through the chute pretty easy.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Kitchen knife

This is stainless damascus, with a stabilized, purple dyed maple handle.
The lady that will receive this one cut her finger pretty bad when she was looking at the one Kim uses in her kitchen. I think we will put some band-aids in the box with it. I flat grind these knives to almost 0 thickness at the cutting edge, and they get scary sharp.

I took this picture yesterday while burning brush piles. I kinda used it to see what all the adjustment features would do on my new camera. It's different anyway.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Knives and cattle

Some knives I finished yesterday. Three are one owner, mesquite/stainless handle, 5160/8670/15n20 damascus steel blade. The fourth is a left over piece from the billet with black locust burl on the handle. I will put it up for sale.

These have a 2 1/2" cutting edge, and a 3 1/2" handle. Just right for an every day carry.

Random stuff from around the ranch.

Two feet


The cut

Spurs, and a castrating knife I made

Friday, January 6, 2012

More dragging

We pulled some more calves off cows in a different pasture yesterday, and again, had 2 that were not big enough to go. The objective of catching these calves is to give them their calf hood shots. We are also all riding young horses, and it gives them a little exposer to things before next spring, when hopefully it will have rained, and we will be busy with lots of cattle.

As you will notice, the camera man made no attempt to aid in the vaccinations in any way. Poor ole Joe had to dismount and grab the shots, all the while, plotting the demise of an innocent camera.