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 M40's Bowkri - Continued


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Here's a less decorative, field ready Bowkri I've been working on. First, I bead blasted the blade after grinding and shaping to give me a rough, but uniform finish:


Next, I phosphated the blade. I used a simple "cold" phosphating process of 1 part phosphoric acid to 3 parts hot water (not boiling or anything, just hot from the tap. I got the phosphoric acid in the paint section of my local home depot (it's commonly used to clean and prep concrete surfaces for painting).


Here's my phosphating tank in action. It's an aluminum tank, so it doesn't get eaten... much. The white surface you see is suds caused by the etching action of the acid. The etching has a little bit of an odor. It's not bad, but not really a smell I want in my kitchen. A sheet of plastic wrap stops it nicely.


About 20 minutes in the tank, and you can see the nice, dark gray phosphated finish.


This is rinsed in water to stop the etching. Before anyone decides to bitch about a little bit of acid going down the drain, remember that you're drinking a mild phosphoric acid solution every time you have a can of Coca-Cola. Also, I don't dump the bath water down the drain, I save it in a plastic bucket, and I'll reuse it as many times as I can. When it's nearly spent, I'll thin it out before disposal.


Now it's time to Gun-Kote the blade. The Gun-Kote is distributed by Brownell's, a gunsmith supply house. It's a molybdenum-disulfide epoxy resin that has high lubricity and incredible toughness.


Gun-Kote is best applied to a heated blade (about 100F). It dries very quickly, but it also requires a heat cure cycle. It needs to be baked at 300F for about an hour to properly set the coating. You need to take this into account when planning for blade hardness, as this is essentially a tempering cycle. It can drop blade hardness a couple Rockwell points, so plan accordingly  if you're using a bake on coating!



Here's the blade a few minutes after applying the Gun-Kote... looks good so far. Now onto the sheath and handle.


Here's the leather cutouts I made both for the sheath and for handle scales to go underneath cord-wrapping. The leather is 1/4" thick cowhide... really thick, durable stuff. Between the blade thickness and the scales, I have 3/4" thickness on the handle.

The sheath will use the notch at the back of the blade for positive retention by means of a "locking flap".


Okay, here's the knife all cord-wrapped and the sheath outfitted with the flap (I still need to add either velcro or snaps to the flap).


Here I've dyed all the leather in an antique brown. Also, you can see I've changed the paracord over to a tightly-wound black deerskin lacing. I think it matches this Australian leather hat rather well. Notice the green and black braid of paracord I added as a hat band.

By the way, and ladies take note... this is about the extent of straight male fashion sense... hat almost matches knife sheath.

I still need to finish the sheath, but it's starting to look decent.




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