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Dan O'Connor

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Everything posted by Dan O'Connor

  1. Geez! I kinda skipped out on this thread. Maybe because I was waiting to have a definitive answer. I don’t know about definitive but more to add to the conversation. This is a redo of the small knife above. Polish to 1200 redline paper. Brush on 2% nitric acid. Polish off with 3M Trizact 3000 and 5000 paper. 3 times. BF23BF32-F54B-4837-AA15-CD9620645EB8.MOV
  2. Citric acid etch and post etch polished seems to be dialed in. Still optimizing pre-etch polish. All NJSB W-2. Hamon1800 clay and Paragon furnace.
  3. Clay based Anti Scale and Hamon Compound NoScale good to 2000 degrees on all steels. 16oz of either $28 32oz $52 $13.65 flat rate shipping in US-can fi (4) 16oz and (2) 32oz in box
  4. Alan, The last picture shows the hamon clay after the quench. Most of it pops off in the quench. The residue can be scraped of with the edge of a piece of wood, plastic etc. Just about anything takes it off. The clay never vitrifies unless you do a for real anneal. (slow cool 50 degrees per hour) The NoScale pops of clean in oil or water. The very thin layer that comes off is just hard enough not to dissolve in your oil or water tank. When doing stainless with its longer, higher temperatures and plate quench a white coating remains. Can be scrubbed off with a nylon scrubby and water. A wire wheel whisks it right off. Was not a target feature but in all cases, carbon or stainless, a surprisingly durable black coating remains on the steel. Some kind of oxide coating I am guessing. First video is kind of long. Both are promotional pieces but gives oyu the idea.
  5. I suppose this qualifies as new work and show and tell. It is indeed my newest work If this needs to go somewhere else Alan please move it. I have played with this over years but about 2 years ago I got serious about it. I'll not make a sales pitch here but basically it is two products. A thin, paint-able (brushed or sprayed) clay to prevent scale on all steels-carbon or stainless to 2000 Degrees A thicker Japanese style clay to aid in creating hamons. If you want to know more go to the Nuclayer Systems page listed below. The YouTube channel has a couple of basically promotional videos. More instructional videos in the works. Thanks for looking.
  6. As so often happens with all of us, life happens. I have been away for a while, but it is time to rekindle the fire so to speak. For the last 8-9 months I have been stoking the flames. I will share what I have been doing but I thought I would begin with in fact- a beginning. I built this knife almost 40 years ago for my Uncle Jim O'Connor. All stock removal in stainless steel. He in turn gave to a friend of his. This friend has passed on and the knife found its way back to Uncle Jim. And in turn back to me to spiff it up a bit. Here is how it came back to me. Some deep scratches on one side but otherwise-not bad for an old knife. This is how it went back to him. Not as good of photo as the first but you get the idea. Jim presented it to his son, my cousin Tim O'Connor-who has sons himself. So, a knife with our name on it will pass on down through the O'Connor Clan.
  7. Hello Brian. I have been on a mostly self imposed exile from bladesmithing and forging. Several factors led to it but it is not permanent. I use pine charcoal exclusively. I use a side blast Japanese style forge and pine is essential for an efficient fire. It does burn hotter that is true, but the main element for success is the almost complete lack of ash. In a standard bottom blast forge where the ash can fall thru a grate, hardwood charcoal is feasible. I could not make it work in a side blast. I have make my own pine charcoal for 20+ years. For my purposes any pine, spruce, hemlock etc. is better than hardwood. I have made a huge amount of charcoal from construction scraps. But as Jake has already detailed, there is big difference in the "pines". The Japanese use Red pine- Pinus Densiflora- exclusively. It is a fairly dense pine. Below is average densities of various pines. White pine- 26 lbs/ft3 Red pine-33 lbs/ft3 Yellow pine-40 lbs/ft3 I live in close proximity the sawmills of East Texas and now use non-kiln dried yellow pine scrap. There is a significant difference from it and the kiln dried white pines from construction sites. But in reality, any pine is good. The bad news is what you have already discovered.-you cannot buy it. Hence the reason I make it. You can find some of the methods I have used here; http://www.katanabuilders.com/katanablog/charcoal/ Good luck.
  8. Great video Daniel. As outsiders we can appreciate the technical difficulties and skills displayed. But we cannot feel the depth of emotion attached to this work. The juxtaposition of suits and ties against the elaborate but incomprehensible to us traditional dress and ceremony is lost on all but a few of us. What is clear (to me anyway) is that it is the process that is the focus. The blade is just a magnificent by product. Regarding the straw and clay. Life has kind of gotten in the way lately but what I do know is that if you apply the clay slurry to bare hot metal it just slides right off. The straw kind of fuses to the hot metal and allows the clay to stay put. The tamahagane or any primitively made steel is is more or less self fluxing. The rice straw/clay combo is more about excluding oxygen than anything else. I think. Excluding oxygen reduces material loss and helps the welding process. Wheat straw or even Johnson grass char may serve the same purpose. The jury is still out if the higher silica of rice straw is a factor. Note in the video that the straw is not burned to ash but to more of a char. I find this to be a common factor. This is facilitated by the high silica content. Rice straw is hard to come by here in the US. There is almost no commercial value, so farmers (here in Texas and Louisiana anyway) just plow it under or burn it off. Rice hulls however, have a much higher silica content than the straw and can be readily available if you find the right rice mill (Bagged up and cheap). Testing is underway.
  9. Well-I was going to suggest Hostgator until I saw that you had problems. I have used them for about 6 years and I don't seem to have any issues with AOL or Yahoo users. I use Dropbox for a backup. There are several WordPress plugins available for it. Up to 2Gb on DBOX is free. I have the paid version ($9.98 a month) for 1Tb. Everything I have on my computer is also linked to DB. Word of warning. If you are changing computers and want to purge files on your old computer. Uninstall DBOX BEFORE the purge. If you don't, it will also erase them on the DBOX cloud storage and then when you link to your new computer it will erase them from that as well if you had previous downloaded to it. Luckily for me, DBOX keeps a backup of itself that I restored the files from. I also have an Amazon AWS account. Looking at that as well as a secondary backup. Just now exploring the Amazon thing. Can also host on demand videos from there using JW player.
  10. Stained and waiting to dry. Oh yeah! And actually finish building the openings to hang them.
  11. Yeah Buddy on the great care. Memorial Hermann Northeast in the Houston area was the place to do it. Fabulous people. Not a single bad experience while I was there.
  12. Thanks Kevin. Closest I ever came to maiming myself was with a table saw. Luckily just nicked the top of my fingernail. I don't count the time I Zigged when I should have Zagged on a big grinder and threw a 200lb piece of steel over my head and into a wall 20 feet away. There would have been no maiming on that one.
  13. Thank Dave, Yep -space is a problem. My current covered open air space 16'x24' is our future outdoor kitchen. My wife is tired of the future part. Hence the current construction project(s). I started out working wood-making bolt action rifle gunstocks, carpentry apprentice etc.Then about 1974 I picked up a good quality handmade knife and the stage was set. Somehow this led into the machinist trade which got me comfortable with precise tolerances. I go back and forth now. You are right working wood is a nice break from sometimes intractable steel. However I tend to use dial calipers (non-digital) as well as a tape measure.
  14. LALALALA! I CAN'T HEAR YOU!!!! Yeah. I did the same. The surgeon said he was scooping me out. It never occurred to me though that it would not all work out. Had a really funny nurse and once I was more or less up and running again she said "Ya know, we have never had someone this bad not die on us. We are all pretty proud of ourselves." Mighty damn proud of them myself.
  15. I am officially calling this my lost year regarding blade smithing but also a celebration. A year ago this month I walked into an emergency room in Houston with a ruptured appendix. I had walked around with it for a couple of days. I was basically a toxic waste site by the time they opened me up. It was a near thing. Obviously I recovered. So, I have gotten a few things accomplished in my forge but I have turned some of my attention to my long neglected other long term project-the building of my house. I am moving my office downstairs and adding some space to the shop. I am not sure anymore if it is a blessing or a curse knowing how to make stuff. I am easily disgusted with price and/or quality of available products. In the end, it is that most precious of commodities-Time- that I am spending. Be that as it may, these are new doors for a new office and shop expansion. Knotty alder bought straight lined but otherwise rough-a 12" wood planer is a beautiful thing. My Little 10" portable Bosch saw is a trooper. 40lb buckets of crushed, and sorted magnetite in the background. Soon my pretties -soon Bits and pieces milled out. Home made drill jig. Oak dowels and heavy screw Laying in the planks Coming together Two down, one to go. Yes, they are upside down. Note to self-don't hang them that way.
  16. As Zeb says, put some glass in the bottom. Here are some links with more info. Fuigo Fuigo 2.0
  17. My first knife in a long time and the video of part of its making, is the testing of a collection of systems that could be called the Japanese method. The Methods and Results: 1) Compound and use a non-borax flux that "stick" the pieces together prior to welding. Result: Pretty good. Held the pieces together. Welded up pretty good. Had one small flaw but was more about my technique than the flux. 2) Compound a clay mixture to coat the pieces prior to welding to prevent oxidation and maybe add a little flux as it melts at high temperature. Result: Mixed. Melted away maybe too much at the higher temperatures. 3) Check out the the shape of hammer and anvil on PH. Result: Excellent. Moved metal reasonably well but left an almost flat surface. I forged all thickness to final dimension on the PH. 4) Anneal in fine sand. Result: Cooled off too quickly. Will try another medium. 5) Grind profile-Normal belt grinder, files etc. 6) Cold forge on PH after anneal and profile grind Result: Not really sure. I was able to refine the shape some during the process and left a smoother finish. Thinned the edge some with the round shape of the hammer. 7) Touch up profile. No grinding of the bevels before heat threat. Edge about .060" thick 8) Compound another clay mixture as a very thin heat treat coating to prevent scale and possibly defeat the vapor jacket making the quench safer. Result: Pretty good I think. No additional scale and it did not crack. Warped very little. 9) Slow grind bevels on a new platen that is a section of 72" diameter wheel. Result: Not bad. Need more practice with it. 10) Finish bevels with a section of leather between platen and belts at very slow speeds. Result: Again-Not bad. I need to experiment and practice more with different belts. I refined the finish more after this picture was taken. All in all pretty happy with the general direction of things.
  18. Had an interesting visit today to an old friend. He is a Luthier in North Texas. 25 years ago I made him some woodworking knives out of O6 tool steel. He is still using them. In fact he raved about them. He said they are far and away the best knives he has ever used in his craft of making and restoring violins. Said they grind like butter, takes a great edge, hold it forever and do not chip in ebony or other hard woods. A little later I was transitioning to A2 and made a couple more for him out of the A2. He does not like these knives. In fact he called them his junk knives for doing junk work. They burn easily when grinding, don't take a good edge and chip in hardwoods. At the time it was stock removal only for me and a commercial heat treater. Nice to get long term feed back on blades that are used on a daily basis by a high end, very skilled user. But, I would like to have a better understanding of what made the O6 such a stellar performer. Anybody have any in depth knowledge of O6? Below are the specs. Pretty simple steel but it is graphitic. All I know is that it has free graphite in it. I not sure how that all comes together to make a really good woodworking blade. Not sure if it is forgeable. Graph-Mo® (O6) Cold Work Tool SteelGraph-Mo O6 tool steel is an oil-hardening, graphitic tool steel with outstanding resistance to metal-to-metal sliding wear and galling. The steel contains a uniform dispersion of graphite particles, which impart excellent machinability and non-seizing characteristics. The graphite particles make the steel self-lubricating in dry environments, and help to retain oil in lubricated environments. Graph-Mo O6 tool steel can be hardened to over 60 Rockwell C from a relatively low hardening temperature, which minimizes size change and distortion during heat treatment. APPLICATIONS: Thread gauges, master gages, cams, bushings, sleeves, meat granulator plates, arbors, forming rolls, shear blades, punches, dies, bar feed guides and other machine tool parts. Composition C1.45 MN1.00 Si.90 Mo.25
  19. Dan P. I am trying many things. Different clay mix slurries/coatings are among them. At this point it is more about creating an oxygen barrier rather than an actual flux. In the video I use a sticky, no borax flux. The clay may not even be necessary for the weld but cuts down on material loss by oxidation-maybe. But things are fluid. Certain clays may indeed have fluxing properties. I am trying that as well. It takes several runs with the same setup to get a sense of what the various elements are contributing and to help limit the effects of operator error. Operator error in the machine shop trade is a euphemism for dumbass mistakes.
  20. First of all this is not my first rodeo. I have been making knives, swords, woodworking tools etc, since 1974. Mostly stock removal with some smithing thrown in. I absolutely agree that experience is a great teacher-but throwing shit against the wall to see what sticks is poor practice. If something works and you don't know why you simply repeat what worked for you-forever staying in the same box. I am all about foundations. Cuts way down on trial and error. Still some of it to be sure and the art of it only comes from internalizing theory and practice. Like most all here this is part time for me. But I have access to the internet, my spreadsheets and solid modeling program in lonely hotel rooms. When I do have time to actually do something I have a clear plan in my head on what I want to accomplish. I built an entire two story house by myself this way. On the three hour drive from Houston I would have my weekend all planned in my head with 3D drawings I had done that week in the hotel. Just do it don't do it for me and it should not for you either. Stable, repeatable systems are essential to understand where you have been and where you are going. To paraphrase Lao Tsu "Think (and do) until you don't need to think any more" (No Mind). Most of the struggle now is understanding the why of Japanese bladesmithing and smelting.Putting all the systems together to make a coherent whole. For instance the addition of a clay coating on the steel messes up what I am used to seeing in regards to welding heat in the fire. There is no doubt that in smelting in particular, the variables are so many and so varied that there is no way to chart a path to success. And don't get me wrong-in the end after all the learning and research it is the feel, smell and sound of it that makes it art. No machine, no amount of research can judge the color of a smelting flame. No machine can feel how the iron moves under the hammer and especially no machine can feel out side himself as the work seems to progress as he watches. This is the goal. So, if I do it right, I do not over think it-I think it just right.
  21. Any process is a collection of systems. Make no mistake-making knives and swords is a process. The goal is to create stable, repeatable processes. If you think art does not need the same solid systems as a modern manufacturing plant then you are in for a lot of heartache. Tools, approach and mindset may be different but systems are systems. Theory is all well and good but when the rubber meets the road sometimes they don't always work out. Add the user learning curve and it takes some tweaking to come to a stable process. In this video I am working on: 1) Welding a. Flux b. Reading the temperature c. Clay mixture 2) Power Hammer a. Hammer shape b. Anvil shape c. Manipulating the work under the hammer 3) Various Video Techniques 4) Annealing Results: Flux seems to work-sticks the pieces together and allows the material to weld. Still struggling with reading when piece is at welding temp in charcoal fire-tend to over heat. Clay mixture needs more tweaking Power hammer and anvil shape are good, maybe could be a little better Need more practice Video needs a lot more tweaking Used sand for the annealing-cooled too quickly I think. All in all it was a positive afternoon.
  22. Lee, The biggest surprise for me was the way he made oroshigane from cast iron kettles. It looks like he simply broke them up and put them on top of the fire and melted them though the stack. I have done this with low carbon steel to make high carbon stuff. But starting with cast iron to get sword quality steel???? HMMMMM!!
  23. It is amazing how much stuff has to come together to work in a "Simple" manner. 1) Building 2) Pit 3) Hodo (Charcoal forge) 4) Fuigo (box bellows) 5) Anvil 6) Power Hammer 7) Hand Hammers 8) Tongs 9) Long steel handles for welding 10) Fire Rake 11) 12" shear 12) Charcoal carrier 13) Antique Chinese bucket for clay welding slurry 14) Little cast iron pot with welding powder 15) Wooden bucket with water for wet forging. 16) Ceramic pot for heat treat slurry 17) Charcoal 18) Large and small ladles 19) Stool 20) Smoke Hood and chimney And this is just the hot forging part of the whole process. Enough already-I think I will make something next weekend.
  24. Well thank you very much Chris. Sometimes though I despair at ever actually making something. It is funny-CNC machinery taught me the most about understanding and creating a process. Those things are scary as Sh--. Pushing the button and hoping for the best at the very least ends up with a bad part- at the worst somebody dead. I would get in a groove where all the elements would fit into an elegant solution. When I pushed the go button, I was 99.9% sure I knew what was going to happen. Same with what I call the "Pursuit of Nihonto". All the elements need to fit into an elegant solution. Oh, I agree that there is not always cut and dried solutions. That intuition and feel play a big part. But knowledge and experience go a long way in helping create leaps of intuition.
  25. Tha' Ah do Laddie. 'Tis quite cool in the heat of Texas and tends to add a certain gravitas to the process. Hard to explain it is. Maybe it is the Mcleans from ma mothers side a speakin' ta me. I dinna ken. All I know is the combination of a kilt, tenegui , kaji-ba and charcoal really comes together for me.
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