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Heiji's with New Shoes and Coat (Handles and sayas with inlays)

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CPD

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There's always some project that has a way of lingering and doesn't seem to get done. Things go wrong, there isn't time...new ideas redirect it.... more things go wrong...
For more than a year, my nemesis project has been a handle and saya set for a Gyuto and Honesuki from Nakaya Heiji. My favorite knives to use, finally, dressed up and finished.

The handles are D-shaped with compound tapers (they taper heel to front, but have sort of a wide spot in the middle so the D ridge follows my hand. This is pronounced on the Honesuki and more subtle on the gyuto). The handles are mounted with hide glue so they can be removed if ever needed.

The saya's are pressure fit and have inlays on both sides. The inlays without the story behind the patterns: cherry trees with origami cranes for the blossoms on both, and, on the honesuke, a kind of ghosted tiger sitting under the tree. The tiger is slightly different on the two sides, but otherwise the inlays are the same from either side on each knife. The inlays in the sayas are abalone, coral, and copper leaf in highly figured ziricote wood. Handles are through-doweled with African Blackwood body, a thin copper spacer and dyed, stabilized sugargum burl for the ferrule. Saya pins are also African Blackwood.

Finishes on handles and sayas are both primarily tung oil based.

Pictures are just cell phone pics.... so quality not ideal but best I have for now:









 

Cheeks1989

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I love the look of the sayas and handles great job.
 

Pensacola Tiger

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Very impressive work. Thanks for sharing.

Rick
 

ecchef

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Well...I just got a chubby.

Stunning is right!
 

Zwiefel

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that is possibly the most awesome saya ever...well, sayas....handles are stunning as well. Very nice.
 

daveb

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Like +1 the Tiger.
 

CPD

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Thanks all for the comments and replies. Really appreciate!

This was, is, the most complex and intricate project I've ever done when it comes to detail work. I'd never tried anything even remotely close to the scale or challenge. Not sure I'll ever try anything this intricate again, either. Certainly not with these woods. They were hard to work with and very unforgiving. Tons of challenges to figure out the process, improvise tools etc.

The smallest of the cranes are maybe 1/3rd the width of a pencil eraser. I drew the art in a computer program and planned to just have it laser etched. Unfortunately, oily exotic hardwoods don't like lasers...they burn. After a total failure on the first effort and a virtual bonfire of rare wood, try two was to have a laser just outline the perimeter of the pattern. Even then, one of the tigers lit up. All the parts - birds, branches and tiger stripes had to then be hand carved. Dremel bits smaller than .5mm, tweezers and jewelers screwdrivers sharpened to chisel points.... The more the project evolved, the more complex it got.

Again, thanks for the comments.
 

CPD

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One added picture, I neglected to post originally. This is a better view of the handle shapes. Sort of "pot bellied D" shapes..... Front to back they taper heel to blade but side to side they are slightly wider at the middle of the ridge line.

Kind of a quirky thing - I prefer coke bottle shapes on western handles where they are narrowest near the middle... But on a D handle, I like the ridge to follow the hand and have contact all the way through. That's the logic for this shape. it takes a lot more hand carving/shaping to do it this way but it's really comfortable to use.

Unfortunately the grain on the handles is hard to see in these pics. African Blackwood, while really dark, has a pretty amazing grain in it.

 

daveb

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CPD

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Thanks.

Mikey, glad you and ecchef aren't in the same room, that might be awkward. lol.
 

Illonax

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Those Sayas are amazing! Do you do commissions?

Edit: Nevermind, I just read your last post. Oh well! Great job anyway :doublethumbsup:
 

maiko

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Good job. Like the sayas--is that design an inlay?
 

CPD

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Thank you everyone for the comments

Good job. Like the sayas--is that design an inlay?
maiko, yes, the designs are all inlays. It's a mix of abalone, coral and copper leaf
 

mlau

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CPD. Could I pay you a visit and pick your brain sometime?

While I take pride in my work, I'm 100% sure that i could NOT do what you just did.
I don't have the vision or skills yet.

That's gorgeous stuff.
 
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CPD

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CPD. Could I pay you a visit and pick your brain sometime?

While I take pride in my work, I'm 100% sure that i could NOT do what you just did.
I don't have the vision or skills yet.

That's gorgeous stuff.
Thanks Matt.

I'm glad to answer what questions I can. If you want, shoot me a private message.
 

stereo.pete

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Very nice work, I cannot imagine the pain and frustration from doing those inlays.
 
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