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Update from Bavaria

July 16, 2014

It’s now been 10 months since I arrived here in Bavaria, and the transition has taken a bit longer than expected, but good progress is being made on several fronts. I have a small functioning workshop with a forge, anvil, hammers and tongs, a nice grinder, drill press, and bandsaw, as well as a growing collection of files and other hand tools. More importantly, I’m actually using these items to make things!

I have knives for Mike A., David H., Les R., and Roger P. in various stages of completion, as well as a big mean chopper headed out to Maksim in New York.

I forged the blade out of a thick bar of C105 carbon steel, also known by its German designation as 1.1545. It’s essentially the same thing as W1 in the U.S., with 105 points of carbon and a bit of manganese and silicon added in for strength and hardenability. A simple, honest steel that can make a very reliable and hard working knife.

As I do with all my large knives I gave this blade a differential heat treatment, in this case hardening only the edge (as opposed to fully hardening the blade and tempering back the spine), so that the business end will take and hold a wicked edge while the body remains more ductile and forgiving.

The blade on this big camp knife is a full 8mm thick at the spine (about 5/16″) and measures over 23cm (9 1/4″) along the cutting edge. The overall length of the knife is 36cm (14 1/4″), making it a pretty substantial chopper. To say that it cuts with authority is actually a bit of an understatement.

makschopperjuly14

The handle is canvas micarta, held on with five stainless steel pins and a stainless thong-hole tube. It is a knife made to be carried out in the wild and used wherever it may be needed. From chopping firewood wood to fighting off grizzly bears to preparing fresh food for a hearty meal, this knife will do it. Fire-roasted bear burgers, anyone?

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