View Full Version : Gibeon Meteorite Dagger - Collaberative WIP

Burl Source
09-25-2009, 07:44 PM
About 10 years ago my wife bought a slab of gibeon meteorite for me. She thought it could be made into a knife blade. A lot of old kung fu movies would talk about swords being made from meteorite that were indestructible and had magical powers. I know this stuff has magical powers, what I was wondering is could it be made into a knife?

I was informed by a number of makers that heat treating would ruin the patterns in the steel. I wanted to preserve the natural meteorite patterns so I decided that if it couldn't be heat treated I would use it for a dagger shaped art knife.

The chemical composition of the Gibeon is:
# 90% iron
# 8% nickel
# 0.4% cobalt
# 0.04% phosphorus.
The steel when etched shows a pattern called Widmanstatten that looks like crosshatching or a plaid pattern. You might be able to see a bit of this in the photo. This piece is pretty scuffed from carrying it around for so long.


A while back I posted the above info on another forum. Delbert Ealy agreed to work with me on this project. He had a good bit of experience working with meteorite and was highly recommended by other forum members. His part in this project was to grind, polish and etch the blade. The only request I made was that it be a dagger blade. The shape, grind and etching were his decisions to make.

Del finished the blade and snapped a few photos before dropping the blade in the mail. Here are a few photos. Your comments are welcomed.


This surpasses my wildest expectations. Delbert is amazing.
I knew he was good, but he worked miracles with the meteorite slab I sent to him. I had no idea he could bring out the natural patterns in the steel like he did. Not to mention the shaping of the blade.

Next step will be to send the blade to Fred Rowe.
Fred just recently agreed to take part in the making of this knife. My thinking was that I would give some very loose guidelines for the guard and pommel. Leaving most of the design of this part of the knife to his own creativity.

After seeing what he comes up with I will decide what to have done next. I have a very talented carver and a jeweler who would like to add their efforts as well. I guess it will sort of evolve as it goes along. In the end it should be a really unusual dagger.

John Barker
09-25-2009, 07:57 PM
Wow! That is really cool. Great work from Delbert.

Burl Source
09-25-2009, 08:00 PM
Wow! That is really cool. Great work from Delbert.

I agree. I could have never expected results like what Del accomplished. I find myself saying WOW a lot. If anyone else has comments about what Del accomplished with this, feel free to post them here.

Jeff Pearce
09-25-2009, 08:11 PM
Very nice...I can't wait to see it finished..

Mike Jones
09-25-2009, 08:54 PM
Those cross hatching patterns look sooo cool!

Fred Rowe has made some really good knives, so he definitely won't do anything bad to this one.

09-25-2009, 09:01 PM
very cool.

Delbert, how much forging can you do before you lose the widmanstatten pattern?

If you take it to critical temp (what ever that might be) and quench, does it go away?

09-25-2009, 09:14 PM
That is am awesome concept and I am looking forward to witnessing the progress! Thanks for posting.

Delbert Ealy
09-25-2009, 09:41 PM
very cool.

Delbert, how much forging can you do before you lose the widmanstatten pattern?

If you take it to critical temp (what ever that might be) and quench, does it go away?

The meteorite cannot be forged at all without losing the pattern. At about 1200f the patterns start going away. As you get hotter they dissappear entirely. Part of the reason the patterns are so cool is that the grain size is ENORMOUS, it also makes it a bugger to work with. :eek:

09-25-2009, 10:10 PM
The meteorite cannot be forged at all without losing the pattern. At about 1200f the patterns start going away. As you get hotter they dissappear entirely. Part of the reason the patterns are so cool is that the grain size is ENORMOUS, it also makes it a bugger to work with. :eek:

well, that is what I was thinking. I have seen some pictures some time ago of some meteorite lathe swarf forged into something that still had some of the traces of pattern intact. I have a couple small chunks of gibeon meteorite I've held for a half dozen years. It still hasn't told me what it wants to be yet.

09-26-2009, 06:21 AM
That is a really cool pattern . Can't wait to see it finished

09-26-2009, 08:13 AM
Del's a badass, no doubt about it.. Great job and thanxs for sharing Burl!


09-27-2009, 11:13 PM
I love the etching pattern. I wish it could be heat treated.

09-28-2009, 08:09 AM
great project! Keep the photos coming, please:)

09-29-2009, 11:40 AM
Personally, I would expect nothing less from Del. The Man knows what he's doin'! 2thumbs2thumbs2thumbs

Can't wait to see it done.cool 1

Burl Source
09-29-2009, 01:09 PM
The blade arrived in the mail today. Here are a few more photos. This stuff is hard to photograph to make it look anywhere near as good as it looks in person. Once again, Del did a fantastic job on this. Thanks Del!

To me the pattern in the steel looks like cubes on top of cubes. Sort of like an Escher drawing.


Burl Source
09-29-2009, 01:45 PM
I received a phone call today from an engraver who might be willing to take part in this project. From what I've heard, he is one of the best. I won't mention his name but will leave it up to him whether he wants to post his comments or ideas.

Ken Hurst
09-29-2009, 05:34 PM
Comments ??? You betcha ol hoss. I'm looking forward to this commission, Mr. Burl and I talked at some length today re. just what he wanted this project to look like in his minds eye. I think this is going to be one of those knives that has what we call legs --- that is, a knife that lives im memory long after it has been published --- a knife that folks will remember for being tastefully done with style & class. Bring her on ........

Burl Source
09-29-2009, 06:46 PM
Thanks for the post Ken and thanks to the rest of you guys who have been following it along. Just talked to Fred and he likes the idea about using the 416 stainless like you mentioned. As far as you taking part; In his words he said "Ken does some stunning work" and that he is excited about this collaboration. You really got me thinking after our conversation today. I was going to work late today, but instead I will be going home to re-work my drawings. Thanks for agreeing to help make this such a fun project.

09-29-2009, 11:43 PM
That is the most amazing blade I have ever seen. I can't wait to see what you guys do with it! It is so... so... PRIMAL. Give is a hardcore caveman theme! Stabilized mammoth ivory and some forged iron (peened for looks) guard/pommel with a strange runic like engraving (like it was made from a long dead alien language)! But the engraving should just look like a decorative pattern that matches the geometric pattern of the meteorite blade. Then give it a sheath that resembles trilobite plates.

Well that in what I invisioned for a brief moment ;)

Burl Source
10-01-2009, 07:50 PM
I decided to keep the design fairly traditional instead of going the fantasy knife route. Tomorrow I will be emailing drawings to Fred and Ken for their input. When we come to some sort of consensus I will post the drawings in this thread. After each phase is completed, we will post updated photos as well.

John M Cohea
10-01-2009, 08:10 PM
Fantastic!!Jaw Drop

Burl Source
10-02-2009, 05:53 PM
Here is the sketch I sent to Fred and Ken. We'll see what they have to say. They both will have the option to make any changes or refinements they see fit.

John Andrews
10-04-2009, 07:38 AM
WOW! This is a great thread and it's going to be a fantastic knife!

Burl Source
10-06-2009, 10:39 AM
I mailed the blade to Fred yesterday. Can't wait to see what he does.

Mike Turner
10-06-2009, 07:56 PM
WOW Mark that looks sweeeet :D.

Burl Source
10-15-2009, 12:52 AM
We have come up with an agreement on the design for the overall knife. Using the blade shape by Del we sketched a few ideas that went back and forth between Fred, Ken and myself.
The main goal was to keep any component of the design from overpowering or competing with the meteorite blade. We wanted to keep it fairly conservative with out looking plain as well as provide a good pallet for Ken's engraving.

The sketch is a crude scribble but gives a better idea what will be the final outcome.


Walking Man
10-15-2009, 02:35 AM
Personally, I liked the original idea of including some sort of guard.

10-15-2009, 05:39 AM
2thumbs Very nice...I can't wait to see it finished. Thanks for sharing! 2thumbs

Burl Source
11-25-2009, 10:08 AM
Fred Rowe is working on the fittings and handle for the dagger. He just sent these photos so we can all see how the dagger is progressing.


It's looking real good. I think the bronze and redwood are going to look real nice together.

Burl Source
11-25-2009, 10:09 AM
Here is the latest from Fred Rowe

The silicon bronze is nice to work. It cuts and files easily.

In all knives but especially in building a dagger, everything needs to be centered and symmetric or the result is only to obvious.
I have to keep in mind that there will be an engraver following what I do.
I believe the bronze will end up two tone black and gold to make the engraving stand out.

Have a nice holiday all, Fred


11-25-2009, 12:49 PM
pattern looks like superman's appartment :)
very nice colaboration

Fred Rowe
11-28-2009, 01:46 PM
I worked on the finish shaping of the bronze piece that gets inlayed into the butt.
Milled the slot for the inlay on the little Shureline mill. If you want it seamless, spend a lot of time laying it out.
I like seamless, it looks good.
Finished the bronze piece and have it ready to epoxy. It will also get pinned with a 1/8th inch silicon bronze pin. There will be two maybe three pins down the center.

I made a couple of passes on an 80 grit belt so I could get a look at the redwood. Its a beautiful piece of burl you sent me, Mark.

Tomorrow is thanksgiving, which is my favorite holiday of the year.
Enjoy your day with friends and family.



I had a couple of hours on Friday to work on Mark's dagger.

Pinned the bolster to the handle and thinned the whole handle down a bit.

The redwood burl with the ribbon edges is starting to show its stuff.

Its sanded to 120 with a coat of wax to show the character.

This is the fun part; when you get to see the results of your work.

I should have it finished by next weekend.

Have a good one, Fred



Burl Source
11-28-2009, 06:20 PM
Fred is doing a fantastic job. WOW!
Way better than I could have hoped for.

When Delbert shaped and etched the meteorite for the blade I was amazed!
What Fred is doing has me awestruck! The bronze he is using looks a lot like gold to me.
This is going to be quite the dagger when it's all done!

Thank you Delbert and Fred.

It's getting hard to remember it all started out with this.

Andy Garrett
11-30-2009, 08:08 AM
So..., to be clear..., this material was not heat treated and thus, is not suitable for a working knife--correct?

Sure is pretty though!

11-30-2009, 09:31 AM
hello there Thanks for sharing.....can't wait for the finish!

Fred Rowe
11-30-2009, 07:20 PM
I got most of the finish work done today. The blade was etched to bring out the contrast and the silicon bronze was taken to high luster. Its as close to gold as it can be. Should make a beautiful background for the engraver.
Sorry about the poor picture; it was late in the shop.


Burl Source
11-30-2009, 07:57 PM
So..., to be clear..., this material was not heat treated and thus, is not suitable for a working knife--correct?

Sure is pretty though!

I had a choice. Heat treat and destroy the pattern. Would have given me a usable knife that looked like normal steel.

Or..... not heat treat and have a really bizarre looking dagger unlike any other. Sure it will get dull if I stab a bunch of people. (sometimes a temptation)

All kidding aside, I thought of this dagger becoming more a unique work of art than a tool. I have really been lucky to be able to have people like Delbert and Fred working to make this weird dream a reality.

Burl Source
12-04-2009, 05:25 AM
Fred finished his portion of the project. Now it's on it's way to Ken Hurst for his engraving. After that Coop has agreed to do the photography.

Fred sent these pictures before the knife went in the mail to Ken. What do you guys think of it so far?


Mike Jones
12-04-2009, 08:05 PM
I hope you're making a nice stand and glass case for it! That thing looks nice!

Burl Source
12-12-2009, 11:31 AM
I hope you're making a nice stand and glass case for it! That thing looks nice!

I am waiting for it to come back from Ken Hurst before I decide how to display the dagger. Ken is engraving it with a shooting star and planets and silver inlays. I cant' wait to see how that looks. Everything I have seen by Ken looks fantastic.