Hand crafting Christmas gifts is fun, and personal pieces of myself. They are not stress free. If you hate how stressful
Christmas shopping is, never hand craft them. If you’re going to start planning, start now, and yes, I know it is March.
Just trust me on this.
I have created Christmas gifts for the past three years. My first was the first knife that I have ever made. It is a railroad
spike knife that I hand forged with a BBQ pit, hairdryer, and piece of railroad track, which I made for my brother-in-law.
A year ago I drew my sister in law’s name. She is a photographer, so I created my first picture frame easel made without
welding or rivets, just wrapped with copper wire. Plan on seeing copper used with my work a lot because her easel came out
awesome. I wish I had pictures of the knife and easel, but I don’t. You will have to wait for future works on this blog, Etsy,
and craft fairs.
Crazy me, as the two years before, decided to make this year’s Christmas gift an item that I have never crafted before.
I thought that I was going to be smart this year and make my mistakes and study knives, not the gift. I also thought
that I was going to use a huge leaf spring an antler bowie-knife.
After taking forever trying to cut off a piece using the edge of my anvil, I knew that it would take too much time and
propane. Christmas may come on the same day every year, but this year, it was coming way too fast.
I had two other knives planned as study knives. A cheese knife with a tiny piece of antler, and an exact copy of the latter
gift knife. You already know the other huge bowie-knife could not happen, however now because I was not using the leaf
springs, they had to be transformed into the gift.
I forged the coil spring into a blade using my propane forge and a real anvil, faster than that first spike knife in a
BBQ pit. Then I ran out of propane. I hardened it with a BBQ pit faster than forging.( Just heat it until a magnet will
not stick to it, and quench it in oil.) Everything was perfect. I had forged copper and made a guard for it, and decided
to fit it on the tang before tempering the blade. I quickly found out that the steel had hardened perfectly with a very
fine grain. I KNEW BECAUSE I HAD BROKE THE KNIFE!!!
I SNAPPED THE BLADE, THEN I SNAPPED! Inside I ran, freaking out thinking of all the work and time that
had went into it, and how t was the Saturday before Christmas. I was ranting to my wife about the recent nightmare
telling her and myself, that my brother doesn’t know what he is getting. I can buy a gift card and forge a beer opener
to go with it.
After spending some time talking with my broken blade, and looking through my knife books, I remembered grinding
broken drill bits in machinists school. I was looking at photos of stock removed made knife tang. I decided to grind the
broken blade back to life.
The finished blade turned out much finer and fit tighter then the forged tang. I was looking at knives on Facebook
when I saw an antler knife so polished, it looked wet. After a few comments, I found out how they polished theirs’. I will
use that technique for as long as I use antlers. I will at some point use antlers with candle holders and lamps.
It’s time to give the knife back to my brother. I don’t have time to make my first ever knife sheath. I did not have the
leather, even if I was awesome at it. I keep my future antlers, exotic wood pieces, and I bought some knife blanks, and
keep them by my bathroom sink for inspiration. I noticed that one had a sheath that would work. It was not perfect, but
it worked well. Had I not broke the blade, I could have never used it.
Remember the leaf spring that I did not have time for? That will be transformed into a huge meat cleaver. I can’t know
whom the next Christmas creation will be for, and I hope I really do get to have study work first. But I promise this year
will be fun to read, and your next favorite treasure may be coming to Etsy, Kick Starter, or craft fairs very soon.