After Blade Show this year, I was lucky enough to host my buddy Keith Fludder, an outrageously talented bladesmith from just outside of Sydney, Australia. He suggested we work on a joint project in between seeing the sights in my neck of the woods. When he made the suggestion, though, he had already been thinking and preparing for it... Keith made a BIG iteration of one of my kwaiken out of his gorgeous mosaic damascus in 1084 and 15N20! By the time he arrived here, it was surface ground and ready for us to dive in. He also brought a gorgeous block of Ringed Gidgee to use under the tsukaito. After discussing the project for a bit, Keith filed in the shoulders for the 'armor piercing tip' that this knife would feature, and then I ground all the bevels to pre-heat treat dimensions. We decided to take the beveled spine to a steeper angle, and although it isn't sharp, it could be made so in a heartbeat. Here's one of the few 'work-in-progress' shots we had enough foresight to take: We were nothing short of horrible about taking photos. I have no excuses, except perhaps to say that we were engrossed in the process, and when we weren't, we were tired as hell from the forced marches I required him to endure to sap the energy of my bullmastiff. Good times!!!!! The weather here was beyond bizarre - most mornings were in the low 50's (that's around 12º for you Celsius folks), and in most cases raining. We had to come up with an extra layer for Keith, as his winter temps are around this. I think it was killing him to see me hustling around in shorts and a t-shirt. After all, this IS Buffalo. On one of the rare days when it was nice out, we took the day to visit Letchworth State Park, also known as the "Grand Canyon of the East". Rather a unique geographic feature, as it's a 17 mile long cleft in the earth with cliff faces which can be as high as 550 feet - and it just seems to appear out of nowhere, right in the middle of the rolling landscape of New York. Found this oak burl, there, too, but we couldn't figure out any way to hide it in our pockets to snake some handle material... Once the blade was heat treated and finish ground, it didn't take long for me to hand sand it, and taper the tang, then Keith etched it and showed me how to darken it with gun blue. Not much longer after that, it was time for me to put him on a plane bound for home, and I was tasked with the responsibility of finishing the rest of the project. I shaped and reverse-tapered the gidgee scales so that there would be a gentle forward taper and a swell at the butt for a more secure grip. The scales were then epoxied in place, and indexed with hidden pins: Then it was time to wrap the handle. I elected to use a fantastic pair of sterling silver lobster menuki for this knife: There was a tiny sliver of gidgee left over from cutting the block down, so I snagged it and made a dias for the matched menuki for the upcoming 'Hartsfield-style' saya. The saya is formed of aluminum, lined with ultrasuede, and covered in the gnarliest, cracklest sharkskin I've ever seen - almost like CrocoShark! ...and then we add a bit of sageo, assemble everything up, and we get this: And the final product (almost), 13 inches total length, 7-1/2 inch blade, point of balance at the forward edge of the Turk's head knot: Love this detail shot of the armor piercing tip and the spine: I'm waiting for Keith's maker's mark to hit me, then it'll get a few final details and then... I'm not exactly sure. I want it to get to Coop for real photos, and there was a suggestion made to me yesterday by a good friend to do a video on it. We shall see. Regardless, it was a blast having Keith here - our approach to things is VERY similar, and holy cow! does he make some nice looking steel!!!!! Not sure how I've managed to get such good friends in the knifemaking world, but I'm better for it. Thanks for looking!