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Michael Stuart

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Posts posted by Michael Stuart


  1. So my mom just gave me the bread knife that we used all the years I was growing up, and I think it may have belonged to her grandmother originally. But it's got tiny rectangular teeth that are maybe 1/32 or a bit less wide and about twice as deep as they are wide. The issue is, most of the teeth in the middle (most used) part of the blade are now worn completely away from so many decades of cutting homemade bread! So my question is, is there such a thing as a commercially available file this small, ideally with 2 safe sides/edges, or is there some other tool I could buy or modify to cut in new teeth to restore this knife to working condition? The grooves between teeth are a lot narrower than the cutting disc on my angle grinder, maybe closer to dremel cutoff wheel thickness, not that I'd necessarily trust myself to do this with a power tool.


  2. I second the suggestion of grain growth; you could cut one bar into identical pieces, then do different temperature/time treatments and normalizing/annealing routines to learn what happens. You'd probably need a microscope though, and it's not as visually interesting as the damascus/play doh idea would be, but I think it gives a few more things to measure, and that's usually what they are looking for if it's a science fair. But if it's a demonstration they want rather than an experiment, then the damascus would be a better choice.


  3. Depending on the time of year and kind of tree, the bark may come off quite easily. When it's freshly cut in the summertime, I've been able to peel off the bark with my bare hands from black walnut and a few other species. This is very handy when making bows.


  4. First, a big thank you for volunteering! I only had to deal with a couple days without power from Florence, which was bad enough, but nothing like they got hit with out at the coast.

    In my experience, a Hobart electric chopper works great for this kind of thing, and is far faster than hand chopping. It's the kind that has the bowl that rotates, you drop fist sized chunks in one side and after 2 times around they are chopped (4 or 5 times through nearly makes meat paste...). Inside the back covered side there's a vertical rotating blade that chops whatever comes around in the bowl. Drop in chunks, wait a few seconds, scoop it out and add the next chunks. I've personally chopped 800+ pounds of pork in just a few hours with one of these; it's a heavy machine that I can barely lift and that's likely older than I am.

    That said, I've also watched a whole roast goat chopped into portions in less than 20 minutes using a large cleaver on the end grain of a huge stump, so it definitely can be done by hand, but I think once you have more than maybe 50 pounds or so, it would be faster using electricity. For pork loin, I would think it also could be chopped like pulled pork is, and that might be faster than slicing. A meat cutting band saw might also work, though I've only seen these used on raw/frozen meat.


  5. If you must use recycled steel...try a crowbar. Flea market is cheaper than the hardware store. Look for a big old one that someone has bent. A 3 foot hexagonal bar will be enough to make several knives.  A flat one would work too. If you can't  find a crowbar, look for an old lug nut wrench,  the kind that's mostly bar  with a hex socket on the end, and it will likely work OK too. But new steel usually will cost less than the fuel you use to heat it up.

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