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  1. I don't know about bone but I've used Minwax Wood Hardener on antler (elk and deer) and it worked great. Saturated the pithy center and hardened without changes anything about the antler. Made the interior very hard and as far as I can tell - waterproof once it dried. Works equally well on wood - perhaps not as well as vacuumed stabilizer for much less expensive. It also takes glues very well. I glued elk slabs, hardened with Minwax Wood Hardener, to a tang of 5160 using Loctite Hysol 2-part epoxy. Impossible to get off - except in pieces. I alway apply mine with a clean brush or dip
  2. I have to agree with Stephen - the blade should be canted from the socket - almost 80 degrees. I have an old time scythe that I use to cut the hay in my pasture (more for the exercise than anything else). The blade and socket are offset about 75 - 80 degrees so that at the bottom of my swing it is parallel to the ground. A couple of tips on cutting technique; 1) the scythe works best if you slice the grass rather than try and chop it. Think of a samuri sword cutting a bundle of grass -they slice through it. Aslo the best techinque for passing the hanging rope test, 2) set up a rhythm t
  3. An alternative that works great - garage door springs! Heat and stretch out the springs, cut to length and reshape (I do a basic 'C') and use. I've not needed to do anything else and they produce plenty of sparks. One spring will a bunch of strikers!
  4. I think copper pipe, 1/2" or 3/4" could work. But you don't want to expand it too much or make the wall too thin. Working copper, i.e. hammering it, will harden it, but too much and it becomes brittle. Like bending a copper wire, first it get harder, then it breaks. If you could make a punch and die or use a press then you minimize the work hardening/brittleness. ANd you'd just need to make a tapered die or anvil. A copper plumbing cap an also be tapered - I've made several ferrules out of caps that were tapered and elongated. Using copper caps makes it easier to create a hole with
  5. Justin, The chisels I made (see above) from 5160 are probably in the order of 54-56 RHC, more than enough for quality woodworking. They are 1/8" thick with a 4" tang. I cut a 1/4" x 1/2" x 9" piece of 5160, forged it to 3/16", the draw filed it to a very flat 1/8" thickness 3/4" wide. I just drilled a 4" hole in the handle and tapered it with the drill. A two-part Loctitie epoxy holds it quite well. Again, the copper ferrule is a 3/4" copper plumbing cap domed over a 3/4" round end anvil (also homemade) with a slot cut for the tang.
  6. I've made several chisels for use with my wood lathe. I used 5160 and to reduce the risk of rust polished the blades to 800 - 1000 grit. Heat treated and tempered as I would a knife (no differential quenching). Functionally they turned out better than anything I've purchased. I made mine as working tools and didn'd do anything fancy except turn the oak handles to fit my hands. The copper bolster is a 3/4" domed plumbing cap - helps keep the handle from splitting.
  7. On the other hand starting with a RR spike is a good way to learn the basics. Many people get frustrated trying to make their first knife using good knife steel without even the basic knowledge of forging, much less heat treating. I've seen more that one aspiring bladesmith who, because they were using good steel, expected to make a great blade the first time- only to learn the hard way there is more to making a knife than the steel. The old adage - crawl before you walk, walk before you run, is good to remember. I sometimes teach youngsters how to make knives and starting them out
  8. I like Geoff's last reply - 'cause that's just what I did a couple of years ago. The only difference is that I used solid square bar rather than tubing, just because I happened to have some laying around. I also used the rear leaf spring from a '78 Ford heavy duty 3/4 ton P/U (5160.) I did heat treat and temper the hardy, and so far its worked great. Here a photo:
  9. Like I posted in an earlier reply, the size of the compressor doesn't seem to make much difference, the air just operates the 'handle'. The only real difference is speed and ease of use. I would be very difficult to hand jack a 20 ton bottle jack fast enough and handle the steel at the same time. The compressed air system, while relatively slow, is much faster than jacking by hand. Even with the air-over-hydraulic jack you can only get 2, maybe three, presses before the steel cools.
  10. I agree with Thunder as to die sizes. The more of my 2"x3" flattening die that contact the steel the less effect it has. I've made some smaller dies and 'drawing' dies from 3/4" round bar (actually tool steel shaft). This works great for initialy drawing out thicker material. I switch to a smaller 2" long x 1" wide flattening die next and finish with the 2"x3". I use 1/2" grade 8 bolts on the top member - so far I haven't noticed any distortion at all. I've disassembled the press 3 or 4 times to check an all the pieces, especially the welds. Guess I must've gotten lucky with my weld
  11. There is an 8" length of 2"x2" 1/4" wall square tubing between the side of the top anvil (bridge?)and the same on the bottom piece. The top side of the top anvil has heavy weld beads as does the bottom of the bottom anvil. I used small tack welds on the opposite sides so as not to interfere with the dies/die plates.
  12. Chris, Another good option is 5160 (more carbon, more chromium that even H13) and readily available. I made a hot cut hardy for my anvil from the rear leaf spring of an old Ford P/U and plan to do the same for my press. I figure that a hot cut hardy will require more toughness that a flat of drawing die. Here's a photo of my cut-off hardy - 1/2" thick at the base. After cutting and grinding the edge I heat treated it as you would a blade of 5160 - it's stood up under some serious cutting! (that's not a nick in the edge, just a piece of paper towel I used to wipe it off).
  13. Chris, I just finished building my 20 Ton Air over Hydraulic press and I'll give you my impression on dies. First, while the 4130 would work great it is probably a waste of good steel. Mild steel (1081 or A36) works just fine. Second, don't make the dies too large. Smaller dies will focus more of the pressure on where you want. The 20 Ton press isn't strong enough to spread its energy out over a large area. I started with 3/4" cable and a 1"x1"x2" die made from mild steel and it works great. But even then it takes time, a larger die won't compress the steel as down as much as a sm
  14. Well, I finally finished my mini-press (well except for some more enhancements that come to mind). Mostly just a copy, thanks for the original idea Thunder! My Mini Press Uprights - 2"x2"x1/4" Base plate 16z" wide x 10" deep x 3/8" Base internal (4) 2"x2"x14" - 10" long Top Plate - 8"x10"x1/4" Bottom Die Holder - 2"x2"x1/4" - 8" long Sides - 2-1/2" x 12" x 1/4" Top Die Holder - 2"x2"x1/4" - 8" long Sides - 2-1/2" x 12" x 3/8" (2) Grade #8 1/2" bolts Dies - #1 = Plate 2"x3"x3/8 plate, 1"x1"2" mild steel Dies - #2 = 3/4"x2" Steel bar (lawn tractor axle stee)
  15. Well, I finally finished my mini-press (well except for some more enhancements that come to mind). Mostly just a copy, thanks for the original idea Thunder! My Mini-Press Some of my modifications: Quick Change Die Holder - Slip in one side and the center Die Holder Long 'T'- Handle 'T' - Handle 'T' - Handle - Tension Pin and Set Screw to hold tight Tension Pin and Set screw Extendible Tool Rest Tool Rest Tool Rest/Die at Top Top Rear Hold Down Hold Down Tool Tray Tool Tray
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