Ricasso/Plunge line

pocomoonskyeyes

Well-Known Member
Is a plunge at the ricasso really necessary? It seems that every knife I have ever had break was at the ricasso plunge line. Granted they were all El Cheapo's that did this, but it seems that this is/would be a weak point in a blade.

On my latest knife attempt I just beveled it up to the finger choil/ sharpening relief of the edge. It is (for me) a "Monster" knife. Because of the knife's size, I want it to be as strong as possible. Pictures follow......


 

James Terrio

Well-Known Member
Of course some kind of plunge is neccesary, how else would you get from a flat ricasso to a bevel? ;)

The more gradual the plunge is, the stronger it will be. The plunge in your example flows smoothly into the blade, that's a good thing for distributing stress and keeping the knife resilient. A sharp 90 degree plunge that goes directly perpendicular to the blade would be a very bad idea. Some makers set their plunges at an angle across the blade so stress isn't focused in one spot.

Having said that, I've never seen any knife break right at the plunge, either in person or in pics online or in a book/magazine. They seem to break very close to the tip (someone was prying with it), right at the tang (someone was bashing it through a log with poor technique; usually a narrow tang with sharp inside corners and they wailed on it right close to the tang junction when the blade was bound up in whatever they were cutting/splitting), or chip out in the middle of the blade (someone was chopping with the wrong steel/HT/blade geometry/technique).

All else being equal, I think the plunge is the last thing to worry about unless you make it so abrupt that it focuses stress.
 
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pocomoonskyeyes

Well-Known Member
LOL well there is a Plunge per se, It's just hard to see in the picture. It is from just at the back side of the forward finger choil and "sweeps" up from there. The breaks at the Plunge I have had were with really cheap knives when I was a kid. Tried splitting some Tough branches and Prying when I shouldn't have. It snapped right at the plunge leaving me with a handle and a blade separated along the plunge at the ricasso.

My Handle will end between the first and second choils on this knife. I just put a Finger choil so you could choke up on the knife. It will probably not see much use at all anyways. I just didn't want to make 2 smaller knives out of what was left of this piece of stock.
 

James Terrio

Well-Known Member
I think you've answered your own questions :)

I'm picky and cantankerous about this sort of thing too, always wondering about how to make a knife as strong as it can be.
 

Carey Quinn

KNIFE MAKER
Mel,

If you look closely at William Scagel's knives, there is very little noticeable plunge. It seemed to work out pretty well for him.

Keep at it and you'll find what works for you.


Carey
 

Dan Pierson

Well-Known Member
There are certainly styles and collectors that place a lot of emphasis on the plunge and the
ABS requires them in most test knives. However, they require them because they want
proof that you can do them well. There are a number of ABS makers than don't use
distinct, right angle plunge in most of the knives they actually sell.

I've become pretty convinced that they're a poor idea in the sort of kitchen knives I'm
making these days.
 

pocomoonskyeyes

Well-Known Member
Mel,

If you look closely at William Scagel's knives, there is very little noticeable plunge. It seemed to work out pretty well for him.

Keep at it and you'll find what works for you.


Carey
Thank you for mentioning William Scagel. I have heard the name many times but never looked for pictures of his actual work. This is precisely the look/style that I am shooting for. I found some pictures online and this style was exactly what I was thinking of in regards to plunge line at the ricasso.






I don't think I'll ever be in consideration for anything with the ABS, So no need to worry about the tests for plunge lines. Funny really, that I am influenced by a style I don't recall having seen....at least that I can recall. Who knows, maybe I did several years ago and it just stuck in the back of my mind. I Love the look of these knives, just smooth and clean cutting instruments. No "Distractions" from the working parts.... Simple and beautiful!
 

RodneyJ

Well-Known Member
To me the best part of being a maker is we can create what we like and brake a few "rules" if we choose
 

James Terrio

Well-Known Member
Dan mentioned kitchen knives; I've seen many where the whole tang was beveled the same as the blade, hence no plunge. One of my first file knives was a Nicholson "knife edge" file re-tempered and ground into a full-tang knife. So I confess that my first post was a bit tongue-in-cheek... no one ever said you have to start with a flat ricasso.

Actually, a full-tang blade with full distal tapers both ways and a full vertical taper would be pretty cool. Hmmmm... :les:
 

NJStricker

Well-Known Member
Pocomoon. . .

I see you're in Kentucky. Since you've google Scagel, take some time and Google Herschel House of Woodbury, KY. He and his brothers (Frank and John) and their cousin William White ("Cousin Willy") forge knives reminiscent of the 1700's Kentucky/Tennessee frontier. No ricasso. They are known for their "Woodbury style" of knife making and muzzleloader building.

William White has a DVD out on knifemaking, and the House brothers offer classes around Kentucky and Ohio (likely elsewhere, too.)

Here's some info on Herschel House, including pics of his guns and knives: http://www.housebrothersproject.com/articles/article4.html
 
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