Jump to content

Doug Lester

  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Everything posted by Doug Lester

  1. I had a buddy when I was stationed out in 'Diego decide that he was going to take a pot shot at the blade of an abandoned bulldozer when he was out shooting targets in the desert. He was shooting a lever action .45-70 and the bullet came back and smacked him over the sternum. Left a nasty little bruise and took the starch out of his legs for a while. Doug Lester
  2. Two things that I can think of not knowing any more than you've told us, first how thick are you leaving the edge of the blade? Taking it down too thin can cause problems. Another is that I had problems with a edge quenched blade coming out looking like a potato chip once because I got it too hot. That's why I like to heat my blades for quenching in a kiln, if I can, so that I can control the temperature better. I monitor the heat with a pyrometer. Doug Lester
  3. Alan, you've got me thinking (need I explain how dangerous that can be ) and I came up with two ideas. One is to get a plate of metal, guess that it really doesn't HAVE to be steel though it probably will be, and make a little sway or dip in it and lay it across the anvil face. The other would be to get a sizable piece of end grain wood and put a little dip in it and use a wooden mallet or a wooden rod to take the kinks out of a blade. The thinking is that the wood wouldn't mar the steel. Doug Lester
  4. Alan, I do see where you're coming from on the off level anvil face being good for removing a bend from a blade. Jim Hrisoulas recommended something like a railroad anvil with a dip in the face to do just that but that was a special anvil for just that purpose. Didn't that anvil have a way of forging a curve into the blade? How did you avoid it? Not arguing; just trying to share information. Doug Lester
  5. I'm just getting started myself but I'll help you as much as possible. As far as the anvil goes, the sway will hurt keeping the blade flat because you'll tend to forge the curve in. Granted, 3/64ths" isn't much. As far as dressing it so that it's level, older heads are going to have to advise you on that. I'm still playing with files and stones to use. I''ve used double cut bastard files and I have a good selection of needle files for tight spaces. I just got a Majicut file to play with and a pilar file to cut the plunge lines in. The last is double cut on the faces and safe on the edges. I also have a selection of hammers. I started out with some French pattern hammers in 1/2 and 1 kilo, a German pattern in 1 1/2 kilo, and a 4 lb surveyers hammer for when I really get serious about moving steel. Another hammer that I made for myself out of a ball pean is what is called, at least by some, a flogging hammer. It looks a bit like a cross pean but the face is not as narrow. It really draw out steel parallel to the face. I also have a 2 1/2lb rounding hammer with one flat and one crounded face. The crounded face moves mor metal and the flat face take out the dings and demples. I'm still working with them all to see how they work for me. Some will undoubtedly fall by the wayside as thing progress. I don't find the peans on the hammers very good for drawing out steel. I have a spring fuller tool that works better for that job. As far as fuller tools go, a hot cutter is a biggie. Saves you from having to run it to the chop saw to cut 1/4" stock. As said above, a spring fuller is handy for drawing out steel. I'm making a guillotine tool. By changing the "blades" on it it can do a variety of jobs like drawing out steel or forging fullers into the blade. It can also hold cut offs and butcher tools. Get some good books on knife making and blacksmithing to get more ideas of tools that you can make for yourself. A good blacksmithing book is "The Backyard Blacksmith" by Lorelei Sims. By the way, where on the bay do you live in the Commonwealth? I'm down in Portsmouth. Doug Lester
  6. Happy birthday Sam, and may you have many more. For you guys complaining about being older than that, suck it up. Doug Lester, a 21yr old trapped in the body of a 58yr old man
  7. I still say that I'm highly impressed by your mistakes. Doug Lester
  8. I really like the way that you make mistakes. That is an outstanding piece of work. Doug Lester
  9. One of the things on my "to do" list when I move back to Illinois is to look her up. She lives close to the neck of the wood I grew up in. Half way wouldn't mind moving to the town she buy her steel in. Doug Lester
  10. You might want to add a book on basic blacksmithing to the list. I like "The Backyard Blacksmith" by Lorelei Sims. She know her stuff, she teaches it at a college in Illinois and she's cuter that some hairy faced, pot belly dude to boot. She has some good ideas on making some of your own tool as well as forging techniques. Doug Lester
  11. Check your local grocery stores and get a box of Twenty Mule Team Borax. If you want to make it anhydrous borax, just bake it in the oven for a while to drive off the moisture. Doug Lester
  12. Hey Goat, nice to hear from you, welcome to the board. You've hit on the main reason that I don't like to use mystery metal for knife making, you don't know what you've got and you have to guess how to deal with it. However, you have one big advantage with your project; you know that it is made out of a "knife" steel because someone made a knife from it. A second thing that you know is that it's not stainless because it was well rusted. What I'd do if I were trying to resurect that blade is to anneal it which will also allow you to make any modifications to the blade that you may feel are necessary or desirable. You might normalize it two or three times to make sure all stress is out of it, but it's probably not necessary even though it wouldn't hurt it any if you did. Then take it up to non-magnetic and soak it at that point for about a minute or two and immediately quench in oil. Check it with a file and make sure that the file won't bite into the steel. If the file does dig into the blade, clean the oil off and bring it back to dead soft by annealing it. Then repeat the hardening by bringing it back up to non-magnetic and quenching it in brine at about 160 degrees. To make the brine solution, heat the water and add salt until no more will dissolve and add a tad bit of dish detergent for a wetting agent. If the file still bites in, I hardly think that you will run into this problem again, write back. At whichever point the steel hardens enough that the file won't get a bite on it, immediately temper it. I'd suggest 400-425 degrees in an oven for two 3hr cycles letting the blade cool to ambient temp between cycles. Doug Lester
  13. I'd love it, but with the way my luck has been going, whatever weekend it is I'll probably be broke . Honestly, if I have enough notice I'd try to make it. Doug Lester
  14. What I have use to edge quench is a roasting pan filled with my version of Goddard's Goop. Its a mixture of pan drippings, vegetable oil, old candles, and a little parrafin. At room temperature it's hard in the pan and it's easy to transport and store. I like to take a piece of scrap steel and melt a chanel in the goop before I quench my blade. Sam, Giuseppe, I agree with you guys about what is needed to make a quality blade, heat treating wise. If you need a knife get a knife; if you need a pry bar get a pry bar. I visited a knifemakers web page once and that person pretty much said the same thing as he was discussing the warrantee that he offered. He actually had one customer return a blade because he damaged it driving it into a tree trunk and using it as a step to get up into his tree stand. A knife, especially something like a camp knife, should be able to take a little twisting and prying but there is a limit as to what one can rationally expect a knife to do. Exceed that and it becomes abuse. Sort of like using a knife to rearrange the coals in a fire and then getting mad that it won't hold an edge any more. Doug Lester
  15. You might take something like nitric acid or aqua regia and make it look the same all over. Then brush off all loose rust and apply tanic acid to give it a blue-black patina. Then post some pictures to show how it turned out. I've been wanting to try that technique for a while and I'm curious about how it would work . Just kindn' Doug Lester
  16. Has a nice early migration period look to it. Very impressive Doug Lester
  17. Great movie, if it wasn't for the gratuitous sex scenes, it would be great for the kids As far as the knife, I'd have to agree. The combination of themes just doesn't seem to work. I's go with straightening the handle with possibly just a little bit of a curve to it. Doug Lester
  18. I thought that some of the fire laws were strick aroung here. One of the neighboring cities states than one cannot have an open fire within 12 feet of a combustable surface, that's gass or charcoal. Too many people burning down appartment complexes by grilling on their balconies. Now if they could just prevent the idiots from throwing out hot charcoal into their plastic garbage cans. Doug Lester
  19. Go to Boone Trading Company. They supply various types of ivory for crafts. They have a page on their site that explains the legal ins and outs of material that fall under the CITES treaties, such as elephant ivory. Doug Lester
  20. Here's a suggestion. Take out the lower fire brick and get some refractory cement and trowel it into the fire chamber to round out the corners. This could give you some addition swirling of the fire an cut down on any hot spots. I did something like that on a forge that I made from a mail box. I used Mizzoue from Ellis Custom Knifeworks. Darrell has another refractory cement that is supposed to be more insulating than Mizzoue but he only sells it in 55lb bags, at least he did the last time that I looked. I used 3" of Inswool to line my forge, which is supposed to really soak up the heat but, at least with the Mizzoue lining, it comes up to heat quickly and I can just barely get it up to welding heat with a venturi burner even though the fire box is 18" deep. It doesn't show one way or the other in your picture, but if you don't have a back door to you're forge you might want to consider it. It just needs to be large enough to allow a bar of steel to pass through. Eventually you will be wanting to forge a longer blade than that forge will allow. Doug Lester
  21. The air been so humid here in Virginia, the minute I take the steel out of the forge, it quenches. Doug Lester
  22. I can second the recommendation for Darrel Ellis @ elliscustomknifeworks.com. He carries both products and is great to deal with. Doug Lester
  23. I've been looking at both the Grizzly and the Coote belt grinders and I would like some input from those of you who have used them. I know that the Grizzly comes complete whereas the Coote needs motor, pulley, and drive belt. The Grizzly can be switched between the stock 8" contact wheel and an optional 10" wheel. The Coote is advertised that it is designed to run with the contact wheel that it is ordered with. However, the Coote has an optional rest for the contact wheel and a small wheel adaptor for 5/8"-2 1/2" wheels. Another thing that struck me about the Coote, being that I'll be supplying the motor and pulleys, that I'd be able to have control over the belt speed of the machine. I hear the the Grizzly runs a tad fast for some peoples' liking. Now I understand that these units don't hold a candle to Bader, Burr King, or Walton grinders in that they are not as flexable, however there is a matter of affordability and what I can justify spending on what is now just a hobby. Doug Lester
  24. Norsk, you seem to have a pretty good understanding of English, and if you have a way of playing American formatted DVD's, go to Hoods Woods at www.survival.com and order their Woodsmaster volume #9. It deals with primative knife making. You will be able to see what can be done without a lot of power equiptment or a factory made anvil. You might also Google (or whatever the heck you do in Sweden) for Tai Goo Knives. He's one of the knifesmiths on the DVD and he uses almost no power equiptment. Even his "primative" knives are an absolute work of art. Don't let the name fool, the lad's all American and looks and talks like he's a Tennessee ridge runner. That's probably something like a Swedish ridge runner, except our mountains in that part of the country are a little lower and a little greener than yours . Doug Lester
  25. Jim Hrisoulas' books are great, especially if you want to get into sword making, but from personal experience, start with small knives. They're easier to keep straight and generally finish faster. I think that you made a good decision to hold off on major power equiptment for right now. Many of us do use file, stones, and even make do by putting grinding belts on wood working belt sanders. Remember power equiptment doesn't impart skill to the user. They make it easier and faster to do your work. One of the things that it will make faster is ruining a piece of work. From my experience, it's better to start slow and develope the skill and know how to progress from a bar of steel and a block of wood and develope them into a finished knife. But that's just my newbie opinion. One other piece of advice, don't be afraid of your mistakes, use them. Doug Lester
  • Create New...