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Doug Lester

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Everything posted by Doug Lester

  1. The quality of your work and the fact that you feel you could do better shows that you are a true artist. Doug Lester
  2. That was a lot of work to take that down from barstock. It might be a little thick in the spine, can't really tell, but the basic craftsmanship looks good. What kind of problems are you having with your forge? Maybe we can help. I've had some trouble with mine to start off with too and would be more than happy to share the fruits of my inexperience with you. Doug Lester
  3. Jim, I'll spare you my mystery metal lecture. You've alread got it and it sounds like it is probably high carbon. If you forge, I'd start out around a bright red and, if it seems to move a little hard, take it on up to a bright orange to yellow and try again. Play it safe and quench in oil. Temper at 350 degrees and do the brass rod test on the finished edge. If it chips out, increase the tempering temperature to 400 and try again. If the edge bends and stays that way, you will have to reharded and drop down to 300. If you go that low, I'd think that it's less than 60 points carbon but more experienced heads may have other ideas. If you still can't get it to harded, you could try quenching in brine.
  4. Try www.midwesternknifemakes.com, the owner is a knifemaker himself and his service is good. The ones that I use are the orange belt (sorry, I don't remember the name but you'll see them) in 80 grit, the gator belt in 220 grit, and the cork backed belt in 600 grit. I've used the Jflex belt in 220 grit but if you use them make sure the tension on the belt is right or the belt will curle on the edge and gouge your blade. The cork backed belt is soaked in a bucket of water for about 10 minutes before using and it looks like it course than it is. I also have a 800 grit cork belt that I haven't tried yet. Doug Lester
  5. Outstanding workmanship on both the knife and the sheath. Congradulations! Doug Lester
  6. Congradulations one and all!! The only person mentioned who's knives I've handled is J. Neilson and he was turning out master quality work before he earned his JS stamp. He was also the person most willing to spend a little time with a don't-know-nuth'n newbie at the show. Doug Lester
  7. Ty, do you make a hammer with about 1" wide face parallel to the handle for drawing out a billet? Just looked back over the pictures and here's another idea. (nice that I do that after the original post) What do you think of making a hammer like in post #13 but with the pean turn parallel to the handle? I'd like the broad massive slightly rounded end to draw out with and the flat face to flatten the billet with. I'd need it at about 3lbs but not any more than that. Doug Lester
  8. 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
  9. Be advised that not only are high carbon railroad spikes not all that high in carbon, they're somewhere around 0.35%, they are also rather long on copper. These spike have to be super tough and be able to bend almost double without breaking. That's great for their intended purpose but it reduces wear resistance considerably and makes only a marginal blade at best. Follow the above advise in heat treating and be upfront to anyone that you give one. Doug Lester
  10. 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
  11. What I did is coat the ceramic fiber with Mizzou refractory rather than mortar. It heats up fairly quickly and the Missou is a more robust coating, mine is about 1/2" thick, than the mortar. Doug Lester
  12. If'n ya got'a hand drill ya got'a buffer. Buy a buffing wheel and an arbor to mount it in your hand power drill. Clamp the tang/handle in a padded vice and make sure that the wheel does not turn into the edge of the blade. Another thing that can be used is one of those felt points or wheels on a Dremel. Doug Lester
  13. Great workmanship on all those knives. Right now I'm having visions in my head of some dude trying to explain to his better half why he had to pay how much for a damascus pizza cutter. Doug Lester
  14. Ya, Willie, Dee said the first one. I'm on five for my gas forge and #5 has been changed from having a venturi burner to a blown burner. I'm contemplating building #3 for my charcoal forge. Many makers have more than one forge for different tasks also. I am also of the opinion that you can make a better forge and for less money than you can buy one. Doug Lester
  15. If you have a way of recutting the wood you could take a look at some of the woodturning supply sites on the web. Also places that to pool cue makers. Make sure that the wood is fully cured or you'll have to let the wood set for a year or two, maybe longer, before you can use it. Doug Lester
  16. That shows some real craftsmanship. It's got to feel good when it sell that quickly. Doug Lester
  17. Those are some very good looking blades. Congradulations, you've got talent. Doug Lester
  18. Tell, I can deffinantly identify with the frustration. I work in health care, though I don't work on the occupational health side of the clinic much, I have worked with people from one of the coal terminals who don't want to wear resperators because they're uncomfortable even though the patients came in because they cough up a lot of black stuff. Then there are the welders who give us the shocked look when we tell them that their lead levels are so high that they need to go into the hospital to undergo treatment to reduce it and, until the levels are dropped, they can't work. The reason, besides they thought that it wouldn't happen to them, they don't like to wear a respirator. Some days it's enough to make you want to beat your head against the wall. Doug Lester
  19. The most readily available source of clay for lining a forge is plain clay kitty litter. You may have seen galvanized tubs used as forge bodies, such as a Lively Forge, but the refractory liner protects the galvanized metal from getting hot enough to vaporize the zinc. If you have been using a galvanized tub as a fire box in an inclosed space, you may want to have a quick once over by your doctor. Breathing zinc vapors can really mess up your lungs and the effects may not be reversable. Tell, I know that your hearts in the right place, but language like that is can be counter productive. It tends to make people shut out what you have to say besides being generally offensive. Doug Lester
  20. Dave, I'll be heading towards Decatur and looking for something slightly out in the sticks so I don't P*** the neighbors off if I want to forge under the moonlight but will settle for a trailer with a decient shed. Doug Lester
  21. A welder's glove, the kind that extends almost up to the elbow, worn on the tong hand does the some job of protecting the arm. Doug Lester
  22. I got a bit of good news (maybe) on my situation. If the buyer can get the financing that he wants he is willing to let me rent from him on a month to month basis for a year until I get things ready to move back to Illinois. Keep'n my fingers and toes crossed. Doug Lester
  23. I'm looking at that now. Tomorrow I'm meeting with a man to sell my townhouse which has my forge in the backyard. Right now I don't know exactly what to do. I may try to move into some appartments near work so that I don't have to drive much or I might move out into the sticks and rent a trailer. Either way I'm leaving this area in about a year and moving back home to be around family. Whatever comes, I'll do what I can even if that means working with files and sending my knives out for heat treating. Doug Lester
  24. From what I can see in the pictures you did a great job on the finish. Really superior workmanship. If they look as good up close as they do in the pictures, I think that you should have it made. Doug Lester
  25. Leo, I learned early on that you have to watch shipping and handling with the Ebay sellers. Most are honorable people trying to make a buck the honest way but some will take advantage of you any way they can. I was looking for kilns that I could use as a heat treating oven one time. One seller had good prices and the shipping was reasonable but then I looked at the fine print and they wanted $100 to strap the kiln down to a palate. You probably would have gotten the book and noticed that the actual shipping was $10 and he charged you $39.95 to take it down to the post office to drop it in a mailer that comes with the price of the postage. Doug Lester
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