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steven smith

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Everything posted by steven smith

  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. Okay, seems like a silly question. There is a blacksmiths shop just a couple miles from my house with a good selection of rasps, https://www.centaurforge.com/Rasps-Rasp-Handles/departments/375/ , and I was wondering if I could use a rasp to shape a blade before hardening it. I asked someone there and he thought I meant to use it for sharpening a hardened blade, I have also tried searching google but all I get is "what kind of steel is this rasp/will it make a knife". So I would like to be sure before I waste $25, I dont see why it wouldn't work but I cant really remember seeing anyone use a farriers rasp for stock removal after forging. If anyone has a recommendation for a real metal hogging file I would appreciate that as well, I have a decent selection of usa nicholsons but they all came to me sort of dull so its time for an upgrade.
  13. steven smith

    Large chopper with micarta

    Thats really slick, the sheath looks professional and I bet the knife chops great.
  14. 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"
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. steven smith

    Best way to flatten a knife?

    I still put my hammer on the anvil to get a feel for what flat and level is, it really helps. You can register against the blade too, if its tapered then registering against the anvil will make you hold the hammer wrong as the blade will be angled in relation to the anvil. A little extra detail, to register the hammer against something lay it on the piece and try to feel the center of the hammer, relax your hand and let the hammer lay as it wants, if you are tense your muscles will pull to the side and you will fight to stay centered. But its really more of a full body thing, like aiming a firearm or a saw. Close your eyes, hold out your hammer like its on the anvil, and see where youre body is pointing. That relaxed body position is your center, when you are centered you arent fighting against unbalanced muscle forces so you can do things straighter, if that sounds too much like hippy bs just pretend I called it your point of aim and said tactical a few times. I consider it more of a martial arts thing, I learned it shooting air rifles in njrotc in high school. I think it might help to step into position rather than shuffling around in one place, no big deal if you have to step from forge to anvil but I dont have the space myself. I flatten blades at around 1500 degrees, cherry red maybe, I like to use water on the anvil too. The low temperature reduces scale and the water takes care of the rest. Sometimes when I am taking out the dings from a blade it gets all bent out of whack, especially blades with a convex distal taper, but they can be straightened after the dings are out. I wish I could describe preforms better, they really help but I am a fool when I try to explain them. Sometimes I think that forging miniatures really helped with my hammering, but little doll knives arent for everyone. Hopefully thats the last bit of help I have.
  18. steven smith

    Anyone use a 6" x 48" belt sander?

    I was grinding an 8" chefs knife on my 4x36 and the wide belt was really nice, but I kept thinking it could use more power being a harbor frieght abomination. A 6x48 with good power sounds great, id stick to the disk for getting stuff flat though.
  19. steven smith

    water water everywhere rain rain go away

    Id love to be out there forging in the rain, but I also just got over a flu that really kicked my butt, I dont think I shiver anymore though and thats nice because I think I cracked my sternum from shivering too much last year. I couldnt sit on a couch without pain in my chest, I would shiver extremely easily though, doesnt help that im tall and skinny. But I enjoy the rain and water so much, I just cant stand it when its cold. I live on a hill but the water table here has been about a foot away from the surface with heavy rain, I had a deep hole in the backyard and it was full, you could see the clear water coming through the limestone. I stand in a hole in my forge so I dont need stands for everything so next time the water table is way up like that ill be forging a special keris knee deep in water. I hope none of your stuff gets messed up. My yard floods pretty easy in some places but my forge is in a good spot.
  20. steven smith

    Just a Rant

    Oh, I was at a junk shop in manor maybe, I get asked if im looking for anything and I say im going to head over to the knives. The cashier says he has some handmade knives so im excited and I look over to see a whole case of that unmistakable pakistan damascus steel. There was a second floor to the place, the floor was just the old aluminum roof from when the place was one story, pretty terrifying. I wouldnt go back but he had a few "knives" magazines for $15
  21. steven smith

    Just a Rant

    A friend of mine said he had an old knife I should check out, I figured it was just some junk. Turns out it was an old hickory 6" blade machete kind of thing, just a $10 knife but it was 1095 (pretty sure) and the edge was real thin, so it wasnt anything bad but it had a straight handle and it would come out of your hand. I ended up giving it lacewood scales that were burned and wire brushed for lots of texture, I also reprofiled the handle so it had a thinner waist. Id say thats at least $40 work but it would never sell for that, but its worth it to me because it was just time and I got the knife. Peening a loose blade and making a new handle are totally different things, peening is sort of general upkeep with the knife, making a handle is a new creation. I think I would sign the handle and not the blade if I did replace a handle, thats not really where signatures go though. Putting a modern date on a period piece is a tricky one to me, if you sign with a date I can see how you wouldnt want to change that.
  22. steven smith

    9" western Chef's - Damascus

    Its all very nice but that steel is great.
  23. steven smith

    Hunting, post your game.

    I was out looking for gourds one day and I came across a squirrel skin on the sidewalk next to a small patch of trees, just out in the suburbs right next to some apartments on a busy street. I would not catch and eat anything in the city. Id like to hunt boar and make sausages, maybe with a spear or hunting sword. If I needed to I would hunt with a rifle but its not very appealing to me, a bow would be more my thing but im not too good with them. Ah, you need dogs to get close to a boar though... With a little bit of practice im good with a slingshot, I made a few and make my own tapered bands from exercise bands, its hard to cut the bands but you can get a mean sling shot. Just shooting rocks through the air they sound like a bullet ricochet and they tend to fly pretty straight for 30-40 feet. I need to get some theraband, thats the favorite brand of rubber for slingshots, the cheap stuff breaks pretty quick. I like to have a long draw the width of my arms, if you draw the same every time you can start to get accurate and aim with your body, kind of like using a saw. They way I make slingshots there is no clearance for the pouch to go through the fork so you have to let it fall horizontal or you will take a rock to the thumb, and if its already traveled my arm span on light weight (fast) tapered bands its gonna hurt. Its hard to cut the bands so I would like to try tube. There are some guys that break the sound barrier with BBs, they use tapered bands. I think you need a license to hunt anything so I dont do it, not until I get a license at least. Id also like to hunt those big python in florida, most snakes arent too meaty but I imagine a python would have a good bit on it. Some day I might try lizard, ive read the rough scaled ones are usually vegetarian and are okay to eat. But I think you still need a license.
  24. steven smith

    Glue in file work

    I think ive heard antler is good at picking at things, its tough and hard but it wont scratch metals.
  25. steven smith

    Best way to flatten a knife?

    You can use some cheap calipers to check the thickness, dont forge too hot and hit the steel flat so you dont ding it. I mostly just eyeball the thickness, I recently forged a chefs knife and I made it a little over 1/16" and used calipers to make sure the whole thing was close. If I want to thin the spine of a blade I forge with the spine facing me so I can see it. Taking a step back in the process, you should first forge a preform, this is a knife like shape that when the bevels are forged you have your blade without having to taper a complex shape like a blade and if the bevels are even the profile will be good also. A preform can be tapered to make a tapered blade or flat for a flat blade. A preform can have a tapering profile that when the bevels are forged in, if the width of the blade is constant, you will have a distal taper to your blade. A preform is basically a rectangle with a point on one end, it may have profile taper or distal taper. When beveled, everything falls into place together, there is no back and forth. A preform is something i have trouble describing, but forging from preforms was a big step up for me.