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Brian Lawson

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About Brian Lawson

  • Birthday 10/01/1982

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  • Location
    Palmyra, Pennsylvania
  • Interests
    Bladesmithing, Leathercrafting, drawing, writing, sharing ideas with like minds,learning new skills, preserving the past.

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  1. Forging and hotwork is a magical experience for me, and it's one of the things that really lit a fire (pardon the pun) under my rear to go ahead and delve into this craft. I think many of us have a similar experience, coupled with a deep respect for the old traditions. It all boils down to what one is seeking. For those who need to produce a great quantity of blades, stock removal is usually the fastest and most accurate route, especially if a series of blades need to be uniform. It also provides a much more economical starting point for those that are new to the craft, or are limited by other
  2. Black Heat: A state in which iron is too cool to work, yet will happily melt your flesh like tallow, leaving you with a cauterized hollow wherever it touches. Torch Kiss: A patch of skin briefly exposed to either a recently used torch head, or a finely focused flame, resulting in a horrific "Toxic Avenger" looking bubbling blisster that will inevitably rupture long before healing can begin. Sprite Kisses: The peppering of orange sparks one is showered in when burning hardwood charcoal in a forge. This is how fire sprites let you know how happy they are that you just added fresh fuel t
  3. I wouldn't sweat it, Ric. I watched you forge an Ulfberht sword, and there is no cheap, easy way to do that, period! Unfortunately, we are living in an age where many people want to take the easy route. But, mastery of a craft can't be faked. The younger generations, i.e. my generation on forward, do have a bad habit of being decieved. I don't know how many frustrating conversations I've had with young men in their teens or twenties about koshirae, hada, and hamon characteristics,as well as what a sword can and can't do. Misinformation abounds, particularly with regards to japanese blades
  4. I am arriving at this conversation a bit late, it seems. I've been away for a while, getting funds put together and making plans to head back down to my home town of Roanoke, Va. Oh well, lets see if I can toss some fuel on the fire, eh? Different spirits like different offerings, but tobacco is your everyday standbye. It literally works for almost every nature spirit or fey creature I've encountered, and your ancestors will appreciate it as well. Pele, the volcanic Goddess of the Hawaiian islands enjoys rum, particularly dark rum, and cured tobacco. I would reserve calling Her for work
  5. Don't forget to post some pics of it finished! I've never seen this pattern for a skiving knife before, only the standard Stohlman adjustables of the modern era. Very cool, ye olde fashioned style
  6. Thank you all for the advice. I was kind of hoping the nickel silver would be a good substitute for pure silver, but after hearing Alan's description, I think I'll abandon it. I certainly don't want something that turns yellow with time. Even at $20 an oz., silver is just out of my price range right now. If I had experience with it, I wouldn't mind paying for it, but the last thing I need to do right now is buy a material I have no experience working with and wind up wasting it(I have no crucible or furnace to smelt it back down into an ingot). I will be getting some silver bezel at some point
  7. Oops! I forgot to mention one critical thing. If you try your hand at wet forging, please remember to wear full eye protection! This is very important. The scale comes off of the steel in a miniature explosion and the fragments of hot scale can fly in any direction. I learned the hard way earlier this summer and got a nasty little burn on my eyelid because I forgot to put my goggles on Dressing like a pirate is fun for parties, but nobody wants to wear an eyepatch for the rest of their lives! Please be safe, goggles save eyeballs
  8. This summer has been all about challenging myself and getting out of my comfort zone. I feel that I've learned a lot in these past few months, and with the addition of some new equipment coming late this fall, I am hoping to produce some more ornate pieces. Up until now, I have made all of my fittings from copper, which I love working, but I need to branch out and get aquainted with new materials. I want to start making my guards and other fittings from brass and nickel silver, but I have no experience with these metals. I know that they can both be milled and worked with files, but I hav
  9. Looks to me like you're well on your way. Better forging techniques will come with time and practice, as do many other processes involved in bladesmithing. Ours is a craft with a wide learning curve, and much of it is learning by doing. I think the items you've shown us here are pretty impressive for someone who's only been working for a few short months. I would suggest you move up to a monosteel like 1084 and get yourself aquainted with the heat treating process. This is where I struggled for some time, but I am using a coal forge which is hard to get up to a precise temperature and hold the
  10. Dammit, my sword design...it's been highjacked! Just kidding. That blade looks awesome! I love kriss blades. When I first started forging one of my signature designs was a kriss with the handle being the body of a serpent. I made them out of mild steel round stock in different sizes. I always thought they'd serve well as an athame or a letter opener. There is something about the kriss that just seems kind of mesmerizing. I think that the handle and guard are a bit plain for such a fantastic looking knife, and I imagine it would have some serious appeal with either a figure carved handle or
  11. I had the same problems you describe, especially with trying to straighten the work out afterwards. I posted a thread some months back entitled Broken Blade, Broken Heart in the Beginners Place section of the forums. I had also attempted to straighten my kukri in a vise while cold, and it broke in half, with tons of micro fractures I discovered later. It turns out my grain size was way too big to begin with, but I also only tempered to 350 f, which was too little to really relieve the stress in the blade. My last fiasco, with a big jungle knife I spent almost a week on, has taught me that even
  12. It is frustrating, isn't it? I can't even count how many blades I've busted in the quench or just simply worked at the wrong temperature. I have a box in the corner of my shop filled with failed projects. It just comes with the job when you're just getting started, and even some very accomplished smiths still break a blade here and there. I am currently homing in on working with 1084, and four busted blades later, I think I have the heat treatment down pretty good. If you tell us a bit more about what type of steel you're using, and what temperatures you're working at, I'm sure someone wi
  13. While on campus, it may be better to leave your blade tucked away somewhere safe. People in certain public spaces will feel uneasy seeing someone openly carrying a knife, and that is an unfortunate stigma that we are trying to reverse in the knife community. A lot of folks don't realize the importance of the knife as a tool for daily use, and instead imagine it as being nothing more than a weapon at times. That's why I recomended saving some pictures of your work on your phone for these kinds of situations. This is an excellent idea. Making videos allow the customer to witness all of th
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