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Michael Pikula

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Everything posted by Michael Pikula

  1. Horror and fear invite negativity into your universe. I prefer to be calm, observant, and curious. Allow the process to proceed as it will, sever attachment, and accept what will be. Not all sword blanks blossom into swords, only the worthy will be born and will be that much more special.
  2. Sweet, thanks for the info and thanks for the lead Zeb!
  3. I have been looking into getting a crucible to remelt bloom bits that aren't worth forging, and I know that the two most popular options are silicon carbide and clay graphite. All of the listings that I have found for clay graphite state that they are for non-ferrous use only. Am I looking at a different blend or type of clay graphite? http://www.ebay.com/itm/SALAMANDER-A-6-SUPER-CLAY-GRAPHITE-MELTING-CRUCIBLE-/200598492603?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2eb49a15bb
  4. I will second what Nate said, just be sure you have a good even soak at temper temp, or 10-15 degrees hotter and you will have to deflect the blade past the warp, and allow it to relax back to straight. Sometimes it takes a few attempts to get everything straight so you might have to mess with it a bit.
  5. I have some cutting mats that I purchased from Kult of Athena last year and have not up to use. I don't have plans to use them, and would like to get rid of the fire hazard in the shop. There are 4 bundles of 5 mats. They are approximately 10" x 10" x 50" and 15 pounds shipping from central Wisconsin area code 53934. Local pickup is okay, and I can deliver them to the Madison area as well. Price is $25 per bundle of five mats, plus shipping via carrier of your choosing. Thank you! Michael Pikula
  6. Hi Jesus, when I pulled the front open and scooped out the bed I had a suspended mass that was stuck to the walls of the furnace. It was quite spectacular to see the entire mass of steel and slag suspended. I used a steel bar to try to push it down from the top, as soon as the one mass of bloom broke free and I had it under the hammer I was away from the furnace, so I'm not exactly sure where the other two large sections were pulled from as they were brought to the hammer for me. I *think* that I didn't give the bloom a chance to cool enough to be very solid which is why it came apart while be
  7. Hi folks, sorry I haven't been around to comment much, I have been exploring new directions and setting a new path forward for myself. I did get some pretty decent results in a smelt that I ran right after Oakland, and thought I would share my furnace and process, as well as the pulling, and some initial consolidation. I mean who doesn't like to spend time watching sparks fly and every smelts a little different so hopefully it will spark an idea in someone's mind. Enjoy and keep chasing the flame! Michael Pikula
  8. Thank you for taking the time to polish up and etch this Mick! Great deformation by the way.
  9. Hey guys, I am running another smelt this weekend and I would like to try to pelletize the ore I am using to help minimize blow out. I would like to stick to something organic, such as egg whites or corn starch, which will break easily break down in the furnace. I haven't been able to find a source that goes into much detail on the matter, and was wondering if anyone has attempted this, or knows of a good research paper to take a look into the subject. Many thanks and happy sparking! Michael
  10. Hmmm.... I have no idea if it would matter but is the circuit breaker rated high enough? I know the VFD has a capacitor, if there isn't enough juice coming in maybe it can't be fully recharged fast enough and delivers less power?
  11. Looking forward to seeing you again Dave! If your visit brings you by on Saturday there will be smelting goodness to enjoy
  12. Didn't even know this was going on... I'll have to dig my head out of the sand every once in a while.
  13. Stunning work Petr! I love the carving that you incorporate into your work, and the piece of antler on the sheath as well.
  14. Great start Luke. When I was starting out I use to play with super saturated borax as a method of getting flux on early, but I soon gave up the effort. If you are looking to get flux melted sooner you can add some Boric Acid to your Borax, but even easier than that is to simply flux your work quickly and back into the forge. I have also found it beneficial to not place your steel back in the forge with any unmelted borax, the amount that melts on the surface is all you need and it will save the borax from bubbling off your steel and collecting on the bottom of the forge. I also like to ke
  15. Looking great Christopher! Do you have any close up shots of the blade and pattern?
  16. On the blades that I was using straight up L6 for the edge, I was Mar quenching, and seemed to have less of an issue on. All though to be honest most of those had rods that were completely twisted. I'm doing more work with interrupted twist now, and was using a high layer laminate containing W2 in the edge, for which Mar quenching isn't fast enough, so I am going into heated oil. I just switched to 1095/15N20 for my edge laminate, but I think that mar quenching is still too slow for those alloys. I have been contemplating doing 10 seconds into oil to miss the nose, and then finish in 350F
  17. Happy Friday gents! I have been playing around with pattern welding for some time, and I have been wondering about what is going on in the twisted section of the steel that likes to pull the blade out of straightness.... I have taken swords, gone through 2-3 normalizing cycles when I am done forging, get my basic grind done, and then triple normalize in salt baths, recheck straightness, and upon quench, I still get kinks in the blade where twisted sections are offset on each side. Are there any good ways to avoid or minimize this effect? When I am composing my core, I don't add m
  18. Thanks for the replies and inquiries! Currently I am trying to figure out how to move forward with my work, and life, in a way that might become financially, as well as personally sustainable. I am still open to this concept but need to focus on and set a direction for myself so as not to be as stressed out, worn out, broke, sleep deprived and frustrated as has become the norm. While I love smithing, I am not willing to let it kill me, and at this rate that is where I am headed and need to turn it around one way or another.
  19. I got the mask in yesterday and have already put it to use. Thank again Shane! No worries Geoff, I have been reading up on and thinking about consciousness and how our thoughts influence the world around us, and I think as artisans and craftsman we need to change the way that we thinking and portray ourselves and take steps toward sharing this awakening in order to grow and prosper. By yes, this would be better off in its own topic. Michael
  20. Thank you so very much Shane Cool things shall be made! I think as long as we accept this as our reality we will be doomed to live it.
  21. Sure did Dave It stretched out quite a bit but all things considered I think it is great, especially since it slithered into the high temp salt tank when normalizing and had to be fished out. Thought it was a goner, but turns out I now believe in resurrection.
  22. Here are two pattern welded blades that I finished up last night. I will let the pictures speak for themselves. I have a good concept for finishing the seax, but the sword is still needing a good hilt design. And the eye candy!
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