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"Tharsis Intense" in mirror polished and hot blued O1 high carbon tungsten vanadium tool steel blade, hand-engraved 304 stainless steel bolsters, Fossilized Stromatolite Gemstone handle, sheath in leather inlaid with black frogskin, stands of sculpted, hand-cast bronze
Tharsis

Last Chance

"Last Chance" obverse side view in CTS-XHP high chromium stainless powder metal technology blade, 304 stainless steel bolsters, Lapis Lazuli gemstone handle, buffalo skin inlaid in hand-carved leather sheath
"Last Chance"
  • Size: Length overall: 8.8" (22.4 cm), Blade Length: 4.75" (12.1 cm), Thickness: .262" (6.7 mm)
  • Weight: Knife: 10.2 oz. (289 grams) Sheath: 5.6 oz. (159 grams)
  • Blade: CTS-XHP High Chromium Powder Metal Technology Martensitic Stainless Tool Steel, Cryogenically Treated, Hardened and Tempered to 60.5HRC
  • Fittings: 304 high chromium, high nickel austenitic stainless steel
  • Handle: Lapis Lazuli gemstone from Afghanistan
  • Sheath: Hand-carved leather shoulder inlaid with Buffalo (American Bison) skin
  • Knife: The Last Chance pattern was made and developed with the direct input of a New Mexico State Policeman, for his wear and use as a backup and defensive weapon and tool. It's a popular design of mine, a fairly straightforward tanto blade with an aggressive and acute point, a full top swage to reduce the point profile, and a significant blade length with a thick, strong spine to support it. The blade is deeply and evenly hollow ground, and has substantial mass at the ricasso, the blade-to-handle junction, for incredible strength. I decided to take this Last Chance to its pinnacle of performance, so I made the blade with Carpenter Steel's CTS-XHP. This is a powder metal technology tool steel, made by the best process in the field for a uniform, dense alloy distribution and excellent performance. This is a high chromium, high carbon stainless steel, and has abundant chromium carbides for tremendous wear resistance and high corrosion resistance. It also has a good measure of molybdenum, which adds to the toughness and the content of super-hard molybdenum carbides. This is a premium powder metal technology tool steel blade, with the highest corrosion resistance possible with extremely high wear resistance and high toughness as well. It's difficult to work with, expensive, and takes considerable process machinery, time, and effort to make a superior knife with; definitely not for a casual blade. I mirror polished this steel to a beautiful finish which, though difficult and challenging, aids tremendously in the corrosion resistance. I cryogenically processed this fine steel with an extended cryogenic aging period, and it's triple-tempered with cryogenic soaking in between tempers to maximize the thermal processing and give the steel ultimate stabilization and conversion of allotropes. What this means is that this is a superior blade to almost every other tool steel type, particularly in the critical balance of wear resistance, toughness, and corrosion resistance. This is an extremely fine piece of steel that will last for generations with extremely high durability; one of my very, very best! The striking blade has a full tapered tang for balance, with full filework in a "Bee's Wings" style of regimented accuracy. The blade is bolstered with spotless, contoured, rounded, and dressed 304 stainless steel bolsters, the toughest, most corrosion resistant and most zero-care stainless possible, the same stainless steel used to make stainless nuts, bolts, and fasteners. The bolsters are mounted with zero-clearance peened pins for absolute permanence, and are dovetailed to lock the bedded handle scales to the tang. The handle scales are Afghanistan Lapis Lazuli, the stone of the ancients, stone of the bible referred to in Exodus as the pavement under God's feet. This is lapis from the ancient land of the Hindu Kush region, where the best lapis on earth is found. Lapis has been treasured for over 6,000 years, and it's one of the world's oldest and most desired of gem materials. It was the "sapphire" of Aaron's breastplate, treasured by the pharaohs of Egypt and the rulers of Greece, Rome, and Babylon. It was even ground up and used as the cherished basis pigment of the Renaissance, ultramarine blue. It's solid, it's tough, and of incredible beauty, and no other stone can compare. Lapis is actually a rock, a mixture of minerals lazurite, hauynite, sodalite, noselite, with pyrite, calcite, diopside, feldspar, and mica. Because it's a rock, it tends to dig out and undercut (removing the softer components in the finish), so it's difficult to achieve a bright, glassy polish on this rock, taking many steps and careful process. The intense color of this stone is entirely natural; it was not treated in any way, and I carefully oriented each scale so that the densest region of pyrite was against the tang, and the most intensely blue part of the stone is at the forefront of display. There's a light sprinkling of fine golden pyrite in the surface, and it builds in intensity closer to the tang (see photos below). The handle is a pleasure to see and rounded, silky, and comfortable to grip, solidly nested and bonded to the tang of this knife. The handle is full and robust, and the forefinger quillon and rear bolster shape, along with the curved belly of the handle, make this knife feel very smooth, solid, and stout in the hand. The balance point of the knife is just in front of the front bolster-handle scale union. The shape of the handle also lends itself to reverse grip with the thumb easily wrapped over and reinforcing the rear bolster.
  • Sheath: This is a traditional right side wear sheath, with the cutting edge facing the back. On left side wear, the grip would be reversed, with the cutting edge to the front. The knife needed a very special sheath, one that compliments the knife with a bold shape, pattern, and materials. I chose 9-10 oz. leather shoulder, and carefully hand-carved the inlay pockets, large and paneled, with light camouflage tooling around the border. The inlays are Buffalo (American Bison) hide, stout and strong, a material that is difficult to work with due to its high toughness and thickness. It took considerable effort to skive this material down properly for the inlays, but it was worth it. The sheath is bold, comfortable, and tough, and I double-row stitched the belt loop for added strength. The hand-stitching is brown polyester, and the sheath is completely sealed with acrylic gloss sealer for resistance against the elements and longevity and beauty.
  • A serious, incredibly wear-resistant, tough, and stainless advanced alloy steel blade, beautifully finished and complimented with incredible blue Afghanistan Lapis Lazuli, with a robust and deep heavy sheath with character.

Thanks, S.!


Please click on thumbnail knife photos
"Last Chance" reverse side view. Sheath back and belt loop are inlaid with Buffalo, or American Bison skin in hand-carved leather shoulder "Last Chance" spine edgework, filework detail. Knife tang is fully tapered for balance, filework is bee's wings pattern. Note pyrite density increasing on scale close to tang "Last Chance" inside handle tang view. All surfaces are rounded, contoured smoothed and polished for comfortable grip "Last Chance" obverse side handle detail. Lapis lazuli is a breatakingly beautiful gemstone, with rich royal blue and just a few specks of metallic pyrite "Last Chance" reverse side handle detail. A sprinkling of pyrite against ultramarine blue is unique in the gemstone world to lapis lazuli "Last Chance" point detail. Point of CTS-XHP is incredibly strong, tough, and wear resistant with high corrosion resistance and a mirrored polish "Last Chance" sheathed view. Sheath has large panel inlays of buffalo skin, knife is deeply protected in tough and sealed sheath
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