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    ct, usa
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    Swords, knives, tools. Traditional archery; recurve/longbow. muscle and sports cars. Pulp horror (Lovecraft, R.E. Howard etc. -Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn! :-)) bodybuilding and martial arts.
  1. Does anyone know how leather/doeskin/suede ito is made? I think its thin leather or synthetic suede folded like bias tape with a center seam on the back side. Roughly 10-15 years ago there was a doeskin ito that was pretty popular for custom Japanese style swords that I think was made by a professional polisher without factory equipment, but I can’t find any information about it currently. Ive tried a few half hearted experiments with 3-4oz veg tan (way too thick lol) and ultrasuede material and ribbon, but haven’t had any success. For the next attempt I’m pl
  2. Hi Art, just to clarify, I didn't mean to compare Johnston's knife to the "beaters" I used to play with. It looks like a heck of a knife, and its certainly proved its quality with the decades of use its seen. I still think the knife is more or less original, and the missing guard and possibly broken and resharpened tip (look at the grind line at the tip) are just from heavy use, not intentional modification. I wouldn't be surprised if Johnston used it for throwing, the weight (3/8" thick), length, and shape of the handle would make it easy to throw single spins by the handle accurately at a
  3. It looks like it originally had a thin guard to me. It may even be the original scales; when I was younger, I often used to go in the woods and throw random cheap knives at tree stumps and various non-living things (actually, who am I kidding, I still do that all the time ) The wear on that knife is very consistent with my experience: the guards first bend, then fatigue from being bent back and then break off. The tip also looks like it may have lost a little metal too. The only thing that looks unusual is that stag or bone handles usually crack when thrown.
  4. Thanks for the replies, I'll skip the crossfiling next time. The only reason I tried crossfiling in the first place was because my shinogi usually look pretty much like a kriss blade after angle grinding . It actually works pretty well to even everything out, if only it didn't create low spots. Just curious, how do you change the shape with drawfiling? What I mean is, any dips or unevenness just seem to flatten out while following the original contours when I do it. Mike, I did try to make a sen, but either it didn't come out right of I can't figure out how to use it, or probably both.
  5. On the ones I made, I just drilled a hole in a piece of broomstick and tapped about an 1.5" of the tang in. The wood cracked of course, but they are still easier to inlet with than a western carpenters chisel. On the backs, I ground out a concave channel, sort of like a fuller on the lower contact surface. If you use a rotary tool, I found it easier to grind it out side to side first, and then lengthwise to even it out.
  6. I've made a couple out of random non-laminated high carbon steel (old files and bits of failed blades etc). I'm a complete beginner, and I don't know if you've ever made them before, but the one thing I learned the hard way is to forge them out straight, grind and file them, forge bend the curved tangs after filing (over a wet 2x4), then heat treat. I had a heck of a time on the first ones I made because I curved the tangs before filing. Also, I used a dremel tool with a small cylinder stone bit to dish out the backs after hardening and tempering. I have read somewhere online that Japanese
  7. Just wondering if there is some way to fix or avoid this: every blade I've attempted has had the same problem. After grinding, I cross file to get the dips and waves out and also to set the shinogi (the ridgeline for those not into Japanese styled blades). I then drawfile, which goes well enough at first until the blade is almost ready for heat treat, but there are always messed up spots in the shinogi that just don't want to come out. I'll post pics to illustrate what I mean. Is there a way to fix this or do you just have to drawfile away for a few days to get them out? I should add that
  8. I can relate to your situation; I ended up buying a forge instead of building one for similar reasons. I have the 2 burner knifemaker's model form Diamondback Ironworks. Please note, I'm a beginner, and I don't have any real experience with other forges, but with that being said the Diamondback seems excellent. Its been completely reliable for the two years I've had it, and is easy to set up, light, and start forging. The only issues with it are that I sometimes wish I had bought the 3 burner, I have mostly forged sword length blades so far, and I have difficulty getting even heat for norm
  9. Oh it was the scale, it makes perfect sense now; what I think happened is that there is a pretty heavy layer of scale that probably dulled the first bit(a worn TiNi coated bit) so it heated up enough to work harden the steel. This one is just a throwing knife, thats just getting leather slabs for a handle, so I didn't bother to grind the scale off. I'll reanneal, clean the scale off, and try with a fresh bit and cutting fluid. Thanks everyone!
  10. After taking a break from bladesmithing for a couple weeks, I recently tried a heat treat on a katana i made a while ago,just for the heck of it. The blade is one of the first things I made and is too poorly shaped to bother finishing in any case. I don't have a proper set up for heat treating; all I have at this point is a 2 venturi propane forge, a plywood water tank, and a sack of satanite. I put a approx 3 or 4 mm layer of satanite on, wiped the edge off, put on some ashi, and let it dry overnight. The next day I heated it to non magnetic as evenly as I could, and quenched in water for a
  11. Hi, Ive been attempting bladesmithing again and there are a few things I can't seem to find the answers to or figure out on my own. Is there any trick to profiling without use of a belt grinder? Ive been using an 8" double grinding wheel, a 4" angle grinder and a file, but I was just curious if there is a better way. Also, how do you drill holes in steel? I know this seems like an absurd question, and I did research it; i just can't put the tang pin holes in a blade I made. The method Ive tried is to use a benchtop drill press at its slowest speed, punch a little dent where the hole shoul
  12. Again, thanks to everyone for the advice and words of encouragement. Actually I kinda feel I should apologize for the my original posts; I'm sorry to have been negative, I was just frustrated the last couple days because I'm making a set of curved chisels (sort of saya nomi-ish) and I just couldn't get the base even on most of them. They kept hitting the other wheel or the guards on my bench grinding wheel, and then they kept flexing when I tried to drawfile them because I couldn't think of a way to clamp them flat because of the curved tang. The annoying thing is one of my production katan
  13. Thanks for the replies, it seems unanimous that the problem is not the tools, but technique. The main reason I asked was that it seemed like it would be easier to grind on a flat platen, without the other wheel hitting the work(when using the grinding wheel) and similar annoyances would be alleviated with a belt grinder. Currently, besides the 8" bench grinder, I'm using a 4" angle grinder(its the one from Harbor freight), it did have a 60 grit flap wheel, but it quickly wore unevenly and then just mostly stopped cutting so I've been using the 36 grit stone wheels. I did read a lot online a
  14. I've been attempting to make my own swords and knives for the last year or two, the main problem so far has been the grinding and filing stage. Working an average of two or three hours a day four to six days a week, I only have a few unhardened blades and a couple of failed attempts at heat treating. The problem is that I can't forge close enough to final dimension to avoid significant stock removal. I'm using a small angle grinder and a 8" double grinding wheel. Followed by countless hours of filing. The problem is the best finish I can achieve with the angle grinder takes literally month
  15. Hi, I am just learning to make swords and knives. I've got 3 katanas, 3 wakizashis and a tanto that are just about ready for heat treat. I have a plywood water tank, but I need one for oil. Luckily, I was able to find a 6" diameter steel pipe that should be perfect(?), but I'm not sure what to use for a base; I think maybe just a plate of steel welded on. I'm not sure what thickness to get (the pipe is about 3/16" wall thickness) and how wide it should be for stability. The pipe is around five feet long, not sure how long it needs to be for quenching swords? I know this is probably seems lik
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