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Doug Lester

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Everything posted by Doug Lester

  1. This is real close to what I was wanting to post about. In looking for sources of ferric chloride I ran into a post that mentioned that there was a disposal problem with it which is probably why it's off the shelves at Radio Shack. Does anyone else have some input on this issue. Also has anyone use dilute nitric acid as an etchant? I know that it can be had at etching supply outlets. Doug Lester
  2. All those question marks is exactly why I don't like salvaged steel. If it is hard, try grinding it and see what kind of sparks it throws. If it throws a bunch of fine bright sparks it's probably ok for a blade. Or you can heat it to non-magnetic and quench it and see if it will shatter (just use a corner or better yet just cut off a small section). If it is hard enough to make a blade you will have to anneal it before working with it, especially if you are doing stock removal. I would quench in oil and temper starting at about 350-375 degrees and test the edge. If it tends to chip, take the chips out with the sharpening stone and re-temper at about 50 degrees higher and test again. If the edge takes a set, re-harden and temper again at a lower temperature. Doug Lester
  3. No, actually your design is pretty good. It's not exactly a chopper but I am a little curious as to why you chose 1095 over one of the lower carbon simple steels or one of the low alloy steels. 1095 has great wear resistance but I would wonder the lower toughness if you put it to heavy use. What kind of an edge are you going to be putting on it? It's a little hard from your drawing to tell what the blade above the bevel and behind the clip point is going to look like. Is that flat? Doug Lester
  4. I can understand being a poor self starter, it's a big problem with me too. Let me say that the quality of that knife makes it well worth the wait. Good design and great craftsmanship from what I can see. Congradulations. Doug Lester
  5. Very, very nice. I just love African Blackwood as handle material. Doug Lester
  6. The carving is REALLY coming along and I love the way the handle fits into the sheath. I would, however, like to have a better view of the blade if you have one to post. Not too keen on your idea for a back steel clip to hang the sheath on the belt. If I were doing it I'd do a simple leather frog for the sheath to slip down into, but that's just me. It's your project. Doug Lester
  7. I think the first impulse for the first time builder is to build too big. Your idea on length is pretty right on but I would leave an opening in the back just in case one of these days you get a wild hair and decide to make something longer than will fit in that length of forge. If you want two layers of 1" ceramic matting for insulation and a three inch diameter fire chamber, that only comes out to 7 inches in diameter that you need. One burner should be fine for that size of a forge, either blown or venturi, but I'd recommend blown. Forges of any type, except for electric induction forges, gush out carbon monoxide when they are tuned the way you want them to run to not cause scaling. Both oxygen and carbon dioxide will burn carbon out of the steel and cause scaling; you want it to produce carbon monoxide. I think that it's pretty safe to say that most smiths have more than one forge. I have both a charcoal and a blown gas forge in the back yard that I use somewhat regularly. Actually my gas forge is the second incarnation of the second gas forge that I built. I'm on my second charcoal forge too and it constantly morphs on me. I also have a couple of mini-forges that operate off a hand held propane torch. Take a look at what you will be doing and build what you need. As your needs change, you will probably find yourself building more forges. If you are looking for a safe hobby, try collecting stamps. Using a modicum of common sense, knife making should not be truely dangerous, but safety equiptment, such as eye protection is a must. I like a welder's glove on my left, tong, hand. It is too hard for me to control my hammer with a glove on my right hand and it's also more tiring to try. No synthetic garments around open flame. That material, melts and sticks while it burns. Leather aprons are a real clothing and hide saver. A slack tub is a must whenever you have a fire going. It serves as a real good fire extinguisher and it works well to cool overheated body parts as well as overheated tools. Keep a first aid kit handy. I think that I have burned and/or cut myself with every knife that I have made. I guess that I'm just too stupid to stop. Doug Lester
  8. The references for the W series of steel show that the carbon content can be all over the map. That is a very good reason to stick with one supplier and get the largest amount of steel at one time that you can afford and hope that it all came from the same batch. After you get into Verhoeven's book a couple of chapters you'll see how much difference the carbon content can make in steel performance. I'll have to second the idea of starting at a slightly lower tempering temperature and adjusting up as needed. If the edge of the blade chips out during testing due to being too hard all you have to do is grind out the chips and raise the temperature of of your oven and try again. If it is too soft and stays deflection on the brass rod test, or whatever you use for testing, you have to take it back up above critical temp to convert the martinsite into austinite and requench which means that you have to deal with the fire scale all over again. One thing that I learned a long time ago about this site is that even when you get contradictory advice different sources it doesn't mean that either one of them are wrong. Doug Lester
  9. A couple of years ago a nurse I used to work with lost her son to carbon monoxide. The boy was staying with his father in a house the father was renovating. They had a generator set up outside the window of the bedroom they were staying in. The wind shifted after the went to bed for the night and blew the exhaust into the room they were sleeping in through a widow left open for the power cord from the generator. The man said that he had a dream that his son was trying to wake him up and he woke up to find that the room was full of fumes and he was feeling sick. He dragged his son out of the house but he was already dead. According to the nurse her ex spent several months on a suicide watch. She was even calling him regularly to make sure he wasn't thinking of doing anything. You just don't mess with carbon monoxide. People think that they will notice if it starts to get to them but they may not because it robs the brain of oxygen and makes it's victims less allert plus you can't smell it.
  10. Craig, good luck with Verhoeven's book, I'm still trying to get through it. It has some good info but I decided that I need to give my gray matter a little rest for a while. I don't want to get into a pi$$ing contest with anyone but the vanadium level that you list is almost the same as that Jim Hrisoulas lists in his book on pattern welded steel and the chromium is just a little lower that what he lists. Every supplier has a little bit different formula and it may make a difference whether or not they are actually making the steel (which doesn't happen in the US anymore) or if they're recycling it. I have read some post where people have sent steel off for analysis and found that it was more than a bit off from what the supplier said it was. Sometimes even the suppliers don't even know that they are not getting from THEIR suppliers what they think that they are getting. That happened with Admiral and the L6 that they were carring. What you got should make good knives and as Edgar said, the steels are pretty close anyway. Heat treating can undoubtedly make a bigger difference than the constituent components of the steel can. Doug Lester
  11. I used to use a venturi that I got from Zoeller Forge but have replaced it with a home built blown burner. Unless you have a problem with no eletrical supply I would strongly recommend that you get a blown burner. They have far better control and are head and shoulder above a venturi when it comes to effeciency. I got the same forge body hotter more quickly than it did with a venturi burner while using much less propane. Most of my burner is made from 2" PCV pipe; only the reducing bell and the burner tube (actually an injection tube) are black pipe. I only had to drill one hole and that was to insert the gas nipple into the air pipe. I epoxied it into the plastic plug to a T connector. I had to get the needle valve, 2" gate valve, and the reducing bell from Ellis and, not being very good at scrounging, I got my blower off Ebay. The blower and the gate valve did bring the cost up a little bit. If you're better at scrounging than I am you might even be able to get the blower for free. Remember that with either burner you are going to have to have good ventilation where you install it. Tuned to the way that you will need to use it, forges gush out carbon monoxide. Doug Lester
  12. Craig, 1095 is a plain carbon steel. It just has manganese in it as a deoxydizer. The data that you show in your post would indicate that what you have is W2. It will give you a little better depth of hardening and control of grain growth. I'd start forging, if you forge, at a little higher temp, bright orange or yellow. Even though this is a water hardening steel, oil is still recommended due to the thin cross secton of a blade. I would suggest that you start temporing at 400 degrees F and go from there. Doug Lester
  13. Loved it. Blew my mind to see the Bobcat take down a dear. Doug Lester
  14. It's not a style that I particularly like but I would grade the workmanship as outstanding with a well balanced design. African Blackwood makes an outstanding handle material. Doug Lester
  15. When I first started out trying to develope a design for a charcoal forge someone said that a forget is a hole in the ground with an air tube and a fire in it. All else is just elevation. I guess you proved his point. Doug Lester
  16. Did I ever mention that you guys are starting to worry me. Now where did I see that link to AA Doug Lester
  17. Oakeshott makes a few mentions of the seax (sax) in "Archiology of Weapons" but doesn't have a section on them as such. Two illustrations that I remember are a migration era seax in it's wooden scabbard and a single edged, sword hilted Norweagan one which were also sometimes refered to as seaxs. I know that he referes to a story about an old Norse hero who digs a seax out of his host's father's grave that he had to do some dashing deed to get ownership of. Our hero, it is said, used it often in preference to his sword which had a b**chy personality and often gave him trouble in battle (likely excuse to stray with other cutting edge weapons, if you ask me). That would lead me to believe that said seax was a substancial weapon but no physical description was given of it in the story or Oakeshott didn't relay the details. Doug Lester
  18. For those of you thinking about building a gas burning forge, a bit of advise. Blown burnes are the only way to go unless you have to have something that will work without electricity. I just put the finishing touches on the new blown burner for my gas forge and what a world of difference. I got it hotter, faster and burned much, much less propane doing it than with the old venturi burner. It really speeded up the work. I still like a solid fuel forge because of the flexability and the ability to heat just the area of the billet that I want to hammer on but this is going to be great for welding and for when the neighbors have laundry out on the line and I can't burn charcoal. The extra money that I had to spend on the blower will easily be made up over time by having to buy less propane. They also don't need to have set screws or MIG tips installed; all they are are piping and valves. There was just one hole to drill and that was for the brass nipple to inject the gas into the air pipe. Doug Lester
  19. Sam, how is 1045 to work with? What kind of heat treating data do you have for it and how does it perform? Doug Lester
  20. Absolutely out of this world! There are not enough words to describe that knife; it is truely the work of a master craftsman.
  21. If you get the latest Blade magazine, the one with the Rambo knife on the front, it has an article about blade steels in it which also deals with heat treating a little bit. Normalizing does help releave stress in a blade and I always do it but it can be overdone. It is possible to end up with a blade with such fine grain that it will be one tough so-and-so but will be impossible to put and edge on. This makes me wonder if this is behind some of the complaints about not being able to get 1095 hard enough to hold an edge; the steel is coming from the supplier with super fine grain. I agree with Edgar that your tempering temps are a little low. I usually start at 400 degrees cycling twice for three hours. I can understand packing it in as far a forging goes for the winter if you live up in Canada, especially if you have an outdoor forge. Why don't you use your down time to do a little study on metalurgy? Doug Lester
  22. Very, Very sweet. I think that the handle length works well with the long recasso. I think that if you wanted to make another one with a longer handle, I'd shorten the recasso. As it is, that swords almost as sexy as Liv Tyler. Doug Lester
  23. GEzell, couldn't agree with you more on the bowie knife. That's why I don't use the term. I've seen everything from those overly wide extreem clip point knive so very popular during the Civil War to knives that looked like they should be used to carve the Thanksgiving turkey call bowie knives. That is compounded by the fact that no one knows what the knife Jim Bowie had at the Nachez Sand Bar Knife Fight looked like. Seaxes do fall within certain perameters depending upon time and place. If you feel that you should honor a certain form and not mix styles because that is how you wish to express your art, fine. However, I feel that form should follow funtion even if the funtion is to be traditional which is different than saying that it has to be done thus and so because that's how it's always been done. (yessireebob, I can tap dance around a point with the best of them) Doug Lester
  24. ...your cat fixes your printer for you. I've been fussing with my printer, trying to get it to work off and on for a couple of months now. I had just about given up and admitted that I was going to have to take it into the computer shop to see if there was something wrong with it. Then the other night I had to shoo off the girl cat (she thinks that anything called a mouse is hers to play with and she was biting my fingers to get it from me) and she got up onto the control pannel of the printer. All of a sudden the printer starts cyclining and prints out a test page with perfect allignment. I have no idea what button Tonks stood on to get it to do that but the printer works fine now. Doug Lester
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