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Wine and Wood (handles)

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cotedupy

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Btw- I asked another winemaker friend for some more oak, and she brought me a feck-ton last night. If anyone in Aus would like any I can happily cut some up and send for whatever the cost of postage is. Quite conveniently it's pretty much exactly half the width of a knife handle, so can be used for scales or glued together for a handle blank.

(I could do internationally too, but it might get slightly expensive for what is basically scrap wood.)
 

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cotedupy

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These new staves turned out to be almost completely black all the way through, which is quite cool. These were my first efforts today.

The spacers are of particular interest... they were hewn from a cache of Ceylon sapphires that my great-great-grandfather (a dealer of rare and aged teas) won from his friend and client the King of Burma, in a game of whist.
 

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cotedupy

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I've also been playing around with carving out some of the lines in the ferrule slightly with a chisel and filling with gold coloured epoxy.

The eagle-eyed among you will again notice the spacer. Taken from a particularly large piece of ambergris brought back on the Beagle in 1843. And purloined some thirty years later by my grandfather's errant great-uncle Jack, a brigand and a highwayman, at the end of a barrel.

But usually I just use bits of pine kindling.
 

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cotedupy

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Love that your handles have history and meaning beyond just the craftsmanship of it
Haha! Everybody else has fancy handles with spacers made from mammoth teeth and whalebone and the like, so I though I better make up some kind of spurious backstory for mine rather than just saying it was all just made from bits of rubbish ;)

Tho I shouldn't have thought putting ambergris in a knife handle would be particularly pleasant!
 

M1k3

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Sure, but Americans are weird. Those horrendously unfunny late night shows you stay up until all hours to watch? Yeah.

@cotedupy is a man of class and culture.
I don't watch those shows. My regular routine would have me getting off work around the time they come on.
 

cotedupy

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A couple more recent ones. Ongoing apologies for the quality of the pictures from my iphone 4, but it still shows quite well the difference in colour between the lighter and darker staves, and in Rose Gum on the deba and Red Gum on the cleaver.

As a side note - the difference in colour between the staves was a bit of a mystery to my two friends who donated them. Both are same species of tree, and will have been used in the same way, for the same amount of time.

Tho it was suggested the explanation is likely to be that they come from different areas of France. Almost all French oak for cooperages comes from one of five forests, and each produces slightly different characteristics. The lighter oak has a finer, tighter grain, so the wine and solids penetrate only the very surface, and normally get sanded away. Whereas the darker oak is noticeably rougher and looser, and the wine has penetrated all the way through. Probably. Tho if anyone else has any other thoughts I'd be keen to hear...
 

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cotedupy

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Improbably enough a few people I know, or people who have shops, have expressed interest in buying handles (or knives with handles), so have been making a few in the last few days. Got my technique down pat now!

This one's from a particularly dark stave of French wine oak, and then a ferrule I cut from a piece of red gum that looks to be fire effected. I managed to shape it so that from one side it looks almost completely black, but from the other side red:
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One exclusively from the same very dark stave:
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This has a ferrule from the same stave, and the main part made out of Tasmanian oak, offcuts from my brother-in-law's new floorboards:
IMG_1352.jpegIMG_1353.jpeg

And lastly one just from the Tasmanian oak, with a knot that I slightly carved, and then filled with coloured epoxy:
IMG_1362.jpegIMG_1361.jpeg
 
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cotedupy

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Another little project today with another inexpensive Two Lions brand Sangdao.

I was going to play around with cutting some of the metal, and trying to make a new knife, but a friend wanted it, so that'll have to wait until I grab another one. The knife and the stone here cost about $10 US for the both of them. The knives are perfectly good, tho I'm not sure the stone will be much use tbh, just bought it cos it was about two bucks.
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Sanded off the "KU" finish.
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Made up a handle, this is wine oak staves, and a ferrule from a very hard bit of Ironbark.
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Put it on, and then forced a patina with mustard. This is something I've tried before with these knives, but without much success. They're very prone to forming brown patina/rust. The key I think is proper sanding and cleaning before, and also I followed advice from another member and used a few light applications of mustard, rather than vinegar.
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And the end result after cleaning up, sharpening &c.
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cotedupy

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That is a fun project! Lots of places to learn new things. Did you try the new stone?
Briefly on the coarser side, to see how it'd go with the thinning I do on these cleavers... I'm no expert but it just seemed incredibly soft. There probably wouldn't have been much stone left if I'd kept going to the end. May give it another go tomorrow, just for sharpening rather than thinning, but I'm not holding out much hope.
 
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