Sunday, May 9, 2010

Creepy Cool...

My wife is the coolest! Who else would say…you should make me a creepy knife?! I’m itching to get started. I have just the chunk of steel… and that was 3 months ago.

If you know Erica, you know she likes creepy things. Creepy dolls, creepy paintings, zombies, skulls, etc.. I think that is fantastic, so obviously this was a project that I wanted to do, and to put a little thought into...

So…what is a creepy knife? I guess its one that you can imagine seeing in a horror movie, rusty or bloody or sinister. Is it creepier to have an odd bone saw or a bloody butcher knife, or a rusty machete, or… what about a cleaver?

I’ve seen butcher knives with blood stains enameled on. But that just isn’t going to…cut it.

Something super rusty would be cool, but unusable. Lightly rusted is ok. So nothing stainless.

Mostly I just kinda like the idea of a rusty cleaver.

So I started it…

It all started with the chunk of steel, in this case 1095 high carbon steel, which is what I started forging knives with a few years ago. This particular chunk is the heaviest I've worked with, at 1 5/8ths wide and 3/8ths of an inch thick. That’s a lot of metal to move with a little hammer. Makes me wish I had a power hammer, although I do like hand forging. Sometimes I wish for a hotter forge too, but charcoal is pretty good and it feels like being back in time (except for the Dustdevil blower that I use).

Here's the chunk, with Autumn's hand for scale:

And an intermediate stage:

I thought I had a couple more intermediate stages, but I can't find the pictures anywhere, its a pretty big jump to go from the above stage, to the below stage.

Before Quenching:

After a few forging sessions, and a little grinding, I got the shape about where I wanted, quenched it, and ground an edge to it, leaving the forging and quenching patina on the back edge, while polishing the actual edge.

After Quenching:

I decided to go with oak as the handle, because it looks kinda basic, and was torn between rough twine and leather for the keeper cord that it will hang from. In the creepy theme I probably should have tied it off in a noose, but didn't. Oh yeah, and I used framing nails for the pins. Nice!

Anyway, I think it is pretty awesome, its heavy like a cleaver should be, sharp enough that you could probably shave with it, and creepy enough to meet the desired goal. We both kinda think that it should have a block to store it in, ya know, a head or skull or ribcage or something, but for now its going to hang on the wall.

I know its not rusty, but it did cut me a couple of times - I have all kinds of nicks on my hands - so its a little blood thirsty.

And I finished it on Mothers day :) Happy Mothers Day Honey!

What do you think?


  1. That is cool and creepy! I saw your daughter was helping you!

  2. You guys are too funny :)

    How cute you finished it for Mother's Day, I hope you guys had a great time tog. :)

    Looks awesome, I can see it in a skull holder :) T.

  3. That's awesome! I can just hear Autumn (decades from now of course) complaining to her husband when she gets the standard card & box of chocolates, "Honey, you never give me anything REAL. Now, my Dad...that man knows how to give a gift. One year he made my Mom this creepy cleaver for Mother's Day. Why don't you ever do anything like that for me?"

    Oh yeah, she's gonna say it. I know because my Dad is an incredible gifter - something that ruins every gift-giving opportunity for my husband;p

  4. I like the clever. Did hardening the 1095 give you any trouble? Charcoal has and still does forge a lot of blades. You can firge weld with it so it gets plenty hot, but it takes a lot of charcoal and air. Keep up the good work.