Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Slightly OT (off topic)

This is pretty far off the topic of cycling / mtb racing. But I'm not going to let that keep me from making many off the wall analogies to mtb racing.

Lately I've been feeling the itch to make something. For a long while I've been really focused on cycling which ranges from training, resting to working on bikes. I quite enjoy getting absorbed into the working on bikes. But it's not the same as making something.

I really get a kick out of taking raw materials and creating something from them. Bikes are sort of like that: a combination of different components that create an extension of your body. Well frames are for sure. Tubing, put together in a design, finished off into a useable work of art. Framebuilding would be cool. But the raw materials cost a pretty penny, as do the required tools. It can be done on a limited budget I'm sure but I'm not ready to tackle that.

Years ago I made some knives. It's sort of funny because I'm certainly not an outdoorsman, into military or fighting, except for action movies, I don't fish or hunt, or hardly even camp for that matter. For whatever odd reason I got into the craft of knifemaking. It's actually an easy thing to do with limited tools /space. Files and sandpaper are the primary tools on a budget. A dremel tool or a 1x30 cheap sander helps some, but not as much as you'd think. A drill press is probably the only real tool needed but a hand drill works too.

It's been years since I made one. I tried two years ago to make a folding knife and kept screwing it up and just plain gave up. The pieces have been sitting in a box since. With the down time between racing season and the strength training, my mind needed a break. I need something else to obsess over. I don't have hobbies, I have obsessions. Just part of my nature. If I had cable I'd be watching this. It's amazing what you can accomplish sucka.

I just love the transformation of the raw materials of steel, wood, tubing, pins

into a useable tool that actually can look cool. Each step is agonizingly slow. And the process forces me to be patient. Sort of like training. Each step leads into the next and needs to be completed to the best of your ability. The typical want it now mentality of America just doesn't cut it. Just like training for races. The hard work you do in November pays off in July. It's also easy to get caught up and lose yourself in the workshop. I tried to do just a little at a time, an hour here or there.

Slowly, ever so slowly it starts to take shape:

A propane torch was used to heat treat it:

nickel silver bolsters:


Dessert Ironwood handle scales

Rough around the edges.

And eventually, it's ready for race season

This going to be my box opener. As any mail order junky knows you never have a knife around when you need one. Now I can get back to ordering bike parts.

The steel is O1 ground 3/16" thick
The bolsters and pins are nickel silver

The bolsters are dovetailed

Handles are Dessert Iron wood scales

The blade is hand rubbed up to 1500 grit and then rubbed with a 600 grit satin finish.

There are plenty of mistakes. You just try and strive to do better next time. Just like racing. You can always learn and go harder next time.


At 10:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So that's what you mountain people do in your spare time! That is truly a work of art! Very impressive! Interesting to see the work in progress.



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