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steven smith

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steven smith last won the day on February 3

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  1. steven smith

    What did you do in your shop today?

    I forged out a billet of pallet strap (sold as high carbon but more like .3-.4%) and 1080, its eight layers of strap with one piece of 1080. Now its a yanagiba! But I couldnt just forge one thing at a time so I tried making a little punch for railroad spike hammers or whatever, my sledgehammer head anvil was bouncing around and a bad hit with the hammer launched the piece right into my adams apple and it fell to burn my chest as well, I also burned myself with my pliers on my wrist. So ive got six burns, a yanagiba, and the steel that hit me will be my makers mark punch. It seemed appropriate as im calling my forge Catamount forge, which means cat like (including the big cats) and agile enough to wound me six times in under a second. My makers mark will be two s's which start from the same point and a backwards s on the first s so the two look like an 8 with an s for a tail. Ive been forging for 4-5 years now and I still dont have real tongs, with pliers you have to be careful about how you hold things and how you hammer! Im making some real tongs when I get good material for them.
  2. steven smith

    Don't weld in tennis shoes

    Sometimes molten flux shoots into the palm of my hand while my hand is closed on my hammer, it kept happening over and over again one forging session. I caught a roman candle on top of my ear once, it was not nice.
  3. steven smith

    Traveling Blacksmith photo

    Im sure if I took out my tiny setup to forge some miniatures I would get robbed by the police. This picture is frustrating me. But its okay because we can all buy our knives at walmart and get out flat tires changed by a mechanic.
  4. steven smith

    Low Tech Sword HT

    Hot oil is dangerous, if you can measure and control the temperature you should be okay, however from what I remember most oils start to smoke around 400F. Make sure the oil tank cant be knocked over. I tried the trench HT before but the holes in my pipe were too far apart, I will try 3-4" next time. I have a couple 16-20" blades that I will heat treat in a trench soon. You could do wood, but I think the moisture can cool the fire, charcoal would be better. The other day I burned a bunch of branches and sticks and was left with a big pile of embers, they would burn up pretty quick with forced air but I stuck a 3/8" thick naginata in and it got barely red hot with no forced air.. Charcoal would be better, try to get lump oak charcoal, or something other than mesquite if you can because it pops and shoots out lots of little sparks. Dont get briquettes, get lump charcoal. If you had a big wood fire you could transfer embers to the HT trench, you might be running back and forth a lot. you couldnt sit next to a big enough wood fire long enough to heat a big blade, it would be too hot without 3ft tongs.
  5. steven smith

    1849 Gold Rush Tomahawk

    Pick ax are one of my favorite tools, this is really cool.
  6. steven smith

    Issues with drill bits in 1095

    Heat the steel red hot but below critical and let it air cool, you could be getting some air hardening but if you keep the heat below hardening temperature you wont get any hardening, I believe the term for this is "subcritical anneal" but im no expert so im going to read about it a bit.
  7. steven smith

    Mokume Gane

    MAPP is stinky, but it burns hotter than propane. I have used a clamp in the forge and pliers to make mokume, I got a lot of failures and stuff that couldnt be forged on the bias. I dont think I cleaned the coins with anything more than soap and water, a few times I used acetone. Thats probably what the problem was. Its really worth it when it works though. One time I forgewelded a bunch on nickles together, i ended up with a lump of nickle, its fun to forge.
  8. steven smith

    Bevel advice

    It can be done on cheap sanders, it just takes more time. Start with a low grit belt, lowest ive found for a 4x36 is 80 grit, then go to 120 and hand sand after that. Should be like a 4 hour thing. First grind the edge at around 45 degrees to establish the centerline of the blade, the rest of the grinding is creating a bevel and thinning the edge. With the sanding belt coming at the edge of the blade press down on the edge where you want material removed, material is mostly removed where there is pressure, with a big thick blade that doesnt flex while grinding you can hold the tip and the tang but you wont feel the blade getting hot. If you havent ground any knives before they can get hot quick, you can overheat the edge in a few seconds if the blade is still so always keep the blade moving on the sanding belt and keep water nearby to cool the blade, if the blade is just warm you can cool it in water and it take off a second from the blade heating up. if its too hot to hold cool it in the water, the very edge is what overheats easily, like 1/4" of the edge, your fingers wont be that close to the edge so you have to be a bit cautious with the very edge. I cool my blades every couple passes or more if needed, it can get monotonous but ive sat in front of a slow cheap sander for six hours, its sort of relaxing. I have trouble letting myself relax sometimes though. If you want to go faster you can use the drive wheel of the sander as a contact wheel, im assuming you have the harbor freight 4x36, this takes more skill. The wheel has less contact area with the blade than the platen does, this means it can dig in a little deeper, and that means it can dig in too deep and the wheel will stop in the groove its created and it will overheat the edge. But, with the centerline established, the length of that tiny 45 degree bevel will show you the thickness of the blade relative to the rest of the blade. So if the bevel is the same all the way the blade thickness is the same all the way. Just do long steady swipes with the 'contact wheel'. After some of that you need to go back to the platen to get everything flat. The wheels on the 4x36 are not simple cylinders, the middle is slightly thicker and it tapers down to the edge. This means that if you place a blade on the wheel with the edge facing the center of the wheel the edge will be ground more, if the spine is towards the center it will be ground more. The middle of the wheel will do a sort of hollow grind, dont use the middle of the wheel. It looks like a fun knife, I would sand the edge down to 1/32 and that should be thin enough to then sharpen the blade, id test it on a nice juicy pineapple. Now I feel i can say that I am a fairly qualified operator of a barely functioning machine. Dont file hard steel! If you can you should get a nice grinder, if you dont want to jump in all the way the harbor freight 1x30 is the bare minimum, like the 4x36 its a sander not a grinder. The motor is still weak but its fast and shaky, the wheels can be trued up and that helps a bunch. Its like the 4x36s brother, same low power but it does stuff a little different. Im not going to recommend it, but its out there and it beats hand sanding for thinning a blade and getting an edge after hardening and tempering. A few people use the dayton 2x48, listen to them, a 2" belt is worlds beyond a 1" belt.
  9. steven smith

    A pair of commissions

    Just going off memory here... o-1 has many seconds to get from austinite to martensite to harden. So an edge quenched blades spine could air harden with assistance from the cooled edge. I edge quenched a 1080 chefs knife in canola and the whole blade hardened, oil was halfway the depth of the blade, blade is around 1.25" tall and just a hair thicker than 1/16". It took a good warp but I grabbed some pliers and got it mostly straight, if it had a soft spine it wouldnt have been a problem. I think I get less warps with edge quenching and you can straighten blades cold which is nice. I like the edge quench because you can straighten blades easily, I havent had anything break, and you get a neat little hardening line. But you need enough hard edge to resist bending and taking a set too easily, I hardly lose any blades from quenching anyways, and I seem to get alloy banding in my hardening lines which looks interesting but may not be ideal for 180 degree bends. I think only heating the edge would be best, or maybe a hot malleable spine takes care of some quench stresses. You do have to leave the edge in the oil for a while while the spine cools so the edge will be the same temperature as the oil, but you could also use some heat from the spine for a quick temper or austempering (I think). If you do try edge quenching O-1 keep the oil shallow.
  10. steven smith

    A pair of commissions

    Ive been edge quenching in shallow oil, some blades had 3/8" spines with dime thickness edges, I think its less stressful on the edge. The tricky part is rocking the blade up and down so the tip gets quenched, the blade likes to wiggle out of the tongs. Im assuming you use a heat treating oven so only heating the edge is out of the question.
  11. I have curly mahogany from a chair I found in a creek, I used a bit of birch from a paintbrush in the street, curly crate myrtle from the side of the road, ive got mesquite and ash logs, the ash was on the side of the road for the citys bulk brush pickup. Id like to find pecan and osage, theres walnut here one in my backyard. Wood is everywhere if you can identify it. If you do hidden tang its not too hard to take a chunk of wood from a log and burn your tang into it, then you shape the rough block with knives/planes/grinders. Firewood for sale at grocery or convenience stores can be birch, oak, mesquite, or some other stuff you dont want.
  12. steven smith

    Large chopper with micarta

    Thats really slick, the sheath looks professional and I bet the knife chops great.
  13. steven smith

    Just a Rant

    Ive gotten "can you make it cheaper?" And a nasty alcoholic has tried to buy a couple knives from me, so I make a sheath and then I say its nice and I like it, then she latches on to that and says I should just keep it real passively for a few days before coming out and canceling the order. Best part is a dog bit her as a kid and you cant even tell but she got like 60k from her grandpa and totally blew it all, but she cant spend $80 on a knife. I really wish I didnt know her but shes sort of family. Shes spoiled so rotten shes fermented. Jeez. Anyone know an angry dog? The look on someones face when the deal is good and they get a knife makes it all worth it. But im still waiting for "why is this so expensive" "I could get this at walmart for $20" and "thats not handmade if you used a machine"
  14. steven smith

    water water everywhere rain rain go away

    I had a fever and joint pain, i kind of have to scoot to the foot of my bed to get out of it and my arms and hands were hurting the most so that wasnt fun, but after I got better I finished a bunch of knives and was spending a lot of my time working on others and getting my tools ready.
  15. steven smith

    Anyone use a 6" x 48" belt sander?

    It seems like it would be easy enough to stick a higher HP motor on it with the pulley, buy yeah, I was grinding with the edge of the belt and it took three belts to do it, maybe three hours grinding. But the knife it ground (sanded) is bringing in some dough so I can make a nice 2x72, ive tried the scrap route but im gonna buy some steel this time. My dad makes banjos and gets some good use out of one, when you consider better options are hundreds or thousands of dollars more, or using hand tools, well I like hand tools, but thats a big investment too. I really think hand tools are the way to go with wood and if I could file hardened steel that would make everything better. But no files on hardened steel, the cheapo grinders are better than hand sanding, I sharpen my blades after heat treat on the 1x30 or 4x36 but not much else on those things. Maybe if jeremy wasnt scooping up all the good deals.... ill check the industrial auctions here, I havent looked for machines but I could get a fire truck for 5K.
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