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  1. Some more work... Turns out an 1/16" drill bit is just the right size for 14gauge copper wire.
    5 points
  2. Saturday, my wife and I took the dog for a walk in the swamp. Then I got back to work on the sword I ground it up to 400 grit on my 2x72, then switched to hand sanding up to 1500. I didn't finish until Sunday. Once it was polished, I gave it a light etch in ferric chloride. I etched it 4x 3 min. You can see the pattern wander from where I got it off center, if you look closely. The blade has lots of small flaws on the surface. These are normal on all the real blades I've handled on museums, though mine has more of these flaws than the originals. It's definitely a first try. Where the pattern changed toward the tip. Overall, I'm both pleased and disappointed with this blade. Disappointments first: The finished blade came out significantly narrower than I intended. I was aiming for between 45mm, but the finished blade is only 35mm wide. I severely underestimated how much steel I needed on the blade's edges. Lesson learned for next time. I also wish I'd been more careful forging out the central core to keep the pattern from wandering, and the blade's surface has more welding flaws than I'd like for cosmetics. But there's a lot that I love: I made a blade from ore! Despite the cosmetic blemishes, the structural welds are sound. The blade is also very dynamic--Peter Johnsson's advice on how to forge the distal taper was unsurprisingly excellent, and I'm happy with the result. ---- At this point, I was so close to the end that I decided to stay up all night making the hilt. I wanted to keep this sword simple, so I would make the hilt entirely from horn with no metal fittings, copying a cemetery find from a 6/7th-century boat burial at Snape (UK). (Image from Filmer-Sankey, W., and Pestell, T. (2001). Snape Anglo-Saxon Cemetery: Excavations and Surveys 1824-1992. East Anglian Archaeology, 95, page 150.) The original hilt was made from cattle horn, so I used the same: a piece of mixed-color horn for the grip, and two pieces of dark brown / black horn for the pommel and guard. Because my blade came out narrower than the historical examples I was copying, I made the grip a little narrower to match. The Snape grip is 45mm across (edge to edge); mine is about 35mm, just like my blade. I kept my grip, guard, and pommel lengths the same as the early medieval original. Here are the pieces test-fit on the blade. I finished fitting them in the wee hours before dawn, so I'm waiting until tomorrow to rivet it all together. I gave the blade a final polish before I went to bed (not pictured--yet!) Overall, I'm pleased. This project was both easier and harder than I anticipated. Easier in that, despite every step taking an immense amount of time to complete, the process itself is pretty straightforward. Lots of forge welding, but that applies to everything made from bloomery steel. Harder because the fine details matter so much in these blades. This thing proudly displays every single error I made--there's so much less margin to "fix" and fudge mistakes. I have a much better understanding now of how much further down this road I'll have to walk to make a blade that might earn the old masters' approval. That's going to be a fun journey to walk
    3 points
  3. Sorry y'all, I got very distracted by life! Let's resume where we left off--with me twisting lots of tiny little bars. I eventually finished enough unbroken bars to make the central core (I kept all the broken fragments to use for knives). I decided to weld the faces on one at a time. Here's two of the twisted bars welded together, strapped on to the central iron bar (to which I've already welded the other pair of twisted bars): They welded together pretty well! But I did make my first mistake here. When I welded the second pair of bars to the core, I got things a little off center and part of the bar came out rhomboid. No big deal, I thought--I can just forge it square again! (lol, nope) I forged the bar square again, but I stretched my twists unevenly and the pattern shifted. Lesson learned. Next I added the steel edges: And, done! Here I've made my second mistake: I underestimated how much steel I needed in the edges, because I misjudged how much I would lose to hammer scale. (That's foreshadowing!)
    2 points
  4. A friend who loves working on cars gave me a bunch of disk brake rotors. I found they make a great base for stands. Below is a link to a video and a couple of photos.
    2 points
  5. I really struggled today after developing cracks on the corners of the billet after weld #9. I know for sure that I wasn't forging too cold, so it's not entirely clear to me what I was doing wrong... As mentioned before, I've been resetting the grain after hot cutting for most of the welds by quenching the billet in water. This always leads to some light cracking in the corners, but that normally heals on the next weld with a light pass on the bias at welding temp. I suspect that this time I did not do a good job at this and the cracks continued to propagate while drawing out. I did my best trying to fix this for next to an hour. At some point I had to stop fighting because it was clearly getting worse. I let the billet cool down and ground out the cracks. I lost a lot of material, I'm at 644g (20% loss! ouch) I squared the billet, let it cool again, cleaned up the sides for inspection, and decided that was enough folding: I like what I'm seeing and I don't have much time left before my move, so next session will be kobuse. I am very happy with where I'm at with carbon content. Although I've been very careful to control the atmosphere of my gas forge, nearly all the credit goes to the power hammer for allowing me to get to this point in spite of my many mistakes and struggles.
    2 points
  6. I got off work early on Friday, and fired up the forge to harden the sword. And that's when everything went horribly Fine. It was just fine. Bloomery steel is super easy to harden. I did have trouble with the blade sagging under its own weight while I was normalizing it. I had to forge out a bit of a sabre bend at one point. I think I may need to build an oven to hang these vertically if I make many more of them, because it was very annoying! I ended up putting a piece of 2" angle iron in my forge and using that as a track to keep the blade straight, and this worked pretty well. It hardly warped at all in the water quench, thank goodness. Success! Next up: deep fryer tempering. I heated it to 450*F in a tube full of canola oil. After letting it soak for about an hour, I pulled it out and straightened the remaining kinks by bending it in my hands while wearing welding gloves. I'd bend it for 5-10 seconds, inspect the results, and put it back into the oil to heat it up again. It took a few dozen heats to get it straight. There were a few places where the blade was twisted, and I had to clamp it in my vice and counter-twist it with a pair of tongs. This scared the shit out of me, but the blade held up just fine. And that was it for Friday!
    1 point
  7. That, above, is where I stopped working on this project last spring. Life happened, I got COVID, etc--and this got pushed back into the pile of half-finished things. Last weekend, I found it again and decided to finish First, I cut a notch into the tip of the blade and welded it shut: Then I forged in the distal taper. I followed Peter Johnsson's advice in this thread, which was extremely helpful: Next, I forged out the blade. The thin layers of pattern welding (basically just a veneer over the iron core) made this unusually challenging. I learned that I usually rely too much on my grinder to clean things up--something that just doesn't work with a blade like this. And: done! I noticed while I was forging the blade a few weld flaws in the pattern-welded veneer. Hopefully they're shallow enough to grind out (without cutting too deep into the veneer and marring the pattern). Grinding, grinding, grinding--and I discovered one of my two mistakes. The blade's thickness was correct, but there was no way to clean up the edge profile while preserving the width I'd originally intended. Turns out, I'd severely underestimated how much material I would lose to scale while I forged the blade. I should have used twice as much steel on each edge to achieve the width I'd wanted. Damn. Too late now! Once I'd ground the blade to 120 grit, I did a quick etch to see what I was working with. Hooray! This is the point where I realized my other mistake. Because I had forged (and badly corrected) that rhomboid section in the blade, the pattern wandered off to the side. It did this on each face, and there was nothing I could do to correct it. Oof. I also found that I'd cut too deep into the veneer on the sword's tip, changing the pattern. Given the thickness of the blade here (about 1.5mm) and the veneer (<.5mm), this didn't surprise me. I honestly might have lost the herringbone to scale while forging it out, it was so thin. I think I may, on the next one, end the iron core about 60% down the blade's length so the veneer at the tip is thicker? Let me know if you've encountered this and solved it. That's as far as I got Thursday night.
    1 point
  8. Basket hilts roasting on an open forge..... This is the kid I'm helping with his project. You may remember the sword blade from last fall. We did HT last weekend, and we did the basket today. Smart guy made a 2-D paper pattern, adjusted for fit, and had it laser cut. All we did was heat and scroll/bend/form over stakes. He's going to fit the hollow spherical pommel during the next week and we'll put it all together after that.
    1 point
  9. Managed to sneak out to the shop this evening for a couple of hours. A sneak peak of the gun barrel blade I've been working on, fresh off the finish grind with a quick etch. I had a tiny warp after quenching that I decided to surface grind out instead of straighten. I didn't think it was going to be enough to throw everything off center, but apparently I was wrong. That being said, it's still close enough that I'm pretty dang happy with it.
    1 point
  10. What they said. Cut a little hole in the back wall, and keep the blade moving. Avoid direct flame on the steel, that causes oxidation and decarb. Finally, for 5160 you want to be quenching from at least 1525 F. This is over 100 degrees F above nonmagnetic. If it were me, I'd use the thermocouple to establish the forge is running at around 1650 F. Then insert the blade, with the tip poking out the far end, and keep it moving until the color is uniform and you see a swirling shadow in the steel. This is called decalescence, and it is a physical sign that you're almost ready to quench. As soon as the shadows disappear across the whole blade (not the tang, don't harden the tang!) quench in warm oil. Don't block up the openings if you're using a venturi burner, they have to have good exhaust to work. At least 3.5 square inches per burner. Oh, and welcome aboard!
    1 point
  11. Definitely cut a window if your blade is longer than your forge. Another trick is to keep cycling the blade in and out of the forge. Leave it in until the tip starts to turn noticeably red, then take it out for 3-5 seconds and back in for 3-5 seconds. Cycle in and out until you reach decalesence ( assuming that youre watching for it). It takes a little longer but IMHO opinion its worth it. Helps to give the extra heat in the tip a chance to disburse out into the rest of the blade before its too far overheated.
    1 point
  12. My forge has a hot spot.....I try and use that to my advantage. I usually heat the handle first. I probably move the blade around a dozen or so times with every normalization/thermal cycle, and before quench.
    1 point
  13. Well, it looks like you have enough gear to get started. You may want to invest in a decent black smith's cross peen hammer. I'd recommend something in the 2-2.5-pound range. In the meantime, I suggest dressing the face of whatever it is that you are using. (I think I see a 3-pound sledge sitting on the bench) You can probably use that angle grinder to do most of your heavy stock removal and leave the 1x30 for the finishing. There used to be a guy on the forum who made swords with an angle grinder and did a fine job of it. I'd say learn to use the files, but HF files are not known for their longevity and would probably become useless in short order. Some flap wheels on the grinder should get you to a decent level of finish before you need to go to finer grits. Suggestion: Trace the outline of the knife and handle area onto a piece of white paper. Layout where you want the pins on the paper and cut out the diagram. Use superglue to stick it to the tang area. Mark the holes with a center punch right through the paper. Drill where you marked the holes. Put a small clamp on the blade to act as a stop for the front of the scales. Clamp the scales to the tang one at a time and drill through the hole in the tang into the scale. Pin the scales to each other and finish the front end to whatever the desired grit is. You will never get back to it. Glue and pin the scales to the tang and finish grinding the profile and the surfaces. Utica is gorgeous. The closest ABANA affiliate to you is in Casenovia NY. NEW YORK STATE DESIGNER BLACKSMITHS (Contact) (abana.org)
    1 point
  14. if thats a basment get a co detector if its not get one anyway they can save your life forges put out a ton of co make sure you have air flow were ever you forge
    1 point
  15. Welcome, and congratulations on a good start. In agreement with Brian, you are in a good place here. Pay attention and you will learn a lot. I guess I've been at this for around 20 years now and I am still learning more every day. Best advice I can give is to look at what you've just finished, figure out how you can improve the next one, then do it. Repeat these three steps for the rest of your life. It's the guy that is satisfied with "good enough" that never gets any better. And I also second Brian's advice on the 400 grit finish. I come off the grinder and usually start with 220 (maybe 150), 220 then 400. There's a difference between a 400 grit finish and a blade that is rubbed with 400. When you get ALL previous grit scratches out and ALL the 400 scratches going the same way it will look great. Master this and you can go on up to 600 or 800 as needed. Stay at it.
    1 point
  16. Got a little bit done on this today. Ground the fullers in, scraped them and got them sanded to 400 for minimal post quench clean up. Filed the spine and eyeballed the flats for the habaki. So now I think I just need to finish some sanding an drilling a hole in the tang and it's about ready for heat treating
    1 point
  17. I'm going to second what Alan said. I've made three gas forges (one solid brick and two with Kaowool type material) and I used to coat them with Satanite. But by the 4th or 5th firing at welding temps, the satanite was peeling away and cracking. On the second forge I had made, I used some borax flux and it ate right through the satanite into the wool - hence the reason for the third forge. When the satanite on my current forge was looking pretty bad I tried Cast-o-lite 30 over top of what was left. I've used it for a about 30-40 hours of HARD forge welding and it still looks almost new. I'm never going back to satanite...
    1 point
  18. Soon after I started making knives I made a edge scriber but was having to keep adjusting it for the various thickness of blades I have been using so over the last week I set out to make another two in between doing other things. I cut a couple of lengths from an old farm implement shaft After giving them a clean up they needed a flat ground down the length of them with a hole drilled and tapped for a 1/4 inch bolt and a 3/8 hole drilled for the scriber shaft A couple of 3/8 bolts and a concrete nail are the other parts needed. Bots are cut to length and a flat grond down the length for the locking bolt to seat on and a hole for the scribe pin The scribe pins cut (and sharpened) from the concrete nail And assembled ready to go with one for the .125,(1084 and 12C27) .156 (1095) and .170 (1075 steel I most often use.
    1 point
  19. Are you just driving the concrete nails in for a friction fit?
    1 point
  20. Here are my edge scribes. A piece of nylon with a bent piece of music wire (hardened ) . It is fully adjustable from zero to 1/4 inch blades. The other scribe I make is for hollow grinding height or it can be used to scribe a line for multiple pin placement on a handle.
    1 point
  21. First of all of all if you are using Cast-O-Lite then you don't need a separate bubble alumina refractory to flux proof the floor of your forge. Cast-O-Lite is as flux resistant as it gets. You might also want to spray the ceramic matting with lightly with water before troweling the Cast-O-Lite on to help get it to stick. If it wants to fall off the sides or the top of the forge as you are applying it just apply it as high as it will stick and then let it set up for a few minutes then turn the forge body and apply more refractory. It's sort of like pouring a grain silo in stages. You just don't want the first part to dry all the way before applying more refractory. I would let the Cast-O-Lite dry for about a week and then slowly fire cure the refractory before applying the ITC-100. Doug
    1 point
  22. I have a local brick/block plant here in Colorado that sells pretty much everything. I was thinking of building a gas forge. I've seen a lot of designs on the net that consist of a steel tank with ceramic wool plastered over with some refractory mortar. This doesn't seem very efficient. That is a really thin layer of mortar. It seems like it wouldn't take much to break through that thin layer accidentally. What if I could cast in 2" or so of castable refractory cement?
    1 point
  23. Inside, with a layer of mortar. Personally, I think this is overkill. I just (about 6 months ago) rebuilt my vertical forge. The last time I relined it was 4 or 5 years ago. For my own work this is what I have found. If I go out and forge 6-8 hours a day I can produce 6-8 blade blanks. 6 blanks is something like 2-3 weeks of finish work, less if I work 8 hour days, which I rarely get to do. So what happens is I go out, forge for 5 or 6 days, turn out 25 to 40 blanks, and then have months of finish work to do. At that rate my forge lasts several years, at least. If you were forging every day, you might have to patch your forge once a month or so, reline every 6. Actually, I'd like to hear from some other makers about their forging to finish schedules, this is just the way I work, at the moment. This is actually faster and more efficiently than I was just a couple of years ago, I learned a number of "tricks" while working toward my JS. My forge is Kaowool (inswool), satanite, and ITC100. The Kaowool is the insulator, the satanite hardens up the surface and gives it some durability, the ITC100 improves the IR reflectivity and the overall efficiency. You really want all of them to get the complete package. OTOH, the first gas forge I ever saw was a brick pile. Just a pile of fire brick with a piece of pipe (NOT GALVANIZED ) stuck in the side, a piece of copper tube to a BBQ propane tank stuck in a hole in the pipe, and an old hair dryer for a fan. It was noisy, a fuel hog, and fire came squirting out of every crack, but it heated steel. The second gas forge I worked on was just a roll of Kaowool inside a roll of expanded metal mesh, and the same gas and air delivery system as the brick pile. No satanite, no ITC, no regulator, no anti-flashback valve. It also worked just fine. I'm not saying you should build either one of these forges. Build a safe forge and build as sophisticated a forge as your needs, and our experience and help, can make it. But don't go off the deep end before you really need to . Just my .05 (adjusted for inflation), you mileage may vary. Geoff BTW Except for a demo I did at the local blacksmith conference, I haven't lit the fire since February. It's very sad , but I have been working through the backlog of unfinished blades and half finished pieces. Got to get out and beat some steel soon, or I will forget how . g
    1 point
  24. Make sure that the breeze isn't blowing across the forge and into the house. A couple of years ago a nurse whom I used to work with lost her 11 year old son becouse the wind blew the carbon monoxide into the house he was in from a generator that was outside the window, which was open a little. Carbon monoxide binds more readily with the hemoglobin in the blood than oxygen will and it tends to hold onto the hemoglobin molecule tighter. Even if a person inside the house doesn't absorb enough CO to do much harm it can make them feel real crappy for a while. Just be aware of which way the wind is from or, maybe better yet, don't have any windows open onto the porch while you're working. Doug Lester
    1 point
  25. If you coat the ceramic fiber with something like Satanite, one of the ITC products, Mizzou or some other refractory compound, you get two nice results. First, it captures the stray fibers so that you and passersby aren't breathing them. This is a good thing. Second, it increases the efficiency and durability of your forge. ITC100 reflects 98% of IR back into the forge. This is also a good thing. Be aware of CO, I know you said that you are going to working open air, but don't get complacent. Two winters ago a pair of teens were killed by a generator in a partly open garage. The generator ran out of fuel, the first teen went in to refill it and collapsed. His friend went in to pull him out and was overcome as well. A forge running full blast can fill a space with CO in a hurry, even one with an open door. Geoff
    1 point
  26. I'm not meaning to talk down to you, your comment that your family will be near your forge makes me wonder if you have planned for ventilation. A gas forge tuned for a low oxygen atmosphere absolutely gushes out carbon monoxide and you really don't want that seeping into the living quarters. Doug Lester
    1 point
  27. Excluding hard and soft firebrick, there are three choices when talking about lining a forge: hard castable, lightweight insulating castable, and ceramic fiber wool blanket. Each has its place, and it's important to understand their strengths and weaknesses. When durability is a prime concern, nothing comes close to hard castable. The biggest forge I ever made was lined with hard castable. It was built for the art students at the University of Montevallo, where I spent a few years. Sculpture students have a lot in common with goats, in that they're always dirty, and can destroy pretty much anything in short order. 12 years later, that forge is still in operation, and it's never been relined. It's also a ridiculous gas hog, and takes as much as 30 minutes to get up to welding temp. If fuel economy or portability are considerations, then the wool blanket is king. As has been mentioned, the coating is there to keep the fibers, which soon become brittle, from getting into your lungs if you bump it. The coating is also necessary if you plan to weld in a blanket-lined forge, since the welding fluxes eat through the blanket very quickly, destroying it. Blanket lined forges are by far the most fuel efficient type, since the high insulation factor allows for very fast temperature rise. In between lies lightweight insulating castable. It is more durable that blanket, though not as efficient. It is more efficient than hard castable, though not as durable. It's worth mentioning that "lightweight", in this context, is only in relation to hard castable. It's still pretty heavy once you line a whole forge with a couple inches thickness. Neither a hard, or a lightweight castable forge is particularly portable. Personally, I just can't justify the extra fuel cost associated with a hard castable lining. I like both lightweight castable and blanket as linings, and I've built several of each. It's important to think about just what you intend to do with a forge, and that will have a big influence on how you construct it. Luke
    1 point
  28. Just as an example, my vertical forge is ready to heat a piece of steel in about 60-70 seconds, it's almost instant on. I can get up to a welding heat in about 3 minutes (even if it's only about 4 inches long ). OTOH, my main welding forge takes the best part of 20 minutes to come near a welding heat. It's got a brick floor to resist the flux and a Kaowool top. Most of that time is spent heating the floor, and it's got a coating of Satanite. The upshot is that one is fairly efficient and ready to go right away, and the other burns 20-30 minutes of gas before it's ready to roll. I take this into account and try to have some small projects to work on while it's coming up to temp. OTOH (that's 3 hands, right?) it doesn't lose quite as much heat when you stick a big billet of steel in the forge, and it doesn't need to be rebuilt every few days if I'm welding a lot. That is why I have several forges, they are easy to build and work best if they are tuned for specific tasks. Geoff
    1 point
  29. The principal here is, nothing insulates like "nothing". Open voids, which the wool has, is what gives you your heat-rebounding quality. The satanite is just the protective shell. Easily pierced, but just as easily repaired. If a solid cast furnace starts to crack and crumble, or worse... slump, then you really need to tear out and recast if you can't just patch one spot. I prefer the ease of wool, and 2 inches plus satanite gives me a <10 minutes to melting bronze time, and almost just as close for forge welding.
    1 point
  30. The mortar coating on the wool is primarily there just to keep the fibers of the wool from going air born. All of the refractory qualities are mainly in the wool. From what I've read casting in that much cement will hold the heat nicely, but it takes forever for the forge to get up to heat, where it's minutes with the wool style forge. Least that's what I've gathered from my reading. My current forge is a few stacked bricks with a propane burner, but I'm working towards building a wool style forge.
    1 point
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