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Jeff Amundson

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Posts posted by Jeff Amundson

  1. On 2/2/2022 at 4:45 PM, Jeff Amundson said:

    , and I've since seen some historical examples.

    At the time I wrote that, 'some' meant 'a few'. I hadn't yet read a wonderful little book titled "Knives and Scabbards" by Cowgill, de Neergaard and Griffiths. It's a detailed study of medieval knives, shears and scissors found in garbage dumps near London. It turns out my butt weld technique would be right at home in the 13th century. Most of the blades analyzed were wrought iron with a steeled edge. 


    I took Alan's advice and have been using 1075 on the edge. The picture shows blades of 1018/1075 after they were drawn to half the original thickness. The two alloys moved about the same amount. 


    I'm also more careful to work at high heats. I used to do some straightening at lower heats, but I can see how that created shear along the weld. I now take a heat to straighten as well as to forge. 


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  2. The mystery wood looks like impreg to me. Impreg is an early version (mid 20th century) of stabilized wood, usually with a phenolic resin impregnating a laminate in a vacuum. A higher density version called compreg was produced under high pressure on the laminate. The smell was probably the phenolic. 

  3. On 6/7/2022 at 9:36 AM, Aiden CC said:

    the forged “stops” are a cool idea too and work well with the aesthetics of the piece

    Thanks, Aiden. That means a lot. My second career was as manufacturing engineer in a bicycle factory. The president of our company once pulled me out of a design brainstorming session because any talk of manufacturing capabilities would 'stifle the designers' creativity'. I can't think of a design without thinking about its process, so form and function are a blur in my mind.


    Thanks for the compliment, Dick. I started grinding knives ala Bob Loveless in the early '80s. I took up blacksmithing about 2000. Many blacksmiths hate grinding, and many bladesmiths are not great blacksmiths. Forging and grinding scissors requires skills in both.

    1 hour ago, Dick Sexstone said:

    Just because it is not on the internet doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist

    I agree. My complaint is that the internet failed to connect me with other people doing something similar. I want to have discussions about screws and grind angles and heat treats, which is my hope for the Bladesmith's Forum.

  4. Thanks guys. I was shocked when the internet failed me. I thought I was just looking in the wrong places, so I joined Instagram. There are a few people forging scissors occasionally, but they are often doing it as a sideshow.


    I'm 72. In my first career, I taught public school industrial arts for 10 years. I've been making stuff all my life. I have never before experienced the reaction I get when I tell people I make scissors. The predictable reaction is a jaw-drop along with a statement of disbelief. People just can't comprehend the idea of an actual person making a pair of scissors. Scissors come from factories, so they look at what I do with suspicion. Many ask “do they work?”


    I've never seen anything like it. The scissors cabal has brainwashed us all! That's why I had to purge closed-die thinking.

    • Like 1
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  5. Here's my latest design using as-forged shanks and bows. The round cross-section is easy on the fingers. I shape the bows on a mandrel, so I can change the size and shape to fit. The long tail that forms the wrap is a little tedious to forge. Since it ends up under 1/8” diameter, it's like forging wire.







    As a dedicated hobbyist, I've lurked on this and other forums for years. I never felt qualified to comment on much of anything. When I started playing with scissors, I expected to find inspiration and ideas to steal online. I found next to nothing to help me. I now find myself in the position of trying to inspire others. I don't claim to be expert at much more than my own experience of one pandemic's worth of scissors experiments.


    One fact I can report about scissors making is that it requires many discrete steps. Doing things in the right order is big deal, and I'm constantly revising what comes first. A big part of my development has been getting the sequence right.


    This design was driven by one of the last steps in the process – aligning the blade tips when the handles are closed. The goal is to have the scissors cut all the way to the tip, which means the tips have to cross ever so slightly. I bend those tails that meet in the middle to adjust how the tips meet. I can do this with a torch and pliers, no hammer required. The shanks and bows themselves are not involved in this adjustment, which is a good thing.


    This adjustment is necessary because the blades are hand forged. That represents another of my many learning curves – purging closed-die thinking from my designs. I'll save that for another post.

    • Like 8
  6. On 3/14/2022 at 9:23 PM, dragoncutlery said:

    and have started sand blasting tangs and the under side of guards before glue up

    My industrial experience was with epoxy-bonded aluminum bicycle frames. The prescribed bond prep was to blast with aluminum oxide grit followed by rinsing with isopropyl alcohol, no exceptions, no substitutes.

  7. Thanks Alan. I don't think Grace forges. As far as historical practice, I've seen scissors produced both ways. I learned the butt weld because my first scissors were little one-piece spring shears, and they are made that way. I bought one an Amazon and reverse engineered it. When I started to make pivoted scissors, I decided to see if I could scale up the technique. It seemed to work, and I've since seen some historical examples.


    I've seen videos of scissors produced with the flatwise laminate you described. I haven't been tempted to try it, because I don't know what I'd gain by it, except maybe some warpage issues I don't have now. 


    I'm not worried about having the ends uneven after forging. They get ground off anyway. I'm just want to reduce the shearing effect on the weld. I think I have to do that with heat, not alloy selection.


    1 hour ago, Alan Longmire said:

    At any rate, you want very low hardenability in the edge steel. 

    Thanks. That's what I was wondering - if alloy selection would make my forging technique a little less critical.


    And thanks for providing a forum for this discussion.

  8. My method of making a scissors blade is to forge weld a tool steel cutting edge to a 1018 body. I've tried a few different tool steel alloys, but I'd like some expert opinions to help me optimize my choice.


    This photo shows how the tool steel sits on the 1018 for welding. The forged blade (that I pulled from my scrap pile) shows how the blade is drawn out. I forge to thickness, not length. The blade starts 5/16 thick, and I forge it to 5/32, which about doubles its length. I've used 01, 1084, and 5160.



    I have two main criteria I'm trying to consider in alloy selection. The first is the alloy's tendency to air harden. I work in thin sections that don't hold heat long, so I want to avoid an alloy that's prone to air hardening. The second criteria is demonstrated in this photo. The mild steel moves easier, so it squeezes out the end. That creates a shear along the weld line.




    I know if I work only at high heat, both these issues are minimized with any alloy. I'm trying to optimize, so I want to know if there are differences, especially with the air hardening. Anybody have opinions on alloys in this application?


    I have an Evenheat oven and a couple different quenchants, so the heat treat requirements aren't a factor in my choice. Thanks for your comments.

  9. I think I know what's going on here, but I'd to hear other opinions. This scissors blade was an experiment to begin with. When I found some cracks, I decided to break it to see what was revealed. The first picture shows the tip end of the blade. It's a heat treated laminate of 1018 and O1. I used a little ferric chloride to clearly show the two alloys.


    I sawed and ground the 1018 to remove it from a short section. Then I clamped the exposed stub of O1 in a vise and tried to create a peel in the weld. The O1 eventually broke.


    I was happy how far the O1 bent before breaking. Even though the weld looks flawed, it resisted the peeling force. I was also happy with the look of the grain in the break. Note: the dark black stain on the broken section is from the ferric.


    I'm guessing the O1 cracks are from forging it too cold. I was already planning to stop using O1, so the cracks helped me make the change faster. I know O1 can air harden, and I think I crossed the line with it. Looking forward to comments. 




  10. 11 minutes ago, Joël Mercier said:

    Are your scissor blades slightly curved towards each other? 

    Not at this stage. I forge them as flat as I can. Adjusting the blade overlap is one of the last steps. 

    13 minutes ago, Joël Mercier said:

    I know a great maker named Grace Horne.

    We follow each other on Instagram. She's been a great help.

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  11. Today I tried drilling the pivot hole before doing any grinding. It's the first time I've done it this way. I need the pivot screw in place to finish the hot work, but I don't like cleaning the scale off multiple times. The forgings need to fit together as forged, but it will let me finish the hot work before touching the grinder.

    The white mark on the blade is where the tool steel cutting edge ends.


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  12. I've tried a variety of pivots, both rivets and screws. My first pivoted scissors were bonsai-type, so I used a rivet. Typically these scissors have conical copper or brass washers on the rivet. I initially thought the cone shape was acting like a belleville washer to apply some spring force. What I now understand is that the cone simply lifts the head of the rivet off the scissors blade so peening the head doesn't expand the rivet in the hole in the blade. The rivet is also an axle, so it needs to fit nicely in its hole. Most scissors don't use any spring force to hold the blades together. When wide open, most scissors are a little loose on the pivot. 


    Here is a pair I made and a cross section of the rivet assembly. I pressed flat copper washers into a cone-shape. The rivet head fills the crater at the top of the cone. 

    20200708_165156 (1).jpg




    I prefer using screws for a couple reasons. First, with a rivet I don't know what's moving when I work the scissors. I don't know if both blades spin around the axle or just one does. I don't know if the axle moves in the washers. With a screw I can lock the screw to one of the blades leaving the other blade to spin on the axle. Second, setting the rivet is not a precise process. There's no backing off if it's too tight. 
    Here is a scissors with a screw. I used an 8-32 stainless shoulder screw to test this design, which I copied from a pair of tin snips. I filed a square hole in one blade and a matching square on the screw. The disadvantage of this design is that it requires a lock nut. Then the threads in the nut need to be peened to lock the nut to the screw. 
    While I like how the square hole works, I don't like making it. Lately I've started tapping a thread in one of the blades like a lot of factory scissors do. The screw needs to be locked to that blade by peening after adjustment. This is the screw design I'm currently using. I make it on my lathe from mild steel (I use a die for the thread). 
    The head diameter is 5/16", the shoulder is sized to slip in a 3/16" reamed hole, 8-32 thread. I'm still looking for a good way to peen the screw. I've tried different punch designs on the screw, but I'm thinking I should try to peen the threads in the blade, too. Either way I need to do it without damaging the head of the screw.

    Which brings me to the design on the head of the screw. I won't use a screw that looks like a screw. I don't want to encourage someone to try to adjust it. I'm going to lock it so it can't move anyway, so I don't want it to look like it can. 

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  13. I had 2 goals for this design. I wanted to leave the shanks and bows as-forged, and I wanted the scissors to close without having to close my hand. The blades are mild steel with O1 cutting edges and rust blued. I've decided this style - bows created by bending the shanks - makes more sense for my shop than the punched and drifted style I had been making. Scissors have lots of surfaces to finish. This design eliminates the grinding, filing and polishing of the bows. It also lets me easily change the size and shape of the bows.


    To avoid sharp corners, I forged the shanks round before flattening them. I left the ends round, pushed them through holes punched in the shanks, then flattened the ends. I adjusted how the ends meet to adjust the closing point of the blades. 


    I also tried a new transition between blade and shank. I had been trying to make a 'tight' joint like most factory forged scissors, but I decided it was unnecessary to copy what can be forged in a closed die.






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  14. I'm glad to see this post. When I started making scissors a few years ago, the internet failed me. I was surprised and disappointed to find almost nothing to answer my many questions. I'm glad to have someone to learn with.


    This is the video I studied. The first scissors I made were spring scissors like this. I now make all my scissors this way, with the cutting edge welded on just the edge, not the whole inner face. I will post the bonsai scissors I made.


  15. 1 hour ago, Alan Longmire said:

    Those are lovely!  The discoloration looks to me to be an area that didn't get hardened.  1095 is good for that, consider it a bit of accidental hamon. ;)

    Thanks Alan. I didn't want to be the one to use the h-word.:)


    11 minutes ago, Dan Hertzson said:

     I assume you heat the back up with a torch to make that bend?

    Thanks, Dan. No, the bend is done cold. The area of the bend is not hardened. I did all the rough grinding before heat treat. I pre-bent it to about 90 degrees for heat treat. That way I can quench both blades at the same time when I pull it out of the oven. I finish grinding the blades in that configuration, sharpen, then finish the bending. The video link I provided shows the bending really well at about 3:00. I aim for a thickness of about .040" to achieve the right springiness. It has to be that same thickness for more than 1" to work right. It's a tricky grind to keep it that thin and even from side to side. I can thin it out more after its bent to adjust the spring. 

  16. Thanks, billyO. The first photo shows the blemish on the back of the blade. The last one shows it on the inside. The blemish appears to go through the blade. I used ATP-641 on all surfaces. I was etching and rust bluing at the same time, using rubber gloves etc., so I was attentive to cleanliness. 

  17. I had a small piece of low layer count 1095/15N20 leftover from a knife I made years ago. I squared it up, twisted it, and forged this scissors. My scissors usually have a cutting edge welded onto a mild steel body, so this one presented some problems for me. It took a lot of force to align the blades. I tried to keep the shanks out of the quench, but I don't think I was entirely successful.


    I sharpened the blades before etching, but the edge is pretty rough after. I decided to post pictures of it like this because it shows the contact point between the two blades. There's a bright line along both edges where the two blades are rubbing on each other. It still cuts paper but not a plastic grocery bag. The fact that there's no bright line or scratch marks anywhere else is a good thing. The blades should contact each other at only one point along the edge.


    There's a discoloration of the etch on one blade that I don't understand. I haven't done a lot of damascus, but I'm wondering if that's a remnant of the heat treat.


    Here are some technical details. The blades are ground on the inside with an 8” diameter contact wheel. That creates the clearance for the cutting edge. I grind that to 400 grit. On this pair there is only one bevel on the outside. It's ground at about 35 degrees, leaving 55 degree included angle on the blade. I sharpen that on diamond stones by first laying the inside flat on the stone and honing a flat that leaves a thin line around the perimeter of the blade known as the 'ride'. Once I have the ride, I hone the outside bevel, then back and forth with finer stones.


    I'm planning to do more pattern welding, but not with high carbon alloys. I plan to weld nickel and 1018 so I can get patterns without the hardness. I've been reading the pertinent posts about welding nickel, but I'd welcome any advice.


    This is a video I watched obsessively as I learned to make spring scissors. Learning how to steel an edge like this opened the door to larger scissors for me. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXKWhPkHNvE







    • Like 9
  18. These are mild steel (A36) with O1 edge. I try to avoid using A36, because I don't want any surprise hard spots where I need to file or drill. I originally sketched these with file work on the 1/4" square shanks. I switched to the twists because I wanted to leave some steel as-forged. The twists serve as witness to the heat of the forge. They also serve a couple other design functions. They provide a nice grip surface for a finger, and the bend in the shanks makes them look flexible.


    These are 7 1/2" OA, 3 1/4" blade, rust blued. 


    This is the first time I've threaded one blade with the pivot screw locked into that thread. Lots of scissors are produced that way, but I'm not a fan of the cosmetics. I also dislike pivot screws that look like they can be adjusted. Most cannot, but they still have a slot in the head that's inviting. This screw is a shoulder screw, meaning the rotating blade is not bearing on a thread. 


    In my previous scissors post, I named some barriers that might be inhibiting people from making scissors. Here's another. There are so many steps required, I have to spend time plotting my next moves so I don't do things in the wrong order. A big part of my learning curve has been to discover the best sequence of operations. As with other forgings, sometimes I have to turn left before I can turn right. 


    This is also the first time I've missed the centerline with the pivot hole. I hope it's the last. 






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