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Kevin (The Professor)

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Everything posted by Kevin (The Professor)

  1. christoph and sandpile, thanks for the info. I decided to spend some time polishing. I etched overnight with knife wrapped in paper soaked with vinegar. It was cool, its my kitchen in winter (50's). I then spent 4 straight hours sanding with 220 through 1000 grits (the first hour and a half was just on the 220). It is not a perfect finish, but it is a lot better. I can see the temperlines and some pretty good reflections. Polishing is going to be by far the most tedious portion of the process I now know. The appearance is a lot better. I did the rolled leather trick a lot. On my next knife, I may want to play with putting a patina on it and keeping as a working blade. However, most knives I make will have to be polished. thanks for tips. kevin
  2. Christoph, Good advice, and you are making me hungry. My hobbies are cooking, exercise, reading, and knife making. I am from a ranching family, and my wife is a vegetarian - I have to cook it if I want to eat it! Seriously, I want to thank all of you for your comments. The artistry and knowledge that is evidenced on this site is humbling, and it is really cool that you will take time to teach a new person that you have never met. This is the sort of thing that makes me feel good about humanity. Sounds corny, but its true. I'm not arrogant or crazy enough to think I will ever reach the level shown by you pro's, but I am beginning to enjoy the idea of pushing myself to make the best knife I of which I am capable. I think I read a quote about making knives and swords: "A day to learn, a lifetime to master." Well, it takes more than a day, but it is great that the end result is still fun, even when its ugly. Also, better than many or most factory knives even then. Thanks for all of the input. Please keep it coming. Kevin
  3. It was definitely a lot of fun. I actually started a third today. I really enjoy the forging part the most, but grinding is becoming more fun. I need to get better way to hold sandpaper while I polish. I have been cutting strips and wrapping around file, and rotating when each small section fills or won't cut. If there is a more ergonomic way to sand, it would help. Any suggestions? Kevin
  4. Yes, you are right. I was hoping a mallet would work. I will make one. Kevin
  5. OK, here is my second attempt. It is better than the first. I listened to what you guys told me, and put a better polish on my hammer and practiced hammering at correct angle and tuning forge to reduce scale before I started. So, this one is shaped better, the handle is more contoured, and you can actually see the temper line in the steel, even with my poor polish. This time, the main problem occurred when the knife was clean and pretty after rough grinding. (I also practied grinding some before starting, and I am getting a little better at that). However, during the thermal cycling for normalizing (after grinding), there emerged a little wave in the blade.:mad: I tried to tap it straight with my smallest (and not recently polished hammer). :mad::confused:This left hammer marks, so that I had to grind the blade thinner than I really wanted. Question: What types of things do you guys recommend for minor straightening once the blade is relatively close to final shape, especially ways that won't cause a newbie to leave hammer marks?:confused: Alternatively, should I just leave them thicker until I can not leave hammer marks? (I am hoping there is a way to fix minor bends that will be less likely to leave marks). Any and all input is welcomed and encouraged, Thanks, Kevin
  6. thanks for the info. I think I read about wax on the ends when I was considering learning to make bows (I am also into archery). I will try to build a box for drying. Meanwhile, I recently completed my first knife, with a stacked leather handle, its on the "show and tell." Yes, I also have to give up and get another microwave! (my wife demands it). Most suicide is thought to be due to feelings of hopelessness these days. There is also a personal statement factor in some cases, and I think that is what you are talking about. Kevin
  7. Don't worry, I liked the jokes. I really do play a lot when I can get away with it. Holy poop, thanks for the warning about zinc oxide. I did not realize that coins were essentially galvanized. It will probably be about 0 degrees tomorrow, and I will probably be forging on knife #2. thanks for the info. Sure you don't need a farm in Texas, its closer for you than me. To Everyone: this forum is great. I really appreciate the teachings and community. It is encouraging, and I hope to implement the stuff you are telling me. kevin
  8. Jared and Cris Yeah, its just a stack of 6 quarters welded in the forge. You may not be able to see, but when I putting it onto the tang, I did not notice that the leather had shrunk, and so I banged it to get it to fit. That left some scars on it, and it broke half of one of the welds loose, even though I had almost melted and forged the stuff a couple of times. It was lots of fun, I am scrounging quarters for the knife I started today. I think this will be a cool technique. Kevin
  9. Jeremy, The post actually was supposed to have little subtitles that did not upload. So, the photo of dog and cat was called "design team." Me sleeping with the cat in the chair was "preliminary design meeting" then I put one of the pet toys in each content photo (also to give size perspective) the cat rubbing on the blade was "inspection from design supervisor" and the dog and cat looking at the press fit seemed to look right at the burned leather "emergency design meeting 2" In my professional life, I started as a counselor on Death Row in Texas, and I have spent my life either working with mentally-ill people in trouble with the law or teaching military and defense types how to know when people are lying to them. I get kinda silly when I'm not at work. Seriously, thanks for the advice. I guess you make more mistakes when you try to force things (like most stuff). By the way - this knife was practice - I hope to make a knife for a collector and colleague of mine as a gift. He is a Viet Nam vet, and he likes the early Randall models. So, K-Bar is right up the same alley. I have started the second knife, and if it goes well enough, I will give it to him. take care, Kevin
  10. Doug and Jared: Thanks for the advice. I really liked the process of forging, but I have so much to go before it becomes automatic or natural. It sure is fun, though. I thank you for the comment on tang tapering. I was using the cross peen and edge of my rr track anvil-like object, and I totally forgot to keep the thickness dimension tapered as I formed the tang. The picture of the knife resting on the stuffed donkey was meant to highlight that mistake. After drawing out the length for the tang, I was too tired to get rid of the upsetting until the next session. I don't know if you can see it, but I also let the file turn as I did some draw filing, and the edge cut some very deep scratches in the ricasso area that I did not take totally out. I have a Delta belt grinder/sander with a disc attachment. When I worked on farm/horse ranch we had bench and belt grinders, but I don't have a bench grinder now. I am working out of my garage and the basement of a condo. Anyone want to buy a lovely 270 acre farm in Texas, on the scenic shores of Lake Livingston (90 miles North of Houston). It comes with waterfront to the thousands of square mile Lake Livingston, and a 37 acre lake on it. Great hunting for duck and deer. When I can sell the farm, I will be able to get a real home and shop! I plan to start forging knife 2 today. I will temper longer (I actually cracked a small nick out of the edge when banging on the knife while it was in the vise and poorly protected). This forum is a great community. Thanks for help. Kevin
  11. 'wow, Ashokan is 120 miles from here. What time of year do they have this hammer in? Also, are total newbies like me welcomed? kc
  12. Hey Guys. Thanks for the advice. I did notice that the hammer marks were getting worse as I got more tired. I spent a couple of years working in carpentry when in college, but it has been a long time since I have swung a hammer for any length of time. I'll work on keeping things in better form. I know I really let go when I was trying to get the tang drawn out, and I forgot to keep brushing the scale and dirt off of hammer and anvil. I really loved the feel of the steel moving under the hammer. I did a lot of rough shaping with files, and I liked it. I stupidly thought I could finish filing after heat treat, and I was afraid to take too much off before heat treat. Of course, after the heat treatment, I could not cut with a file, and I had to use the grinder. I am not very good with a grinder, I haven't used one regularly since I was an adolescent with a farm. This forum is great, and I thank you all for the information. The level of art here is truly impressive. Kevin
  13. I would definitely love to watch some and get hands-on lessons. I have bought Tim Lively and JPH's videos, too. Yeah, the heat treat - I practiced watching colors and testing magnetism for about 5 runs (3 used to normalize). Then, after the last heat, I quenced in somewhat heated motor oil (if you notice the guard was colored by heating and dropping in oil, which heated my quench a little). Tempered for 2 hours at 350 degrees. I was amazed at how HARD the knife seemed, as judged by trying to file it. Even as rudimentary as this is, its better than the knives I had been buying from factories. If you know of any opp's to view bladesmithing in CT or New England, please let me know. Kevin
  14. Hello Everyone, thanks for letting me on the forum. I have been watching for a month or two. I am a Forensic Clinical Psychologist and college prof by day. However, I grew up a Texas farmboy, and I missed making stuff with my hands. So, true to my geeky nature, I researched how to forge for a year (I made tools, including knives by stock removal when young and working on farm). I grew up in a culture of self reliance, so I was doing things like making knives and reloading ammo when really young. I am attaching a few pictures of my first forged knife (I could not get the gallery and thumbnail process to work, so any advice is welcomed). They show the sequence. You will notice that after the first assembly, I ground the mokume to fit, and the heat shrank the leather on the handle. As soon as a make a couple more, I will be able to convince my wife to let me buy some nicer handle material. In the final knife, I filed the tang so the butt cap fit. The guard does fit against the shoulders of the tang, but the tang has a dip in it that makes the guard look like it fits really badly. Also, the knife has a slight "clip" to the point because I burned the original point off with my grinder! I think grinding is going to be a lot harder for me than forging. On the bright side - I am hooked, and the knife is much better than any factory knife I could buy. The "little things" seem to be fairly difficult. Now I need to make a sheath! Knife stats: 1095 (started with 1inch x1/4inch x5ft bar from Admiral Steel 10 3/4 inches oal 6.25 inch blade 1/8 inch thick @ guard 1/16 inch thick @ tip Convex grind Thanks for all of the information you guys have given me. I have read this forum, and the books by JPH and Wayne Goddard, and they also were very helpful. Take care, Kevin
  15. Clay, Looks great for a first try. I am not an authority, as I am very new also. I think you should definitely either peen the tang over, or thread it and drill and tap the cap. I have come across a number of people who have the opinion that epoxy should fill gaps but that the knife should hold together with or without it. Epoxy as a moisture seal, sort of. Anyway, good work. I hope my next project goes that well. Kevin
  16. Bill, I will give the glue a shot. I was worried about the same end blockage, water loss thing. Also, I learned not to microwave too long before I posted asking for help. I don't know if I will ever get the irritating oil and smoke smell out
  17. RK - thanks. I have come across some of the blocks and scales on the net. The real reason for trying to start with drying what I have is because I won't be able to convince my wife I should spend more money on knife stuff until I have actually made several I did do a couple of "psychological autopsies" which is to try and figure why someone killed themselves or someone else. There are a lot of people who make the same dead people jokes, I think they are funny.
  18. ron, thanks for the great info. I have stacked several oversized pieces in the basement. I plan to do the stick-tang style of knife, and I will likely play with rapid method (alcohol), but I hope this is just a stop-gap until the other wood can dry naturally. Thanks for the info about weight, that makes great sense. Is there a link to a good thread about sealing and preserving once dry? thanks again, Kevin
  19. I study law and policy, and how to tell get information from people and how to tell if they are accurate and honest after you interview them. I am also just a regular ol psychotherapist. I don't see dead people. My wife and I met in grad school, so we have Ph.D.'s in same topic. To give you an idea of what it is like around our house, she has been having a ball for the last few months making puns about my new hobby. She has especially had fun with things such as "peened-tang", "butt cap", "oiling my handle", "hammering my steel" etc. She has a million of them, and I am sure none are new to you guys. thanks for the info. Is there any way to keep wood from splitting while it dries slowly? I will try the denatured alcohol, if and when I get a couple of decent blades smashed out. I am using a small gas forge, single-burner venturi. I packed my RR track anvil in a huge bucket of clay to kill the ring. It is really pretty quiet now (no louder than any other type of hammering). some day I will post pics, once there is something to post. thanks, keep the info coming.
  20. Greetings Everyone, I have been following this forum for a couple of months, and I want to thank you for all of the great info. I am a Forensic Clinical Psychologist and professor by day. So, true to form, I have spent the last year reading and watching everything I could find. Other than being over-educated, I am a displaced Texas farmboy, and I once worked with my hands all the time. I came from the culture of self-reliance, and was able to make tools as needed for general shop stuff when younger. Never really forged, though. I will be starting that tomorrow!!!!! So, any and all advice is welcomed. If anyone knows a teacher near New Haven, CT, I would love some "hands on." Specifically, I have some various pieces of green wood that are nice and hard, with very small and tight grain. What is the best (also what is the fastest) way to prepare wood so it can be used as a knife handle? As of now, I have split several small sections and placed them in my basement near the furnace (about 75 degrees and dry). Is this ok, what would work better, and is there a rapid way to prepare any for when I manage to finally beat some steel into shape? On the assumption that the wood would take a long time, I have also made a couple of handle blanks with stacked leather, but I would love to use the wood as soon as possible. Thanks for letting me aboard, Kevin
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