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Taylor Johnson

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  1. Taylor Johnson

    Refining my hamon

    JJ, thank you. This is what I needed to know. Now I will go research Ashi and Habuchi -- I know my question has been asked a thousand times, I just didn't know how to research it. Salem, I'm going to try that lemon juice idea. I had never thought about the oxides growing differently (but now that you say it, it makes complete sense).
  2. Taylor Johnson

    Refining my hamon

    Alright gents, I have a questions that I assume is not very easy to answer, but I'll ask it anyway. Below are two pics. One is mine, the other is from member Walter Sorrels (the close-up one). I'm hoping someone can give me direction to make my hamon's more like Walter's (I've asked him with no response). My hamon line is solid - Walter's is "whispy" wherein he has his solid line, but then there is are white features going toward the edge. His harder part is lighter than the softer, mine is the opposite. When I tried to polish mine up, I lost the hamon line. I've tried Flitz, green polishing compound and red polishing compound (and I etch in FeCl3). I appreciate any input, I would love to be able to produce a hamon like Walter's.
  3. Taylor Johnson

    Recurve Bolo -- Critique?

    Great feedback, thanks guys. A couple response questions (trying to generalize your feedback for future knives): Robert, what size pins would you use? I have been using only 1/4" pins. I haven't even thought about them being too big. I totally agree that they are too high. You talk about clean plunge lines. I'm not even sure I know what qualifies as "clean". I understand looking for symmetry on depth and positioning, but beyond that what would a round file accomplish? Cody, "drop the handle a bit"? Are you suggesting more of a stag tine shape where the butt of the knife is lower than the blade? If so, is this something you suggest for choppers in general? Orien, why swell the butt? Is this a grip suggestion or a general aesthetics suggestion? In the past, I've seen people taper the handle--just the opposite of your suggestion. Thanks for the feedback gents; much appreciated!
  4. Taylor Johnson

    Recurve Bolo -- Critique?

    Thanks for the accolades. It's good to hear someone else likes the work too. The bolster and pins are Copper. Steel is 1095--I haven't delved into W2 yet, it kinda scares me as a home heat-treater...
  5. Taylor Johnson

    Recurve Bolo -- Critique?

    Gents, I haven't been doing a lot of work lately, but recently finished this one up. I'm only about 6 months into the craft and this is my favorite knife so far. The bolo design was per request (I'm not a fan of it, so you can leave that out of the critiques). Can I ask that you guys critique this? Design, fit/finish, colors, hamon, etc. If you don't mind adding some tips for how to improve on your critiques, that would be great too . I've got natural canvas micarta, ivory paper micarta, and copper pins and guard. Steel is 1095. Thanks fellas
  6. Taylor Johnson

    Recurve Grinding

    Calling all pro's and experts, or at least anyone with experience on a grinder , I'm trying a recurve knife--just to challenge my convention of design--and I'm having some issues grinding the bevels. I've drawn a sketch hoping to illustrate how I've been doing it--and I'm hoping someone can tell me what I'm doing wrong (perhaps with a corresponding sketch?). The top drawing shows the blade and the issues I'm having. The lower set of drawings is illustrating the (relative) angle of the blade as I grind. I start at the plunge and manipulate the blade until ending at the tip. I start with a horizontal blade to set my plunge, I pull the handle down to grind the concave, then I pull the handle up for the convex, then finally horizontal again. I'm really having two issues: I am unable to get the bevel near the plunge line to follow the concave curve--its just straight I can't keep the distance between equi-distance from the edge throughout the blade Now, I know someone is going to be tempted to say, "All you need is practice". I know, but I don't want to practice the wrong thing/way. Any suggestions are very welcome. Thanks, Taylor
  7. Taylor Johnson

    Bolsters - Half moon issue

    Not a spam link, I swear. Myth Busters took this on. Looks like its not the issue its been made out to be. http://www.discovery.com/tv-shows/mythbusters/mythbusters-database/can-an-old-hammer-actually-explode/ Can I ask a clarifying question? Statements above say "no need to epoxy peined pins". Does this mean dont apply epoxy to the pin itself, or do I not need to epoxy the bottom face of the bolster (because that would be nice)? Thanks
  8. Taylor Johnson

    Bolsters - Half moon issue

    Slow response, I was out over the weekend. Dragon, I sanded to 400 grit before installing and 600 after installation, before the buffing wheel. As for the peining, I've reamed the hole with a slight taper, and I peined the pin with the intent of mushrooming the edges of the pins. Based of of your assumption, it sounds like I ought to be hitting the center of the pin and letting the sides mushroom on their own? Essentially I've been using a angled hammer blow right at the edge. Should I use a straight hammer blow in the middle instead? Also, the flaking, what do you mean? I took the micarta to too high of a grit before installing the pins? I did no rough grinding before installing. However, from USA Knife Maker, they came with a high-polish. Should I be roughening that up? Justin, I used 416 for both pin and bolster. I used a tapered 2/0 reamer (.093 to .156). Dragon gave the rule-of-thumb of peining until the pin is 2x it's original diameter. Is this a standard? Is there another way to tell if I've filled the voids? Dave, Is the intent of the punch just to prep the pin for peining? The idea being if you have a void in the center, the edges will receive more force? As for the hammer-on-hammer idea, I think back to high school shop where my teacher said never hit a hammer with another hammer because the hardened steel can fracture and forcibly send bits flying. Any thoughts on that? Thanks guys!
  9. Taylor Johnson

    Bolsters - Half moon issue

    Ok, so I was given some direction on this in a previous post, but I am still having issues with bolster fit/finish. Below was my process: Drill 7/64" hoes through both bolsters (1/8" pin dia.) Ream with a 2/0 reamer from the outsides in -- estimated exterior dia. 5/32" Shape and polish bolsters while pinned together Epoxy bolsters and push pins through Grind flush So, my two questions: What are typical causes of my "half moon" issues, or dark circles around my pins? I had been told two things, one that the pins did not have space to properly pein (hence the reamer); and two that the epoxy was making it's way to the surface (so I used a clear epoxy this time around). I had my bolsters finished, beautiful, round, shiny before epoxy. After grinding pins flush, the shape was lost and now there are "hard" lines that show up when I rotate the knife in the light. Any tips for avoiding this issue? Maybe I don't pin? Maybe I don't pre-polish? I don't know? Thanks in advance for your thoughts!
  10. Taylor Johnson

    Starting bladesmithing?

    Ryan, I started bladesmithing a couple months ago, I'm only on knife number 6. Also, I'm a finance professional, so cost is all I think about (terrible for hobby's, I know). Here is where my money has gone. 4 x 36 Belt Sander - Craigslist - $70 Bench Top Drill Press - Craigslist - $30 Angle Grinder - Home Depot - $40 Work Bench - Harbor Freight - $109 1095 CRA Steel - Admiral Steel - Variable, I spent $65 Files - Amazon - $28 Sanding Belts - Various - $16 for my first 3 Handle Material - ExoticWoodsUSA.com - $28 With this material I have made 6 knives, and I still have material for another 5-8. Total cost, from someone who had no tooling, $285. If you have the tooling already, your are talking about $90 in consumable material. And the cost was only this high due to shipping costs and my desire to spread the fixed cost over a lot of material. I'm happy to give more detail if you want, as this was my #1 issue with getting started. Now that I'm into it, I'm all about it.
  11. Taylor Johnson

    Wheel size

    I've never done a fuller, but as a point of reference, I use my 2" (only one I have) to hollow grind straight razors. I have a 0.90 stock and the hollow is so short that it only covers about half the blade (at 5/32 thick). Extrapolating a bit, I would expect a 2" wheel to provide roughly .50" diameter in 1/16 depth. And again, extrapolating from my experience, I would expect an additional 1" for the second 1/16 (could be way off there).
  12. Taylor Johnson

    Bolsters, where to begin?

    Ok, so my newest question of the week. Bolsters and bolster material. I've been looking all over the internet for matching stainless bar and round stock--no luck. Apparently 416 comes in bar and 410 comes in round. 304 was floated by me as an option, but machinability is poor unless you want to pay extra for some added element (I forget which). Is there a stainless out there that solves this problem of machinability and material matching? If not, are 410 and 416 close enough that you wont be able to see a difference? Next, I went to my local steel recycler and bought some scrap copper and brass. I recently finished my first bolstered knife with copper bolsters (see image). Three questions came of this: 1. Copper and brass are both very heavy, which led to an inordinate amount of weight on the bolster. This feels clunky at the bolster, and makes the blade feel dinky. Does bronze or stainless solve this issue?How thick do you normally make your bolster stock? 2. At the wood/copper intersection, there is a thick (.050" ish) layer of epoxy. I used standard J-B Weld. What epoxies do you use? Are they translucent, do they spread more to avoid such a thick layer? In short, how can I avoid this next time? 3. The close-up of the bolster shows a ring around the pin used to secure the bolster. Again, I think I blame the epoxy, but I look forward to suggestions on solving this issue moving forward. Thanks for the thoughts!
  13. Taylor Johnson

    Edge Shape/Design

    OK, great input guys. I love how active this forum is, tons of knowledgeable people willing to help out a layman like me. Just for posterity's sake, I'll summarize what I think I learned. 1. General rule of thumb is the thickness of a dime before heat treat -- depending on use you can stray above or below. 2. 12/24 degrees seems to be the thinnest reasonable angle, and this is for Scandi knives with specialized use. 3. The thickness before setting the (secondary, oops) edge depends on preference and intended use--ranging from a burr on the primary bevel to (conjecturing here) half the thickness of a dime. 4. Use a muffle! -- I'm going to have to start researching that one tomorrow. 5. Don't HT 440C without proper gear for extended temp control. 6. Motor oil is a no-no. Use canola if you are on a budget. One final question, which should really be it's own thread but I'm cheating here; what types of steel can I feasibly HT myself. I bought 1095/440C because they were the cheapest steels available from Admiral Steel in the high carbon/stainless variety. Since I'm just starting out, I thought I would buy one of each and see what I liked more. Now that I know 440C was a mistake for a beginner steel, what isn't a mistake? Thanks!
  14. Taylor Johnson

    Edge Shape/Design

    Jerrod, Interesting idea--"muffle pipe". My concern here would be that I wouldn't be able to hit temperatures necessary for HT (1000 C minimum). With my limited understanding of heat transfer, I have assumed that the forced-oxygen-heated coals in direct contact with the steel was how I am able to hit these temps. To be more thorough here, I have only made knives out of 1095 (I wrote 1090 above...oops), however I recently used the 440C to make a file guide. I used this opportunity to test out the heat treat. I'll explain my process below, then ask some questions. With no thermometer, I heated the 440C until I could see the yellow-orange color that I've been seeing on my 1095. I then held at temperature for 15 minutes (soak time was derived from a number of sources, and I chose the one that seemed most logical). I then quenched in used motor oil -- it's all I have unless I make some sort of brine or use a cooking oil. I performed no temper as shock is not an issue on a file guide and ultimate hardness is desired. In practice, I have noticed that the steel is not as hard as my 1095 after quenching. However, it is far harder than the pre-HT condition. Now for questions: 1. Thoughts on the 15 minute soak? The rationale that made the most sense to me was "1 hour per 1" of material" is the spec, therefore a 1/4" material should only require 15 minutes. 2. Is there a better, non-specialized quenching solution? I understand I can dish out some cash for quenching oils, but the wife is only so understanding. 3. Any thoughts on sub-zero effects? Is it feasible & useful with my jerry-rigged setups? Again, thanks for sharing your expertise!
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