David and I have tried out a few new things lately, one of which I'm particularly excited about because I have never seen it done before, by industry, or by other knifemakers, and it works beautifully.
David has started making round handle preforms from our Jittery Joes coffeebag material/canoe resin laminate. He rolls the fabric with resin and pressurizes it in a pipe to create a solid, continuous roll with the best of the fabric texture even throughout the whole piece. Here are some pictures of the first one he did.
Waterproof, shockproof, and awesome.
Another recent innovation is making bottle openers from the teeth of the lumbermill sawblades. Below are some pictures of a simple pocket-carry boxcutter with the bottle opener. Meant to be small, powerful, and thin for a pocket carry.
On another note, we have recently added a nice new Rockwell hardness tester to the shop. It's nice to know for sure what hardness you're getting, particularly when using recycled materials of unknown provenance. For the most part our educated guesses through testing, scratch testing, and guesses as to steel type were very close to the actual values, which is encouraging. Actually, for one of the main sawblade steels we're using our guess was much lower than the actual values. I was shooting for the balance between hardness and toughness that's often a sweet spot (60-61 with my usual 1095), but up until this point toughness was much easier to measure (edge tests and tip deformation/breaking tests). This particular sawblade steel, while still very tough, is at Rc64-65 in a series of well-calibrated tests across the 5 knives we tested. I couldn't believe that it could be tough at that hardness, but it is. As hard as a traditional sushi knife but not fragile and chippy??!?!?!? OOOhh la la. Time to make some lasers.