Western #47 Build with Stag

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orvet
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Western #47 Build with Stag

Postby orvet » Fri Aug 02, 2019 7:38 am

Several years ago in trade with a collector I ended up with a #47 Western Bowie knife blank. I don't know that the blank was ever completed with a handle. When I received it and had no handle and no evidence of ever having had one.

Early this year I was telling my Western customers about the blank and he said he would like the opportunity to purchase it and have me put stag handles on it. He thought the end of July would be a good time for him. I said, that I thought the timing was perfect and I thought I could find some good stag. Unfortunately, I didn’t know I was going to be in the hospital twice during the time I was working on it; once at the end of June for surgery and then July 26 to have the mesh from the first surgery removed. I came in a little later than I had anticipated but I was able to finish it this evening on August 1.

I didn’t take step-by-step pictures, but I did take pictures of some of the more important stages of the procedure. I thought our members might like to see the work in progress on this Bowie and I know my customer will like to see the pictures; he is an AAPK member also.

This is the starting point, the #47 blank and a piece of brass bar with the slot cut in it. The brass bar I got from Jantz and though the slot was not the right size to accommodate the tang, it was close enough that I was able to finish filing it to size without a lot of difficulty. I believe the bar cost $15 plus shipping which was a whole lot more cost-effective in my mind than starting with a three dollar bar of brass and drilling my own holes! :mrgreen:
a – Blank Blade and plain brass bar.jpg


Here is the shape scratched and the brass after painting it with layout fluid. IMHO the layout fluid was also worth the price! It doesn't rub off like Sharpie does.
b – Step 2 in making the guard.jpg


Hours of sanding and filing later, I have the shape of the guard roughed out.
c– Step 3 – hours of sanding and filing later – rough shaped..jpg


I could not be content with a plain brass guard and I wasn't very excited about bending the guard like some of the original Western guards, so I file work the edge of the crossbar between the circles or discs either end of the guard. It's getting close, but still a long ways to go!
d – brass guard nearing completion of shaping..jpg


This is a trial fit of the guard, nice and snug.
e- Trial Fitting the Guard.jpg


Gluing stag to the handle.
f- gluing stag to handle.jpg


Stag is glued into place in mosaic pin holes are drilled. Notice that the edge and the guard are heavily taped to prevent damage to the guard while attaching the handle.
g- Attaching the Stag and being very careful of the guard so as not to ding it up.jpg


This shows pith from the center of the stag slab that is at the bottom of the handle. The top of the handle has showing it is all the harder stag exterior.
h- Pith on the bottom of the handle.jpg


This is pith that shows on the end of the handle. It is almost impossible anymore to find thick solid slabs of the exterior hard stag without having to deal with some of the interior pith as well. My cost on the set of handles as it was was about $75 with shipping, so you can imagine what a perfect set of slab handles would cost for this knife! The cool thing is this can be hardened, if you're patient. It only takes a couple dozen applications of thin CA glue like Zap-A-Gap than and then a few applications of the Zap-A-Gap medium. When you are all finished it feels like it's been stabilized.
i- super gluing center of stag.jpg


Next I needed to make a sheath for the knife. I patterned it after a number of other Western Bowie sheaths, all the while trying to keep it simple enough to be in my skill level. I had a big heavy cowhide to make the sheath with.
j- Heavy Cow hide.jpg


I visited my local shoe repairman/Tandy leather store and had a lot of chats with the new owner. He wants me to bring some knives in so he can sell them, or drool on them one I'm not sure which, probably both. He sold me the hardware I needed to put the sheath together, and also some of the tools. Here I am clamping the welt to the back of the sheath. This is the first sheath I have made that used a welt.
k- Making My First Sheath with a Welt.jpg


Here are the two halves of the sheath after the glue dried.
l- Sheath halves.jpg



Well, I think that's about all I can get on this post. I need to get some sleep because I have to see this doctor in the morning and have my surgical wound tended to. I have some very mediocre indoor pictures of the completed knife and sheath. Hopefully my wife can get some better pictures with her nice camera that I can with my cell phone.
The knife and sheath are completed. Hopefully we'll have some good pictures of both tomorrow. Otherwise you'll have to see my lousy indoor pictures.
Dale
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bladebuddy
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Re: Western #47 Build with Stag

Postby bladebuddy » Fri Aug 02, 2019 11:17 am

Dale, once again you have given us really good step by step pictures of your process of building knives. Can’t wait to see the finished product. Good luck with your doctors. Thanks again for all your postings. ::ds:: Steve B.
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Meridian_Mike
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Re: Western #47 Build with Stag

Postby Meridian_Mike » Fri Aug 02, 2019 11:36 am

Wonderful work Dale!
Those handles are killer! You did a great job of leaving the right amount of ridges vs valleys to really bring out the artistry of the stag!
I can't wait to see the next installment of pictures. Inside or outside doesn't matter. This is a very nice knife build!
I had a friend that has since passed.... he worked with leather all his life. He could really do a great job on making anything out of leather. I tried it once..... not my cup-o-tea. SO... I know the work and skill it takes to make a nice sheath..... can't wait to see your leather work!
(Now... where did I put my popcorn?)

Mike
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glennbad
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Re: Western #47 Build with Stag

Postby glennbad » Fri Aug 02, 2019 11:40 am

Good lord Dale, that thing is NICE! I love your fixed blade work... ::nod::

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Steve Warden
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Re: Western #47 Build with Stag

Postby Steve Warden » Fri Aug 02, 2019 11:51 am

Absolutely beautiful!!!!

Well, you told him end of July. You got it to him Aug 1st. Take a buck off the asking price and tell him it's a day late and a dollar short! ::rotflol:: ::rotflol:: ::rotflol:: ::rotflol:: ::rotflol::





Now where'd I put my crayons? It's time to just shut up and color. :wink:
Take care and God bless,

Steve
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But any knife is better than no knife! ~ Mumbleypeg (aka Ken)

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Doc B
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Re: Western #47 Build with Stag

Postby Doc B » Fri Aug 02, 2019 1:10 pm

Sweet! I really like what you did with the guard! Looking forward to the final pictures, as well! ::tu:: ::tu:: ::tu::
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Re: Western #47 Build with Stag

Postby doglegg » Fri Aug 02, 2019 1:22 pm

Dale always impressive and sometime like this one absolutely fabulous. Love the blade shape, LOVE the guard and love the stag and I bet that sheath will match the quality of the rest of the knife. Bet you customer will be ecstatic. ::nod:: ::nod:: ::tu:: ::tu:: ::handshake::

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OLDE CUTLER
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Re: Western #47 Build with Stag

Postby OLDE CUTLER » Fri Aug 02, 2019 5:39 pm

Yowzers, that is one BIG impressive handful of knife! And I agree the guard is spectacular! ::tu::
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Re: Western #47 Build with Stag

Postby KleenCut61 » Fri Aug 02, 2019 10:50 pm

Great Project Dale , Handled With Pride And dignity . ::tu:: …..K.C

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orvet
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Re: Western #47 Build with Stag

Postby orvet » Sat Aug 03, 2019 1:30 am

I'll share a few more pictures and then pictures of the knife in the sheath both completed.

This was another type of hide we considered, but I'm glad we didn't choose this water buffalo hide. It has too glossy a finish on it for this application, IMHO.
Water Buffalo hide.jpg



Here are some pictures of the sheath that shows you a the features:

Here is the sheath from the top view showing the strap open. You can see that the back of the snap is padded with leather so that the brass snap does not scratch the stag on the knife.
A –  sheath.jpg


Most of the Western Bowie knife sheaths I have seen had this upper strap attached to the brass D ring. This allows the sheath to swing should you get into a vehicle and have the holster tied to your leg with leather straps, which I forgot to include for the pictures. This is with the upper belt strap removed. A large portion of the Western Bowie knife sheaths I have seen have that upper strap cut off of them. I made this one so it would snap so the wearer have the option of whether to use it or not.
B – sheath.jpg


If I were riding horseback, I would probably put my belt through the lower loop on the sheath and again tie the bottom of the sheath to my leg. There's not as much need for the sheath to rotate when on horseback because when writing in the open range you spend a lot of time with your legs extended the stirrups anyway, at least I always did.
C – sheath.jpg



Here are some pictures of the handle, most of these are taken after the knife was finished:

This is the mark side handle enlarged.
finished handle a.jpg


The pile side handle enlarged.
finished handle b.jpg


This is the top of the handle
handle top.jpg


This is the underside of the handle. Although there was no visible from the top of the handle, it was visible from the underside and I spent several hours applying Zap-A-Gap thin to soak into the pithy portion of the stag to stabilize it. It was probably two dozen coats of the thin CA and then six or eight coats of Zap medium CA to fill any porous portions.
underside of handle.jpg


The end of the handle receive the same treatment on the more porous portions of the stag.
end of handle.jpg



Here are the finished pictures of the #47 Bowie with stag handles.
These first two pictures are in the sheath in the last two are the knife itself.
I hope you enjoyed looking at the pictures is much as I enjoyed building the knife. It was lots of fun!

Western #47 with stag 8-1-19 y.jpg

Western #47 with stag 8-1-19 z.jpg


Western #47 with stag 8-1-19 a.jpg


Western #47 with stag 8-1-19 b.jpg


My apologies for the lousy indoor pictures, believe it or not it was sprinkling here today when I was trying to take the pictures. ::shrug::
Dale
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Re: Western #47 Build with Stag

Postby zzyzzogeton » Sat Aug 03, 2019 2:50 am

Very nice work.

"N" date code = 1990.

It was probably a blank left over when Coleman sold the company to the group of Boulder businessmen in 1990, who then screwed the pooch with the company and ended up selling the company assets to Camillus in 1991.

When the assets were sold off, there were a lot of blanks of all sorts sold off. Many blanks were then sold off piecemeal, while others were finished out by folks and resold as "original Western knives".

I'm glad your put your mark on it.

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orvet
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Re: Western #47 Build with Stag

Postby orvet » Sat Aug 03, 2019 4:58 am

Thanks guys, I appreciate the complements.
It's always nice when someone else sees the beauty that I try to bring out of a knife. ::nod::

ZZ, thanks for the background information on the Boulder businessman group. I vaguely recall hearing something about it, but I didn't realize that it was such a botched effort, and that Camillus basically just bought the assets of the company that were left after the businessman made hash of what was once a premier cutlery! I always appreciate your depth of knowledge regarding Western and your willingness to share it. Thanks again. ::tu::
Dale
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Steve Warden
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Re: Western #47 Build with Stag

Postby Steve Warden » Sat Aug 03, 2019 1:46 pm

That's a beauty, for sure!
Take care and God bless,

Steve
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But any knife is better than no knife! ~ Mumbleypeg (aka Ken)

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Re: Western #47 Build with Stag

Postby KleenCut61 » Sat Aug 03, 2019 4:48 pm

::tu:: ::tu:: Fantabulous Work ! ….K.C.

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Byrd
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Re: Western #47 Build with Stag

Postby Byrd » Sat Aug 03, 2019 5:32 pm

That is just flat out amazing! It's the best looking Western bowie I've ever seen! Great work Dale.
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