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About ethanknott

  • Birthday 10/06/1988

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Pensacola Fl
  • Interests
    good movies, good books, smithing, leatherworking, woodworking, guitar

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  1. Heat treat and Tempering question

    Leaf springs, coil springs, lawnmower blades are all pretty fair places to start if you're going for stuff you can find for free. These are what we call mystery steels though, so you only get a general idea of the behavior of these steels. If you're just trying to practice, you can use any old metal, doesn't really matter. If, however, you want to make a good stong knife, you'll want to use something specific, like 1084 or something, and then follow the heat treat guidelines for that steel.
  2. spine thickness?

    Most of my general type knives have come out at about 1/8" thick, and I pull one out every now and then for testing and brutalizing, especially one that I recently discovered was slightly cracked. Been trying to break that knife naturally for like 2 weeks now, and I've done some mean stuff to it... So go with what you feel, if your buddy breaks it, its his fault lol.
  3. Blade steels

    1/4" stock is a great place to start. Thick enough that you don't have to be super careful with your shaping to preserve thickness (starting with 1/8" stock and trying to end with an 1/8" thick knife is tough, esp at first). Its also thin enough that you can work it down to a thinner knife. Also, getting bar stock in addition to some flat wouldn't be too bad an idea. Gives you a bit more play room with thicknesses and such. Easier to upset a round bar then draw out than it is to upset flat stock, at least for me. Also you'll get a ton more drawing out practice, turning round stuff square, getting even edges, etc.
  4. hamon process, possible mistake?

    Got the blade quenched... Before and after pic. The after pic is the unsanded side, i polished the other side to 800 and a light buffing to clean stuff up, then dropped it in some ferric chloride to see how the hamon turned out. Goes all along the blade, looks nice and even, blade is hard and spine is soft, etc. No good pic though because i didn't have a lot of etch time, and I'm not entirely sure how to get the hamon to pop like you pros. How does one etch a hamon correctly? Tried white vinegar (fairly warm) and nothing really happened. Tried ferric chloride for 10-30 secs at a time with a light rubbing of 2000 grit sandpaper, repeated about 10 times. Hamon started to appear but only faintly. Should I just do the ferric chloride again and leave it in a bit longer and lather-rinse-repeat it several more times? Also, is the tempering process the same as normal? Just chuck it in el heat box for an hour?
  5. cast o light for clay??

    Btw, just quenched my first knife with hamon, used the mizzou i lined my forge with... It flaked in a couple places, but very little, and almost definitely because of how I sucked at putting it on yhe blade. Otherwise, the hamon took perfectly, so I'd say pretty much any kind of very fine high temp refractory will do the job. Very fine is important, I'm fairly certain my flaking was due to some larger particles in my mix
  6. Bone handles

    Sand from the inside out, some antlers/bone are sneakily thin in places... For the most part, though, you can judge the general thickness of workable material looking at the aide of the material (if it's a cutoff piece). Also, as dan said, you better fill the pithy stuff with somethin. I use that bit against the tang of my blades and use waaaaay too much resin to make sure it gets all up in there. Also also, remeber your respirator... Bone dust will mess you up
  7. Blade steels

    Also enjoy yourself... If you don't like the piece you're making, or you make a dumb mistake, etc, don't worry about it... Just smack it with a hammer some more. And personally, starting out I wouldn't worry so much about trying for particular blade shapes or following patterns, so much as make a knife-shaped thingy. Then do it again, using the stuff you learn from knife-shaped thingy #1. Rinse and repeat. You'll find your own style real quick that way
  8. cast o light for clay??

    Not sure about cast o lite, but hightemptools.com has satanite etc for really reasonable on shipping costs. You can buy it in 5lbs, and I think the guy uses the flat rate shipping from the post office, so it's really not that bad...
  9. hamon process, possible mistake?

    Cool, I'll let yoy guys know how it goes, just gotta wait for a not too rainy day now.
  10. Blade steels

    Just my 2 cents, get a big bar of mild steel or rebar, something super cheap (or free) that you can play with and smack around. I absolutely love having chunks of crap metal around to play with ideas and practice stuff so you don't waste any of your good metal. When working with your first couple bars of good steel it feels kinda meh to waste any.
  11. hamon process, possible mistake?

    2 things yalls info has made me think of (thanks guys btw :D) the steel is shallow hardening, so does that mean I need to be careful with how much bevel I grind off after ht? I'm doing a regular flat bevel, I'll have to get specific measurements when I get home, but the blade is ground to maybe a bit less than dime thick. Wouldn't want to grind out the hamon lol. Also, how much curve can I expect the ht to put into the blade? It's not particularly long, only maybe 9-10" blade (gotta measure these things haha) and I put a little bit of curve during forging for asthetics. I don't expect much, if any, extra curve, but this is my first attempt so I have no real clue what I'm doing.
  12. hamon process, possible mistake?

    Just tapping back and forth, getting everything nice and in line... I tend to not notice half the tiny wobbles n twists until I've done a bit of grinding, and am too lazy to light the fire again. I use a mostly polished 16oz ball peen for that bit, so it's pretty dang gentle. Would the clay screw up the normalizing? Like if brought up to critical, can you normalize? Or is it pretty much once the clay is on and heated up its quench or start over?
  13. So I'm not sure if I've made a mistake here or not. Trying to put a hamon on a tanto that was a 1095 file. Normalized a few times after forging, then cold forged, normalized 2x, ground and filed etc, then I clayed the blade. Have I normalized enough for HT? Can I do the normalize 3x with the clay on? Or did i waste a bit of time and clay, and need to take it off to normalize, then reapply for HT?
  14. Coal forge

    I started this whole blacksmithing thing with a 10$ hairdryer from walmart and a bunch of old red bricks I found in my backyard... You can do a surprising amount of stuff with a little brick box and a pipe poking thru the side. I didn't even attach my bricks together (made it suuuuper easy to clean, just knock the walls over, clean, rebuild.) A really simple ugly forge that gets up to temp will work beautifully till you're ready to spring for a better alternative.
  15. Damascus

    Also also, on keeping track of twists in your bar, I like to keep a crappy chisel near my twisting vice, and just mark the edge where you're gripping (a section that won't get marred too terribly during the twisting process, and will most likely be removed later). When you're done twisting, just pop a little mark for each twist. Also, an obvious mark on either end pointing to the same side, for making sure you get full twists.