Tuesday, October 18, 2016


This is the first of the Christmas knives. A 150 mm Honesuki style with a western handle. It's made from AEB-L 0.130".

After shaping and some cleaning, I make a wire hanger and dip the blade in the stop-off paint.

The temperature of the furnace is targeted at 1060°C (1940 F).

Out of the fire and into the oil.

Although AEB-L is an air hardened steel, oil seems to result in a slightly harder steel. After hardening, it's tempering time. 185°C for two periods of two hours each.

Unlike some honesuki that have a left or right handed grind, this one will be symmetrical by request. I work each side with 60 grit ceramic belt cooling with water every pass or two. Once the primary bevels are close to 0.020", I move to a 120 grit ceramic belt.
This is a result of about 1 hour of grinding and polishing. For polishing I like the fine and very find conditioning belts, like Scotch-brite or Vortex. The "grain" runs longways. I feel that looks the best.

With the blade polished, the marks etched and cleaned with windex, the blade gets taped right up to the shoulder. Then the pieces of the handle stack get fitted. The most critical is the first piece as it has to fit well with no major gaps. For this I like to use a 3/32" bit and a flat needle file.

The block is desert ironwood. Here I am fitting and tracing the tang and screw against the block. This will give me an idea where the drilling needs to occur.

Once the pieces of the stack are complete and dry fitted, the epoxy comes out.

In this case, I am applying a small amount of pressure to keep the blade and handle in a straight line. I leave the clamp on for 12 hours.

After about 24 hours, the handle is ugly as hell, but ready to start shaping. The flat faces are ground first.

Then the rounding of the handle begins.
As the rounding gets closer to the finished shape, I like to run on the slack belt and rotate the handle to give is a nice uniform shape. A 60 grit belt is followed by a 120, then a 220, then a 400 and lastly a 600 grit aluminum oxide.

Then it is over to the buffing wheel. I used black compound then green compound. The ironwood is naturally very oily.
Here are some pictures of how the knife turned out. 

After taking the masking tape off and cleaning the blade with acetone to remove and extra epoxy and fingerprints etc.

Thanks for stopping by!



Unknown said...

A beauty as always Dan. Honesuki's are one of my favorite shapes. Found a local supplier for quench oil in case you were having as much trouble as I was finding some. Send me an email if you like. Was wondering if you drilled and tapped the pommel and just screwed it tight to the threaded rod?

D. Comeau said...

Awesome Chris! Yes, I drilled and tapped to 10-32. I found cleaning the threads with acetone before assembly reduces the black ring, but not completely, Still working on that.


Unknown said...

What a beautiful knife! And an amazing blog Dan. Thanks for taking the time to document and post it all. Im sure you help out countless people.



D. Comeau said...

Thanks for the kind words Shane!

If it helps even one person, the world is a better place. ;-)


kenuto said...

How do you cut your ironwood, my tools don't appear to measure up.
You have Exceptional talent and generousity, thank you. My three grinder wheels arrived yesterday.

D. Comeau said...

I used a carbide tipped 60 tooth miter saw blade to cross cut the ironwood. Any rip type cuts I use the Porta-Band (metal cutting) band saw. Slow is the name of the game.

Thanks for your kind words. Let us know how your grinder build comes along.


Unknown said...

Hey Dan. How are you attaching the threaded rod. Is it a little tack weld or is it soldered on?

D. Comeau said...

I usually press fit the tang screw into the tang. It is shaped in such a way that it won't rotate. Once the pocket inside the handle block is filled with epoxy and set, it becomes like a solid piece.