Well, now that I have several sheets of shibuichi in hand, I turned my attention to making a knife. First (and this is always the most difficult part!) I had to decide on a design. The subject I chose was ants, so I’m going to inlay tiny ants in 24 karat gold in the shibuichi scales. Lots more to decide later, but this gives me a target to shoot at, so I had to come up with an appropriate looking knife to go along with what will (hopefully) result in an elegant presentation.
So, I struggled with the above type designs for several days, but nothing was really grabbing my imagination. Starting to panic – I needed to get something going, but nothing was really working for me.
Then, the idea. I’ve always liked the long, graceful Italian stiletto design, and have made several thin medieval-style misericordia in the past (see the image above). I haven’t done one of these lately, and they proved to be popular, so, bingo!, an idea that would probably go well with the ants theme.
Misericordia were medieval stabbing weapons, supposedly intended to provide “mercy” (misericordia is “pity” or “mercy” in Latin) to seriously wounded foes on the battlefield. Typical blades are diamond or triangular in cross section, without sharpened edges. Not intended for cutting, they could slip in between the cracks of armor. I’m a little skeptical about the “mercy” part, but I wasn’t there back in the “bad ole days,” so what do I really know about it? Since this knife is intended to be small and elegant, maybe I’ll call this one a “miseretto.” Yeah, that’s it…we’ll call it a miseretto.
Of course, it was just an idea. Not quite ready for prime time, so it was back to the drawing board (literally!). I sketched around for a while and came up with a basic design, then scaled it so I could get both handle scales out of a single sheet of the shibuichi, then played around with scaling the blade and the handle for a pleasing aspect. A few of the attempts above. The one I decided on (with my wife’s “guidance”) is the design on the right.
But, still a little uncertain, I decided on a wooden macquette to help with the decision process. The wooden blank cutout is on the left, and the design rubber cemented onto a piece of 1080 carbon steel on the right.
And, the other side. Next, I’ll have to shape the blade. I think I’ll upset the blade from the sides to add a little thickness, and maybe forge the basic taper into the blade, then start with the angle grinder, followed by files. I’m feeling better, now that I’m finally rolling again…