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Kevin Colwell

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Everything posted by Kevin Colwell

  1. Rob, if I understand what you are doing with the handle, those are called, "rebated," scales, right? I know I have read Alan Longmire lamenting the extra difficulty inherent to that design. I just love the way the blade looks on that dagger, as well as the integral guard thingy. Water buffalo horn scales are one of my favorites.
  2. that is just great! I have also been a fan of Fabrice's work. This is one of the best looking of these I have seen. I especially love the way you did the end cap and the nagel. bravo!
  3. lack of hamon? So the steel wasn't shallow hardening (i.e., did it harden under the clay, too?). Make sure you tested it for hardness everywhere (or everwhere, as we said when I was growing up). Temper accordingly (it may need a little hotter-than-normal tempering due to some of the alloying that was not anticpated. Please, please, forgive me for stating such obvious things. Now, onto better things... that blade is gorgeous! I am impressed with the shape and subtlety of design. Rock on!
  4. yep, process pics are great, to see all of the different ways to accomplish the same tasks. You are good with files and saws and chisels. I need to get better with chisels and gravers. The most important tool, maybe even more important that hammer or grinder, to me, is the file. I love them, and can do a ton of things with them great work.
  5. I love the dagger with the integral guard thingy. I just dig that design. I would have an angered pig. It is difficult for me (I spent years working in prisons, and now a university prof, and the profanity was/is just something that permeates the air.) I do try because of my stepson, though. He doesn't imitate me much, not in that respect, but he uses a ton of the other words. i think it is because he doesn't want to get into trouble. He has become a really good boy since I have known him (move in a shrink and the kid's behavior is supposed to improve, right?). sorry for the digression about my wonderful family. You have made two fine knives
  6. I love all of it! The spear is impressive, and I have a serious thing for sabers (since my beloved dao came from them). Outstanding! kc
  7. the blade steel is nice, and the copper alloy pieces are good. The wood could be lighter portions of blackwood? I am not sure, though. It looks like it will polish well, and be attractive, though. This will be fun to watch.
  8. I like the knife. You are doing very nice work for this point in your career. I also really enjoyed the process pics. In general, the more of the process you show, they happier we are about it. Thanks for shaing. kc ps.
  9. sweet! I like those. Yours looks nice, too. I have the twist-o-matic that I use to twist inside a mini forge, and I will stick with that. But, when it finally breaks, I may do that design and a rosebud on an oxy torch for heating. I like twisting at welding heat, though, for structural reasons. If one were to combine the forge with one of those rigs, you would have something really special. The twist-o-matic doesn't heat the ends of the bars, so for the last six inches, I have to heat and put in a vise and do everything the old fashioned way. Great machine! Now, you won't be so damn slow when you make swords. hehe.
  10. do whatever feels right. I really only made the brazing comment for future pieces. Brazing small stuff is pretty simple. I have done a lot lately, brazing together brass to make fittings for Chinese swords. It is a great skill. kc
  11. You know, I think my hangup is really aesthetic, and just my obsession. Whenever I make a full tang knife, I just don't feel like it is done unless I put bolsters on it. I do the same with bolsters or guard on through tang and hidden tang designs. It just feel right for me. So, I guess that means it is aesthetic. I like bolsters to prevent staining and scraping of handle slabs, but that benefit is not so great that it always outweighs the increase in weight that comes along with bolsters. So, there are functional benefits, but that isn't what drives it for me. It is my obsession that someone may see my knife and think it isn't done... . edited to add: Please don't think that I am saying anyone else should always or even mostly use metal bolsters. It is just something I have a hangup about with my own work. For example, I like Murray Carter's work (though some don't) and he almost never takes the extra time and hassle to put metal bolsters. Especially on neck knives, that need to be light. I don't think everyone should abide by my little quirks. I just mentioned it as my own approach to design. Not everyone should make daos and jians, either
  12. Alan is right, I do a ton of brazing with a MAAP torch from the hardware store. That way, I don't melt the brass I am attaching when I melt the brazing rod (dynaflow is the best rod, and get white past flux for brazing and silver soldering, and you are golden).
  13. Justin - thanks for the info. I just want to be able to walk around saying, "akinakes," and not appearing too crazy. looking forward to more. This is great. I went to the British Museum, and they have a great display of Celtic swords over time: La Tene III Anyway, these are in order from Bronze Age through the 3 La Tene periods. This may be good inspiration. Hope the pics are useful. take care, kc ps - if anyone goes to my FB page there are pics of the swords, spears, pole arms, knives, and armor from the British Museum and the Wallace Collection there for all to see. Enjoy browsing if you want. I got the Chinese ones, too (like all 4 of them...)
  14. that is a beautiful knife. I wish I owned it (but I can't afford it, so just keep selling to people with more money than me!). kc
  15. that looks like it will work. If you can braze or silver solder, just braze a pin onto the back of the knife and go with that as the attachment point. A long seam with a pin sticking out at the angle you need. I think there would be a lot less work with brazing because of the reduced need for inletting the attachment hardware into the handle scales. Just my two cents. Feel free to ignore, most everyone else does,
  16. bolsters aren't really much more difficult than handle scales. Just be sure to get pin stock that matches the bolster material exactly, and then when you pin, countersink the holes just a very little bit, and beat the pins like they stole something. Beat the hell out of them with a ball peen (when you start, leave about the diameter of a 1/8" pin sticking up out of the hole). If you do this, you can then file or grind the hammer marks off, and the bolster will appear as if it is just one smooth piece of metal. When you sand the transition from bolster to handle scale, always back the paper with a piece of metal or stone, and only one sheet of paper wrapped over the backer (one layer thick paper), and always sand from the metal toward the wood. If needed, put a couple of layers of tape over the wood to protect it from filings and dust from the metal (especially light woods). Otherwise, you will sand a dip into your handle material. Do the same thing around and over the pins in a handle.
  17. a pass or two along a good, sharp 36 grit belt will show whether there is a hamon to start with. Just run across it with a good bit of pressure and look at the now-clean blade bevel. The hamon, if there, will be ghostly white. It is a cool trick. Polish:1. Keep cool but make sure you have tempered the blade well. 2. Belt sand flat and carefully up to 400 grit. 3. start at 45 degrees to blade with 220 grit rhnowet redline 4. proceed through all grits, changing angles until 800. 5. with 1000 grit, go lengthwise. Wrap the paper around your backing object (I use hardened steel). The more you wrap the paper, the more of a pad there is. Only use on wrap where you are touching a ridgeline where bevels meet to keep crisp. Everywhere else, use more wraps, to convex the edge (I should have said this in the beginning. ooops). 6. After 2000 grit, etch for about 30 minutes to an hour in vinegar (or rub for 10 minutes with lime or lemon juice). Carefully remove the oxides with 1500 grit silicon carbide abrasive powder, or even better Rotten Stone (Rotten Stone is not hard enough to change/polish the hardened steel, but it will cut the soft stuff). You are trying to accentuate the little mountain range of topography that is happening at the transition between hard and soft steel and within the hamon itself). 7. Repeat 6, about 5 times. 8. for the last time, be sure to go over the hamon part of the blade carefully with silicon carbide powder, and very short strokes with nothing but powder under your fingers. At most you can use a leather pad glued to a popsicle stick to protect your fingers from the blade. 9. For the unhardened part of the blade, experiment, you can use the silicon carbide, 2500 grit paper, or Mother's Mag and Aluminum polish. See which one gets you the finish you want. If paper, remember to make each stroke full length without stopping to avoid hooks and swirls. Paper is hard to use here (also, put a pad or wrap a lot of paper under it). There, that will be a few hours of delight! DON"T use Ferric Chloride, it is too strong, and will not get the white frosty look to the hamon as well as vinegar or lime or lemon juice. I have no idea why, but the difference is striking. Let us know how it comes out. kc
  18. I am SO looking foward to this. However, the pic or pics didnt upload. Thanks for sharing with us. kc
  19. Welcome! I don't do the sort of modern, tactical look myself. However, those are nice looking knives, especially for this point in your evolution. I am impressed by the originality and creativity, as well as some traditional features. I think you are getting your feet under you for some cool production. Nice hamon, too (what steel was it? You may be able to get better hamons with attention to steel, etchant, and polishing techniques). I have an obsession, which is I try to never make a full tang knife without a metal bolster. That is purely my issue, and I understand the argument that it adds weight. For me, however, I think a knife should have either metal bolsters or a metal guard (even if they are aluminum, copper, brass, bronze is becoming my favorite, or damascus or stainless... like I said, my obsession). Please keep showing us your work. It is always good to have new folks join us. kc
  20. I am making a similar sheath core right now out of rosewood. I appreciate all of the work that tthe sheath you have. This has ben an excellent sword. Don Fogg wrote a bit about the work (steel, knife, etc.) being a permanent record of one's attention and intention. He was so right, wasn't he? thanks for sharing this level of detail with us. I really appreciate it, and the product. kc
  21. I LOVE it. I plan on doing some hearth melting to start some of my daos and jians in the future. the chracter of the steel can be so great. Plus, I want to combine that with the hamon (shuangxue) and hada (???) techniques. They were created in China, and then about 800 years late the Chinese began copying the Japanese (who were, ironically, copying older Chinese work that the Chinese had forgotten about to a large degree). OK, back to the matter at hand... this is going to be a wonderful build. I am excited to see hat ou do ith this. Rock on... kc
  22. hey, do you remember how many layers were in that billet (maybe 150?). Just tryng to get a benchmark. By the way, as soon as I get the sheath for this jian finished (maybe next week I will get everything shaped, sanded, waxed, etc. and get the bras fittings sanded again, and the handle epoxied and pinned twice and the pins peened, and the blade polished, etched, polished, and sharpened. Damn... anyway, maybe next weekend, I will start on the heat treatment kiln you told me how to make. I am really excited about making it. I have all of the pieces for it delivered. take care, bro!
  23. keep us in the loop, this is cool!
  24. Hobgoblins... I love it! The pattern has that magnifying glass look to me, as if parts are held under a round lens. Frame handled kitchen knives, not too many people are making those besides you buddy. I hope that gives you a niche. They look good. The wood on the bottom one came out great. I didn't even know powder stain existed (pigment to mix, right?). Whatever you did, file it in the, "keep it," drawer in your mind. That was a good technique. Your work has become so clean, you are officially better than I am with small blades (you know, less than 20"). I am thrilled to see your progress, and wish you nothing but the best. Better by far with forging, too (I suck at that though, so this isn't much of a compliment). Mo, Larry, and Curly could forge about like me... kc
  25. I have a friend who goes through my scrap pile, which happens to be under the forge, and finds stock to use for his own knives. He will take a failed pattern welded sword or such and cut it down and reforge it into a hunter or bowie. I am always happy when he does it, because I rarely ever go back to them. This piece turned out really nice. Since the historical pieces were all piled together from smaller bits, I wouldn't worry at all about this patch.
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