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John Page

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Everything posted by John Page

  1. Fantastic work!! I really love the ornamentation on it, the details are killer
  2. It’s truly wild! Sometimes I use just a pinch of flux if I don’t clean the surfaces at all or if there is old paint crust from the steel mill hiding inside, but for the most part it’s very forgiving because of how hot it gets. The first couple experiments I ended up burning steel until I trained myself to watch the surface more closely. The scale actually melts and that’s what I use as my reference for heat. I wear shade 3 brazing glasses so color is a bit weird, but without them I can already tell it’s terrible for the eyes to look at when getting to those heats. Best of luck! It opens a whole world of opportunity!
  3. Does anyone have any recommendations from steels they have used for making large chisels? I'm in a run of socketed chisels, a mix of large mortising chisels and timber slicks. In the past I've used 01 and A2 but I wanted to see if anyone has experience with any of the newer CPM steels in this context before I put an order in. Here's a quick shot of the first pass forging. The first two were made by forge welding a 3/4" OD tube to 3/4" mild, the rest out of 7/8" OD tube with 3/4" mild. I turned down a tenon on the lathe to about 1" for a longer weld interface, and reduced the socket at welding heat to a rough taper. Eventually I'll weld on the tool steel to the blank after forging out the 3/4" round to size. So far everything has been done in an induction forge, and after having it for around 5 months now I can say it's been revolutionary! Isolating heat is extremely easy and controlling heat is a breeze because I can see the surface of the steel the whole time. Incrementally welding the socket to the tenon blends the seam away almost completely invisible with no flux. Compared to propane or coal, the steel stays so clean I can hardly believe it. Anyway, I digress! More to come when I start welding the tool steel to the blanks.
  4. I just remembered what the blade was and it turns out I actually did something similar to what you are doing and it was a solid wrought core. It was sword length so maybe on something shorter it won't be as much of an issue but over the 3' more or less it had way too much flex and lack of spring.
  5. Nice! I've been playing with some wrought lately too. Had a big haul of crusty wagon tyres that is too dirty to work in propane but in small sections it's a great test drive for the induction forge I got last year. Some many years ago I made something similar but instead of a core and edge bars it was san mai and the biggest problem was that the wrought is both soft and prevented the core underneath from fully hardening so instead of having any sort of spring to the bend, it just took a set and stayed bent. Hopefully your mileage varies!
  6. To add to the buffer thing, although I have a healthy fear of bench grinder mounted wheels, there are some (depending on how you use them) safer/more controllable options that mount in an angle grinder. They're felt discs that you add compound to like bench grinder mounted counterparts, but being able to affix the workpiece to something that can't be thrown and always bringing the angle grinder to the piece in a way that you are spinning across the edge rather than into it makes it very difficult to catch and cause something nasty to happen. I use it mostly on hammers/axes/other tools that aren't knives, but it works on the usual things that buffing wheels are for. Searching Wool Felt Polishing Wheel brings up a variety of options!
  7. Really sorry to hear about the forced change, although change itself, especially in a direction that gives back to sanity and fulfilment (even if not strictly financially...) can be a huge blessing. I drifted towards full time ironwork a few years ago and although I wouldn't call it regular or predictable income by any means, it has also opened up a tremendous number of opportunities I never would have otherwise found. There are many days where I'm forced to take on small fabrication or machining projects but that's more a product of my workspace than anything else. Between ironwork (more blacksmithing but also blades), teaching, fab, and machining it keeps me busy. It's been a huge learning experience and development in skills I wouldn't otherwise have had a reason or time to pursue. I guess what I'm trying to say is keeping my mind open and making connections that lead to strange and wonderful projects has been interesting, fulfilling, and often exciting. When I don't have any particular projects or commissions, I spend a lot of time thinking through processes or developing tools to streamline production work or make things more repeatable. Time investment into workflow is something that I found difficult as a hobbyist but now relish. Already it's returned more time later down the line by an order of magnitude than I put into it. Best of luck, and try not to dwell too much on the downs and really take inspiration from the good times that are near on the horizon! John
  8. To add what Alan said about presses, I'm currently running a 50T H frame bottom up press and although it has many problems, the things it shines on are the dies and how quick it is to change them. I can swap them one handed in about 5 seconds which goes a long way when doing strange or complex operations. Of all the 2 dozen or more dies I've made for it over the years, the majority of them are just mild steel and if I use them appropriately (only on hot steel, no drop in tooling) they last quite a long time. Of the tool steel dies, most of the 4140 is not hardened and holds up great, and only the H13 punches see much distress due to the nature of heavier duty. Having a press that suits the type of forging you do is much more important than the dies because of how relatively easy they are to make. Top down is almost always better because the workpiece remains stationary the whole time, and as Alan said speed outweighs force. One thing I would never sacrifice is the foot traverse because I need both hands to hold work or tooling 90% of the time and it would be a mess to do with one hand sacrificed to operating the press.
  9. Having only tried casting a few times, would it still be necessary to have the gating set up in the wax when vacuum casting? I'm in the process of building a vacuum chamber/flask setup but have only done strictly gravity casting in the past with mixed results. In any event thanks for sharing the above info! John
  10. Very nicely done! The contrast in materials is beautiful and execution top notch! From the few times I've tried to make a pair it hasn't gone nearly so well
  11. What a wild ride! Glad to hear things are back on the up and up, and hoping they stay that way. Compounding injuries are a nightmare especially when there is no clear end in sight.
  12. Neat to see this come up again! I remember when you were first playing around with this and kept wondering what happened to the final results! Having this as a visual reference for pattern development vs depth in the twist is so much better and cleaner than anything else I have seen. Thanks so much for sharing (in spite of being a little late to the party)!
  13. Nothing much new that's exciting other than leather wrapping the handle. It's the first time I've done that before and I was not quite prepared for how much the dimensions changed after adding some cording to the ends and just above middle. Although the feel is very comfortable, the whole experience was a little haphazard and I may end up redoing it. More than anything however is the change in thickness of the handle near the pommel and now the steel is weird looking in an edgewise profile because it was made based on the thickness of the wooden handle core rather than finished dimension. I think more deliberation is needed but one or the other definitely needs to change. Tweaking the thickness of the pommel will require a secondary change in how the lines flow to make it not visually overlarge compared to the guard. That changing of the pommel may actually be a good thing because the balance is currently a little too far towards the tip for my liking and adding some extra mass down there to blend better with the handle will solve some of that...
  14. Holy dead thread revival!! I can hardly believe that this was 11 years ago now! Looking back I have lived in more than a dozen different places, had half as many different shops between four states, and somehow did not lose this ting. Every few years it seems I would find this sword blade amongst unforged bars of steel in a time old box from the New Jersey Steel Baron. Somewhere along the way, maybe around 2015 or so, I heat treated this at Dave DelaGardelle's first shop in Indiana. I was hoping to find pictures but in the digital age that is virtually time immemorial. The last encounter I have a vague memory of is doing a fair bit of grinding on this around the beginning of Covid when things were slow and not much forging was possible. That vague and inaccurate memory had the grinding somewhere in the rough stage but when I rediscovered the sword in the depths of my trunk I was pleasantly surprised from a profile point of view. The cross section is not bad but has a bit of snipe at the tip, and although the edge needs truing up a little the overall shape is fine for a wee short sword. Inspired to finally finish this blade I forged a rough upper and lower guard, slapped together a handle from the dregs of someone's table cutoffs, and jumped into the laborious trial of hand sanding. It is remarkable how much the character can change from a good 30min of hand sanding to knock off the belt sander finish. Not to say there aren't hours left to go sanding out the deeper blemishes, but ultimately it is starting to finally feel like a sword after all this time. From the same scraps I found two bits of wood that might just be wide enough (literally 1/16" wider than the blade at its widest) that may work for the scabbard as well, so now that all the pieces of the puzzle exist together for the first time, I can truly think over the form of the fittings and how it feels before committing to its shape. For the handle I am thinking of doing a leather wrap, died a dark chestnut to match the dark aesthetic of an eventual bluing of the blade and fittings. Anywho, I thought it was interesting to revisit this old project and maybe before the next decade passes it will actually be done! John Hand for scale- It's a rather short blade, somewhere along the line I reprofiled it and made it a bit sharper in tip geometry from the original rounded nose. Shortly after marking the new guard shape I committed to it and thinned out the tips. Overall much better shape. Before the final fitting I am going to address the shoulders of the blade where it meets the guard and remove those little cuts in to make the termination of the blade parallel.
  15. If you're worried about the consistency of the radius ground in, pick up a cheap set of radius gauges and continuously measure at various positions along the length of the dies to ensure you are sneaking up on the target geometry. However you grind it, I find the easiest way to freehand a radius is similar to forging- square octagon, octagon to 16 sides, etc. until you are mostly round then dressing the entire surface to smooth out any remaining corners. I would assume the dies are some sort of heat treated tool steel in the 4140 range or maybe 5160. A good file might work for the final passes cleaning up the faces, a little slower and safer than grinders for the finesse work. In any case, a radius gauge that you can fit over the dies while you work will go a long way. edit- I would personally keep one of the flat dies as is. Of all the guillotine dies I have that and the butcher are the most used with a fullering die second. Between the three the rest are all very specific (tenoning dies, fluting, asymmetric fullering dies, amongst others)
  16. Beautiful! I agree with Alan, you totally nailed the feel of it. All the details and patina are wonderfully complementary.
  17. I've been using the 3M versaflow for a few years now because of sealing issues with beard that are encountered via normal respirators and absolutely love it. The positive air flow is nice but mainly because the full face seal so there is a 0% chance of debris entering the eyes as well as the lungs. The filter sits behind the back so it's not in the line of fire for the majority of airborne dust anyway but the air quality seems great regardless. I believe they also make a model designed for filtering out welding fumes so whatever that cartridge is must do some serious filtration. It's a bit of a high dollar item but being able to add ear protection onto it, while I'm wearing the thing it covers every safety concern I have while grinding. Much better than the respirator only filters for my situation, at that!
  18. I just finished up a ribbon burner build, the first time I have really spend time using them. The forge build itself was designed for huge billets for a project on the near horizon that requires hundreds of pounds of steel broken into ~15kg billets. Really massive project. Anyway, I made the mistake of using too much castable refractory and although it is good to have the thermal mass when adding that much cold metal, it takes almost an hour to get up to temp and stays hot for more than 6 hours after turning it off even keeping the fan running. I tried the smallest bouncy house blower I could find (around 130cfm, nor sure what that translates to) and even with an inline speed control to reduce the power to less than half it was still far too much. In the end I got a three way valve marketed for pool supply and vent almost 90% of the air out the side and, with the burner in a smaller forge I can get to an extreme welding heat in maybe 15min. Moral of the story for me was having as small of a forge chamber as you can get away with, more kaowool than castable, and devoting a solid amount of time to getting the fuel/air right. It's probably simpler with a blown forge that uses a single or double orifice rather than a ribbon burner but I have otherwise only ever used venturi forges which by comparison are easy.
  19. I picked up a huge plate shear recently and it can cold cut mild up to I think 3/8, maybe larger. The leverage comes from a single gear from handle to blade so there's a little mechanical advantage to help out. Before finding this one, I had my eye on a few different similar machines that were classified as manual iron workers but I don't think that was totally correct. Peddinghaus made one that had passthroughs for various shapes and I believe could handle up to 1" square! In any event, something like that might be more available to you than saws but still have good capacity, especially for non-ferrous but also thin tool steels.
  20. I work at a sawmill for the day job and I find a lot of things that trees grow around, but that's a new one! Needless to say it's a surprise to have a blade explode in the middle of a 5' diameter log because it grew around a rock or a metal fence post 80 years ago!
  21. Good stuff! I've used these with the anvil too and in the right circumstances do a decent job if you don't have someone else to hold/strike for you.
  22. Will do! The minimal consolidation I was able to manage resulted in minimal actual forging, mostly just hammering it slowly into itself at high heats like you described. Welding heat for steel is melting for the cast I was working so it took a bit of trial and error and loss of most of the billet, but what's left is a fairly solid chunk large enough that I'll likely have to cut it into smaller sections to weld into wrought. Now that I think about it I might have tried something similar before but with much worse proportions that ultimately doomed it to failure. The cast was so thick and overall billet so large that it just sort of dripped out the sides. Now that I know better, the results should (hopefully) yield better results!
  23. Really interesting stuff, cool to see some new-to-me steel making methods. That's especially interesting with the widmanstatten patterns, I've only ever heard of those in meteoric iron patterns from the nickel. I have a few hunks of cast iron hearth steel from many years ago that I've never been able to forge into anything, folding into wrought sounds like a worthy experiment to see if I can get anything useable out of the maybe 5-7lb of it that are left from the previous attempts at decarb and consolidation. Thanks for sharing!
  24. No worries! I totally understand, I would absolutely dread trying to long distance (or even short distance!) relocate my shop. There are quite a few things on that list that also jump out, I’ll figure out my near term work schedule and shoot you a dm, I might take a trip out. John
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