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WDV - Wetdryvac.net|
Current Residence: wetdryvac.net
deviantWEAR sizing preference: medium or larger
Print preference: Foot, matte, original rez
Favourite genre of music: Whatever the hell it is Zappa did
Favourite photographer: Lois Greenfield
Favourite style of art: Futurist, Watercolor Inversions
Operating System: Windows Server 2000, XP Pro, OSX, Three Flavors of Linux, C64, Cat brains
MP3 player of choice: Media Monkey.
Shell of choice: Walnut, almond, or gravy, but not pudding
Wallpaper of choice: Actually, I prefer paint
Skin of choice: The one I'm wearing
Favourite cartoon character: Kineda
Personal Quote: Never flash evaporate a kitten
A while ago, my partner and I wandered down the a relatively nearby Korean grocery. There, amidst the foodstuffs, we discovered some old proper steel blades. They were in somewhat rough shape, but the steel was good and we needed a cleaver. The one pictured here, well – sometimes a blade will speak to you, either as, “This is perfect,” Or, “This is a perfect project.”
This one, well: Definite project material. The handle was friction-taped together, the steel was somewhat rusted, and under the friction tape, bits of dry-cracked handle floated around some. Usable, but far from ideal.
Now, a few years later, I finally had the chance – and remembered – to take down the knife and do more than just scrub the rust off and oil treat it, which was as far as I’d gotten when we brought it home.
I didn’t document the teardown, but that… was pretty spectacular. Found an old spider nest under about 10 layers of tar based friction tape. The wood of the handle was excellent, but had dried and cracked. Pieces of wood were missing. Spray foam had been injected under the tape to make up for the loss of structure, and cracks were starting into the remaining structure.
The serious saving grace was a proper and robust tang around which the grip had been formed of two pieces of wood.
Repair went something like this.
1) Clean everything – remove spider nest remains, foam, and whatnot.
2) Resurface the faces of the wood, brush out the steel of the tang.
3) Locate wood to rebuild structure. I had cedar, which is utterly the wrong wood for this job, but not prone to rot, and easy to carve with the equipment I had on hand.
4) Carved the cedar in place – two piece – by string wrapping, removing some wood, re-wapping to carve another angle, and so forth. Tedious, but fun, and since I was working without a vice and didn’t trust my eye since it’s been years since I carved anything like this, the best way to shape-match.
5) Once the two pieces of cedar were shaped, removed them, did a final clean, and rubbed glue – I’m a huge fan of titebond wood glue, since it’s structural as heck – into the cracks forming in the remaining handle body.
6) Glued cedar pieces in place, and used a close-wrap of cotton string down the length of the grip, tucking both ends into the body.
7) Burned the cedar chips left over from carving, and rubbed them into the string for color and texture.
8) Laminated the string to the handle with more glue – titebond is waterbased and waterproof when dry, which means that following the tight-wrap, it further shrinks the string, and creates a full laminate permeated bond.
Upshot, the grip is comfortable and rough, has some deformations where the string was joined – cotton string on a long roll tends to be knot-joined once in a while if it’s the cheap stuff – and is now a solid string-to-steel-to-wood single piece. No water will get in, and if I get annoyed with the deformations, I can sand into the rough spots without buggering up the integrity of the grip.
Balance: Bloody nearly perfect.
Deformations: I haven’t carved the last end of the grip to shape – I wanted the structure first – and I haven’t sanded out the texture of the charcoal, but the part my hand’s in contact with for cutting is spot on.
Sharpness: It’s a cleaver, so it’s not honed to a razor’s edge – just to proper cleaver sharpness.
The build was lots of fun, and took most of an evening. Add another 48 hours to set up the glue, and perhaps another hour if I decide to sand and shape, and we’re good to go.
I suspect I’ll be doing a couple more of these as art projects for utility’s sake, so if anyone wants to purchase something, yell and I’ll see what’s available for a starting point.
This one, however, is not for sale: It'll be outlasting me, and I plan to use it for the duration.