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THE STEEL - I started with a billet (18"x2"x1/4") of spring steel. After playing around with various designs on graph paper, I finally settled on one that used the full 18 inch by 2 inches of the steel.


FIRST CUT - Shown below is the billet after cutting to shape. You can still see the sharpie marker outline in places.

 ROUGHING THE PROFILE - Shown below is the blade, cleaned up, and rough ground/sanded to the desired profile. As you can see, it is simply tapered with a sander, not hollow ground.

SURFACE FINISH - As you can see below, the tang holes have been drilled in preparation for the handle. The M40 insignia has been engraved at the base of the blade (not very visible in this picture), and I have bead-blasted and parkerized it. The Parkerizing was done at home over a 2 burner hot plate with  phosphoric acid, manganese dioxide, fine steel wool and distilled water.  In a BIG Pyrex dish, I used about a gallon of distilled water, and about a cup each of the phosphoric acid and manganese dioxide (Slowly add the acid to the water or it WILL blow up in your face!). Once all of this reaches a slow boil, I added the pad of steel wool. Once the steel wool dissolves in the solution (very cool!), it is ready. I carefully lowered the freshly bead-blasted blade into the solution, and waited about 20 minutes or a half hour. I then quickly rinsed the excess solution off the blade with hot water, and then sprayed the whole thing down with moisture displacing oil. I left it overnight before wiping off the oil. The DARK black comes off on the rag, but it leaves behind the dark, charcoal gray that you see here. It is an extremely tough finish.

FINAL FIT AND FINISH - Here you can see the knife fitted with a cocobolo (extremely dense tropical wood) handle. I used 4 brass "Chicago screws" to attach it. I have not yet made a sheath, but plan on using Kydex, and maybe even an additional leather one.

As you can see, the blade has been given a thorough honing (...and yes, both bottom and top edges will mow hair like nobody's business!).

Latest photo showing my custom kydex sheath with snap closure, 550 cord wrap, and survival kit in pouch on the side

Here is the knife in the sheath. As you can see, there is an indent for the finger grip, which makes for excellent retention. The knife slips in, and locks in place with a nice resounding click.

PS - The easiest way to do home parkerizing jobs is to simply order kits at:  OR If you really want, and you think you can find cheap sources of Phosphoric acid and powdered manganese dioxide, then follow the home recipe above.


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