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  1. I perused a lot of grinder pictures and plans and then did some measuring using a belt to see how long to make it and so on. Some trial and error. I might actually shorten the spring bar and get a shorter spring to add a bit to add a bit more tension.
  2. Greetings, below is a video of my home built grinder clamped down to the table. I used a 2HP motor, 3 step pulley and aluminum idle wheels. I wanted to make a slack belt attachment on which one could bolt on the platen if desired. I had a heck of a time with swinging arm tensioning systems so I went with a receiver tube/spring based system. One thing I am wondering about is that when runnning the belt has a slight wobble from side to side. I have tried to align everything perfectly so I cant imagine what might be causing the wobble. Also I show grinding a scrap knife blank (one where the forging was messed up a bit) just to test it. The grinder didn't throw off hardly any sparks which really surprised me but it did grind the metal. The belt is a 36 grit zirconia alumina belt. Now I need to paint it (though I dont know how to paint the reciever tube insides other than maybe electro powder coating. Also, I need to build the table. In the end, the motor will be under the table the grinder is bolted to to protect it as much as possible. I eagerly appreciate all feedback.
  3. OK, we got a couple hours of shop time tonight. The breaker bits are almost the right thickness. To makes the thickness correct we used a simple tool shown below. And here is a video of the tool's use. One key is to keep one of the feet pinned to the anvil and don't have a death grip on the tool or you will jar your wrist hard. We also changed the handles on the blanks. The long handle with a single weld wasn't giving us the strength we needed. You have to figure that you will waste the first inch of the metal near the weld so we wont worry about forging that. Now we have loop handles on both with better welds, one per side. The pictures below show both styles. The shorter loop style is easier to handle. Finally a here are pics of my son and I, respectively, at my little forge. He is 15 and seriously into smithing and metal working.
  4. Thanks for the reply. Yes I would love to have a power hammer. My productivity would go up dramatically but I need to find a motor to power the one I have plans for and that will set me back at least 300 bucks from what I can tell. (Its the clay spencer design). I even thought of a treadle hammer but that is almost as expensive in materials. Another thought was an air powered hydraulic press. I wonder how good the ones at habor freight could be adapted. At any rate, forging down the steel continues. Right now we are using a tool to get consistent depth. The tool is made of mild steel with a 1x1 bar welded to two feet made of 3/16ths. The idea is your helper puts it over the steel and you hammer it down. The tool catches on the feet and so between the feet the height of the steel is exactly 3/16ths. You do have to get the steel close beforehand or you will be working it forever and watch out for shock impact from the tool on the hands. Double gloves work well. When I get home I will take some pics of the tool and its use. Right now I am investigating what I want to do for the finishing. I want the edge to be strong but as sharp as possible and id like to get a Hamon in the blade if possible and if the Hamon will hold over repeated use. The machete isn't going to be to sit on a wall.
  5. Greetings, I am working on a Kukri machette based off some recycled jackhammer bit steel that I am pretty sure is high manganese tool steel according to the spark test. When heat treating I would love to try a Hamon on the hardened edge of the blade. However, I am not sure about the sequencing. I think the process is to 1) Grind to final shape and bevel, 2) lay down clay, 3) heat treat in water or oil, 4) polish the blade with high grit paper. The question is when I polish do I run the risk of erasing the hamon on the blade? If so, what do I do to avoid this problem. Do I need to temper in a 400 degree oven BEFORE final polishing? Again what will this do to my hardened edge and Hamon pattern? Thanks a bunch for your advice.
  6. I was watching a survival show with Myke Hawke and saw that he uses a machette that looks great and has great functionality. So I figured I would start a new project to make my own version of the machete, but my son (15) wanted to make one as well so it was time to get out to the garrage/shop and get it going. First of all, the inspiration for the project is Myke Hawke's machete shown below: To start, we used paving breaker bits by Makita that I believe are something like 1045 but with high manganese, almost tool steel. Look at the spark test below and let me know what you think. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAFq3kLc9eQ We cut off the collars from the bits to start with. Then we welded some rebar to the ends to use as a handle. Tongs are such a PITA for this stuff. The next step was to seriously soak the steel for 20 minutes in the forge to make sure its heated all the way through. Forging down is a hell of a lot of work. Normal mild steel if you hit this hard would be crushed. However, this stuff only laughs at heavy blows. If I had a power hammer this would be much easier but alas I do not have one. So we had to do it the old fashioned way. End of day 1 we have the bars almost flat and down to about 1/2" thick in most places and a little thicker elsewhere. We need it down to about 1/4" thick and 3" to 4" wide flat bar. We want the overall knife to be about 3/16" thick but we want to leave room for material removed during grinding. After the scale is ground off, we might loose about a 1/16" total. That's about all for today because my son and I are both tapped out. More soon.
  7. Greetings, I am debating forging a Kukri style heavy machette and I was considering using a paver breaking bit (old one) as the base steel. I know many non-damascus knives are made of 5160 but it seemed that the paving breaker bit was pretty good stuff. I made a hot cut hardie out of it and it has held up for quite a while. Any comments on whether it is a good idea? It is a hell of a lot of work to work that bit down so I dont want ot embark on it if its a bad choice. Working those bits at full size without a power hammer can be a ton of work.
  8. Greetings, I am working with some cable that I have welded and ground down. I was wondering what texture I should expect of the final blade when the whole etch process is done. Will it be really smooth like a polished knife (non damascus) or should I expect some relief to stand out? Also, if it is rough, should I expect more rust on the etched blade? Thanks in advance.
  9. Greetings, I have gotten pretty decent at welding cable and I have been working on my skills as a knife maker (though I would LOVE to have a belt grinder, files are getting old). However, I am having a really big problem etching the damascus and getting the pattern to fix on the finished product. My etchant tank is about 1 part FeCl, 1 part vinegar and 1 part distilled water. I neutralize with TSP in distilled water. When I etch the steel I have tried various polish levels down to 1200 grit and as low as 220. If I leave the blade in the etchant for quite a while (at least 10 to 20 min) I can get the snakeskin-ish pattern of the damascus to show up. However the first wipe of the blade wipes away a lot of carbon black and most of the pattern contrast with it. I can still make out the pattern in strong light with close looking but it isnt a prominent pattern like I would desire. Polish level doesnt seem to change this much though my bias is to polish high anyway because I like the smoothness. However, even low grit polishing reveals mediocre results. I am looking for any and all suggestions as to how I can make my patterns stand out on the knife and have them be durable. Thanks in advance.
  10. I was currious if anyone had tried pattern welding link type chain. What were your experiences and lessons learned. Thanks a bunch.
  11. Yeah I have that problem in my shop already. The next big thing will have to be a Ray Clontz tire hammer. I have the plans and the build is going to happen slowly. I am also building a new forge (my fourth) which should hopefully be the forge to end all forges. I am extremely grateful for all the info in the thread and I hope someone in the future can make use of all the info in here. Id even nominate it for a pinned thread for the other beginners. My appreciation goes out to the other folk here. When it comes to the advice itself I am going to definitely make use of about everything in the thread. Ultimately I want to get up to building my own folding knife. I am already working on the design when I cant be in the shop but that is some time out.
  12. I heat treated it. Heated the blade edge to non-magnetic and then cut it into a vegetable oil quench. Then I roasted the knife on 400 degrees in my oven for an hour. Basically following instructions I have read about or seen in how-to videos. The blade etches, its just that the contrast isnt there.
  13. So I created my first knife with cable damascus. I am pretty good with the forge so that wasnt that hard. The knife making was. Once I polished it to 800 grit, changing sanding directions with each step up in grit, I put it in an etchant of 1 part distilled white vinegar, 1 part ferric chloride and 3 parts water. I left to slow etch for 30 minutes. When I come out to check the knife and pull it out, it looks beautiful (for a beginner that is). The contrast is dramatic with the veining of the damascus. However, as soon as I wipe the blade with a towel, or touch it up with steel wool to get the carbon off, the pattern vanishes to barely visible subtlety. Re-etching gives me the same result. Even if I took great care to not touch the blade, its clear that even minimal usage would strip the pattern right off the blade. So what am I doing wrong here? Thanks a bunch.
  14. The metal is cable damascus. Thanks for all the great information. I will put it all to good use.
  15. Long posts mean a lot of information so I thank you heartily. I will ask you as well where you get your files and abrasives? Also can you give me an idea of the set of tools you use in order? For example, Bastard File, Smooth file, Emery Cloth, 100 grit, 220 grit, 400 grit. So what grind do you think holds the absolute sharpest (shaving sharp) edge the best and with longest life and easiest resharpening?
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