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Matthew McKenzie

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Everything posted by Matthew McKenzie

  1. My coin-collecting father showed me the auction book for this event recently. He thought I'd be interested. He didn't count on me breaking down and weeping for lack of funds.
  2. I'm seeing a line across the ricasso and down the tang. Is that a cold shunt, or is it a line you scribed to show where you plan to grind to?
  3. The heat index has been hovering around 110 degrees until the recent thunderstorm. Now it's a little cooler, but it's even more humid. I just walked 5 feet outside to grab a tape measure from my toolbox and I was already beading sweat by the time I got there. Grumble...
  4. The O1 and 203E were 5/16. The L6 was cut from a larger piece of plate that was 0.04 inches thick. The editor of the FABA magazine (whose shop were were using to make the damascus) has put up a short run-through of our process and several pictures, which include the billets prior to welding. It can be found HERE.
  5. I appreciate the comments, guys. Thank you.
  6. I don't usually post pictures of my work because, frankly, it's often not as good as I want it to be. However, I've hit one of those milestones where you just need to show your accomplishment to people who understand. I made my first billet of pattern welded steel this past weekend. I've finished a skinner that I intend to use when hunting season rolls around again, and I'm very pleased that the steel didn't crack or delaminate on me. I'm pretty proud of myself. It's a random pattern, 208 layers. It started as 6 layers of O1 and 6 layers of L6 with a slightly wider single layer of 203E in the middle. I didn't expect the pattern to come out as well as it did, so I was originally going to use a fairly nondescript piece of rosewood for the handle, but after etching, I decided to go with a piece of amboyna burl I had, since it compliments the pattern of the steel. I'm interested in any critiques or comments, positive or negative. I'd like to know what I did right and what could have been done better. I have thick skin.
  7. That's pretty much what I thought. I learned years ago to take everything on History Channel.Discovery.etc with a grain of salt, and each time such a show highlights the making of a Japanese blade, they talk at length about the hammering and quenching, and then they skip right to pointing out that the blade is sent to a professional polisher. I assumed there was more going on in the meantime, but the average person might not. Yet another misconception bred by television. Thanks, guys.
  8. This is really an idle question, since I'm not planning on getting into water stone polishing any time soon, but I've found myself wondering recently if the polishing process includes any required file work, or whether that's done by the swordsmith rather than the polisher. Can any of you traditionalists out there shed some light on this?
  9. I like 1095 and 5160. 1095 is easier to move with the hammer, but 5160 is more forgiving of my mistakes during heat treating.
  10. It's not difficult. You've already got pictures of your work on your own web server. Just post the URL of the image you want to display and surround it with image tags. Put (without the space) after it. I'll post an example and you can quote this post to see it with the tags:
  11. To forge from 2 inches to 3? I wouldn't go less than 1/4 inch for that. And be prepared for quite a bit of hammering.
  12. 1x1/4 is just fine for the average EDC. 1 1/4x1/4 is great for Bowies, I've found. If you want to do less hammering, you can get 1 1/2x3/16, and that's just fine, too.
  13. I think I might kill for that milling machine that's down near the bottom.
  14. As is discussed in the link that Greg H. posted, if you turn the railroad track on its end so it stands up like a pole, the cross section of the rail area should be wide enough to work for all but the largest knives. It'll be a rough oval about 2 inches in diameter, which is no smaller than the average "sweet spot" on an actual anvil. My recommendation to you, Kurt, would be to sink your railroad track in a bucket of concrete, leaving four or five inches sticking up. Then dress the face to make sure it's smooth and flat. Afterward, mount your steel plate on a stump or weld it to a pole and use it like a stake anvil. You'll be able to do all your shaping and hard-hammering work on the railroad track. When you're done, you can move over to the steel plate to make sure your blade is flat and straight. I have a similar setup with a railroad track plate on a stake because my anvil is quite swaybacked.
  15. Like Alan, I had to log back yesterday, but I was already logged in (as per usual) when I got here today.
  16. Snakes can't stand the smell of kerosene. If you can do so without creating a fire hazard, you might consider using a garden sprayer to spray some on the walls and floor near the entrance to your shop to keep them from sneaking inside when you're not looking.
  17. In the bottom left-hand picture, what is that tool that looks like it's made from white river stones or bones?
  18. I was going through the shop of my recently-deceased step-grandfather tonight looking for an Oxy/Ace striker when I happened across a copy of Machinery's Handbook 11th Edition. Neat.
  19. Moving over Detroit as quickly as possible, lest all the assault rifle and anti-aircraft fire bring him down.
  20. An image program like Adobe Photoshop can be used, as can most image software that comes with a digital camera. If you don't have access to such a program, you can download Power Toys for Windows and use it to resize images. Regardless of what you use, you want to set the image resolution to 72. 7.5 inches (or 540 pixels) wide is a nice width for most web applications as well.
  21. For blades, I like V-jawed tongs. However, for most general blacksmithing applications, I find I prefer wolf-jaws to just about anything else, unless the work is in need of a very specific set of tongs. You can get pictures of both - as well as many other types- HERE.
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