Abs Handles And Guards Course With Joe Keeslar at Texarkana College, Washington, Arkansas
Posted 22 November 2010 - 06:32 PM
Before the course I emailed Mr. Keeslar and he said to bring one full tang knife blade and one narrow tang knife blade completely finished except for the handles. The completed part is important unless you want to miss out on valuable learning time finishing blades. He also said to bring any materials that I would like to bring if I had anything specific in mind. Although, they provide materials for the knives.
The first thing that we went over in the class was full tang knife construction. The demonstration knife was one of Joe Keeslar's Brute De Forge knives. His methods involve no glue and a lot of peening.
I enjoyed doing things a bit differently that I normally do so it was fun. For my full tang knife I made a chopper with a 10'' blade and 15'' overall so I can practice cutting things. It ended up with bolsters (which were covered in the class) and curly maple handles.
Next we covered silver wire inlay. Which I of course wanted to learn so I decided to put some on my chopper. I went with the demonstration pattern Joe used as it gave me the chance to use pins and have lines crossing over each other etc.
After covering the finishing of a maple handle we moved on to the narrow tangs. Mr. Keeslar favors soldered guards so that is how we did it. I would suspect that if you took the class from someone who presses their guards that would be what you would learn. Here is Joe Keeslar soldering a guard:
Other topics that were covered included: Pin usage in keeping spacers lined up with handles, filework, laying out a leather sheath, butt cap construction, and by popular request the forging of a Brute De Forge knife:
By the way, the man swings a BIG hammer!
Overall I really enjoyed the course. You really had to move to try and get close to finishing two knives in the five days. But, a lot of learning was done. I didn't get any pictures of the second knife which is about 3/4 of the way finished. And, I still need to make some pictures of the nearly complete chopper now that it has wire inlay and has been stained.
Posted 22 November 2010 - 06:35 PM
This is the bunkhouse that you can stay at in Old Washington. (Not the huge historic bunkhouse.) It is a bit longer than the picture suggests and the side of the building faces the road. It is located on the main highway that runs through Washington kind of across the street from the visitors center and offices.
Posted 22 November 2010 - 06:46 PM
Joe is a super nice guy. A fantastic teacher too. You were lucky to have him as your instructor.
Posted 22 November 2010 - 07:32 PM
Anvil Top Custom Knives
Posted 22 November 2010 - 10:26 PM
Thank you for the detailed post which provides an excellent description of your Handles and Guards class in words and photos. Master Smith Joe Keeslar is an outstanding instructor.
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Posted 23 November 2010 - 09:12 AM
What is the major impact on your work that this class made or will make?
It is hard to say at this point. However, figuring out assembly pin usage would probably be the biggest thing. Mainly because it will allow for a bit more complexity in handle construction. I will also be playing around with the silver wire inlay as it was quite enjoyable. Plus, many of the little tips and tricks will make life a bit easier.
Posted 24 November 2010 - 10:57 AM
Here is a quick picture of the first of the two knives to be finished. I made it to be competition cutter sized (10'' blade 15'' overall) so that I could practice cutting things. I also gave it a scotch-bright belt finish so I can clean it up quickly after the hard use I plan on giving it.
Posted 10 February 2011 - 09:45 AM
Posted 18 February 2011 - 02:03 PM
I agree wholeheartedly! Life would be really boring for me if I couldn't keep busy learning something new. I just built a bowling ball vise so that I can attempt some wire inlay myself. I just have 3 projects that need to be finished before I can start. Now I understand why a lot of makers don't take orders... It's nice to have the security of orders but it can be restrictive at the same time, especially when your time in the shop is limited.
Nice thread! Thanks for posting your experiences and the pic's!