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Brian Madigan

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About Brian Madigan

  • Birthday 12/06/1977

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    Evanston, Il

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  1. Like everyone does eventually, I had a fire that claimed the shop. I was able to build a bigger, better shop though, and I found this blade pretty much in the state you see here. I must have brought it inside the house before the shop went.
  2. Just pull it out of the kiln and spray it with a hose! It will probably temper itself if it doesn't crack. OR interrupted quench in moving water. If you have an IR thermometer, you can probably dunk it until it reaches 400F, pull it out and dunk it again when it rises above 400-500F. Just keep it above ~300F or so.
  3. Got a lathe? Most of the hardware from the knife supply places isn't great in the first place. Better off making your own at those prices.
  4. "done something crazy like pre-bent their sword and clamped it to a straight peice of steel like a bent peice of half inch by half inch bar and clayed under it to get a hamon?" Nooop. If you're planning to do a lot of katanas or swords in general, you want to build a heat treating forge to get that thing heated evenly. Mine is a 55 gallon drum lined with refractory material (inswool etc) and it sits upright (vertical position). I hang the blades tip down using a hook that fits in a hole in the tang. Fire comes in from the bottom via a 3/4" atmospheric propane burner. For the last few years I've just used my charcoal forge and built a long fire that is pretty hot and moved the blade through it, eyeballing the heat the way I see the old guys do in Japan (: you know, dark night with no moon etc. Depending on the steel: I've water quenched 1075, W2 and W1 with some good, some bad results. Tried different magic: Rain water, hard water, softened hard water.. Canola oil works if you can heat it up first. Don't expect any sori (curvature) from oil quenches. It doesn't work as well as Parks #50 or interrupted quench in water. Anything with higher carbon than 1075 is just gonna crack in water. The other problem with canola oil is it will go rancid pretty fast. Mineral oil is better. When I use Parks #50 on high carbon stuff like 1095 or W2 for wild hamons, I pre-curve the blade during forging. Warping: it happens, usually you can correct it just after the quench while the blade is still smoking (~400 degrees). I use a wooden mallet over a log or something. Twisting is a different problem. I like to avoid any warps or twists by forging evenly, grinding evenly, normalizing and laying on clay very carefully. You don't need much clay. Hardly any at all. If you're using furnace cement like a lot of folks do now (rutland's), you just need a thin layer to insulate the non-edge area. With W2, Rutland's and Park #50, you can basically draw whatever hamon you want to see.
  5. My issue is with Amazon. They're turning into Alibaba for retail. What this seller is shipping is not the product they show in the pictures. The grinder in those pictures is not what you're going to get. The Chinese market is really really efficient at knocking off other people's stuff and selling it for cheaper, which puts honest manufactures out of business quick. If suddenly half or more of your sales were going to a shell company in China, wouldn't you be kinda pissed off? I would. And then on top of that your reputation for building a good tool went down the tubes because the knock-offs are so bad. It's not just grinders, it's everything we buy. I'm not an isolationist or anything, but China's gonna be running the manufacturing world before long. Look at grizzly, harbor freight etc.
  6. Plans! Tuesday I had a couple of contractors over to take a look. The garage was originally 16'x18.5'. I don't know how you could fit a car in a 16' deep garage, but I guess a Model-T or Model-A would fit. It was then extended to 18' in the 70's, which still isn't big enough for a modern car or truck, and definitely not big enough for a Lincoln from the 70s. It's got a wall in between the car park and the shop, which is really just in the way. So I'm going to do an open plan 20'x24' with a gable roof, one window, a 10'x7' steel overhead door. I'm asking contractors for more than the standard garage floor (wire mesh, 6 bag mix over crushed stone, 4" deep). I'm getting quotes for steel siding, fiber cement and vinyl. Fiber cement is 5x more than vinyl, so it will add about $3k to the final price. I have one quote for $20,500, includes all demo and cleanup, concrete, all permits, inspections and taxes. I'll have to do all the 220v and 220-3ph electrical stuff.
  7. I always wanted one of these, but just where are they saving the space? They're huge 132" belts! What's the "space waster" grinder look like?
  8. I moved another ton of machinery and materials out of the soon to be demolished garage. That was about 1/8th of what needs to be moved. I forgot I had a Mercedes engine + trans back there next to the engine lathe. I have a few ideas how I'm going to move a 5000# engine lathe from a bad floor to an even worse asphalt surface. Most of them involve dragging it with a truck. Dragging it on some 6x6" lumber rails. OSHA says it's ok.
  9. I like to watch Adam Booth's videos. He's a very skilled machinist and I've learned a lot about doing precision work on big machines from him. Here's on that's relevant to Shop Safety I want to share:
  10. Thanks ya'll. I was pretty worn out and trying to get work done while people kept coming in and out of the yard and shop. There are days (every day) when I'd like my shop to be in some secret industrial location that nobody knows about. If I get distracted, it's me that ends up paying for it. I've told everyone not to come near the shop while I'm running any machines, but nobody seems to understand that piece of shop etiquette. Many times people knock or bang on the door while I'm grinding bevels, or they just come in and appear in my peripheral suddenly, which is really f-ing annoying and dangerous. A few times this year I've burned damascus or a forging I had lots of hours into. I'm going back and forth with State Farm on the insurance. They're insisting it can be 'restored', but no contractor is going to come in and build on a broken foundation with fire and water damage all over the place. Once the fire department gets at a building, it's gotta be torn down. Especially one this old.
  11. Those small wheels are super easy to make yourself. .. if you have a lathe
  12. You can get Ceramic grit drums for those smaller mandrels, but I've never found any Zirconia or ceramic alumina drums for those bigger sizes like the ones you could mount in a drill press chuck. I've tried the red AO drums, but they're made for wood and AO wears out too quick and gets too hot on steel. Plus they mostly come in 100-220 grit, not ideal for anything but cleaning up scratches. You would need a barrel full to get any work done. The KMG small wheel attachment is OK for some things, but for shaping in a sub-hilt for example, it's no good due to the belt angle. I prefer this style, where the belt goes under the forward contact wheel. Or the Burr King style:
  13. I'm fine; I was 10 feet away in the house taking a nap. It could have been a lot worse, but the neighborhood kids saw the smoke and called 911. They probably saved my ass.
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