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Matt Gregory

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  1. WOOHOO!!!!


    Look what I got:




    My friend finally got the chance to turn the cushions to the taper I needed, and here's a picture of one!


    He made 5 of them for me (one spare), and now I've really got to get moving on the helve - man, I wish it wasn't so busy at work! The notches are due to the fact that they had an existing mould that they used for this project, and I can't imagine it affecting the performance of the hammer. If these work out for this project, I'll find out if they'd be willing to manufacture these for other folks.


    MANY MANY thanks to Joe Divissich and the crew at Apple Rubber products - this project would likely have been permanently hung up if it wasn't for these guys!

  2. Keith Kaiser, the human Switzerland of every practical joke:




    Had a couple good long talks (that are never long enough!) with Dick Sexstone, maker of some of the most creative folders:




    Josiah Boomershine, I really can't wait to see the work that comes out of him in the next few years!




    I missed too many chances to photograph people, and too many photos I took turned out poorly. Ah, well... hopefully next time.




    FINALLY, here's the biggest thing to happen to me on this weekend. During the knife show on Sunday, my friend Paul LeTourneau was setting his wares out on a table, and he pulls out a small tactical folder he'd been working on when last we were together. After sorting out some issues he was having with the detent ball in the liner, he had finished it up. As I'm examining it, I notice how smoothly it's opening for me - the reason for which should have hit me deeper than it did. After waiting through my critique for my dumb ass to see the obvious, he points out to me that the action is now left-handed, and the reason it's working so smoothly for me is that I'm left-handed, and he had made it for me!


    Here's some pics of the first PML Tactical folder ever, and it's mine! Thanks, Paulie - can't tell you how much it means to me.







  3. The next bit will be some portraits of some of my favorite folks from the show, in no particular order.


    Mace Vitale, hogging a forge to make a sword for next year's Ashokan sword event...




    Aldo Bruno, the New Jersey Steel Baron, showing the kids how it's done:




    One of the finest people in all the world, my pal Sammy Salvati:




    Butch Harner, I need one of his straight razors. Call him and tell him to give me one, please:




    Good ol' Justin Mercier in his skirt - ahem - kilt:




    Kevin Cashen always looks at me this way:




    ... of course, maybe it's because I caught him picking his nose! :D




    (lighten up, you old coot!)


    Stacy Apelt and I managed to avoid one another all weekend again. Not sure how that keeps happening...





    The incredible Jim Siska, who I'll never forgive for telling me that I'll never be good at grinding because I don't have a biological work rest (otherwise known as a big belly) - great guy!




    J.D. Smith. The man makes some really cool stuff!



  4. Dave Martell did two different demonstrations, predominantly involving kitchen knives and their design, as well as proper sharpening practice. An animated speaker, he makes his living sharpening cutlery:






    Here are some highlights of the knife show that was held after the final demonstration on Sunday. Turnout was high, and it appeared as though lots of things changed hands...


    Tim Zowada straight razors. I'm pretty sure these two were spoken for, and brought only for example. Stunning!




    J.D. Smith had some work on hand from he and his partner Josef Shnayder:








    A rare and awesome piece by ABS Mastersmith Kevin Cashen:




    A cool little damascus piece from Paul LeTourneau of PML Knives:




    Some beautiful fittings from Rick Barrett and Josiah Boomershine:




    One of Rick's superbly etched tactical pieces with it's removable scales off:



  5. Rick Barrett and his apprentice Josiah Boomershine gave an exceptional demonstration on habaki engraving technique. Josiah did all the work, with Rick adding commentary and explanation for historical background and modern application. Here's Rick and Josiah, with Nathan Zowada in between running the video camera:












    My personal straight razor had been pushed past it's safe effectiveness, so I took this weekend as an opportunity to have Tim Zowada show me his honing and stropping technique. When he finished, I stole some cool peppermint and tea tree shaving soap from Butch Harner and headed over to get the two-week-old beard I had gone, as it was itching the hell out of me! My twin Gary Graley took a series of pictures of the first pass to entertain you with:












    Man, am I one handsome devil! :D

  6. The 2010 Ashokan Bladesmithing Symposium was this weekend. For me, this is the most important knifemaking event of the year. The openness, willingness to share by all involved, the cameraderie - and the shenanigans! - all make for an incredible weekend of education and entertainment.

    This year was particularly important for me, personally, but I'll save that reason for last...


    Held on the Ashokan Field Campus in Oivebridge, NY, the settings cannot be more beautiful, and the weather was PERFECT. Here's some shots I snapped:






    I started the weekend by taking a hike with my wife Jill and a regular at Ashokan (and incredible guy!) Howard Schechter. Howard lived as a homesteader in the campus's 1820's era cabin and farm for two years, living exactly has a homesteader would - a tough life, indeed!


    This is a shot of Howard posed next to the carving he made in 1973 after adding the woodshed:




    The inside of the cabin still includes many of the items and tools that Howard used, such as the fireplace (the only source of heat for the building), and the spinning wheel which he used to spin sheep's wool into cloth:






    The first demonstrator up was Jerry Rados, who lectured on the importance of overall design, fit and finish. I had pictures of a blade which Jerry passed around, but there was so much chatoyance in the blade that the autofocus of my camera wouldn't work! Heartbreaking! I'm hoping my twin brother Gary Graley got a better shot of it, as he's a camera maestro. Here's an attendee inspecting the amazing tolerances Jerry keeps on all of his knives (which all happen to be take-down, freeing every part of the knife for disassembly and cleaning with one simple tool!).




    On Saturday, ABS Mastersmith J.D. Smith did a great demo on his forging technique:




    The event draws enthusiasts, collectors and makers alike:



  7. Great shots!


    I haven't been in Algonquin in... omg - almost 25 years! Left almost every drop of blood in my body with the black flies on several long canoe trips, and got frostbite not once but twice on some snowshoe camping trips (some of the scariest times of my life, I might add).


    I've always wanted to return, but never seem to find the time - guess maybe I should be making time, no?


    Thanks for sharing!

  8. With Ashokan coming up in a week, I figured I ought to give our very own ALdo Bruno - The New Jersey Steel Baron - a call to get my order for some stuff in. I've been fooling around with tomahawks lately, and sure enough Aldo's got some 1" square stock in 1080 that'll fit the bill perfectly. I'm down to about 6 inches of the gorgeous 3/8" 1095 stock I got last year, so I asked him to bring me some of that, too - stuff makes great hamon, which I mentioned was my goal.


    "Hamon, you say?" queries Uncle Aldo. "What do you want 1095 for that for, when I've got some fresh W2 coming in?":D:D:D:D



    Stay tuned, kids! Aldo just scored a bunch of new stuff, including getting L6 rolled out, a lot of 52100... pure awesomeness!!!!!!

  9. So after killing a couple hours letting fish no larger than the lures I was using stare blankly at me, I decided that I just wasn't going to wait any longer to either wreck this old girl, or continue forward. I can't justify getting a custom tap cut (especially if there's a chance that all that will happen is that the blunted, smeared threads that are left in the lower cushion cup are just going to fall out!). Seeing the damage on the original adjusting bolt (not sure what caused it to begin with), I filed the first two thread's worth off, and blended the existed threads smooth to use as a thread chaser.


    Here's a shot of some of the 'bulge' that caused the problem... unfortunately, I had already started to file when I remembered to take pictures, so you don't get to see that the bulging occurred all the way around:






    Here's what it looks like now, after removing the ruined threads:







    Although there was lots of resistance, bit by bit it re-aligned the smeared threads in the lower cushion cup. A quarter turn at a time, un-thread it, clean the threads out with a toothbrush, thread the bolt back in, rinse, repeat. All that's left are the final 1/4" where the greatest amount of distortion occurred. I just didn't have enough umph! to get it done today, and I was starting to get sloppy, so I quit.


    My bride caught this super action shot of me during the aforementioned task. Told ya I was skinny!




    One more day of working at it, and this shouldn't be an issue. Then on to getting the eccentric free so the ram throw can be adjusted!

  10. big "I desperately need materials" price drop..


    215$ shipped with a sheath is as low as it goes.





    If I had the money, I'd own this. Email me with a list of materials, I'll see if I can't at least get you some of the things you might need in the 'brotherly knifemaker' fashion! :)

  11. All right, gang... this was done under extreme duress, but I've etched the blade after having too many people responding with subtle hints and clues via email such as: "ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND?!??!?? SHOW THE HAMON!!!!!!":D


    Here it is... if the buyer prefers it without the etch, I will be more than happy to return it to it's previous state.








    Please remember, this was done without the use of clay - the entire point to this method is it's randomness. What you see is exactly as it is - what may appear as scratches are simply part of the results. Enjoy!

  12. There were so many noteworthy experiences with the making of this knife that I've been wrestling with selling it for months. The blade is 11" long, with an overall length of 16-1/4", of 1095 which was heat treated using an unusual method of clay-less hamon creation. The guard is mild steel, with a domed stainless steel pin through the handle. The thickest point of the spine is @ 1/4".




    The blade leans just a pinch towards tip heavy, as I feel a big blade like this ought to be, balancing about an inch in front of the guard. I struggled with etching and polishing this blade, never achieving the 'look' I was aiming for, until I completely scrubbed the oxides off. Suddenly, with the blade bare, it appeared right to me. I'm not sure how else to explain it, but it's as if having the hamon so obvious detracted from the overall design. As you can tell from the next few images, though, it's there - when you're holding it just right. That's why I called it stealth hamon, as to the casual observer it's a featureless blade.








    The wood handle is Tamboti, and African sandalwood. The figure is subtle, and a great match for the steel. One of the great features of this oily wood is the scent it imparts on your hand when you wield the knife - I wanted to roll around in the dust when I was shaping it!:)


    Included in the price is a scabbard style sheath of simple tooled leather, dyed a deep reddish brown with black edge and back, and a Sam Brown stud. I find that when carrying big blades like this, being able to stick the sheath under my belt and letting the stud ride on the top of the belt allows me to swing the handle out of the way.







    This one has been an interesting experience for me... it's the first 'ricasso-less' design I've ever done, and it posed a variety of interesting challenges. My original thought was to allow for more canvas to paint my hamon on (which I got), but what I didn't foresee was the difficulties that not having that demarcation presented. It took a lot of scheming, screaming, and sweating to work past it - and the help of some outside genius -but I think it turned out pretty well.


    $SOLD including UPS shipping and insurance to anywhere in the lower 48 states, paypal preferred. Outside of the lower 48, email me and we can discuss it.

  13. how did a NABS member get all THAT done :o lol.. nice wrk



    I know it, Ty... it's not like it was when I was 155 and entirely bone and gristle. Now it's all flab! I kind of worry that I don't qualify for NABS anymore - did we set a weight restriction on it? I can't remember... haven't talked to you in a while, my friend - hope you're doing well.

  14. So here's some updates... so far, the only real issues have just required some serious force and lots of sweat equity.

    The lower cushions sit in the seats shown above... however, they've got a threaded rod with a jamb nut under them, and as you can see from the picture, it really doesn't look like anything is supposed to move. Except it does, of course! I had to remove the bolts entirely (the back one was lots of work, but not too bad) then insert a 7/8" bar in the hole and break it free from underneath with a 10lb. sledge. Now, many of you have never met me, so before any of the folks gunning for me get a chance, I'll describe myself: I'm 39, 6'2", 168lbs, and have all the muscle mass and tone that a cushy job selling stereos gives you, which is next to none. So imagine a few pipecleaners with a couple wads of chewed bubblegum and you get the idea...

    Anyways, it was a lot of work, but the rear cushion adjustment seat finally broke free. It was entirely caked with who knows what, and it sure didn't want to come out.




    Here's the pocket it sat in:




    The front one was MUCH worse. When removing the adjusting rod, I ended up using a combination of big-ass pipe wrench and sledgehammer and spud wrench with 7' of black iron pipe as a breaker bar. Alas! The incredible resistance was a result of a completely destroyed section of thread just under the cushion adjustment seat. The threads for this seat will need to be re-cut, I hope... if not, then I'll have to drill it out and likely do a big heli-coil or something. Regardless, it took a ton of work to get the rod out. On to hammering the cushion seat free. It took three different days of slugging, and finally the only way it came loose was by removing the anvil from the hammer (heavy!) to clear a path so could 'baseball bat' swing the sledge. Using this technique and resorting to burning the surrounding area where the nasty cakey stuff was and scraping with a chisel, it broke free.




    Here's what the cushion seats look like when they've been cleaned up and given a good coat of oil to prevent them from corroding any further:








    Compare this to the picture BEFORE I got it out, and you'll get an idea why this was so nasty!




    Here's a shot of the anvil and hammer separated:




    I've had to start a pretty nifty collection of wrenches for this project, too! Here's the striking wrench I needed to break the jamb nuts free... not too often you get a chance to use a 10lb with a 10lb hammer! Not sure why these went out of vogue, as they made short work of every single big jamb nut on this ol' girl.




    Finally, I spoke with a friend that has lots of hard rock maple... I need to take some measurements, then I start the helve!

  15. Getting the lower die free of the anvil was nasty. The wedge had rusted in place and basically become one with the anvil. LOTS of kroil, sledging, weeping, and cursing later:




    The placard on the front of the anvil:




    I just heard from a friend of mine that works for an industrial rubber company that the replacement lower cushions he's making for me have been poured and cured, and are now awaiting final machining to shape.


    Next step is to get some rock maple for the helve!


    ...stay tuned...

  16. As you can tell, the poor lil' girl was not in the best of moods. I acquired a slugging wrench to free the jamb nuts for most of the adjustment screws, as well as the nuts and pitman bolts for the eccentric shaft. The wrench and a 10lb sledge made wuick work of the nuts, and my spirits rose.


    Here she is sitting at my house, glistening with kroil.




    One pitman bolt out:




    The bolt:




    A cushion seat:




    Upper cushion threads getting cleaned:




    Starting in on the bearings:




    Showing the eccentric arm in place, the slip sleeve and pitman arm were fused with rust, and took a lot of work to free. Once it released, however, it was a walk in the park to get them slipping together perfectly.






    A shot of the bearings after cleanup, with the eccentric in place:



  17. Almost a year ago I did a trade for some things with my PLB Mikey Spangler, and this hammer was the big part of the deal. Other than Paul LeTourneau and his lovely bride getting it to my house last year (in August), the only work achieved on it until recently was to kroil the bejeezus out of it in hope that some of the rusty relic would break loose.

    The last patent stamp date on it is 1909, and that seems like an historically plausible date of manufacture.

    These first photos were taken as the machine sat in Fairhaven, MA. It was kept outside for approximately 5 years before I got it, and who knows where it was before then...












  18. Actually, Ric, I suspect it's a bit of the change in market, as well as a shift in philosophy and ownership for these folks. The previous owner of NSM signed the company over to the employees in 2004, I wonder if that had anything to do with it?


    I've yet to see them be anything other than accommodating... maybe you should call them again! :)

  19. Aldo negotiated for more than just the lot of L6, though... here he is meandering through some of NSM's CPM stock that's already been rolled and cut, and ready to ship:




    I keep hearing rumors that Crucible steel is no longer available - folks, nothing could be further from the truth. The mills are running, the steel is flowing, and brother, these guys are rolling it!
















    D2, CPM-3V, 440C...




    ...and Uncle Aldo picking his stock to sell to us!




    It was fun to be an observer - Aldo was like a little kid!






    If even half of the plans that these guys were discussing (that I managed to hear) come to fruition, this is merely the beginning. This is going to be a relationship that is going to benefit both stock removal makers and bladesmiths alike! Stay tuned!!!!



  20. Another project they've been doing is mating aluminum to stainless steel. Tricky, to say the least! Here's a shot of one of the scraps from the latest run:




    These are solid blocks of 6AL-4V titanium - and yes, those are the weights marked on there (420 lbs, etc):




    Here's a shot of one wing of the yard:




    You think our grinders are expensive? Try the new Timesaver these guys just invested in! Just shy of a million bucks! Timesaver's on-sight technician was in from Denmark doing the final adjustments to the machine when Aldo and I were there.






    I asked Aldo and Bob to hold one of the belts for this monster... 63"x103"!!!!!






    The belts cost over $200 a piece, and they don't last these guys any longer than they do us.

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