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Caleb Harris

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Everything posted by Caleb Harris

  1. Caleb Harris

    First knife, big mistake. Can this be fixed?

    I think Geoff covered most of it. Your life will change when you get a drill press by the way, even just a cheap one is life changing. You'd be surprised that a good number of professional knifemakers don't drill holes the exact diameter of the pins; rather they'll just drill a bunch of have the waterjetted blanks cut out large cavities inside. Of course, this means you can't cut corners on epoxy application; the surfaces of both tang and scales have to be chemically clean before applying the right epoxy. Good epoxy and good application is shockingly effective and if it's done right will outlast the scales. The pins in this case serve as a method to hold the scales to each other so that ripping out the bottom surface of the scales is no longer possible (it's like gluing something to the wall; the paint will rip off the wall, not the glue off the paint). Keep in mind also that there are a lot of strength issues that need to be kept in perspective; for example the old full vs hidden tang debate. Newbie fanatics will take only full tang knives "because they're stronger". Which, as a concept and all else equal, they really are (there's more mass of steel). The clinch though is that assuming the stick tang is well constructed, by the time you apply enough stress to actually destroy the handle, you're A: using the knife wrong (tip; it's not a prybar that you can hook up to a hydraulic press) and B, something else has already failed (wood scales, tip, edge, etc.). Being that smaller pins are (generally) sexier, you can probably just stick smaller pins in the holes you already have, drill out the scales to the new pin size, and center them because you have wiggle room inside that larger hole. Or you can just drill new holes; use a center punch to mark a divet in the correct spot so the drill doesn't roll away, and start with a smaller drill bit than intended so you're less likely to roll out of alignment.
  2. Caleb Harris

    Latest Construction Photos and a Request for Aid

    Right on! I reposted it, hopefully it gets some good traction and spread around a bit. A lot of people have recognized and read the book so far. Oh also JPH; there's a young man (about 17) who's got the fire in his belly, who messaged me and said he's in the area you're moving too. It sounds like he'd be very happy to help out what he can with the shop, to support another bladesmith and get some knowledge rubbed off on him. I pointed him to your website so he may contact you soon.
  3. Caleb Harris

    Latest Construction Photos and a Request for Aid

    You should update your gofundme with the break-in information
  4. Caleb Harris

    Latest Construction Photos and a Request for Aid

    Ugh. Really feel for you here. I haven't been on the forum at all much lately so didn't see this until now. The stolen tools are a major hit. I have a fairly large and very engaged media presence ( https://www.instagram.com/bladesofbelaq/ ) - more as a young buck than anything else, but I think I can help circulate the gofundme a good bit. I'm not entirely familiar with the full extent of legacy though and would like to write up a concise but fully encompassing summary on your impact on the bladesmithing community. Is there anyone else here that can fill me in on the full impact? Especially other big names that have been affected by your work and who people would be familiar with. I'm looking into your writing right now
  5. Caleb Harris

    Perhaps the busiest knife I have ever made...

    My sister was watching over my shoulder and says of the blade "Looks like he killed a zebra for that" . I love it!
  6. Caleb Harris


    Keep in mind that there are usually a ton of local anvils that just take some digging to find. Never new, but very often in excellent condition and you save a ton getting an antique one. I got my Peter Wright with only a bit of wear, and then over a month period I found more than twenty anvils within a half hour drive more or less suitable for bladesmithing, just after having been aware of them. I forge iron had a good article on finding 'em.
  7. Caleb Harris

    "I ain't got a good anvil..."

    Hey that's what I started out with! Gives a kinda fuzzy feeling, seeing that
  8. Caleb Harris

    How do you make a makers mark?

    Buckeye Engraving http://www.buckeyeengraving.com/ is one of if not the most popular touchmaker maker in the bladesmith world, at least among the Instagram community. Everyone loves his stuff. I haven't got mine done yet simply because I can't settle on a design
  9. Caleb Harris

    The old leaf spring debate

    Cracks are fairly common (I had a big ol one that I had to chuck because of them), but easy to spot when you start working.
  10. Caleb Harris

    File Trade?

    Yeah this is how I picked them up; already in the box tangled up like that. I gotta get a space before I can properly separate them so I'm keeping them where they are to keep from getting more jostled then they already are.
  11. Caleb Harris

    File Trade?

    So I lucked out and bought a bunch of files from a retiring machinist. A bunch of old Nicholsons (used, but well taken care of), averaging about a foot in length and medium to coarse. I didn't get a date but I believe they're pretty old, back when Nicholson was one of the best. I've also got a few brand new unused Simonds; triangle and flats, averaging about 8", most are lathe files. I'll get more dimensions and specifics if y'all are interested. Note that the Simonds are practically perfect condition, wrapped in paper when I got them. The Nicholsons are used and were together in a box when I picked it up. There's a variety of cuts. I'm looking for good needle files (mostly for guard fits and the like), anyone happen to have extras they'd like to swap? I'm also looking for various tools and materials handy in this craft, just seeing what's out there (especially grinder wheels and attachments). Money's tight so I'm shooting for trades as much as possible . Thanks all!
  12. Caleb Harris

    NewVeau Dagger

    I loved seeing this one come to life on Instagram. Fantastic work as always.
  13. Caleb Harris

    Finishing finishing decorative filework

    Generally it's like everything else; sandpaper. Otherwise, the best bet is probably dremel bits: jewelers have a ton for every purpose imaginable. I don't do much filework but my go to would be rubber polishing bits, like this one: https://www.dremel.com/en_US/products/-/show-product/accessories/462-rubber-polishing-cone-point . Rubber polishing bits are generally just rubber imbedded with abrasives. It feels like magic when you use them. Only tricky bit would be to keep all the sand lines consistent, but it just takes a bit of practice. Yes, theoretically you could get good enough with a stone rotary bit or a grinding belt, but honestly if you're grinding on a stone (as opposed to a belt) it's faster, easier, and more accurate to use files anyway. Same with using abrasive belts, except it'd technically be faster. Never underestimate the file.
  14. Caleb Harris

    Sand paper

    It doesn't really matter all that much. Heck if I were you I'd just keep my eyes peeled at yard sales, craigslist, or facebook marketplace and buy one cheap there. I've got a dewalt, have used it (and it was used before me) a ton for a good five years now and it's never failed me.
  15. Caleb Harris

    Last of the Nevada Blades

    Under three days?? Dang
  16. Caleb Harris

    Sand paper

    On files, I lucked out and picked up a ton from a retiring machinist. Old Nicholson's (from when they were good), used, but definitely still sharp. If you can pay shipping via paypal (like $10) I'll send you one or two suitable for draw filing.
  17. Caleb Harris

    Sand paper

    That is a very good point, angle grinders especially it's worth it to get a safer one. Dangerous little buggers, but at least they're scary enough to keep you alert (unlike buffing wheels). I still have two halves of a cutoff disc lodged in the shop wall, gonna frame them when I get the chance.
  18. Caleb Harris

    Forge Burner

    The simplest and probably version is the Ron Reil style burner. Everything on it you can pick up from the local hardware store, except perhaps the propane adaptor. Check this out: https://ronreil.abana.org/design1.shtml
  19. Caleb Harris

    Sand paper

    Files will work pre heat treat, but after that you can't really use steel tools to grind the blade to final shape. Until you can get a grinder, I'd honestly start out with an angle grinder (like $15 used) fitted with a flap disc, and very (very) gently and carefully grind down from there. You won't get crisp plunges, but you'll get a very good feel for steel; how it acts, how quickly it can heat up (and it will heat up quick), and how to get a feel for angles. Then I'd finish up with sandpaper. (Get comfortable with sandpaper, y'all will be spending a lot of time together). For files, depending on the coarseness of course, starting at 120 grit should do fine. Then just go up through each progression until you're happy; a clean 400 is usually on the lower tier of satin finishes. Hardware stores have 'em pretty pricy, but Combat Abrasives (I get all my stuff from them) have excellent prices and a good selection. Just get the cheapest for now. Oh, and two bits of advice for hand sanding: sand in alternate directions with each grit, so you can very clearly eliminate every scratch from the previous grit. Also, be comfortable buying a lot and throwing it out. You'll be happier without continually trying to sand with a worn out piece.
  20. Caleb Harris


    I love Combat Abrasives: https://www.combatabrasives.com . Good stuff, reliable, and they're always bringing in more variety. Their 24 and 36 grit "Shredders" are comparable to the Norton Blaze, and they offer good bulk deals. A while back half of a big order of mine got lost in the mail, and they replaced everything for free. Good stuff, great service, always improving.
  21. Caleb Harris

    Buckeye Hunter - or the knife I made twice

    I love this piece! It looks beautiful, and feels like a user. Gorgeous work!
  22. Caleb Harris

    First Integral Chef

    Culinary knives are something I've really only admired and watched other people make, but with my brother entering more into the food world, and Christmas coming up, I decided to give it a go. Forged from one of those E-shaped rail anchors. I'm not super familiar with integrals, so it was tricky to get the heel down straight from the bolster, but I got it more or less. Mareko Maumasi sent me a quick sketch of how he draws the heel back behind the bolster, so that helped, but I think I can do better on the next one. Salem's recent integral has me floored but it's a goal eventually. The entire forging process consisted of studying integral knives by half a dozen or more kitchen knife makers between each heat. It heat treated well, took a slight hamon but it wasn't much so I didn't bring it out. Quenched in Canola, tempered at 375 for several hours, then torch tempered the spine. It takes an incredible flex, and the edge flex (ground to zero) was fantastic. Took forever to hand sand though. The spine is roughly 1/8 in front of the plunge, with a distal taper. Blade is roughly 9" (I didn't take official measurements). Thermoplastic spacer, stabilized Kingwood from greenberg woods, and stabilized curly koa from Petescustomkoa. Overall a fun project and a new world I really like. Maybe someday I'll find a niche but until then I'll try anything and everything.
  23. Caleb Harris

    First Integral Chef

    Hand. I might be getting access to a press and hammer soon so hopefully that'll change
  24. Caleb Harris

    From Katana to Cutlass

    Woo now that's a beauty! Love the fusion aspect of it
  25. Caleb Harris

    Coffee Treating by Mareko Maumasi

    Mareko Maumasi is probably known best for two things: his kitchen knives (featuring amazing damascus, so maybe that's three?), and his eagerness to share his knowledge and help other smiths. A week or so ago, he posted a video series to his Instagram, detailing how he finishes the steel using instant coffee. Though I haven't really dived into pattern welding just yet (anyone have an extra press?), I was eager to figure this out, and even used it on a monosteel blade just for a nice dark, even patina. With Mareko's permission, I transcribed his videos to text for a more permanent and easily accessible reference, and he also gave me permission to share it, as well as publish a summary article. He goes through prep, mixing ratio, temperature, timing, troubleshooting, and more. I published the transcription to my blog here: http://www.brokebladesmith.com/blog/2017/12/23/coffee-treating-damascus-blades Next week I'll publish the much shorter summary that hits the main points and troubleshooting. If you guys use any of the tips he gave, be sure to shoot him your thanks. Enjoy! -Caleb