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Showing content with the highest reputation on 03/09/2022 in all areas

  1. Fermented chile-garlic paste is Good Stuff. I've been making my own sauce and paste for a few years and this year I decided to give fermenting a try, the results were WOW!!! My canned Chile-garlic paste was good, but the fermented is GREAT! I used ripe (red) jalapeno peppers and lots of garlic. Big bonus, fermenting is easier and less work then water bath canning. So how much do I like this stuff? Last Sept/Oct, I made a little over a gallon of it (almost 4 liters for you poor metric folks) and I've just opened my last pint. The other pint is corn salsa, and it's become my favorite salsa. I've gone through 12 pints of it. Note to self: Make a lot more this year :-)
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  2. Hmmm. Looks and sounds good. I did quite a lot of ferments last year. Jalapeño and apple (with some cilantro) was good. So was pineapple-habanero. I’m very fond of home-fermented sauerkraut too. Still getting rotated photos at times.
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  3. I finished that Mokume Gane class and updated my How-To thread: Mokume Gane (a quick How To Do) - Hot Work - Bladesmith's Forum Board (bladesmithsforum.com)
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  4. Tried my fist canister damascus. I've got four garage doors worth of springs sitting around and finally decided to try them in a canister. Worked out pretty well. A small amount of the springs I have all straightened. Cut into 4 inch pieces. Packed with 1080 + 2 % nickle powder. The canister pictured above is not the canister I ended using. The stainless steel was so thin that I burned a hole in it as I was trying to weld it up. Ended up with a "standard" mild steel canister coated in Kiltz. Wasn't too difficult to get out. Took it down to 3/4 inch square, twisted it and then flattened. Cut a small coupon to check the pattern. Kinda reminds me of cable damascus , but with out the issues that cable has.
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  5. Seeing as you have the steel tube I expect you will have access to one to fit inside the vise so if you split it leaving plenty of room for the lthickest blade you may work on and weld a flat on both pieces you can spot weld the lower half and leave the top half float to allow for the knife insertion. Glue thick leather on both halves to prevent blade damage. You can then make another top that is a simple flat but just an inch wide and add leather to that as well so that in the case of a small mark on the blade later in the process after the handle is finished (you know we have all done that), you can slide the top half round out and with the handle sitting on the lower half the flat will hold the handle so you can do a few high grit w&d paper passes on the blade to remove the inadvertant mark. I made a seperate very simple wooden fixture for this that relies on wedges to hold the handle and have used it a few times. Invaluable when the need arrises.
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  6. This has really caught my interest. A buddy at work watched the video as well and we decided to put together a little test. He printed a couple of forms to fit inside a stainless steel canoe. I filled the inside of the letters with 1084 powder, and the rest of the canoe with 1080 w/ 2% nickel. We'll see what happens.
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  7. Buck, on the knuckle-height thing, I find that to be too high for me. The way to test for proper anvil height is to hold your hammer with the face flat on the anvil face. Your arm should be totally relaxed, with a slight (15-20 degree) bend at the elbow and your wrist should be totally straight. If the hammer handle is 90 degrees to the anvil face or tilted slightly up towards your hand when you check this, it's the right height. If the head end is higher than the other end of the handle (that is, if your wrist is cocked towards your thumb), the anvil is too high and you will get hurt if you're not extremely careful. That's for a hammer with a 90-degree handle. Cutler's hammers, doghead, and Japanese style hammers have the handle set at a slight angle. This is deliberate. It keeps your elbow and wrist at the proper angle with the weight-forward long head. If you do the height test above with one of these hammers, when the face is flat on the anvil your elbow and wrist will still be in the correct position. Ergonomics! Filemaker's hammers even have the face at a steep angle to the head and handle, up to 45 degrees. They are meant to be used sitting down with the weight of the hammer doing all the work, yet still keeping the face parallel to the work. The old-timers who had to use hand tools because that's all there was knew how to use them to best advantage, and the people who made the tools knew how to shape the grips for best use. Grab an antique handsaw and it's like shaking hands with a friend. Grab a new one made in China and it's like grabbing a sharp-edged board. This leads me to my next gentle rant: make sure your hammer handle fits your hand. I am not a small guy, but many factory handles are too fat for my taste. If your handle is fat enough that you have to actively grip to hang on to it, that's going to hurt you too. I reshape my handles' cross section at the grip to a round-cornered rectangle or octagon about an inch to 1.25 inches in the long axis and about 3/4 inch in the short axis. This lets me hold it with no effort at all. It just sort of floats in the handshake position. That's also why I can't abide fiberglass handles with rubber grips, they can't be reshaped to fit the user and I suspect they transfer more vibration to the hand and arm. I use a tennis elbow strap rather than a splint. I'd rather not use anything, but like I said, I learned all this the hard way and now I don't have a choice but to wear it if I'm going to be forging a lot in one day and want to be able to use my arm the next week or two afterwards.
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  8. I should add one of the reasons I dissapeared from the sword world all those years ago was the near total destruction of my right elbow, forearm, and shoulder, from overstress forging. It took ten years roughly to be able to comfortably pick up the hammer and do meaningfull work again. I did not stop when I knew I should have, kept going to make one particular demanding customer happy. I was a stupid, stupid man. A lot of the damage is permanent and non-repairable. I'm not able to forge a sword blade now in one session, i can forge bevels on a 8 or ten inch piece in one go but that is about it. I have to be extremely anal about technique now just to get through, and there is still some pain and burn and I have to be very careful. My right shoulder is a wreck and requires constant attention to keep from injuring it. My right wrist is weak and also needs quite a bit of care to keep an i jury from showing up. One sword, in a rush, one day of breaking my own rules and pushing to hard, ignoring the pain, was a decade long forced break from the only thing I have ever loved to do besides play guitar...which I also can't do now. So. Listen to folks who have some time on the hammer, and don't try to tough your way through stuff. If it hurts, YOU AIN't DOIN IT RIGHT. If the anvil rings, it ain't tied down right. If it is not tied down solid at all like I see alot, well, youre a dumbass. Good luck with that. If you are reefin the hammer down every blow just to move some metal, your hammer is too small, your steel may not be hot enough. If you are getting tired lifting the hammer, it's too big, you may have gone to far that way...it can take a while to find a happy medium, and it can change from month to month depending on how much you forge. If you are icing our using heat to relieve pain or get through a session, you are in danger, you need to stop. And it can take a while to build the muscles and conditioning for extensive forging sessions. Go slow, don't rush it. Seriously, it ain't worth it.
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  9. Solidly mounted anvils help alot too. If an anvil rings when you strike steel on it's surface it's sucking energy and making you work harder, if the steel is hot, you should hear a thud, no ringing. It makes more than a small difference. Hammers to light blow out elbows...as much as hammers to heavy. Hammer should have enough weight to do the work by being dropped and guided down to the work piece, if you are powering all the way down to the anvil, you are using too much energy and should go up a bit in hammer weight. Many people "short stroke" and use a lot of power to push the hammer down, better to raise the hammer higher, give it a little boost to start downward motion, but then let gravity do the work, you only need to guide the hammer to it's target. This will save you an enourmous amount of energy and take a huge amount of the stress out of the motion. Blacksmith tendonitus is happening from tendons and muscles becoming springs in constant high tension from powering up and down non stop, through the entire stroke. This is extremely wastefull of energy and will burn your elbow up very quickly. If you are getting tendonitus for real from hammering, you must stop, period, and heal. If it is minor maybe 4-6 weeks. If major, maybe years. If the burn in your forearm and pain lasts into the following day you have done damage, take a break. There is no quick cure or blacksmith medicine that will repair the damage other than time and rest. Our arms are designed to lift and pull primarily, pulling down from above not so much. Pushing the hammer all the way down to the anvil with every stroke will wear the elbow very fast.
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  10. I few years ago did a video on safe hammer technique I just up loaded it to youtube I hope you will find it helpfull.MP
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