We're setting record temperatures for August in south Texas right now (day after day above 100), which makes putting in a good working day in the shop somewhat challenging. However, I'm trying to make progress on getting forged inventory ready for the Denver Custom Knife Show, as well as upgrading equipment to be able to more efficiently build tomahawks and the upcoming stock removal knives.
So here are a few pictures of what's going on.
First off we have my buddy Luke Swenson (www.swensonknives.com) helping me wire up a digital controller to a kiln that I will be using for the normalizing and hardening portion of the tomahawk heat treatment process. By "helping me", I mean that I stand by and hand him things, as all I know about electricity is that you shouldn't touch it. :)
This isn't quite completed yet, but once we have everything sorted out I'll be ready to roll on building tomahawks. They will be suspended inside through this slit I cut in the lid as they heat up, which should minimize the amount of singed nostril hairs and allow me to more easily control the temperature of the 'hawks.
They'll be quenched in the commercial quench oil in the black barrel. After cleanup, they'll be tempered in the kiln on the left, which is also used to cure the Durabake finish.
Also, I got a batch of trainers waterjetted. These are made from 3/4" ABS, and should be very tough. I'll be doing some demonstration videos with them after they're completed. They are the same thickness as the handles of the real tomahawks and will be beveled the same way. The heads are the same pattern as the hammer poll, with more rounded corners and with anchoring holes to allow for padding to be easily added when sparring with a partner.
The entire first batch of these had to be scrapped due to the waterjet spray deflecting for some reason when cutting the holes. The spray cut through the side of the holes, sometimes completely through one side. These were cut without holes. In the lower left you can see a pattern that I had cut from 1/4" mild steel that I will use when drilling the holes with my drill press.
I added three additional holes to the head of the trainer from my original batch to allow for padding to be anchored all the way around the head for safety when practicing blocking and hooking techniques.
Here's a couple of the original trainers that I went ahead and finished out to be able to show folks at the Blade Show what I would have available. These will not be for sale as it is also compromised by the deflected waterjet spray, just less so than some of the others. As you can see, they are the same lengths as the available tomahawks. They are only made in hammer poll form as adding a spike would be too dangerous on a trainer; even a rounded one could easily penetrate a temple or an eye. The hammer polls are still long enough to train with hooking and limb deflection techniques that you might use with a spike 'hawk.
I also had some 'hawk blanks cut from the 1/4" mild steel to make blockers with, so that Kydex sheaths can be built around them. I hope to have those available soon.