This week I have been making another batch of spooncarving knife blades, or perhaps I should say blade blanks as the bulk of the time in a finished blade is actually in the final sharpening processes. Anyway these are the blades at the first stage of bending, these ones are all right handers. I bend them all at 20 degrees measuring each one carefully but after a while I know four taps with the hammer with just the right power gets them to within half a degree of each other.
The next step is to give them all an open curve bend and finally I take some out and bend the end section round a tighter mandrel to give what I call a compound curve hook knife. Here are a batch of right hand compound curve blades all ready to go for hardening and tempering.
I absolutely love this job particularly since I do it in one of the last traditional knifemakers in Sheffield. I love working amongst those people and feeling part of the huge heritage and tradition there. This may be the last batch I bend there by hand though. I recently bought a gorgeous old fly press from the workshop of Trevor Ablett and Reg Cooper.
It took us a while to get it set up in the workshop they generate a lot of torque in use so need to be bolted down really securely. I am currently having tooling made to fit it, these are effectively two pieces a bit like a jelly mould the press will bash them together with the blade blank between and out will come an open curve knife. To be honest it will not save much time and I did love bending them by hand but it will mean that all the blades are consistently the same so if a person tries someones knife and likes it I can be sure they can buy a near identical one. Whilst I’ll miss my days working in the Sheffield knifeworks I will think of Trevor and Reg every time I use the press.