Jump to content

Matt Bower

Supporting Member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Posts posted by Matt Bower

  1. Steve R, congrats on finding those applications. I looked, and somehow I wasn't able to find them.


    The fact that none of his patents or published applications seems to cover banding is part of the problem here. As far as I know, the earliest point at which a third party can challenge a patent application is when it's published. I asked a patent lawyer I know a little to look into that. He's primarily a litigator who handles infringement claims, so the application/publication stage isn't really his area of expertise. But he said he'd talk to some of the patent prosecution guys in his office next week, and get back to me. I'll report on what he has to say.

  2. I like your line of thinking, Kevin, although as a practical matter it may be a lot harder than you imagine. More on that later; right now I have a date with my forge. :)


    Besides the photos, it'd be really helpful if foks here (especially you metallurgists!) would post details about any books they have that discuss alloy and/or carbide banding*, what causes it, how to produce the effect, how to eliminate it, etc. Showing prior publication is one way to defeat a patent, so those books could turn out to be valuable in the event that this issue ever ends up in court. They might also be valuable if anyone wants to file a request for reexamination, if the individual in question ever actually receives any patents for his process. (As far as I can tell he's only been granted one patent so far, and that one doesn't seem to have anything to do with banding. But until someone gets him to come forth with the numbers of the patent(s) he's claiming that Tim infringed, it's impossible to know for sure.)




    *I'm still not sure whether they're fundamentally different things, and when Tim started this thread I was hoping you might weigh in on it. But the thread seems to have moved on to less pleasant matters.

  3. I've recently devised a method of making water hard and chunky, which i call water hard-chunkification.

    The hardened water can be placed in beverages, etc to keep them cool, and gradually turns back to normal water. Reckon i could patent that?


    Not if I get to the Patent Office first! :lol: And then the world will beg me for hard, chunky water! And I will hold the world ransom for . . . one MILLION dollars!

  4. All this fact looks absurd to me. I own old books from early '900 that talks about alloy banding (damascus like surface on monosteel "non UHC" blades) obtainable with thermal cicles. Nothing new, and if you need I can post some pics of the the page of the book here.

    This guy is going to patent the recipe to boil the water.


    Giuseppe, would you mind posting the title and publisher information of that book (or those books)?

  5. So far we don't know anything at all about those supposed applications except that he says he filed them, and he claims they apply. Not sure I'm willing to take his word on that. So I really don't know whether prior art might invalidate them. I have absolutely no idea what he may be claiming!

  6. True, but I still don't understand how that load of hooey made it past the patent office.


    Patent clerks are overworked and underpaid, and I'm guessing that heat treatment of metals isn't their highest priority assignment right now. It's not that sexy compared to biotech, software, computer hardware, etc. Plus, good patent clerks can earn a lot more money in the private sector, so I'm sure there's a lot of turnover at the PTO.


    Could one perhaps challenge the validity of the patent with the patent office without entering into a lawsuit with the owner?


    Yes. Sort of. I don't know much about the details. See here: http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/mpep/...s/2600_2612.htm (I think any of us who wanted to could file a request for reexamination.) And here: http://www.baypatents.com/reexam.asp. Here's a not-for-profit that files requests for reexamination: http://www.pubpat.org/index.htm


    That whole threat/avoidance thing is what burns me about the legal system.


    I used to be skeptical, but I'm now pretty well convinced that the European system is better. The general rule in Europe -- in most of the world outside the U.S., in fact - is that the loser pays all or part of the winner's costs in civil litigation. So there's a strong disincentive to litigate weak cases: not only do you end up paying your own lawyer, but you end up paying the other guy's too! Not only is this a disincentive against bringing cases in the first place, but it should also affect how lawyers choose their clients. In this country plaintiffs' attorneys will often take clients with shallow pockets because getting paid doesn't depend on the depth of the client's pockets; it just depends on winning the case. (The art is in being able to tell which cases will pay.) But there's no really comparable incentive for defense lawyers to take the same kinds of clients. Even if they win, they're apt not to get paid. A loser-pays system would make it more profitable to defend clients who aren't wealthy.


    If they sue, I suspect many in the knife community would contribute to a legal defense fund, since this is an issue that affects us all.


    Glad you mentioned that, Alan. I was thinking of suggesting it myself.

  7. Correct me if I'm wrong here, but haven't 2 or 3 here already mentioned that some of the steel from Admiral comes already in this condition? If this is the case, I would think that he should be going after Admiral, not someone who just used their product. If I were to get some of that steel from Admiral and made something with it, and it turned out to have visible banding, all of a sudden I'm liable!? BS detector is going off big time here. I wonder what Admiral would say if they found out people were going to get sued for using their product?




    Yeah, if Tim gets a lawyer he's probably going to want to bring Admiral into this as a third-party defendant. Which'd be smart, because Admiral has deeper pockets and access to metallurgists who could be expert witnesses. And I suspect the testimony of a couple of experienced ferrous metallurgists would blow most of Watson's patent claims right out of the water.

  8. Jeff,


    Thanks very much for a clear and succinct answer. It wasn't entirely clear to me whether reduction and heat (as in reducing an ingot to bar stock) actually eliminated the dendrites, or just made them smaller. I assumed it was the latter. But if the dendrites are actually destroyed by heat and reduction, then your answer makes perfect sense. So the pattern you see in a dendritic steel blade (I'll avoid the "w" word for now) is actually composed of dendrites themselves, as well as alloy bands, whereas in alloy banding in bar stock you're just seeing the bands, and not dendrites? Is that right?

  9. I've been bouncing this around with Tim over on his website. I'm glad to see what he came over here to get a broader range of opinions, from folks with greater expertise than I have.


    On that note, can someone explain to me exactly what the difference is between "alloy banding" and "dendritic steel"? Let me preface this by saying that I'm not a metallurgist; my metallurgical education consists of reading parts of Verhoeven's book (generally when I have a question), and reading stuff by people like Kevin Cashen on forums like this one.


    That said, it's my understanding that pretty much all modern steel -- and indeed, just about any metal that isn't completely pure, and has ever been molten -- is "dendritic." Dendrites, as I understand it, are an inevitable part of the process of cooling impure metals from liquid to solid. That's true whether it's crucible steel or Tim's 1095. I think what bladesmiths mean by "dendritic steel" is steel with visible segregation of elements in the steel -- including carbon, in the form of carbides. This segregation occurs between dendrites. Where dendrites are big, as in slow-cooled crucible steel, the segregated regions are big, too, and are visible to the naked eye. (Again, what I'm reciting here is my understanding, not necessarily fact. So please feel free to jump in and tell me where I'm wrong.).


    Industry tries hard to make small dendrites and minimize segregation. But it's always there in modern steels. And -- again, in my limited understanding, based on reading seemingly pertinent parts of Verhoeven's book -- it's those interdendritic regions that can, through thermal cycling, gather in more of the "stuff" in the steel that isn't pure iron (like carbon and other alloying elements), which eventually become visible to the naked eye.


    Some folks call this alloy banding. But in metallurgical terms, how's it really different than the visible segregation caused by slow cooling crucible steel? When alloy banding occurs as a result of thermal cycling, isn't it just a matter of growing the interdendritic regions of segregation after cooling, rather than during cooling? Don't both methods ultimately produce essentially the same thing?

  10. I have very limited casting experience, and none with copper alloys - yet. But in the process of reading up to try homebrewing some tin bronze, some folks with more experience told me that zinc is a good deoxidizer for copper alloys. It's pretty readily available, too. (Think pennies.) Might be worth a try. Just a thought.

  11. Yeah, I know. I tried to use an artist's graphite "crayon" for cutting on my arc welder a couple days ago. Just outta curiosity. It arced, but whatever they're using to bond the graphite couldn't take the heat and it kind of fell apart.


    I assume there'll be some carbon absorption from by the charge, so I figure I'd probably use less of whatever my carbon source ends up being to help compensate. How much less? I dunno. I'll have to wing it.

  12. Jerry, you do mean crucibles, right? I wasn't planning to use the castable for my crucibles, just for the furnace lining (if I can get it at a reasonable price). Or maybe firebricks lining a hole in the ground. I'm not sure. But either way, hopefully the charge will be pretty well isolated from the furnace atmosphere by glass/flux and a lid.


    I was planning to use a clay-graphite crucible, though, not SiC. (Clay-graphite is what I have.) Are you saying you think that might be a problem?

  13. Greg, what kind of castable are you buying for $20/bag? The AP Green distributor I talked to quoted me $0.80/lb. for a 55 lb. bag of Mizzou. That's $44.00. Not a bad price, and I don't have to pay shipping, but if there's something suitable that's cheaper I'd like to know what to ask for.

  14. Same here. Last castable I bought was from Darren Ellis, and I paid about a dollar a pound plus shipping.


    Greg, I'm in northern Virginia, about 20 miles south of D.C.


    Looks like the nearest AP Green distributors are 3 and 4 hours away. Figure in the cost of gas and tolls, and I might as well buy from Darren. I'm still checking the other two.


    Sept 10: I just realized that next Monday I'll be driving from Indiana to Virginia and passing very close to Pittsburgh, PA. Sure enough, there's an AP Green distributor in Pittsburgh. (Makes sense.) I should be able to stop by. Thanks for the tip, Greg. I wouldn't have thought of this otherwise.

  15. I have a decent supply of old wrought iron, some of which is too badly corroded to forge very well. It occurred to me that I could melt some of it into crucible steel, which would be a lot of fun.


    I have a blown oil burner that I'm pretty sure can produce enough heat. But is there a low-budget way to do this? I don't think my current forge will handle that kind of heat, especially for an extended period, but I'd rather not buy a bunch of refractory and build a whole new furnace just to play around. And clay-graphite crucibles aren't exactly cheap. The thought of destroying one per melt is a little disheartening. Could something as simple as a hole in the ground (perhaps lined with clay and vermiculite) work for the furnace? (I know it wouldn't be very efficient, but my fuel is free.) And any suggestions as far as the crucible?


    (Just to be clear, I know vermiculite would melt long before the wrought iron would. But it doesn't cost much, and it'd help insulate the furnace for a while.)

  16. Nah, he's just an idiot. I'm pretty sure rolling a piece of hot steel around in some solid sodium cyanide as it cools isn't going to produce any significant case hardening effect. As far as I know, proper case hardening with sodium cyanide requires molten salts and a good hour or more of soaking time. What the "engineer" is doing is not only dangerous (red hot steel + sodium cyande = hydrogen cyanide gas), but probably a waste of time. I hope that's not the industrial method of making edged tools. If it is, they're pretty crappy edged tools.

  17. I'm late to this discussion and maybe this really isn't very important, but my guess is that the white "sodium" in question is indeed sodium cyanide. It's often used for fishing and for collecting exotic fish in various parts of Asia, including the Philippines. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyanide_fishing http://www.spc.int/coastfish/News/LRF/5/5Cyanide.htm http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G1-21222051.html ) It has also been used extensively in case hardening and electroplating, and it's a white crystalline substance that can be formed in a briquette a lot like the cake in the picture. ( http://www.indiamart.com/rathouretrading/ ) We Americans are so used to so many aspects of life being heavily regulated that we tend to think the rest of the world must be that way, too. Large parts of it aren't, especially poorer countries where the government has little means to enforce most laws, and where corruption and cronyism are rampant.


    Stay well clear of this stuff. It's extremely toxic and kills quickly. It can evolve hydrogen cyanide gas, which is even more toxic than the solid, and it's possible, though maybe not very likely, for a lethal dose to be absorbed through the skin. (Hydrogen cyanide was the gas used in American gas chambers, when that method of execution was still in use.) Don't be too surprised if this so-called engineer drops dead from cyanide poisoning. :wacko:


    Twenty-five or so years ago, when I was a kid, I wandered through a local plating shop that was out of business and about to be torn down. I noticed several 55 gallon drums full of a crystalline substance, marked "OLD CYANIDES." I knew enough to stay very, very far away from them, and I made a hasty exit from the place just in case there were other, unmarked cyanides lying around. I've always sorta hoped that someone removed those drums, and dealt with them properly, before the wrecking ball went to work.

  18. Thanks, Jesus. It does help. Is your handle sloped down when the face is flat like that, or is it an optical illusion? If it is, do you find that useful? Does it relieve strain on your wrist/arm, lengthen your swing, both, neither?


    Did you make that hammer?

  19. Japan Woodworker has some hammers on their site as well.


    Edgar, thanks. I found a mention of those when I was searching old posts in this forum. The prices aren't too bad, but the blacksmith hammers I saw in the catalog when I checked today were all quite small.

  • Create New...