Tuesday, October 9, 2012

WIP: “Black Cat Bone”.

Here’s a couple pix of a mountain lion femur knife handle I'm working on,... going to cut a round hole and try silver brazing a cross guard to the end cap,… a slightly new construction. All the fittings on this one will be silver.

The cougar femur was dyed in two steps using a tannic solution from pecan shells in water and “vinegaroon”, a solution of steel wool dissolved in vinegar. The iron in the vinegar reacts with the tannin absorbed by the bone to create a permanent black dye.


This shows the sand cast guard blank. From here, the sprue will be cut off, surface planished with a hammer (to smooth it out a little) and the final shape of the guard will be achieved through stock reduction,… sawing, filing and sanding.

This picture also shows the wooden form used to create the depression in one side of the cope and drag flask, which is then removed to allow a space for the metal to flow into.


This is the guard piece, roughed out.

In this picture you can see how the transition from the natural “teardrop” cross section of the femur was made to a round cross section for the end cap/guard assembly with an internal coupling.

The plan is to add another matching round wire ring in front of the guard (prior to silver brazing the guard piece to the end cap), to tie it in with the “bezel” assembly which also acts as a ferrule around the end of the bone.


Here it is in a semi-finished state. The final patina, finish, assembly etc., will be done after the blade is made and fit to the “black cat bone”.



  1. Would you be willing to share your Tannic solution? I know the stuff is used in brewing and wine, but I couldn't find anything using pecans.

    1. I just grind the pecan shells up in a blender, simmer in water and strain.