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"Mini-Balisong" aka "Topo Gigio"

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I've been lurking around here for some time now. I wanted to finish this up and post it here as a way of introduction before diving in.


This one's been a long time coming. Finally got it finished.


The collector, who bought the knife, had requested that I not post photos until he had a chance to take photographs of his own and post them to his site. He just posted his photos today. You can see his interesting "Photo Exhibit" of the knife, including his fun explanation of how it came by the name "Topo Gigio" here: http://www.balisongcollector.com/greenbaum/topoGigio1.html


Blade- Hand filed/carved Eggerling Damscus

Scales- Carved Elephant Ivory

Liners- Anodized, Fileworked Titanium

Screws- Nitre Blued Alloy Hex Screws

Sapphire inlays in the stop pins (open position)

Latch- 416 SS


Closed- Approx 2 1/2"

Open- Just under 4"


The blade was too small to comfortably use my 72" belt grinder (belt sander),...I ended up carving it using my Dremel (professional model) and small hand files and needle files, and the detail was done mostly with my GRS Turbo 850 high speed carver (320,000 rpm with 1/16" friction burs). The ivory was also carved using the GRS carver, but there was lots of hand-finishing required using sand paper, miniature files, and various other methods...pretty much whatever worked! :D


The blade was heat treated to non-magnetic with a Mapp Torch and quenched in heated Automatic Transmission Fluid (all per instructions kindly provided to me by my friend Bob Eggerling).


This knife was challenging to say the least. Once I got past figuring out the geometry, trying to then match each of the 4 carved ivory scales was "lots of fun"... ;)


Especially given the response this received at the Blade Show (in Atlanta last month-world's largest knife show), I plan a doing a number of these...each with a different handle design. I've already begun a 2nd and so far have carved 2 of the 4 ivory scales.


Sorry for the quality of the photos. Just can't seem to get the hang of my new Nikon 8700. I know it's an excellent, top-rated camera, but it probably deserves someone with more photography expertise. Besides that, I didn't spend a lot of time on the photography, since I knew the customer was going to be photographing it as well.


I tried several backgrounds (as you'll soon see)...In hindsight I should have gone with something other than the blue background, which too closely matches the blues in the knife.


Anyway, hope you like it...and I'm glad to be onboard!


Dennis Greenbaum













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  • 3 weeks later...

Dennis, again I must apologise: you posted this during a really hectic time for me, and I didn't even see it. It's a beautiful little work. I especially like the way the blade carving works with the Damascus pattern. One might have thought it would be too busy, but it layers together very nicely.


I'll look forward to seeing more.

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Thank you Jim...


I really appreciate hearing that, especially coming from you. I'm still quite new to carving, whether it be in steel, ivory, titanium, etc....Certainly have a long ways to go before I can even hope to achieve your level of work.


It's been a little while since I posted these photos. The thread initially received so few views, that looking back I suspect maybe the title (with the Balisong/Topo Gigio reference) might have prevented some folks from even taking a look-see. In hindsight perhaps I should have entitled the thread with something more familiar to all those non-knifemaking members of this forum,...Something more simple and straightforward such as, "Miniature Knife with Carved Ivory Handles." I'll try and be a little less cryptic next time.


Live and learn...


Thanks again to you and Janel and the others for these great forums! I've already picked up more than a few excellent ideas from both the Techniques and Tutorial forums.



Dennis Greenbaum :(

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