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dan pfanenstiel

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Everything posted by dan pfanenstiel

  1. Thanks all, it was a blast for me. I was pretty nervous there at first, but warmed up when i saw all the familiar faces in front of me. I did spend an innordinate amount of time trying to get ready, and probably only covered half of what I had intended to, but it went well. Dan
  2. Here's a little snippet of my first demonstration, and the coup de gras, the finale' of it all. It's an 18" wakizashi blade, water quench in a glass front tank. The blade survived and was donated to the auction afterwards. Can you tell I was happy!? Visalia hammer-in 2012. One of my best times ever, not just 'cause my demo went well. <iframe width="640" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/3xo98eFitp4?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
  3. Nice walter, nothing like a true test like that. Very good work. Dan
  4. Hey Jan! It'll be good to see you again. I've gone back and forth on what to do for my demo. I'll talk about the wheres and whys of the materials I use. Clay up a blade right there in front of everybody and (hopefully) quench a few pre-clayed blades. I prepped for water quench, but i hate using water in favor of P50 oil, so may do that. Nothing katana sized, just tanto and wakizashi. Tom's clay damascus demo is very worth the trip itself. Dan
  5. Awrighty, so it's me, Scott, and Charred (and friend). Small audiences are good too. Honestly guys and gals, if the trip is at all feasable, you should try to make it. Quite a line-up this year. Rick Dunkerly, Tom Ferry, Dave Lisch, etc giving demos. Talented people in the audience too, like Mike Quesenberry who just won best of show in S. Cali a couple of weeks ago. I even signed up for the smelting class. It'll be my first hands on smelt ever (which I'm sure will ruin me ) Dan
  6. O.K. so I've got three long blades and three short blades to use in my hamon demo next week. Lots of elbow grease getting ready, what with draw filing and everything. Blades are looking good and needing a few normalizing cycles. So, says I, we'll just coat these long blades in PBC and give them a cycle in the (newly refurbished with brand spanking new elements) Paragon oven. Now mind you, I havn't used this oven much as it had the tendancy to overheat down at the back of the oven, where the sword tips go. Well, with the new elements and the PBC, I was pretty confident it would work out great. Yoink the blades out after reaching digital reading of correctness, and the last ten inches of the three blades look like molten granite had somehow accidentally splashed on the blades. Seems the warning about not overheating the PBC is a good one, they forgot to tell my misbehaving oven. So I am now taking a break from trying to salvage the blades, draw filing and scraping the pits and craters off. And only a few days until the demo, Yay! Dan
  7. I'm digging this stuff. Just trying it out this week. I tried coating a blade with the PBC and doing my normalizing cycles, then Rutlands clay right over the PBC. The clay didn't stick to the PBC as well as I would have liked. The ashi lines sort of curled up in the heat, but the body of the clay stayed put. I still think it's great for the normalizing cycles. Blades come out all clean and like almost freshly ground. And definitly great for full hardening other stuff. Dan
  8. I got it. Havn't used it much. I can't say how well it worked as i only tried it the first day i got it and forgot about it. I do remember it being a pain in the a$$, as you had to keep recalibrating it. I mean like tapping the screen constantly until it read something. The trusty Omega temp reader, which i also have, seemed like lot more reliable for what we do. I also wondered what the IR light was doing to the iphone camera lense and/or the CCD. Dan
  9. Heckle away, Scott. I'm really looking foreward to seeing everyone again, and hoping I can edumacate some. Dan
  10. This is a really good deal guys. Lots of learnin' and fun. There's not much else like it on the west coast and where else can you go to spend a weekend with a bunch of guys and gals interesred in knifemaking? I myself, and several others have been going for years and we always pick up something new. Annnd, there's at least one new demonstrator that is a no-miss in my book. :D Dan
  11. On the lighting, if you'll be changing out the light fixtures to add any, you'll want something other than standard T12 flourescent. They are going away. Government mandate to eliminate the T12 by this month, i believe. T12 is the standard tube you've seen for years, four foot and eight foot, "U" tubes, etc that are about 1.5" diameter. Too hazardous to dispose of and less efficient than T8 or T5 tubes. I'm building maintenance at work and looking at a monumental issue when T12 tubes are not available anymore. Since I'm thinking of a drop ceiling in my garage/shop,I'm looking at four T8, four foot, three bulb fixtues, with tubes, for around $300. Surface mount or hanging shop fixtures might be less. Dan
  12. Patrick Hastings sold me a salt pot made for swords some years ago. It was a long tube (2") in a 100lb propane tank for a body. Something like 40" high. He overcame the issue with heating the pot without worry about a solid salt cap creating pressure by mounting two venturi burners, one high and one low. We would start by just lighting the top burner, allowing the top to heat up for several minutes before lighting the bottom. Worked good. Could shut down the top burner after reaching temp and maintain good temps. Also used Heatbath Nu Sal for salts. Doesn't absorb moisture from the air. All before heatbath stopped selling to us craftsmen. I stopped using the salts. Clay coated long blades in 1500 deg liquid scared the crap outa me. Dan
  13. Scott, hit Youtube and search for 'steamcasting'. There's a part one and two demonstration. Weird video but shows the basics of it. There used to be a great step-by-step on the 'net' with pictures and everything. I'll see if i can find it. Dan
  14. Hey Scott, i've used the Delft clay for the same reasons you're interested in it. I bought the large and small frames. My initial reason was as you said, to get start on casting with the hopes of making habaki. While posible to make habaki this way, i ended up learning how to form them by hand rather than casting. Casting has issues with shrinkage and fit up that wasn't my cup-o-tea. I think having the ability to cast small parts is great in the shop. A friend had an antique door lock that the thumb turn broke on. I was able to cast a new one for him in less than a day. I've done a few fittings with the Delft for knives and such, just not the japanese swords. Another option to look into is steam casting. More supplies needed, like wax and and investment, but better detail and posibilities. Dan
  15. Hey! This looks great! Also, I was able to pop over to that Ustream link and checked on some other working feeds and was able to see all on my Ipad (must not be Flash based). Dunno if the knifemaking will be more exciting than the hummingbird sitting in her nest, but i bet it will. Dan
  16. Thanks guys. Ya Scott, took me a while to realize but these things don't spoil when waiting for me so taking some extra time on them is fine, if needed. Dan
  17. Yep, I'm leaning towards the xs too. A little harder to find than the CB's, but I like the two cylinder idea better than the four. i dig a really simplified look, with nothing unnecessary on the bike. Dan
  18. O.K. Jim, here goes As I recall.....it was a dark and stormy night.... no wait, that's another story. This was one of those blades that was going along nice and easy. It very well could have been my first attempt at a blade larger than wakizashi. Forging came out great, grinding great, yaki ire went fine no cracks, and hamon was just about what I'd tried for. On to the polishing, what could go wrong? So, I've just come up with a new blade clamp to hold long blades while I apply paper to steel. Not a far cry from what I see a lot of smiths using, here and in Japan. The crux of which is the clamp itself. Two all-thread bolts on either side of a 2x4, and a steel plate across these bolts which, when top nuts tightened, clamps the blade down to the 2x4. Well, when taking offending blade to said clamp and tightening, I didn't realize that the edge of blade had nestled itself into the grooves of the all-thread. As I clamped down unaware, the top plate pushed while the edge of blade resisted, and a perfectly half round chip, the size of a dime, came out of the edge, right in the middle of the blade. There were some new cuss words made up, just before the oak bar stool stopped being a bar stool, and now it's just a fun story to tell. The blade (or I) had bad karma after that, 'cause it resisted being made into something usefull for a long time. Oddly, I still use the blade clamp (with smooth bolts instead of the all-thread) and I show no ill will to it. Dan
  19. Hey all, been slow in the shop as of late. I've been working on aspects of these things that make me crazy, and making some headway. Polishing is getting better, shira saya are much better, etc.. This blade has a storied past. It's been redone several times. It started out as a big, nambokucho style blade with a very active hamon. Well, it didn't survive that incarnation (long story, but I did get pissed off enough to cleave my oak stool in half with it). It sat in the corner for a long while, then got reshaped into a nagamaki, which didn't last long. It was just wrong for that. Then it sat for another long period, and now, reshaped to a wakizashi. Oh, and all along I was able to preserve the original hamon. Anyway, it's 1050 steel, 17 inch nagasa (from 29 inch original, sheesh), copper habaki, poplar shira saya. Thanks for looking. Dan
  20. Man! Small world. I've been itching to bobber a Vstar, CB750 or XS650. Waiting on a smokin' deal on craigslist. Dan
  21. I think John had some 'problems' a couple of years ago. He would come to the Visalia hammer-in every year, but stopped and we havn't heard from him since. Hope he's O.k. and gets back to providing some great tools and services for us knifemakers. Dan
  22. Very cool, Jesus. I'll try this as soon as I get a blade ready, which will be in a few decades at the rate I'm going I don't remember where, but I thought I read somewhere online that heating the Parks 50 above 120 would hasten it's degredation, not that the benefit of positive curvature isn't a a huge one, but at the dollar cost of Parks 50, could be a factor. If it doesn't ruin the oil, then I'm all over it. Any problem with flare up in any of your quenching at those oil temps. I've never had a problem with Parks 50 and flare up, but remember a friend commenting when he tried P50 for the first time, it flared six feet. We determined that it was the red hot tong syndrome, but with room temp P50. Could get real exciting with hot oil. Nice work and thanks for all your sharing. Dan
  23. Nice video. Hadn't seen that one, thanks for that. I'm not sure what you're asking. The smith covers the sides of the blade, from the edge up, with a thin coating of clay to protect the steel from oxygen in the heat treating. Hard to see but he's purposely leaving a ridge of clay along the top, where the hamon should end up. Then he lays down ashi lines with the thin spatula to create interesting patterns in the hamon. Making clay? I just run down to the Ace hardware and buy a little tub of furnace cement. Dan
  24. Yep on the spare parts. It was suggested that i almost have enough spare stuff to build another press, lemonade out of lemons. I'll keep the old motor and pump for replacements or future projects, so not a loss in my eyes. I did get to run the press yesterday and all is good. First forging in my shop for quite some time. Broke down some wagon wheel wrought and W1 round bar and the press behaved like a new machine. Back in action. Thanks to all willing to put up with me :-) Dan
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