A modern bladesmith rooted in the old traditions

Hybrid Cable Bowie

This is the description that Antonio CJunior wrote on the process of making this blade:

“This cable bowie-tanto hybrid knife is inspired by Jesus Hernandez magnificent work with cable and how it is finished with the white bands around the strands that confer to the blade an extremely precious appearence. Therefore I was inspired to conceive a hybrid design, based on a bowie appearance but with a hira-zukuri section.

I mainly capitalized in interpreting Jesus Hernandez own style and adding just a touch or two. I hope the chunks or strands of steel can be as large as possible while at the same time the bands are highlighted which happens here and there in this rendition. The guard and the pommel would be of brushed stainless steel, finished to a semi-gloss degree. The handle is darkened spalted maple burl just epoxyed to the tang.

For storage, albeit the quality of Jesus Hernandez carving, I came up with a black leather sheath with his logo embossed. It is a simple piece but that to me is quite elegant as I rendered it in grey for better reading of the embossing.

In no time Jesus Hernandez made the sheath and sent me the two pictures above. He will still be dyeing it and burnishing the sides but it already looks fantastic. It is simple and to have these kind of stitches done by a doctor is definitely much better than those other stitches that doctors do.

The logo detail in the finished black dyed leather and the full sheath as can be seen in the right.

Unfortunately, the choice of spalted maple piece did not work well and broke as it was not well dried so a piece of Wenge was used instead. As Jesus Hernandez became available to work on this project, he kept sending pictures for this review which becomes also a kind of tutorial. From the rendition above, JH started by drawing and cutting the shape or pattern superbly well.

JH then bought this piece of steel cable an inch thick and was even careful to take a picture with the ruler.

For the next step the cable was forged welded into a bar.

This picture shows the one inch cable in the forge as it gets to welding temp and turns into a solid bar. I am personally always amazed at the properties of fire as if discovering something new. In fact, every time a knife is in the making, something new takes place in as much as each human being born into the world is a unique occasion.

Now the picture shows the final bar with some rough grinding. It now measures over 2 feet long.

In these series of 3 pictures, we can first see that the 2 feet long bar is now cut in 5 pieces of 6 inches long each. This is Jesus’ little trick to create the elongation of the cable strands in the final billet. These 5 pieces will be stack together and forge welded into a bar again as can be seen in the center picture. Finally the third picture shows the final bar which is now about the same length of the original piece of cable but it has been stretched out by a factor of 5.
My curiosity is growing as I await the development of the work. The interesting thing is that the review is being made as the pictures are received.
Jesus Hernandez works fast although, as a doctor, his medical practice must take much of his time. Nonetheless I have received two more pictures seen below:

Here’s a picture, now of the forged blade where the fire marks are still visible and some strands as well. Jesus Hernandez works in a very methodical way as I myself can see and conclude.

After heat treating it is possible to see in a slight way the chunks and strands. One can also see how close has JH ground the bowie to the original pattern. It is easy to do some guess work on how he will grind off the extra areas based on his plan.

Jesus Hernandez keeps a very nice tracking of photographic patterns that show the developments. Here is early polish of the bowie.

At about the same time, JH performed both intensive wood-chop and paper cutting tests. The blade is really sharp and will get sharper as polish continues.

This close-up of the blade, polished at 600 grit, is very pedagogical for viewing an accomplished smith’s work. The forged cable has not made it’s appearance yet.

Now I have received these two pictures from Jesus Hernandez and look and change from the earlier picture and the effect of the cable and the shapes the strands took, plus the hamon. Also note the white lines limiting the different “cells” like a snake skin, if one needs a reference. But for me is more of a cloisonn√© work.

Jesus Hernandez just sent me this picture. The hira-zukuri section bowie is finished for Christmas. JH worked at an amazing speed.”