Knapped Steel Petroglyph Knife

Another of my signature “Knapped Steel” knives.  I had so much fun playing with the antler and potassium permanganate from you kagamibuta adventure, I decided to make a knife handle.

Above is the knife I “carved” prior to heat treatment.  I use a scan like this to design (on paper) a pleasing shaped handle.

Here is the moose antler handle, completely fabricated and ready to color in the potassium permanganate bath, just like we did in the kagamibuta adventure.

Here is the antler handle after the first hot bath of potassium permanganate.  I’ll remove most of the color at this stage, and do repeated baths.  Lather, rinse, repeat as necessary.

The handle colored, and ready to install the blade.

And, above, the results of the last trip in the hot potassium permanganate bath.  I’ll remove more of this for the final coloring of the handle, ready to engrave some petroglyphs on.  I call this “engraving” rather than scrimshaw.  Scrimshawing doesn’t remove material from the surface of the ivory/antler or whatever material is being used, while engraving does.  Hence the difference.  Anyway, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Above, I’ve engraved the lines for my petroglyphs, and “painted” concentrated potassium permanganate into the grooves.  I use a very tiny synthetic artist’s paintbrush for this, and will repeat “filling the ditches” with the potassium permanganate solution several times to build up the depth of color I want.  By the way, I also use a tiny bit of TSP (tri-sodium phosphate, or washing soda) in the solution as a wetting agent.  It seems to help.  In the sun petroglyph above, you can see some of the purple potassium permanganate in the grooves, before it has oxidized the antler.  A few minutes later, and the color will be dark brown.

I also cheat a little, and the final application is a little brown ink.

Above is the final appearance of the petroglyphs after a vigorous application of steel wool to smooth everything out.

And, the final knife after I made a walnut display box.

Available soon at

Thanks for Looking!

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