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Michael Stuart

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Everything posted by Michael Stuart

  1. Wow, all the design elements really flow together well on this one. Michael
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. I can't believe I missed this, and right here in my own state too. When's the next run? Michael
  14. 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
  15. Looks like a great start, can't wait to see it finished up. Michael
  16. 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
  17. 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
  18. 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
  19. 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
  20. Many thanks Don and Daniel for getting the forum back up. I really missed it. Michael
  21. 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
  22. 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
  23. I got a broken-down exercise treadmill today with an eye toward using the still-working 2.5 hp variable-speed DC motor to power a grinder. On taking things apart a bit, it's got a lot of electronic stuff inside that I don't understand. Does anyone have good ideas about how to power and control such a motor if I take it out? Or should I stick with the existing treadmill controls, which seem to work OK? I'm not even really sure how it turns the 120V AC into 120VDC, the only thing inside that looks like a transformer doesn't seem big enough somehow to handle that much current. Yes, I am in over my head, but no, I don't have the money to buy a motor like this new, and this was free (the belt you walk on is torn up along one edge from where it didn't track well). The setup as-is runs a 1 5/8" drive roller (approx. 5 1/8" circumference) between 1 and 10 mph. At 5,280 feet/mile that's about 88 to 880 feet per minute if I did the math right, so it looks like it will need a bigger drive wheel. 88 feet/min is just over 200 rpm on the current drive roller. To make the math easier, a 3.8" drive wheel would give 1 foot of belt movement per revolution. So, what do you all think? Michael
  24. The nice thing about charcoal is that the CO2 I make burning it can be locked back into trees where it came from, during my lifetime. I've planted a lot of trees over the years, and some of them will probably be here after I'm gone. But I still like coal and propane too. I think I've already saved more fossil fuel with a few years of driving a 4 cyl car (versus an SUV) than I'll use up by smithing in my lifetime. Archie, let us know how the gasifier works, and don't blow yourself up Michael
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