There are knives whose end is seen from the beginning, and there are those whose end is merely hoped for. In many ways, this knife was an attempt at redemption, because the idea of color case hardening knife fittings was the original plan for my mastersmith dagger. I did the research, built the apparatus I needed and even made my own charcoal. But never got the color I was after.
Fourteen years later, I decided to give it another go. The reason color case hardening has such appeal is that, like hamon or even many Damascus patterns, the details of the end result are a surprise. In this case, after all the preparation and the over an hour cooking at 1400 degrees, the canister holding the parts and the super-heated charcoal is dumped unceremoniously into a tub of water and bits of burning charcoal are thrown several feet in every direction by the exploding steam. I set the canister aside, remove my gloves and go fishing for what I hope to be worth all the time and effort. Lifting those dripping parts from the water and seeing the swirling colors, hard as glass on the surface of the steel...well it's a blast!
Not to be overshadowed but the fittings, the blade was another "Hey, I wonder what this will look like?" moment. The resulting pattern which looks kaleidoscope-ish to my eyes is 52100 and 15N20 steels - nearly 11" long with a fully sharpened clip.
The sculpted Thorned guard is fitted to a gorgeous piece of English walnut. The handle has a raised ridge as a visual homage to the raised comb on a handmade shotgun. The knife is also built as a take-down, with the matching case hardened nut in the butt of the handle.
The sheath is finished very simply without tooling but dyed in a mottled pattern to compliment the patterns on the case hardened stud.