Wootz kitchen knife in progress

Discussion in 'Knives' started by Bruno, Nov 22, 2018.

  1. Bruno

    Bruno Administrator Staff Member

    This one was ordered by someone who wanted to have a kitchen knife from the same steel as his razor. As I have said many times, wootz can be a tricky steel to HT. I mean, getting a good knife is relatively easy. But getting a good pattern requires good polishing, good etching, but most of all good heat treatment.

    Recently I have started talking to a former student of Alfred and we've been discussing lots of theory. As a result I've changed my heat treatment yet again. I HTed the knife on monday after several thermal cycles. After quench, I thought I could see the pattern already. But there is also a part wishful thinking or confirmation bias involved, so I didn't want to draw early conclusions.

    2 days ago I did the post HT machine grinding, and yesterday I did a couple of quick dips in nital, just to see if I could get 'something' to show up. After machine grinding and before the hand sanding, the pattern is always going to be vague, but at the very least, you'll be able to see the difference between 'something' and 'nothing'.

    The results are promising.


  2. Bruno

    Bruno Administrator Staff Member

    Currently waiting for the bolster material to arrive. We settled on the blue mammoth molar shown here. However, the customer also wanted smaller knife for his wife, the blue molar would be used for that too. The piece is barely big enough. I could make it work, but decided to contact the seller and have him track down a large piece from that same molar. It was a bit of a search because I bought the blue molar more than a year ago from a scrap bin.

    But he did find 1 last larger slice, which is now underway to me. This way, if the customer is considering adding a vegetable knife, or something else to his kitchen set, we can use the blue molar as the common theme in the entire set.

    The handle is rough shaped, and fitted, and now ready for smooth sanding, and afterwards stabilizing with a ton of CA before even considering epoxying. Fossil bone if very porous. If you fill it with epoxy and then shove in the tang, the epoxy will find the easiest way out. What happens then is it will penetrate the bone all the way to the outside, and cause brown stains. Don't ask me how I know :D

    verndahl and 32t like this.
  3. petercp4e

    petercp4e Focus to Win

    The knife is beautiful and the blue molar is stunning.

    If the customer doesn't add a second knife to his set, I'd be thrilled to see the blue molar show up as potential scales on a future straight razor.

    Pete <:-}
  4. Bruno

    Bruno Administrator Staff Member

    Not sure how molar is as scales. It's not very flexible, but it it's properly stabilized and ground thin enough it may actually work.
    The second kitchen knife was already ordered, and I suspect it will not be the last. This piece is gone :) But I can always add other pieces. I know the the guy who makes these and we get along well. As soon as he is stabilizing again in the down season, I plan to add slabs of different colors to my inventory because this is beautiful material, and perfectly suited to be used in sets as an eye catcher.

    petercp4e and RezDog like this.
  5. RezDog

    RezDog Member

    That a big tooth that that came from. It is a beautiful material.
    The knives look great too.
  6. Bruno

    Bruno Administrator Staff Member

    Mammoth molars are huge. I've seen one that was stabilized in a block of clear lucite and that was 6" cubed almost.
    It's one of my favorite bolster materials. Difficult to work with though. The white lines are enamel, and really hard.
    If you drill it you have to mind the layers of enamel because they can send drills sideways, and make saws swerve.
    It's also available in solid blocks for making full knife handles out of.
    32t and RezDog like this.
  7. Bruno

    Bruno Administrator Staff Member

    This is the blade right after etching. I'll be setting it in the handle soon.

    RezDog, 32t and petercp4e like this.
  8. Shawn

    Shawn New Member

    That pattern is awesome!

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