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steven smith

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steven smith last won the day on January 31

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  1. Here's part of a Japanese style kitchen knife I made with some 1075 and about ten layers of some really thin steel that I might keep secret for a little while, just for fun. It looks like the thin steel has a grain to it and it makes the blade look to be more like 500 layers, I think it would look super nice on a tanto or a miniature katana. Anyways, the knife isn't too pretty so I might not show it but I might be able to file the spine down a bit to get a better profile. I don't think I've seen this before in other steels so I thought I'd share. It's a bit hard to see but there is some funky stuff going on between the bright weld lines.
  2. for tang burning I think it's best to drill a hole in the handle and then open it with a broach some and then burn in the tang, it's best to get it done with one burn so you don't overheat the handle or burn more than you want to. I try to get my tangs to around critical temp but black hot still seems to burn, if you go too hot you can bend your tang and that will burn a really nasty hole. You won't be able to heat the tang all the way to the shoulders of the blade without overheating the blade so you should make part of the tang closest to the shoulders not change its shape/size, that way you can heat up Some of that part of the tang and it will burn a channel for the rest of the tang up to the shoulders to fit into. Example: a 4" tang that is 1/2" wide at the shoulder and 1/4" at the tip. The tang is still 1/2" wide 1" away from the blade shoulders and tapers from there to the point of the tang. If you heat part of that 1/2" section down to the tip you can burn a hole that will fit the whole tang without heating the whole tang. Normalize! Normalize! Normalize! A blade with a big grain will break if you bend it, just like if it were untempered and hard.
  3. If you want to maintain a blade you shouldn't abuse it, so make it to cut what you want. Strengthening a blade could mean a lot of things, researching some blade smithing terms would help you be able to communicate with us better. Hardening, tempering, edge angles, grinds... Don't try to cut any branches thicker than your bones or you might get an additional fold in your steel. Oh, and it's probably illegal to go hiking with a sword wherever you are. People are terrified of blades, there's more power there than you think, if someyhing goes wrong you won't soon forget it!
  4. You could try a long bodied scraper instead of a file, might be a bit easier. Bend the body so that its curved and will be under tension in the saya, the tensioned curve should be able to apply force through the scraping edge. Man that thought is hard to put into words... I've been in the same situation before, not sure if I tried a long scraper but I think I might have.
  5. My shade is a lean-to sort of thing, it needs walls though so I can heat treat in the day, I need a new shelter as well but I can't think of how to do that on the cheap. I'm pretty sure I'll go with a half underground forge like the Japanese do.
  6. Just thought I'd share this goofy thing I've been beating on for a while now, three years maybe? If the picture is too dark I'll get another one tomorrow. i found it way back when I was in middle school and took it home just because it was heavy, I didn't have any interest in smithing yet. I think I ripped one of the straps off of my backpack. It feels like fifty to seventy pounds, it's soft steel but not too soft as long as you don't hit it with your hammer, which I do sometimes..... usually when forging bevels on miniatures. The work surfaces are around two by three inches, though it might be more appropriate to call them nubbins. I tried to cut the thing flat with my portable bandsaw once, that's not going to happen, not with my saw! I wouldn't say it's a bad anvil, it does work pretty good, but I've never used a real anvil. It doesn't seem to deform at all from regular use. I'm glad to have it. I have forged all sorts of blades from under an inch long to around two feet, 1/16" to 3/8", flat stock and crowbars and coil springs. Just now I've thought to give it a name, Vanessica seems about right, two faces on one anvil, two names combined into one. I'm also thinking I could forge weld a tool steel face on it someday, and then give it a better name. But for now vanessica is seated in spalted maple beneath my forging shade.
  7. Those are junk, softer than hot steel. Somebody needs a kick in the crotch and the rear for making these. My best friend got me one because he knew I needed an anvil, now I'm stuck in an ugly Christmas sweater type situation. I tried to straighten some yellow hot steel that was about 1/16" thick, so no force at all, and it dented the P.O.S. now I'm all riled up and I just woke up from a great dream where I was friends with a lizard >:( not chill. Not an anvil. i use a big hunk of mild steel as an anvil and it's light years beyond these things, a big rock would work better.
  8. Heat treated a bunch on blades last night, two of them were straight out of the forge with no grinding or filing or sanding done to them! I don't think I've done that before. No warps or cracks! It's grinding time theres a little Bowie, a yari kanna, a mini wakizashi/tanto, a little seaxish thing, an integral bolster blade, and two other blades that are different from the rest. Lots of variety. ive also been making some low layer Damascus billets for my miniatures, mostly packing strap with %.4-.5 carbon but also some with lower carbon strap in the mix. I wish I could do one giant billet, squish it down to 3/8" thick and very wide, and then just cut that into strips for miniatures. ALSO, I found my mini forge! It's maybe two and a half inches wide by four inches on the inside, it's perfect for heat treating small to medium blades and it's just what I need for forging miniatures. I can turn my regulator so low I could probably forge for a few days without stopping and still have fuel for heat treatment! It's the forge I did all my heat treating in last night. I think I can try some miniature double edge swords with pinstripe Damascus cores now that I have some stock welded up. Oh, but this is the "what did you do today" thread, not the "how much steel will you burn up and waste tomorrow" thread.
  9. Has part of the tire become unglued? At high speeds the tire could lift off the wheel due to inertia. I know R/C car tires can stretch at high speeds, maybe other tires do the same? Well, most pneumatic tires have a wire or fabric mesh woven inside the rubber that keeps them from expanding when aired up, but a contact wheel certainly doesn't so it could stretch if spinning fast enough.
  10. Here is my rant/advice The smaller the block of wood the more it costs is what I've noticed, stabilized wood will always be expensive. Its so easy to mill your own wood, all you need is a jointer and a bandsaw, or a jointer plane and a bandsaw, or handsaw if youre good enough with one. Im lucky to have access to tools like those, if I wanted to I could cut a hundred or so dollars worth of handle scales from a twenty dollar board of curly maple. I guess that's why woodcraft never has wood in the big sizes I need. I'm probably just blowing hot air... If I was going to sell wood to knifemakers I wouldn't be able to sell much wood so I would have to sell it for more. If I was going to buy wood as a knifemaker I would not buy wood that is being sold to such a small group because you have to pay more. I like to find or harvest my own wood and I can do so because of the bandsaw I have access to, it's not like I'm some kind of master magician though, I make rectangles out of wood and then I sit on them. I can't understand how wood is priced as it is. If I buy wood I buy it in person, wood has a personality so much more so than plain barstock steel, if I want a specific grain only I can see it and understand it for myself. My only real advice is that there is super dirt cheap wood out there if you know where to look, for me that means looking on the side of the road for logs or old furniture. If you want to make knives and not mess around with dirty logs instead, find a local specialty wood store, like woodcraft. But they usually don't have big boards thicker than 3/4"!!!!! They might have something you could make a big Bowie handle with, but they make more money making sawdust. Still, they have a good selection of woods in various sizes. using one solid block of wood and a hidden tang construction is the easiest method if using large rough pieces of wood, handle scales require fairly precise sawing so you don't interrupt the grain too much. Get a hand plane if you use rough wood!! Maybe check out a woodworking forum to see if they have any secrets? Or look to the trees, they have secrets too!
  11. My parents used to tell me that if I cleaned up a bit I would find anything I lost, never worked once. I have an eight layer bar of wrought and packing strap somewhere, it's only 1/4" x 1/4" x 12". I got some good twists on one part of it too.... I was thinking a 5-bar Viking sword with a twist in the middle surrounded by pin stripes and a monosteel edge would be cool. I know I meant to put the bar wherever I put it. Making miniatures is a curse.
  12. I have split wood and carved out the slot for the tang and then glued it back together and that works just fine. by splitting I mean I have literally split the wood along the grain and also sawn the wood. Literally splitting along the grain will have no glue seam at all IF you can get the wood back together. but I'm sure you can think of all the variables that would go into that. Straight grain will not split straight! If you split the wood with a saw you can carve a recess for the tang in one side or both sides of the handle, carving only one side is easier but if there is a visible glue seam it will be off center. You should leave the handle material slightly oversized when sanding the inside faces of the handle because sandpaper tends to bunch up on the edge of whatever you're sanding and it will wash out sharp corners, even if the sandpaper is super tight I think it will still bunch up a little. Seek other advice on this matter though, it can be a tricky one. I could get into some very very tricky tang slot carving if I only had the camera equiptment. There aren't words for the things I've put myself through to make a good looking miniature katana handle. also, hand drills can be accurate enough, i will stop drilling every few seconds and turn the material 90 degrees so I can view it from two axis and make sure it's drilling straight. You could also have some holes drilled into a block of hardwood at 90 degrees in various sizes to use as a drill guide. I bet you could buy some kind of drill guide.
  13. That wrought iron twist is so gnarly! I get tired of seeing burl wood everywhere but in this case it's very fitting! as a whole, for a multi-bar blade, it's very simple, and I think that is something wonderful. Thinking about the creation of this knife it seems to me like it wanted to be created, I don't know how much work you put into the knife but it looks like the right amount to me! and the blade only being held in the handle by cutlers resin refines my thoughts about how the blade would be used, this is a very complete package. The burl and the twisted wrought iron make me want to use it, but the cutlers resin makes me want to respect it more than use it. I'm sure some of my knives could cut down even the greatest foe, but do I need to? Excellent work. what are your thoughts about the cutlers resin? I have read it works, but I've never tried it. ill say again, this one speaks to me! EDIT: I'm not trying to say the cutlers resin isn't good enough, but my knifemaking leans towards mechanical fit, so my opinion isn't based on knowledge of cutlers resin, but rather the knowledge of beating blades on branches and through brush and bush.
  14. Where am I from before being in mason? Austin, or south austin, rather . I was at the Kothman ranch, there is a small graveyard with a historical site marker on highway 29 (also called austin st. On google maps I noticed) where the first kothmans in Texas now rest, I thought that was very interesting. I would have liked to catch a coachwhip but they are so fast, I'm pretty sure I saw a cotton mouth, all I could see was a stout black snake going in the water a few feet ahead of me. Well I have a couple more stories about pulling logs. The first log was a fresh oak about 16-18" wide and 6' long, I could just barely stand it up on end. Now I'm not too sure about this, but I've never seen a big log for sale, I think people like to cut up wood as much as they can so they can get more money from you. I needed a work bench so I figured a big 300 pound log with a flattened top would work alright. I like to move heavy things, I was going to pick up the log on one end and pivot it on the other 180 degrees over and over again but it was too big to do that much and I had about a quarter mile to move it. I used a couple of ropes thinking that I could roll the log onto one, flip the log over, and when I pulled on the wound up rope the log would roll and wind up the other. What that really did was make a tangled mess of rope. So I took off one rope and went like this, I'd prop up the end of the log, wind the rope and then pull it. That took about an hour, lots of fun, it was Arbor Day so at one point I sang "i am a lumberjack and I'm okay" and just then I walked backwards into a cactus and cursed for a second, then finished with "I cut down trees on Arbor Day". (Really it was already cut down a few months before) The thing that bugs me most about Austin is that people don't look where they're going. they look at their cellphones while they j-walk so I tell them to pay attention or stay on the right side of mixed use trails or "don't move here" is a common plea from many young austinites. Anyways, I walked backwards into a cactus because I was singing and pulling a log, not sure if that's quite the same as j-walking but the end result was close enough. Wait that's not what the story was about, it was supposed to be a feat of strength! But I've led it to a fools tale. "Pay attention" seems to be a common theme here, I've been close to hitting a few j-walkers on my bicycle, it's hard for me to shout advice to them when they are wearing headphones. I used to be a real tough guy on a bike, proud and irritated maybe, but any idiot in a car can mash you and just drive away. It's like swords vs. guns. I find the sidewalks to be more interesting for my mountain bike but the cops will tell you it's illegal when it isn't..... NOW WE MOVE TO THE SECOND LOG PULLING theres mesquite everywhere at the ranch but most of it is pretty thin, not big enough for a full tang knife handle. I scored a few burls and one good log, the log is about a foot wide and 7 feet long and I have it here with me at home. My preacous log, resting on top of an ash log I got from down the street. While I was camping on my terrible house boat from earlier I went out to find some firewood and came across a fallen mesquite tree, a big one. I made a turning saw with a saw blade I bought at a horrible "antique because it's rusty" store, later that day I saw the same blade for sale in a hardware store for 40 cents less.... The antiques guy was selling those Pakistan Damascus knives for twice what they cost on eBay. I've got some words for him, and a pair of ruined boots too! Oh, and I have this log story. So I found this big dead tree and thought about it for a while, a couple weeks later I started sawing in the heat of the day and in about an hour I separated the log from the rest of the tree. Now I had a big log out in the woods about a mile from the ranch house, I didn't want to use a truck to move it because that's really quite extreme and I wouldn't be playing any part in that. I tied my whip that I had made a few years ago around a protrusion on the log and tried to pull it, I wasn't worried about hurting the whip because it was just a simple three strand braid with some taper to it, pretty much just a leather rope. There was no way I could just yank on the thing to move it, too much surface area on the ground. I had to put the whip over my shoulder and back and lift the front of the log a bit so only the back end was dragging, it wasn't too bad from there but it took me an hour to move it that mile. Half way through I thought "so I guess I'm a horse now, or maybe a mule. Maybe I'm just a jackass!" in my pride and joy for the log I sang "I can do anything you can do, I can break my back just as quick as you, and if you say you've got nothing to do, I can do anything you can't do." If only... Motivation is often hard to find but I think I've got something. My home in Austin drains me. I've been setting up my shop and getting a few knife patterns made, I'm also making a miniature power hammer that's going well so far, it's going to be about 8" tall and use railroad spikes cut to appropriate shapes for the dies to give you a sense of scale. Having a shop is one of the most important things to me. I doubt I could make knives in an apartment or a rental house. A house should be a home, not an investment... i made a new friend that was stowed away in a big oak burl, it's a red headed centipede! It's about 5 inches long and it's a true horror, the way it moves, it's the most timid and quick bug I've ever seen. I read they dry out quickly so I gave it a bit of water and watched it drink, it's just a big ol' bug. But man I'm glad I didn't bring that burl into my room with all my other fancy woods, I only saw the guy because I was going to play with my yari kanna and carve the burl a bit. My best friend likes to say "stay on the bounce" from the book starship troopers, so I'm off to breakfast now, then it's time for knife work. I'd like to heat treat the stuff I forged at the ranch and get some stock removal blanks cut out today, so long for now!
  15. i think there is less work in a stick tang knife. With a full tang you have a lot more surface area to fit/flatten/finish and in my opinion it's harder to fit a bolster/guard, you drill holes and you can't really change where they are. With a stick tang you have to be able to make a long hole in a fairly precise shape through the handle material. I drill a hole, nearly fit the tang into the round hole with a broach, then burn in the tang, and then cover the front of the handle with a well fitting guard/bolster/face plate. You only need precise fit at the base of the blade where it enters the handle package and between the different parts of the handle and if your guard/bolster doesn't fit all the way up the tang you can file it out a bit more and slide it up. There is pretty much no sliding anything on a full tang knife, with some guards being the exception. So I believe the stick tang offers more room for error. Full tang is precise fit, stick tang is trial and error (or file and error he he) i carried a big chopping knife for a couple months and used it a lot, like, just a lot. :^). I noticed the handle was loose so I looked inside the flared copper tubes that were holding the handles on and saw that the tang had deformed the 1/4" copper tubes from all the chopping I'd done! So the full tang isn't indestructible, I'll have to put a regular domed pin through my flared tubes from now on, that's gonna look sweet! I think that stick tang knives might be better off with a ferrule if used for chopping as I've had cracks form in a handle that wasn't really the right choice for handle material, though it was not a soft wood, so I'm kinda on the "neither one is better" boat. The better made knife is the better knife, but I think stick tangs are a bit easier if you want good fit. Put both against each other in a duel and they will lay on the ground for a long while. as for guards, I like to at least have something that you can feel before you slide your hand onto the blade, I don't seem to need much of a guard. Guards are to keep your hand from sliding up to the blade when stabbing/thrusting (I'm sure you know that but I'll say it anyways), aside from fun there aren't many reasons you would really need to stab/thrust. A handle that flares a bit at the front would give good grip for using the point of the knife if you really had to dig into something. I really like to hold my blades when I use the tip, so I might not have the safest ideas in mind, but where does the handle really end? Im glad I got to play with knives as a kid, I cut myself quite a bit and other things I shouldn't have cut, it was a learning experience. Being fluent with a knife is like being fluent with a second language.