This is a project I ported over from the "other place." Originally posted in summer of 2020.
My buddy EarlS has been a most generous fellow to me (and other LJs I know) over the years. I have had to refrain from mentioning to him that I like something he made because he has a terrible habit of making another and shipping it to me in short order ;-)
So last year, we were both doing a mallet swap and Earl approached me for advice on making a brass infill mallet a'la H.O. Studley:
So we discussed in some detail how it could be approximated in an affordable manner since machining it to be exactly like the original would be cost-prohibitive and neither of us have the skills or the equipment to sand cast it like Studley did. We settled on Earl ordering some 1.5" brass square tube and having it drop shipped to me. And in true Earl fashion, there was enough material for 4 heads and he only wanted two. So that material got here and I had an idea to add a couple pieces of 1/8" brass on top and bottom to mimic the finials on the Studley. So I did and Earl finished it off with his usual pizzaz and sent a fantastic swap package.
Well, in discussing it with Earl we decided before he finished his personal mallet and before I made mine, I wanted a second crack at the machining. In the swap head, I had cut the finial plates to size and ground in a 45 degree chamfer to approximate the cove on Studley's original. I wanted to do better and mill the plates to size after mounting to ensure they were square to the main head and I also wanted to mill the cove detail in rather then grinding a simple chamfer. Additionally, Studley's mallet had a matching cove around the faces. I wasn't uber confident how it would look given the thin walls of the brass tubing we were using but I gave it a run anyway.
I made some boo-boos but I think I concealed them fairly well and was pretty happy with the final result. Earl hasn't demanded a refund so I guess he is too.
Over the past couple of years, Earl has sent me several packages. It started when he was looking for some light-colored Walnut for a project he was working on and I told him I had some I would send him. He said to hold off until I got payment for shipping in the mail from him. I thought "I don't want shipping from him and how old is he anyway that he wants to send it via snail mail even if I did ask for it?" Well, when the package showed up, there was some green to cover the shipping cost and one of Earl's dice mallets!
I thought that was extremely generous so in return I turned a quick bit-holder screwdriver to send him back with the Walnut. I was certainly on the winning end of that swap. In the ensuing years I've learned that you will NEVER loose in a swap with Earl. It's like an obsession with the dude.
A few weeks later that summer, we were in the midst of the annual Beer Swap (which Earl was not participating in) and I get a surprise package from Earl with ANOTHER one of these:
And a couple of these!
I now see that this post is gonna run long so I'll shorten it and just say that in the time since then Earl has sent me parts to make projects after I admired his and at least twice he's sent me projects that he made after I remarked that I needed to make one for myself. And I use the level and the dado storage with regularity Earl ;-)
So I wanted to send Earl something useful for his shop since he's sent me so much for mine when I sent his mallet head back. I had started on a pair of Kiridashi knives for myself several months earlier and never got past rough-shaping the profiles. So I decided those would become Earl's Kiridashis. They don't come close to evening the score but I'm afraid if I get too close to doing that Earl might send me a car or a new SawStop or something.
If you want to read more about my Kiridashis, there are a couple other pair posted in my earlier projects so I won't go into detail on them here. They are made from O1 steel that I hardened and tempered then ground to final shape. The scales on this pair are really unique though. They are some Sagauro Cactus that my buddy Dave Kelley stabilized and cast in resin. The cactus is endangered and strongly protected in AZ and pretty hard to come by as I understand it. When Dave launched KelleyCrafts website a couple of years ago I wanted to be his first customer. I liked the look of these scales so that was what I bought. They've been shuffling around in my shop ever since looking for a purpose. Well now they've found one!
Finally, I know Earl doesn't have a lathe and I've recently found a 2mm pencil kit that I think makes an excellent shop pencil. So I turned Earl one of those from some Desert Ironwood that I got from Charles at Sonora Woodworks.
I had a piece of Kaizen foam the right size for a small FRB and used it to make Earl's package presentable and hopefully keep the knives from poking out the side. I know it arrived safe and sound in Iowa last night so I guess it worked. I'm looking forward to what Earl does with the mallet head and hope he'll find the knives and pencil useful in his shop. If not, oh well, at least I tried…
Thanks for looking and reading this far. You have earned to right to question and criticize at will.