William Henry “Engraved Longhorn Beetle Knife” Part 1

Well, after finishing up the little copper overlay titanium owl pendant, I’m back into the swing of things to begin my next William Henry (www.williamhenry.com) commission, a small B10 model folding knife.

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I started by engraving the basic layout of the beetle legs, the bark and knothole on the nicely machined 416 stainless steel scale, and super glued the shibuichi beetle body to the surface so I could carefully trace around it with a small, sharp scribe.  Two tiny drops of thick, gap filling super glue suffice, and the beetle can be easily removed with a small wooden punch, tapping on the side of the beetle.  The glue will vanish when I anneal the shibuichi.

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Above, I’ve carefully used a Lindsay Detailing engraver (96 degree V graver) to cut inside the scribed lines around the beetle’s body.  I need to excavate a pocket to inlay the shibuichi body into the steel scale.  This type of inlay is held in mechanically, and no glue or solder is used.

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Next, I need to begin excavating the “pocket” for the shibuichi beetle to fit into.  I start that process by engraving parallel cuts along the length of the body pocket.

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The parallel cuts will aid me in keeping the bottom of the pocket flat.  Above, I’ve used a small carbide ball bur in my NSK Electer micromotor grinder to begin cutting away the waste metal.  I cut to the bottom of the grooves.

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Above, I’ve finished excavating the pocket.  You can still see a bit of the engraved line bottoms left at the bottom.

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I’ve used the same 96 degree graver to cut deeper around the edges.  I’ve carefully tipped the graver so the outside edges of the pocket will be close to 90 degrees (vertical).  I’ve also begun the process of engraving more parallel cuts.  I have to be especially careful now, since the bottom of the pocket is getting deep enough that I might scar the edges of the front or back ends – this is sometimes called a heel strike in engraving.

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And, above, I’ve completed engraving the second set of parallel cuts, ready to use the small carbide bur to excavate to the bottom of the engraved cuts.  I’ll repeat this parallel cuts/carbide bur excavating process one more time to achieve the depth I need.

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Above, the pocket is completely excavated.  I’ll use a flat graver to undercut the edges of the side walls – I simply press the flat graver straight into the bottom edge, cutting a gap below the vertical walls.  I need this small gap to make the next step easier – using several different punches to “forge” the walls in order to raise the outside edges up, and out.  This will provide enough extra room so the shibuichi beetle body will fit into the pocket.  As the pocket is right now it is too small for the shibuichi body.  There is a little madness to my method – the raised outside edges will provide enough extra steel to mechanically hold the shibuichi inlay in place when I use a punch to drive the raised edges down, hopefully actually denting into the shibuichi for a super-strong hold.

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Here, above, is the inlay dropped into place, with very little clearance around the edges.  Tomorrow, I’ll cut a bur field in the bottom of the pocket, and then set the shibuichi in permanently.  If all goes well, the only way to remove the inlay will be to destroy it, or the scale.

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Above, a couple of side views of the inlay just set into place.

Thanks for looking!

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