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Joshua States

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Posts posted by Joshua States

  1. On 5/31/2023 at 10:02 AM, Bill Reinicke said:

    Thanks. I'm looking forward to this. I'm an absolute newbie. I look forward to seeing what everyone comes up with and enjoying the experience, not to mention what I am going to learn along the way. 

    The important thing is to push yourself a little and have fun doing it.

    • Like 1
  2. On 5/14/2023 at 5:44 PM, Kevin Colwell said:

    You probably already knew that, though :).

    Still good info for those of us who didn't know.


    The only times I have made a wood scabbard, I have used Basswood. It is lightweight and strong, with a very dense grain. So dense that it wouldn't stain easily with commercial stains. I have to add the dye to a cellulose lacquer and use that to seal and color the wood.

  3. This has been a total cluster-f%&*
    I couldn't find any talent to help build, or just build the house. Even the contractors who told me they would be interested in giving me a quote finally either said "too busy to take this job" or they just stopped answering emails and phone calls. So we had to switch gears and went the Modular route. We designed and ordered what they call an "off-frame modular". This is a factory-built home built to building codes rather than a manufactured home built to HUD standards. That means it has 2x6 walls, 2x10 floor joists, and serious insulation. The only problem is that the foundation is 32 feet wide and the widest they can build the house is 31 feet. That means that with an 8-inch wide stem wall, the house only bears on 2 inches of block.


    So it took some creative engineering design to attach a ledger system to the inside of the two long walls. We went out last month and attached the ledgers and built the center bearing wall. This is the engineer's fix.

    First bolt a pressure treated 2x10 to the stem with 5/8" bolts at 6" on center (o.c,)


    Ledger bolts (2).jpg


    Then screw a 2x6 ledger over that with 2-1/2" #8 wood screws at 12" o.c. staggered and screw a 2x6 pressuretreated plate to both ledgers with 3" #8 wood screws at 12" o,c. staggered.




    He also wanted the center wall sheathed and bolted down to the footing. Truly serious overkill.




    Last Wednesday, they delivered and set the house on the foundation.

    It took about 3 hours to get the house halves into the site, pick them up with a crane and swing them onto the stems. I shot about 50 minutes of video and sped it up so you can see the process in 5 minutes.




    • Like 3
  4. On 5/9/2023 at 11:02 AM, Nick Marks said:

    What is damascus steel exactly? Is it mostly about the folded layers within or is it also a certain alloy?

    "Damascus" is a term derived from centuries ago and is now used to describe a variety of combinations of different alloys into a bar that when finished, exposes a pattern in the steel. As Alan said "pattern welded" is a more accurate description or name.

    For a more complete description of the process and some of the common patterns, see this thread: 


  5. I have a love/hate relationship with commissions. This is a weekend endeavor for me as my day job pays way more than I think I could ever make in the custom knife business. I have known multiple artisan/craftspeople who don't take commissioned work at all. Their motto was always "I make what I want to. If you like it, buy it. If you don't like it, thanks for looking."


    That being said, I try to severely limit my commission work. It doesn't matter what I have on the bench when asked about a commission, my initial response is always "it will be a month or two before I can even start."

    I do not take a deposit (for precisely the reason Alan mentioned) and I do not give any time estimate. If asked about time, my typical answers are either a year or it's done when I say it's done. In order to keep people informed about my progress, I usually ask if they have a social media account. If yes, I will post regular updates of the progress and tag them in the post. If they don't have any social media accounts, I will use another form (like this very forum or a photo hosting service) to create posts about progress and send them a link. Barring that, a simple email with some photos keeps them in the loop and shows them how much effort goes into this art and answers that nagging question "Why does this cost so much?"


    Tim Hancock mentored me and he never took a deposit or gave a timeframe for commissions. Then again, Tim could sell anything he ever made without fear, so if someone backed out of a commission, no big deal. That knife would sell at the next show, if not sooner.


    At the start of this year, I told myself I would only take one commission per year to give me the time to work on the stuff I wanted to. I broke that agreement in March and am working on two commissions simultaneously at the moment. Luckily enough, one of them is for blades only (customer's patterns) for a European outfit that adds handles, embellishments, and sheaths. They sell the finished knives with both our marks. 


    IMO one of the important things to keep in mind when considering commissions is retaining your artistic input. I took a commission last year and the entire design was dictated by the customer. I didn't even like that knife, but I did get the opportunity to try some design elements that I had not tried before, so it was a great learning experience for me as an artist.


    I second the suggestion to keep everything in writing and include a sketch/drawing of what was agreed to. Something as simple as this notes the smaller details, sizes, style, etc.

    V2 design sketch.jpg


    Brilliant video by Tod Cutler

    • Like 2
  6. From here you can either forge the bar down flat and stock remove everything you don't want, or you can forge the blade to shape.

    I choose the second option and start by cutting a small piece off the tip at and angle and work the point and bevels.


    Process 1.jpg


    This starts the back-bend of the blade spine, so I flatten out the spine area and stretch the blade.


    Process 2.jpg


    When you have the blade shape you want, work the tang.

    Process 3.jpg


     I did 5 blades from these two bars, and a sixth one from another bar.


    Five blades.jpg

    • Like 1
  7. On 5/8/2023 at 1:17 AM, Gerhard Gerber said:

    Feeling a bit defeated, had 5 days away from work due to public holidays and I'd hoped to get more done.

    Here we get a lot of 3-day weekends with all the holidays. I will often remind people that a 3-day weekend means you will try to cram 4 days worth of stuff into 3 days rather than 3 days worth of stuff into 2 days. A 5-day weekend means you will ty and cram a week's worth of stuff into 5 days.......


    Good progress mate!

    • Like 1
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