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Nick’s Deployment Knife

Here’s a shot of Nick’s new deployment knife. I hastily snapped this photo with my iPhone from the bed of my truck as the sun was getting low in the sky, but I think it came out OK.

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I forged this blade from a bar of 1095 high carbon steel and gave it a Japanese style clay-coated heat treatment to fully harden the cutting edges while leaving the spine and ricasso a bit softer and more ductile. I polished it out to 600 grit and gave it a light acid etch to reveal the hamon. I also marked the blade with Nick’s last name and his unit insignia using an electro-chemical etching process. The blade, a quarter inch thick at the ricasso, has a primary cutting edge of about 4 inches and a raised, sharpened clip that extends back a little over 2 inches from the point. The tang extends all the way through the handle and protrudes slightly from the butt, creating a handy glass-breaker (or cranium-cracker, depending on the situation). The handle is tan G10 with a notched epoxy composite inlay in front of the thumb ramp to provide purchase. It’s held on with epoxy and two slightly flared stainless steel hollow tubes.

Next I’ll make a sheath, and then off it goes…

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Knives for Paratroopers

A few months ago I shipped my “little grunt” knife out to a paratrooper from the 173D Airborne Brigade, and at that time I also informed him that, whether he liked it or not, I had enlisted him as my official field tester. Since then he has found ample opportunity to carry and use the knife in the field – in fact, he’s out on a training mission in Germany as I write this – and I’m pleased to report that he has been very happy with the knife’s performance. He has also provided me with extensive and valuable feedback, much of which I am incorporating in a new knife that I’m finishing up for him right now. This new knife will be his official deployment knife when he ships out into the warzone next year and I will post pictures of it in a few days when it’s complete. In the meantime, here’s a little teaser pic.

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A few of the other soldiers in the unit have also contacted me requesting deployment knives. One of the soldiers – we’ll call him SGT H. – asked me to build him a knife that will serve him both on the battlefield and out in the woods in his home state of Kentucky. In addition to being a paratrooper, SGT H. is a skilled bowhunter, which is another activity where a good knife is essential to have. He requested a mid-sized knife with a comfortable, ergonomic handle and an as-forged finish on the blade, so, after we exchanged a few emails discussing various other design elements I sent him a sketch, which he then approved. Yesterday I started forging.

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I brought my camera out to the shop and snapped a few photos along the way so that SGT H. could get a glimpse of the actual process and some of the various steps involved in making his custom hand forged knife. So I figured I might as well publish the pictures here on on Dick’s Workshop as well. So here it goes, on the techniques page under “The Shop”, right  here…

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