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Gidgee Mike

I made this knife for a great customer named Mike. The handle is made out of a rare Australian wood called gidgee (hence the name “Gidgee Mike”).

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I forged the blade out of C105 carbon steel and then gave it a differential heat treatment using clay. The blade was ground and hand-sanded to 800 grit, then repeatedly etched and polished with a slurry of oil and pulverized dolomite. I am actually ashamed to admit how many hours I spent polishing this blade, but if I were paid minimum wage I’d have well over a hundred dollars in labor invested into the blade polish alone.

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The guard is made out of five separate pieces of stainless steel and bronze. I took my time in getting a tight, clean fit and put a few more hours on my time sheet in the process.

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The handle is a beautiful piece of gidgee wood I bought from a friendly bloke named Peter who gathered it on a property in outback Queensland, Australia. Gidgee, part of the Acacia family, is one of the hardest known woods in the world, making it a superb knife-handle material. The same qualities that make it great for knife handles, however, also make it challenging to work with. I broke one drill bit drilling the tang cavity, dulled my hardened steel handle broach while fitting it to the tang, and went through grinding beltsĀ and sandpaper like they were nothing.

Boy, these hours are starting to add up…

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I shaped and contoured the handle to fit securely and comfortably in the hand, and then polished the wood to 1200 grit (yup, more hours on the time sheet) before finishing it with several coats of boiled linseed oil (and a light sanding between each coat). Gidgee is already very durable, but a good finish will enhance its beauty while also protecting it from varying environmental conditions. As long as it is taken care of, a handle like this can last for hundreds of years.

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The blade is 15cm (6 inches) long and over 8 mm (5/16 inch) thick at the guard, tapering gracefully towards the tip to keep it balanced and quick. The overall knife measures just a little over 28 cm (11 inches), and should handle a variety of tasks with ease. From splitting kindling to preparing food for a meal, this knife is designed for strength, reliability, and versatility.

I hope Mike likes it!

 

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