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Michael Stuart

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Everything posted by Michael Stuart

  1. That's pretty cool Ric, but it makes me feel old too. I guess being a few years older than you and first smithing at 22 I still have a few more years to go before smithing for half my life. Funny, though, it seems like yesterday that I was the one with the long hair. Michael
  2. If you have more than one pair of tongs, you can use the handle end of the second pair as a small double-sided fuller. They bend out of shape fairly quickly but aren't too hard to bend back. Don't forget to quench the handle end after such use, or you'll not be happy when you pick them up later and they're still hot Michael
  3. Wow, all the design elements really flow together well on this one. Michael
  4. Thanks Alan! I see they are adding direct flights from up there to Orlando beginning in a couple of weeks, so I hope that will help me to make it up there next year. Surely you all can't learn everything about swords in one weekend, and will have to do them again next year, right ? I imagine you might be heat treating that monster even as I type this. Take some good photos. Michael
  5. I second Geoff's comment on using champagne yeast. It's been several years since I last made a batch of mead, but my best recipe was a spiced cyser (honey and apple cider). A few folks got to try some I brought to Harley's back in 2005 and seemed to like it. These days I'm too far from apple growing territory, and hence can only find cider with sodium benzoate preservative, which kills yeast. Plus with hive collapse, varroa mites, etc wiping out the bees all over the place, it's getting harder to find affordable honey. Those problems aside, there's nothing alcoholic I've found that is better than good mead. Michael
  6. Lovely work as always Alan. Osage will be nice, but it's hard to picture something of yours without some curly maple on it somewhere. Wish I could make it to Harley's but it's not looking good for this year either. Michael
  7. Wayne, I can't remember if I posted about it, but right before I moved, on my third try I did finally manage to smelt a bit of iron--an ounce maybe, threaded through the dense black semi-glassy slag nodules that have been the main product of my smelting efforts so far. This was from the scale you kindly sent me a couple summers ago, using a short-stack bloomery made mostly of cement, clay, vermicultie, and perlite. I'm apparently a slow learner where smelting is concerned. I haven't been able to set up to smelt again since I arrived in Florida, but I will try again eventually with the last of the scale. I hope the fourth time will be the charm. I understand iron scale was re-smelted in medieval times and perhaps before, so there must be a way to get my process to return a higher yield, if only I can figure it out. If anyone else works out a better process with this material, I'd love to hear about it. Thanks again Wayne for sending me the material to try this out. Michael
  8. Hi Rich, I haven't made it to a FABA meeting yet but I just joined it last summer (only moved here in 2005). I hope to attend one soon. I recognize the sdhc in your address, what do you do for the district? I'm with USF. Michael
  9. The first time I used coal to forge, I didn't realize you had to spread it out before it will go out completely. I poured some water over it and left it in the firepot. An hour later, I looked out in the yard in the dark and it had come roaring back to life and was sucking in its own air draft through a gap in the air pipe. Fortunately, nothing flammable was nearby. When I used to have a wood stove, I was always impressed that the embers could stay hot for days after the fire had gone out. I usually would only spread them outside when it was raining (they're good fertilizer too). Now that I'm in Florida, there's not much winter, and no wood stove needed Wood ash is great for annealing steel, especially when it's still dry and fluffy. Michael
  10. If I understand correctly how this works, higher temperatures do increase the rate of carbon diffusion, but they also cause greater deformation of the surface (blistering, hence, "blister steel"). Lower temperatures and longer time, up to several days, will get the carbon to move in without as much damage to the surface of the piece. I believe some case-hardened knives would have been sharpened only on one side, like a chisel, so that the edge was always made from the hardened portion. Michael
  11. FLORIDA KNIFEMAKERS' ASSOCIATION 9th Annual CUSTOM KNIFE SHOW 2006 Saturday October 7th, 9am till 5pm At the Comfort Inn 820 East Busch Blvd. Tampa, FL Located at I-275 and Busch Blvd. (exit 50) see http://www.floridaknifemakers.org/knife_show.htm This is just a couple miles from my house so I plan to attend. Anyone else from the forums coming? Michael
  12. Thanks Tell, glad to be of use. I hate to throw away things, and I'd rather reuse something like this than have to haul it off and then pay for new materials to make something like it. The hole in the middle was the hard part last time I made a forge table, and the lawnmower deck already had it made for me. Post a photo of yours when you have the chance. Michael
  13. Could you just mail a consent form and a SASE to the folks who have already given you their verbal OK? Once the papers are in order, no one should have anything to complain about. I for one think this video is a great idea, especially since I have attended this outstanding event twice (thanks again Larry Harley!) but I could not make it this past year. Michael
  14. If the metal wheel slips, I've found you can cut up a tire inner tube to make a 2 x 8 inch (or whatever size you need) rubber band 'tire' to give the wheel a bit more grip. I used one on a hard plastic wheel on my old grinder, I had to stick it on with contact cement (very slippery plastic wheel) but after that it worked quite well. Michael
  15. I can't believe I missed this, and right here in my own state too. When's the next run? Michael
  16. Xalapa is nice! I've been there. I was once fortunate to visit a shop in Oaxaca that made knives and swords for the tourist trade, and they worked exclusively with used leaf springs. As you've found, things don't get thrown out in Mexico to the extent that they do here in the U.S., so I've found it can be much more difficult to scrounge there. You might check next door in Puebla as there is more industry there (including the VW plant where all the new Beetles are made). Let me also point out that I've had blank looks from structural steel suppliers here in the U.S. when I asked about alloy steel, so I doubt it's your Spanish. Since most steel is plain old A-36, some places simply aren't familiar with different alloys. Michael
  17. Looks like a great start, can't wait to see it finished up. Michael
  18. I cut up some cow bone recently (not stabilized, bought it as a dog bone). It cut with a dull bandsaw blade but the smoke stunk up everything. I ground it on a medium grit bench grinder which left a surprisingly well polished surface, but made lots more stinky dust. I finally dragged the grinder into the doorway and set up a fan to blow across it and out the door, which mostly took care of the smell. I would expect some kind of vacuum chamber with epoxy or similar would be used to stabilize bone. Michael
  19. Looks good Bob. Do you have a grip or sheath in mind yet? Now that you can slice Velveeta, you have no excuse not to make a big pot of grits to put it in. I'm really trying to resist the temptation to make a rude joke about cutting the cheese (wouldn't want to take the opportunity away from everyone else) . Wish I could have made it up there this year, next year I hope to attend again. Michael
  20. Hi Karl, Hope you'll have a chance to ship my box soon -- I sent the money by Paypal back on March 6, since you had said above and in an email to me that you still had some available. I hadn't heard from you since before the board went down, so I thought I'd post here just in case your email went down too or something. Thanks, Michael
  21. Hi Alan, I've been thinking lately how handy a metal cutting bandsaw would be. After I finish saving up for the copper cable to run some welder-capable power to my little shop, a saw may be the next big item. With a welder and a saw, I'll be ready to start working on a Grond of my own. Of course, the cable and a saw might cost me a 'grond' so it may be a while yet Michael
  22. Many thanks Don and Daniel for getting the forum back up. I really missed it. Michael
  23. mmm, big axe. Nice. I've managed to get a hole slit and halfway drifted for a small axe. We'll see if I manage to mess it up, but it looks nice and even so far. You're inspiring me to consider splitting the end and welding in a bit. Michael
  24. Thanks all. I'll keep an eye out for the rectifier. Greg, the motor does seem to be enclosed, and if I can leave it mostly as-is it also has a hard plastic cover that goes over the motor and electronics. The motor claims to be rated at 2 1/2 hp, so I'll just have to see how it holds up power-wise. But it almost has to be better than the 1/2 hp motor I used on my previous homemade grinder. With work the way it is, it will likely be a couple of months before I have the time to mess with it, but I'll let folks know how it goes. Michael
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