Monthly Archives: November 2012

Coffin Handle Bowie

This knife started out as a bar of 01 tool steel, and was shaped by sander, file, and stone. I apologize for not having pics of the beginning of the project. Here is the blade getting the final stoning before heat treatment. The heat treatment consists of heating the blade in my kiln to 1550 degrees, then quenching it in oil. This takes the steel from its relatively soft state to its max hardness. Directly after the quench it goes into the oven for 2, 2 hour 350 degrees heat cycles to temper it. People often seem confused as to the purpose of this second heating. When the blade comes out of the oil quench it is so hard that it can break- sort of like a piece of glass- super hard but brittle. The tempering reduces the hardness slightly to give it more resilience, while still retaining 90% of its post-quench hardness.

At this point, I have approx 20 hours into the blade alone. The candles are because I was doing this during the hurricane power outage!

Now on to the guard and handle. This is a paper template for the upper portion of the handle.

Here it is transferred onto the steel it will be cut from. I use a plasma cutter here.

Cut out, but rough…

Using my vintage surface grinder to remove the rust and scale from the steel, and to ensure that it is perfectly flat.

Now to the old Bridgeport mill to begin the long process of maching the rough steel to exact dimensions. This mill is all manual- no power feed or digital readouts… just my eyes!

OK, rough shape done, and approximate pin hole locations marked…

With the two halves held together, you can see what i achieved with the milling. The blade will recess down into the top of the guard, but not protrude through to the bottom.

Pin holes are drilled (and also drilled through the blade itself), and using the TIG welder to carefully weld the halves together.

Final polishing of the blade. After the heat treatment the blade is discolored and has oil stains, so this is necessary.  Of course, now the blade is rock hard so it takes even more effort to sand it!

Tapped off the blade to protect it while I continue with the handle.

Guard on but not permanently pinned, while I shape the top portion. It has to come back off to be polished.

Guard has been on and off a dozen times at this point, simply sanding, shaping, polishing, filing, fitting. It is important to note that I cannot simply lay this up on a large buffer to achieve this finish, because it will round off all my sharp edges. That means that 95% of this finish needs to be achieved by hand sanding.  This is solid steel.

Now on to the handles scales, made of stabilized amboyna wood

And all polished and blended..

file work in back of blade

finished product! If interested please contact me at

and yes it shaves hair


Alex Lerner Gas Tank

This tank is for SL NYC owner Alex Lerner. If you are in the NYC area and need a top notch mechanic/ fabricator- he is your man. This tank is for his next custom bike.

The tank shape was designed here at Efab- similar to a sportster, but completely different too. First step is making the “buck”, which I do from cedar. Then it gets coated in several layers of marine epoxy to make it hard as a cinderblock. This allows me to hammer directly on it- which sometimes helps!

Templates are taken directly off the buck….

Transferred to steel..

beverly shear is a great tool.. we start the hard part

about an hour later

needs more…

ok sides top panel

This was a unique tank because i could tack the top to the sides while still on the buck… made things easier

Took it off the buck, and made the front panel and the floor. Tunnel and mounts will be added later


all welded up


Cast Wheel

For my new bike:





Polishing is a hell I wouldn’t wish on my enemies. This was by far the most challenging cast thing I have ever attempted to make shiny. Up until this point the worst torture I had endured was an FXR transmission case, complete with all the little fins under the oil filter area. This was worse because almost all of the surfaces to shine were concave in some way- no easy way to lay it up against a buffer! About 60 percent of this was by hand, with little wooden bucks for my sandpaper, wearing my finger tips down to bloody nubs. Luckily it is finally done- so I will never have to do it again!

Cool Bikes

Pretty good use of a softail Id say…


Nice swingarm bike:

Rant Time!

This is less of a rant and more of a public service announcement. Just a friendly reminder that as the holidays approach, and everyone goes bat-shit crazy looking for gifts, remember that this country is full of independent craftsmen. Obviously I’m one of them, but I also know dozens of people who go to work every day trying to succeed at similar ventures. These people do not get health insurance, coworkers to bullshit with, retirement packages, or bonuses. Instead they only get the satisfaction of knowing they are following their own path, and making things with integrity.

Custom leather, clothing, bikes, cars, paint, knives, and jewelry all come to mind. Instead of going to wall-mart and target, fighting huge lines of morons in a capitalistic feeding frenzy, just do a little online search and see who else you can support. Once you find a good one, they tend to be friends with others. If you arnt sure what to commission- just ask them for their recommendations! Remember, a chinese TV, taiwan stereo, or korean clothing from an outlet store isn’t helping to get america back on its feet either. Sure its supporting big business, but it is the grassroots companies who will define us in the long run. When you pay for something, ANYTHING, you are casting your vote. Think about what you are voting for.



How to Build a Submarine

This is an amazing program on a British Sub being built. Its a long vid, but cool. Apparently, the sonar in this one can hear a ship leaving NY harbor from Southampton!

Reminds me of my Youth

I lived and breathed mountain bikes for the first half of my life. I experimented with everything from cross country, downhill, trials, dirt jumping, etc. I was decent at all but not great at any. What is cool to see, now, is that there is a lot of blending between disciplines. These guys here are blurring the lines between freestyle BMX street riding and trials. As fun as it was, I don’t miss all the bloody shins and crushed nuts! Thanks to Diamond Dave for the vid.