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John N

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Posts posted by John N

  1. No pics, but I will sort some out!


    I used to use a massive stick welder (hard to describe, but size of a wheel barrow) - after 20 years I could sometimes lay a reasonably neat bead with it. It got toasted in the fire.


    I got a replacement welding set, that is primarily a tig unit that does MMA(I want to learn tig for my stainless damascus, so upgraded) - New set is about the size of a shoe box.


    F-me, I laid the neatest few lines of stick weld on a job yesterday with the new set I have ever done! 3.5mm 6013's - looked like a proper welder did them. Really amazingly neat welding. It was easy. God knows what is in that little box but it made me look good!!! :D 

  2. On 11/19/2020 at 9:32 PM, Simon W said:

    Been working to set up my shop in the new garage this last year, but most recently I've been working to build a post vice base. I was lucky enough to be able to take an abandoned cast iron telephone pole base from the property I was previously living at and give it a new life. I hadn't yet gotten to putting in a steel bearing plate at the bottom of the vice leg in these photos, but that all done now.


    Still have the other half of the cast iron base for some other future project, hardcore side table maybe? 


    Pretty excited to put it to use, it'll definitely be handy especially for tooling as my anvil lost hardy hole at some point long ago along with its heel.






    That looks a very purposeful stand! Nice job :)


    If you are considering any upgrades to it, trap a big steel tray that sticks out of the back under the vice hold down bolts! I find you generally have more 'pick up / put down' things when using a vice than an anvil. Big shelf is worth is weight in gold!



  3. First forging session in my new shop! got these 8 blades done in pre-laminated stainless clad super blue. The bigger Gyutos are 250 mm edge length. They are heat treated and ready for grinding now. I have ground the profiles after forging, but the bevels and distal tapers are as forged.


    The forging is reasonably clean, so I'm hopeful i can get away with lower bevel only grinding (quicker, I dont like grinding much), and Kurouchi finish for the rest. The spines, and choils etc were finished prior to heat treat. 










    I owe some of these as commissioned knives, and would like to have a few to sell in December when the 'scramble' for Christmas knives starts!

    • Like 6
  4. mildly amusing one from the weekend. Got volunteered to  sharpen some bushcraft knives for the 'Forest School' my wife helps run, for kids from 5 years old.


    There were 5 Mora's with points that were quite new, and quite sharp. Due to a gin infusion I did not compute the 'do not sharpen those orange ones' and put a scary edge on them. (my argument was they are either 'sharp, or blunt')


    The 5 green ones were properly ruined. I did a nice job on them (5  to 10 mins a piece) and put the nice 'tanto' chisel point back on them. Lethal sharp, and I jabbed one of the chisel points into my finger and it made a right mess. First knife cut for ages, took a lump out :( 


    I had a bit of a think, as my finger leaked, figuring a razor tanto might not be safe for 5 year olds. Googled it, and they are supposed to be 'round nosed' :rolleyes: - I dulled them all off. 






    • Haha 2
  5. Good work on staying off the smokes! - Ive been 100% quit for over 5 years, Just started having the occasional one though :huh:  (crappy work circumstances is my excuse) - might be one, or max two a week when I am with smokers, and I quite enjoy them sometimes.


    If I have more than one cig in a day, I just feel a bit dirty, and don't get any enjoyment from the 2nd. This backs up my recollection as a heavy full time smoker, that I only got any benefit from the 1st one of the day. The rest were just habit.  Hopefully I am just an ex smoker now, who has the odd cig. time will tell!

  6. It happened! I got a couple of hours forging on sunday - it was a bit Heath Robinson but I made it work. Rough forged 2x Gyuto and 2x nakiri.


    The forgings were a bit ropey, so tonight I ground the profiles loosely to shape, ready for a refining forge to a geometry that will not be a pita to grind. (5 mins at the hammer is worth an hour at the grinder and all that!)


    Im keeping a low profile on social media with my current knife forging work as there are people patiently waiting for machines etc and the human condition is they will think I'm ignoring their jobs by having a half day to myself. (even though im smacking in 60 hour weeks on company commitments!) - Ill get some pics of the current forging work on here soon)


    This is a Nakiri and a couple of petties that were forged very early this year before the big fire. Got them finished up a couple of weeks ago. (yes.... Hipster OSB handle again :) )







    • Like 6
  7. 8 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:


    Going by the paint and stickers on that hammer to the right, I think they'll be okay...  Woody does look toasty, though. :o


    Ran woody again tonight, he seems better than before! I really need to find my 'Bush' hand hammer and some tongs, and get an anvil set up and im good to forge this weekend! 


    Got a few commissions I need to make, and want to get a few made 'on spec' for sale in December. Busy Busy :)


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  8. Found a pic of Woody after the fire! - just posting this so you can see how different he looks in the next (happy) post I put up of him running again. 


    When the factory was burning we had the foresight to get the fire service to flood my forge area (hence its partial survival!) The forge area was on a fire break to another unit, so they really flooded it! - if you are eagle eyed in this pic you will see a crazy number of anvils in the background. They all 'ring' to a hammer still, so I have hope for them. I have bought a hardness tester to properly check they are OK when I get a chance.


    Even at UK prices there is a crazy amount of (uninsured) money  (and love) tied up in the anvils. Fingers crossed !



  9. @Brian Dougherty- Thanks! nice to have a working hammer, even if no time to use it ! 


    The recovery has been horrible, relentless hard work so far (a real slog) - just kinda having to keep pushing and pushing even though 1/2 of me does not want to (the other half seems to be winning though). Getting some small wins, that are becoming more frequent. Im now a bit more accepting that I cant keep everyone happy and just getting on with doing my best (I might have nearly run out of F's to give :ph34r:)


    I just had a look on my phone for a pic of woody buried under the pile of bricks, but that section of the factory was insanely dangerous after the fire (even though it was not as burnt as the rest of it, it had more stuff ready to fall!) so just took a general pic down towards my old forge area! 



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  10. No pics or vids yet, but as of yesterday I am now the proud owner of a working power hammer! 


    Little 'woody' the 15kg anyang I have owned for about 15 years got well and truly BBQ'd when the factory burnt down (and a wall fell on him). I have picked away, couple of hours here, couple there, and hes back running :D 


    Quite symbolic he's working again. Stubbon little fella actually seems to be hitting harder and more controlled than before his 'stress relieving' ! - New motor & belts, new lube system I frigged together from found bits, and ready for a bit of hot metal! 

    • Like 4
  11. 2 hours ago, billyO said:

    Great idea, John.  I never would have thought of that, thanks for sharing.  

    Looks like it's time to finalize my maker's mark.  I've been thinking about it for only 3-4 years now. 

    No point in rushing things, right?:rolleyes:


    I spent far too long without a blade stamp, and the potato print stamp. It was such a buzz to get them and have *my* makers mark I should have done it much sooner than I did. I have always taken satisfaction from my work, but to give my making, effectively a brand, has been rewarding in its own right. 


    It was awesome the first time I saw a thread on a chef knife, or some such forum, with one of the replies being 'have you considered a Did**** forge knife they look great?'


    (** I don't really mention my forge name on here, as it will top page on google and potential customers will see all my ramblings :unsure:)

  12. @Josh BurrellIt looks like the mill pond that is still there on Rivlin Valley (by the kids park). Well worth a walk down there, Mousehole forge at the top (Hillsborough end).


    Loads of old forge shadows as you walk down there (wheel pits etc). I had a good mooch earlier this year.

  13. I found some boxes online that are suitable for my smaller knives, cost is fairly minimal (perhaps a couple of $ each, when 25 were bought at once) - I then had a rubber stamp made which was very inexpensive online (might have been $30 delivered next day from order, with a couple of ink pads!!) - I use the stamp for 'certificate / letterhead / label's etc. Very satisfying to use, think it stems back to potato prints as a kid!


    I use a bit of hessian to line the box. Fits OK with my rustic looking knives. Customers love the boxes, it adds an extra level of value to the knife for basically peanuts. And gives me a bit of pride packaging and posting. It also makes the knife very 'giftable' which was definitely lacking with my old 'duck tape' sheath!  


    I am looking to find an inexpensive source for larger boxes for my Gyutos etc. In the mean time, I am wrapping the blade neatly in brown corrugated card, and bumping it with the rubber stamp. Looks surprisingly OK. Cant find any pics of one wrapped this way on my phone though!








  14. @Paul Carterglad to have helped a little. One other thing that spring to mind, having re-read your post is the 65Rc hardness.


    I don't have any direct experience with AEBL, so I might be off the mark for this steel, but on a carbon steel knife I would consider 65Rc 'pot hard' - Might be OK for a pro chef knife nerd, but will probably just chip out on the edge with a minor bit of misuse for a 'normal' kitchen knife user.


    I would pull the temper back to 60 ish. A non knife nerd will never notice the difference in ultimate sharpness and edge retention, but they will certainly notice if a chunk of the edge chips out. Learnt this lesson when I gifted an aogami blue cored san mai to one of my sisters. Looked like a bread knife when I got it back.


    I pulled the temper back, and ground the edge from 'performance' to what I would consider 'thick behind the edge, carrot cracker' - they love it now, even though it was the direct equivalent of de-tuning a muscle car to 150 bhp. They don't know that is what has happened though, they don't know anything about muscle cars but would certainly push it into a ditch on the first corner! :rolleyes:

    • Like 1
  15. Don't try and make a forging forge a heat treatment forge. They are different animals. 


    You will end up with the worst of both worlds. I posted a thread on here about my little heat treat for the 'the jizer' which shows how little you need for a super accurate heat treatment forge. I can hold a couple of degrees with it. I recall the post I made about the forge was made a 'sticky' in one of the forums on here. Not got time to locate the post now, but will dig it out tomorrow for you.

    • Like 1
  16. a thin steel plate with an air gap behind it, not coupled to your wall should be an effective heat isolator. 


    Your fire extinguisher is for the stuff in your workshop that will catch fire, your forge is not flammable, its just a case of shutting the gas off and its safe. CO2 are very effective and low mess. If you put the flame out in your forge without shutting the gas off you only get a massive explosion shortly after! :D


    If you are in a small workspace with a gas forge a CO monitor will be the best £15 you ever spend, available from all good supermarkets in the UK! - Cumulative carbon monoxide poisoning is a very high risk. Fire is probably a low risk as you are aware enough about it to be asking questions! 


    (not trying to patronise with above comment, but I know a few very experienced bladesmiths, (myself included) who have made themselves ill with CO poisoning. - One lad I know ended up in hospital from CO - its a very real risk)



    • Like 1
  17. Just one other thing to keep an eye on with kitchen knife blade shape and geometry, is the height of the tip relative to the centre line of the handle. On the son in laws knife the tip is very high. If you imagine trimming a bit of skin of a chicken breast with the tip, your elbow will be pointing at the ceiling with your wrist bent down 90 degrees to do it. Other knife looks loads better in this regard! :) 

  18. I would avoid the plunge line being anywhere near to the cutting edge of the blade. You need to be able to sharpen the full edge in one swoop. The plunge line will end up in front of the handle as posted by Garry above! your edge geometry will dictate where the plunge lands!


    I forge the geometry in all my chefs knives, which nicely avoids me ever having to do even plunge lines again :D in fact, probably the main reason I like making chefs knives is I dont have to worry about this aspect of making!


    Profile on son in laws blade does look a bit flat to my eye. On chefs knives I always reference from the angle of the handle, relative to the chopping board. On that one the handle is low (flat to the board), so you would need to lift your hand very high to use the tip of the knife. If the handle angle was 'higher' (kicked up relative to the flat spot on the blade) the tip would become more usable.


    The 'flat' to tip transition curve looks a bit awkward as well as the handle angle. 'Knuckle clearance' to the chopping board is also important. When the handle angle is too low you have to chop with your hand off the edge of the board, to get the flat spot in contact with the board! 


    Kitchen knives are one of the hardest to get right, even though they look like the simplest. When you do nail it, it is very satisfying. The thing with kitchen knives is they get used a lot for their intended purpose, so there is no hiding behind filework and mammoth ivory etc etc (im not suggesting you would, just some people try to). I would never know if a sub hilt fighter was the right geometry, but my mum knows if one of my knives is better than a shop bought in 5 seconds of using it. Chefs are 100x more critical than my mum :unsure: 



  19. Price is relative to how much money you have! - ie, you need to sell to people who can afford it without thinking about it. If you find the right customer base the difference between 125 and 200 is not relevant.


    I saw a small gate being made in a workshop once many years ago, and asked how much it sold for ($30k usd) - I said 'thats expensive' - and I was very publicly cut a new hole by the boss, who very correctly pointed out is was not expensive, it was just a lot of money, to me, in my current financial situation. He went on to point out that is was going in front of a £3m house in London. To them it was just a nice gate.


    Does $125 work for you?  Ironically I have found the more knives I make, the cleaner they come out, the quicker I can make them and they sell for more than the early knives I laboured over for hours. Pricing is a strange thing.


    whilst rambling on the subject, I was contacted on instagram this year by someone who wanted to commission a 'special' chefs knife (fancy damascus, make it wild is the brief) - after a bit of back and forth, he said his budget was £(crazy) gbp for the one knife - I queried his budget thinking it was a typo. His response was 'the budget is flexible, can be more, whatever' - crossed wires, he thought his budget was tight, I thought he typed an extra zero!) - In my head, I don't have the skill set to make a £1(crazy money)/ knife. Its just my perception though. Banksy sprays a stencil on a wall in a couple of mins, and its worth $250k



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