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steven smith

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steven smith last won the day on February 3 2019

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  1. i used to see those things as big as they could get here, not any more though. the water in the "lake" here used to be clear and you could see right to the bottom, i would catch turtles from a canoe if i could sneak up on them well enough. but i never got out of the boat because some of those snapping turtles must have been two feet wide. i havent seen one for at least ten years, now you have to look out for broken glass more than anything. once i stepped on some huge turtle under about 6" of the muddiest water, it was big enough to move with all my weight on its back and i didnt get back in after that.
  2. wicked, it almost looks like it could be a sci-fi blade. ive tried to draw up a few messers and cant ever get it right, nice job.
  3. the denser grain stuff is much better but its hard to find, ive used if for knife, axe, tool handles and its okay if you dont have anything else. as an axe handle, if you miss a swing and hit the handle on the target you will crack the handle. my dad uses if for banjos, lots of people say it warps and cracks, lots of people also have no idea what theyre talking about. it will warp and crack, so can any other wood if you pick the wrong piece or mistreat it. you can make a perfectly fine oak bow, so it will flex if tapered right, but for a knife it would have to be part of the looks, otherwise its too plain. here is a knife with spalted oak and iron and copper fittings, its a pretty plain knife despite having a few parts to it, the other side of the handle is not spalted and still looks as good. oak flooring is very common but only thick enough for small handles. https://www.instagram.com/p/B6HZd2LHJ2p/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet
  4. oak looks good if you burn it and wire brush it or artificially age it, its got really hard dense growth rings alternating with softer porous rings. its pretty plain though, it might chip if you have sharp corners on the handle and its dropped and hits one.
  5. numbers are nice but i prefer results, if a well made knife with a thin enough edge to cut well can cut a nail with little or no damage i think its a bit more than a parlor trick. that tells me a lot more than a rockwell number, but if youre just shooting for a big number then if doesnt matter if the knife works. basically all i can do with simple steels is watch for the phase change and quench in the right stuff, you cant really mess that up once youve done it a few times, seeing the phase change in the steel is just like seeing a thermometer at 1450F. and a knife thickness piece of 1075 will harden just fine in warm canola or even room temperature canola if its not a thick knife. i have a hard time believing that you could just sort of mess up and not really know, i have never made a blade that preformed in between good and bad, either the heat treatment works or it doesnt and i try it again. and dont say "but it could be better". because you really dont know, nobody knows that, and by that logic everyone is making bad knives because they could be better. big numbers are clickbait. so are super steels.
  6. i use 50/50 table salt and borax (SALT WILL MAKE HYDROCHLORIC ACID VAPORS WHEN HEATED AND EXPOSED TO MOISTURE) with a little water and whatever cat hair and crud falls in the jar, ive got some kind of silver braize rod that files like its glass and i much prefer just using silver (its only like $.25 per habaki or less) i use a bernzomatic ts4000 and a little kaowool nest, the nest really helps. the flux i use cleans the copper really well and i dont think i even need to clean before braizing, i get the habaki hot with the to-be-braized side facing up in the air so the braize rod will flow down into the joint. make sure your flux works and make sure everything is close enough, i like to close the habaki a bit so it has to be forced up the tang then i get it to where i want it and insert the machigane and give it all a couple smacks with the hammer to squish it all together. you can leave extra on the machigane so that when its in the habaki the extra can be folded over the habaki to kind of clip it in place. heat, fit, and flux is all there is to it. also, the temperature at which the braize will flow is hotter than its melting temperature.
  7. i would go so far as to cut a nail and expect a little edge deformation, thats for an all purpose user knife made out of 1075. ive got a couple kitchen knives that would lose 1/4" of the edge if i tried to chop a chicken wing so they just get used to figure out how long the edge holds. so edge thickness is a factor, a good knife could fail the brass rod test. you might want to have a thicker edge on some knives, the brass rod test wont fully work on a thicker convex grind, it could still chip the edge but i have a couple knives which wouldnt flex from a brass rod but still are very nice choppers. chopping things or hammering a blade into steel is really extreme and if you dont do it straight you can hurt any steel, i usually just carve a bit of steel, the edge has to stay sharp or else it just wont bite. cutting a nail is more of a destructive test for me, everything i make will be used to carve a little steel though.
  8. grosse messer is not a sword, its a knife because of its tang being the same as a knives tang. but they must have had some hidden tang knives around that would have been tiny swords by the same logic. most people werent, and still arent, lead by logic or reason so the gigantic knife was like a loophole in the laws to be able to own a sword as a peasant which might have been illegal otherwise. the guard (nagel) was not a cross guard which brobably made a "legal" difference. fun fact, the term "loophole" is no longer used with logic or reason. im sure most of us have heard of the gun show "loophole" where you can buy a gun without a background check. guess what, its not a loophole beacuse you arent legally required to have a backround check when buying a firearm from an individual and not a dealer, theres no loop, its a straight to get in the show. this shows that lawyers and those other people that were in charge have been against logic and reason for a long time, their weapon is manipulating the meaning of words to bend laws to then be able to manipulate the people beneath them. so you could think of the grosse messer as a mangled knife which has been so distorted that nobody would call it a knife even if you were cutting up your meal at the dinner table with a cheery grin. so we can thank the natural need to fight the insane desire of our worlds leaders to rule over the entire world "peacefully" for the grosse messer, which is one of my favorite weapons for many reasons.
  9. the tang is beveled just as the blade is, the slot in the guard is a negative of that shape. for a tang that does not have a step at the shoulders to hide any gap, the tang should taper slightly towards the back, that way you can make the slot for the guard big enough to fit the tip of the tang but small enough that it needs to be filed or pressed to fit up to the shoulders of the tang. the trick is to never make a knife with a ricasso and get caught up in that nonsense. ALSO, japanese swords have the gaps in their guard/seppa hidden by the habaki, which also has a slight gap on the sides of the blade as it only touches the spine and edge of the tang. some japanese sword guards had a large gap so the guard would not fit at all if it were not for pieces of copper formed into the guard slot for the blade to rest on, the pieces of copper and the other gaps keep the fittings from rubbing on the tang when removed, they also make the fittings fairly quick to get roughed out.
  10. a hidden tang can be fitted to a handle with just a drill and a broach, only the small front face of the handle needs to be flat if there is a guard. guard fitting is just as simple as handle fitting and there are many ways to tighten the fit of the guard if needed. you can go 3/4 length tang or go all the way and peen it. you can make the knife a takedown fairly easily or if the fit is tight enough, sometimes i just leave the blade as a friction fit if its use allows it. my favorite method is to drill the hole, broach almost to size, then burn in the tang. the burning part is tricky but i figured out the tricks, only heat the tip of the tang, which should be wide enough but slightly tapered to burn enough room for the rest of the tang, and the tip of the tang cant have sharp corners or else it will catch in the wood and it wont burn straight. if the tang is too hot it can bend or even harden if its thin enough, with everything set up correctly the burn should take less than a minute, more like 20 seconds if its really done right. you do not want to leave the blade in, ive had a block of wood pop open on all four sides when it got too hot. if you make a file cutting chisel you can cut chisel teeth into your tangs and you will always have the perfect tool for the job. i think the hidden tang is the most primitive construction method but its very versatile, you just might have trouble making a bottle opener on the back of a hidden tang knife.
  11. i would look for furniture and flooring, oak and maple should be pretty common, lots of furniture manufacturers dont know/dont care what kind of wood they are using so you can find some really cool stuff sometimes. you have mesquite or something else like it for sure where you are, i like using mesquite but dont let the dust get on you or it will stain you purple for a few days.
  12. i have used acacia (mesquite as its called here) a few times and it was very nice to work with, you might have drilled into a pocket of bug goo, ive found big bunches of what i guess is bug poop or some kind of resin they make in trees and its really nasty black sticky stuff. there could also be wire, nails, bullets, or rocks in the wood that broke your bit. the dust from the acacia here will stain your skin purple/black if it gets on you, thats the only downside to acaia (or at least with this mesquite) it look bad for you so i try not to grind acacia and work it by planing and carving. wetter wood does seem to clog drill bits.
  13. i try to edge quench every knife i make unless i know it will get flexed a lot in use. if a blade ever gets bent you can bend it back. sometimes the blade will bend tip down a bit if you edge quench. there is edge quenching with the whole blade hot and edge quenching with only the edge hot, they are a little different, you can go either way.
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