Thursday, March 22, 2018

The Beast - Kurki Bowie

    The Beast

A Neo-Primitive mesh between the traditional Nepalese Kurki and the American Bowie. 11-1/4 inch hollow ground 1075 steel blade with knapped stone texture. Handle of stacked Mircarta, Phosphor Bronze, and Impala Horn. Horizontal cross draw sheath entirely hand tooled, sewn and riveted. Over 16in overall SOLD

Friday, March 16, 2018

Latin American El Oso Navaja

   El Oso Navaja - This is my favorite kind of project! A life story concept piece; where I am told the story of the recipients life, his likes, his hobbies, his passions - and through my understanding of techniques and materials and my love of studying culture I design a functional piece of art that tells this story at a glance.
   In this case "El Oso" (Spanish for the Bear) is a sage of a man that has been a father figure and mentor for many of those around him. He has spent the majority of his life and career working against Latin American Gangs and Cartels in the South West United States. He loves Latin American Culture and participates in his community. He is heavily involved in his local motorcycle/ hot rod club.

   Based on this story, I initially remembered my trip to Mexico City a few years ago - I had loved the the extremes of gritty utilitarian and old world finery: things like ornately hand forged window bars, silver filigree handled butcher knives, and grand stone castles pock marked with century old bullet holes. My first thoughts of El Oso were of Ursus (Latin for large Bear) and liked the idea of a heavier blade like a machete or bolo, but with further thinking and research I thought this was the wrong direction. Unlike Kodiaks and other large bears we have further north, Mexican and Latin American bears are small. The folk motifs of these southern bears are their claws and their conning - thus I followed the more claw like Spanish Scorpiono blade.
I also did some looking into Vaquero's (Mexican riders, yes of horses not motorcycles, but anyways) and ended up in the same place
The Spanish Navaja knife -
    Once I had found the Navaja and the direction I was going, I discovered a historical reference that tied the style to Gangs in Mexico during the American occupation after the Mexican-American War in 1846. Navaja knives have a ratcheting blade with an external spring that makes a archetypal sound on opening and closing the blade - know as the "carraca" it is likened to a rattle snake shaking its tail. An American Officer with the US Dragoons stationed in Mexico City in 1847 said "In the darkness of the street we could hear the rattle snakes of the their knives opening before the fight broke out"

   For Materials I choose; Red Brass, Filigree, Cow Horn, Phosphor Bronze, and polished Steel. Though keeping the lines traditional to Navaja's I beefed up the handle for a more American feel. The blade I had Copperrein etch with the quintessential flame motif often seen in the Hot Rod community, then I aged the entire knife for an "old world" feel. The knife totals 9 inches when open and just over 5 inches when closed.

  This has been a great project for a great man! Thanks for looking!

~ Iron John Logan

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Black Powder Patch Knife

I needed a little patch knife for shooting black powder and went to forge with no real design in mind. This is the result. 

 Blister-finish steel, poured babbet handle parts over deer antler. Hand-skived and finished rawhide riveted to handle with fine silver. Hand cut and filed green glass set into the end of the handle with gutta percha. NFS


Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Roman Gladius - Study in historical steel

   This Roman Gladius was a study of producing my own historical steel, in this case Shear Steel from Wrought Iron.

I started with five pieces of 19th century Wrought Iron, which unlike modern mild steel or other structural material does not contain any carbon nor other alloying ingredients, it is purely iron and slag from its original smelting. Much the same material the Romans would have had in the 1st century.
   I packed these five bars of Wrought into a can (on the right of the photo) with bone charcoal and vegetable tanned leather, then welded the can closed on both ends with only a small weep hole to allow pressure to escape. To produce steel from iron in this way one needs to heat the can and its contents hot enough and for long enough to allow the carbon from the bone and the leather to penetrate into the iron. The iron never gets hot enough to melt, the carbon only penetrates the surface of the bars much the same as "case hardening" though with deeper penetration.
  I started the can's soak in the gas forge while I continued working on another project, after a few hours I chucked the can and its contents into the wood stove where it stayed in our heating fire for 3 days.

   After the Iron's long soak in the heated carbon I removed the bars from the can and forge welded them together on edge to form the core of the sword. Here you can see where I have cut and polished the forge welded stack - one can clearly see the dark carbonized edges of the bars with the soft iron still in the centers.

   After final forging, grinding and polishing the blade, a quick etch in ferichloride and the grain of the carbonized Wrought shows through.

Skill Study: Japanese Metal Inlay

Inspired by the varied and numerous tsubas (Japanese sword guard) in collections world-wide, I spent some time learning the basic techniques used to make them.

Starting with a hunk of mild steel and yellow brass, I sketched out a skull onto the brass and got to hand. Considering the brass was 1/4" thick, this part went better than expected. I managed to get the entire shape cut without breaking a blade.

I filed out the profile of the skull until it was a little smaller than what I wanted the final to be, and transferred this shape to the steel. I first began to remove material with my foredom (rotary tool), but honestly hand chisels worked much better and quicker. Being mild steel I was able to carve out the spot for the brass skull as if I were carving a fruit wood.


Next came the process of fine-fitting the brass into the steel. I undercut the steel a bit and refined the brass more until with slight force, both mated perfectly. This was an incredible feeling. To set the brass, I hammered evenly around the edges in a circular pattern, forcing the brass down into the undercut in the steel. Once it was in tightly with no hope of ever coming out, I polished the top of the brass and re-drew my pattern for the skull. 

Now it was just a matter of carving out the brass until I had a skull. Carving metal is loads easier than any wood. There's no grain and if you mess up a little you can sometimes hammer and file it so the mistake is unnoticeable. I ended up making a lot of tools for this project: fine gravers, burnishers, and blunt punch chisel things (essentially leatherwork shaders, but for steel). I added a small cherry blossom above the skull to balance the piece and continued to refine the details.

A sprinkling of OCD, some swearing, and careful hand polishing...then I was done.

Thank you for reading!

Cherokee Tomahawk

Cherokee tomahawk I made for one of the chiefs of the Cherokee Nation in North Carolina. Traditionally forged head of wrought iron with forge welded steel bit or cutting edge. The head is engraved and etched with traditional Cherokee motifs including the Cherokee Star. The handle is quilt figure Rock Maple and is inlayed with Red Brass bands and Silver "winds" and Dogwood flowers (State flower of North Carolina)

Pipe Tomahawk with Fine Silver Accents

A fairly simple object in design, as a whole this pipe tomahawk feels and looks harmonious. This will always be one of my favorites that I have made.

The head is hand-forged from 50cal gun barrel The handle is curly maple, finished with my ever-evolving experiment with violin finishes from the past. I've rolled fine silver into sheets, then formed and soldered them to construct the mouthpiece and inlaid cross.

Originally these would have been made by white Americans and Europeans to trade with native Americans. The first examples come from England, but the practice of making these is said to have been taken to a new level of art when apprentice gunsmiths began crafting pipe tomahawks as a means to hone their skills.


Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Burgonet Helmet

A past armouring project; recreating a munition grade Burgonet helmet of the type brought to the early shores of America. Currently part of the living history at Plimoth Plantation National Park

American Scandanavian Fusion Knife

I needed a mental break from making trade tomahawks. While I do enjoy making the 'hawks, I missed the lines and process of the knife. This little Frankenstein is the result.

The blade is high carbon 1095, forged, shaped, heat treated, and tempered. A blister finish graces the blade, giving it the slightest texture which catches the light nicely. The knife features a nice fat tang running to within 1/2" of the end of the handle. The handle is a stacked affair comprised of stabilized buckeye burl in subdued earth tones, white tail antler (stabilized), and brass. All components have been polished to a high satin finish before receiving a few coats of poly. The blade has been dressed with Renaissance Wax.

The sheath is oak-tanned deer. All parts of the sheath have been distressed, textured, dyed, fattened, stitched, and polished by hand, by yours truly. The brass concho can be etched with a design of your choosing, or left plain (I envision the owner's initials here). The tassels are hand-cut sheepskin.

The only mass produced hardware I've used was for the back of the concho where I hacked apart a screw-back rivet and soldered the threaded bits on.

Blade: 4.25"
Overall: 9"

Thank you for browsing,

Price upon request.

Monday, March 5, 2018

US Navy Commemorative Tomahawk

US Navy Commemorative Tomahawk I made for the CMSA Atlantic, an exact copy of their until logo. Cast Bronze blade inlayed with brass Tomahawk Cruise Missile, diver salvaged oak handle with raw hide and feathers.

Handmade Banjo with copper tone ring

  Banjo I made in 2009. Maple neck with bent Ash pot and copper tone ring

Flint lock rifle

   I made this .54 caliber flint lock rifle back in 2010. In my personal collection

18th century Gentleman's Square

   This is a layout square I made in the style of gentleman's tools of the 18th century. Wrought iron leg hand forged and filed, with a shear steel blade 

Military Tomahawk 50th Anniversary

   This commemorative military tomahawk I made for the 50th anniversary of the 2nd US Division protecting the DMZ on the Korea  Peninsula. It is on permanent display at the Museum of US Armed Forces, Seoul South Korea 

Saturday, March 3, 2018

1830s Eagle Head Sword

   This project was a restoration of an original 1830s Eagle Head sword. These swords are a quintessential American style from the Federalist Period in the beginning of the 19th century. Carried from the War of 1812 and into the Mexican-American War, a few were personal carries during the American Civil War.
   It was a rewarding project to bring this American treasure back to life! 

Friday, March 2, 2018

"Masters Study" 16th century Left-hand Dagger

   This project was one of what I term my "master studies" - where I push myself in techniques seen in originals, but not in contemporary craft. This is a 16th century German left-hand dagger that would have been paired with a rapier or arming sword during the period. As a secondary weapon their main use was parrying the opponents attacks, while giving the wielder a chance at attack themselves.

   The stout blade is stiffened by double fullers (blood grooves) and a heavy triangular center rib to allow the blade to penetrate armour or heavy clothing. The blade is pierced through the webs of the fullers in the High Gothic German style. Large swept quilions and side ring protect the twisted iron wire wrapped spiral fluted handle and scent stopper pommel. The scabbard is hand formed and sewn leather dyed black with traditional chemicals. Silver mount and arming style frog.
   This project took over 400 hours of work and has stayed in my personal collection.

A new path, a beginning

Welcome to the new blog History Through the Hammer's Eye!
A continuation of Iron John's and Copperrein's artwork, projects, and life; through a connection to the past.