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Adam Betts

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Everything posted by Adam Betts

  1. My favorite medieval polearm! Beautiful work. About how much does it weigh?
  2. Looks like a super useful little blade, and well executed too. Nice job!
  3. That's the common thread that binds a lot of us together, I think. Especially those of us making axes.
  4. Late to the party on this one, but that was my experience with making my own eye drift as well-- though I was also going for a long, narrow eye like you see on American axes. Holy crap, that was a lot of work. If you just want the tomahawk-style teardrop or a basic oval, you'd be much better served buying a drift (that said, if anybody knows where the hell you can buy a drift for long, narrow axe eyes, I'd love to hear about it because I couldn't find one). As for getting the spread you need for the beard on those axes, I have some wisdom to impart! Most of my axes so far have been made from jeep axles (they suck for forging but are really good at being axes), which isn't too far removed from a ball pein hammer in terms of starting shape. I found that the Key to the Beard was to upset the very end of the bar (the bit that's going to become the edge) a bit before forging the cheeks and bit down to thickness. The upsetting gives you extra material at the edge, which translates to a more pronounced flare as you forge it out. If, while you are upsetting, you manipulate the steel so that your bonus material ends up mostly at the toe, you have pretty much set yourself up a pre-form that, with a little bit of coercion, will turn itself into a bearded axe as you forge it out.
  5. Have you tried oiling it? I've worked with black G10 a few times, and it always ended up a medium gray when I was finished with it. I tried using some kind of oil finish on it one time for some reason, and the G10 turned much, much closer to black. Regardless, that is a classy little blade. I'd carry it.
  6. Beautiful work, Kris. May I ask how you achieved that cross-shaped profile on the guard? Are the pieces that project down along the handle and up along the blade forge-welded onto the rest of the guard, or is there some other kind of smithing magic at work there?
  7. Absolutely! It'll probably get here just in time to make me feel better about working 30 days straight. I have a deep respect for the Spanish tradition of knife-making, and I'm glad to have found reason to acquire a little piece of it. Well I don't know about the French and their tastes, but I like your versions better than the few I've seen coming out of France.
  8. Jose, I liked that vendetta corso knife enough that I just ordered one from your website! I haven't had the time or space to pursue my own bladesmithing lately, so I'm contenting myself with supporting the work of fellow artisans. I am very much looking forward to seeing your work firsthand! Muchas gracias!
  9. That doesn't sound basic at all! With that design in mind, you might also look up information on sabers, which seem functionally similar to what you're describing. Another resource you might use for things like dimensions and balance points and such are production sword shops that focus on functional blades. They'll usually have weights and measures posted online for pieces they are trying to sell.
  10. I've only ever done one puukko-style blade, but I love me some stick tangs and have spent a lot of time on them. If you get the burning-in right and you use something like birch or maple for the handle, you don't NEED (though I use epoxy anyway) any additional adhesive simply because the remnant substances in the wood heat up and basically turn into tar. If you leave the blade in the handle too long after the last bit of burn, it takes a vice and hammer to separate them again. Go ahead, ask how I know. Anyway, the point I think I'm getting at is: don't underestimate the inherent strength of a solid press-fit!
  11. This is a fascinating thread! This is the first time I've ever heard of Cloud Cutter--but that thing looks amazing. Somewhere around here I have a blade-like object that looks like a cross between that and the headhunter's sword that Geoff posted. Clearly I need to find it and finish it now. Geoff, thanks for starting this conversation-- lots of food for thought here.
  12. That laminated steel blade is a really cool look-- and it contrasts well with the classic, no-nonsense profile of the knife. Well done.
  13. Aiden, I'm in CT, so our forests are very similar, and I was a lumberjack for several years-- I've cut a lot of oak, and that's definitely not oak. The pores are all wrong. It might be a maple of some kind, but both my significant other (a park ranger/environmental educator) and I both looked at that bark and said "Tulip." The color and grain is right, too. I have no idea if it makes good handles, but apparently Eastern indigenous peoples used to make dugout canoes out of it.
  14. One reason is the type of guard you want to use. The frame handle lets you slide a thin guard up to the base of the blade-- to do the the same thing on a full-tang knife, your blade has to be significantly wider than your handle. Basically, the frame handle lets you combine aesthetic features of full-tang and hidden/through tang type blades that couldn't otherwise coexist.
  15. Fortunately for you, Viking stuff is in vogue right now. Information on the subject is everywhere in text form, and if you're a visual-learning type, YouTube is your friend! Will has done a great job of highlighting the complexity of the pattern welding side of the equation--the "fullered sword" side of the equation is another, different monster (or maybe another head of the same hydra). Generally, on a "Viking" sword (and I'm sure that someone who specializes in swords of this period will be able to cite exceptions and variations) you wouldn't be forge-welding a pattern-welded strip down the fuller. You'd be forging a core of pattern-welded material, then forge-welding an edge bar around that core in kind of a U shape. Fullers are also their own special nightmare, and if you've never done them before, practicing on a not-pattern-welded blade would probably be a good call.
  16. I will definitely do that with version 2. I didn't temper this one because I seriously doubt my ability to get full hardness from 80Crv2 with my setup, but micro-chipping might explain some things. I had exactly the same thought the first time I tried to make a fuller scraper. Made a fancy metal handle/bit holder for them and everything (I'd be using that now, but it's buried somewhere in the chaos that is the boxed-up remains of my old shop an hour or so away from me). This fuller is considerably larger than the standard 1/4" blanks you find everywhere, though, and for the price some of the larger cutter blanks you can buy most of a bar of tool steel. Good tip for anybody reading this who wants to do tiny fullers, though! Done and done! My grandpa taught me a bit about sharpening lathe bits once, and I refreshed my memory before I started on this project. The edge geometry on this tool started out like a lathe cutter, but I had absolutely no luck with it that way, so I decreased the angle of the edge, which seemed to help. I have a feeling that I got overzealous and went too far in the other direction, though, since the edge wore much faster than it should have (this might also tie in with Mr. Berry's point about edge chipping). I'm hoping to experiment further with this tomorrow. I'll let y'all know if I get it right. Thanks!
  17. Thanks for all of your advice, guys! Responses, one at a time: My steel is annealed, yes. It had occured to me that maybe I had work-hardened it, so as you can see in the picture below, I took a torch to it and heated it through all the tempering colors to see if that would help. No dice. I tried resharpening a couple of times, but did not notice an improvement. I also haven't done that much work with it, as I did forge in the fuller beforehand. I'm probably going to make a new cutter, though, out of 100% known steel, just to be sure I'm not screwing something up there. The edge angle on my scraper is much more acute than what you've used, so maybe I'm just ruining my edge really quickly. Thanks for that tip! Alan, in your experience, does this type of cutter bite better with the handle angled up away from the steel, or down towards it? I did actually end up cutting a handle into the wood block, so I can keep the handle at a negative or positive angle. I didn't think of this potential problem, Matt, but the tempering colors are functioning like sharpie here, so I was able to check your hypothesis. The tool seems it be cutting just fine at the edges of the fuller-- if I put sideways pressure on the tool, I can still take nice little shavings off of the edges. When I try to cut right down the center, I get a little bit of dust and make no progress. I'll definitely try that, Brian. And I am absolutely going to make a new cutter anyway, out of 1/4" W2 this time. Should I temper the cutter at all, or leave it fully hardened? I didn't actually temper this one at all, since I am pretty sure it's 80CrV2, which isn't quite the ideal material for such a thing. Thanks again for taking the time to respond, gents. I'll experiment a bit with all of this in mind. I have tried making fuller scrapers before with no luck, but I need this one to work. I don't need to tell you that there's a lot of time into that blade already!
  18. Hello, fellowsmiths! Short version: My fuller scraping tool stopped cutting part way through the work and I'm not certain why, and I figured somebody here might know! Long version (with pictures and an idea): I rigged up this fuller scraper out of scraps, as sort of a proof of concept. The cutter is a scrap of blade steel, which I burned into a piece of poplar and epoxied. The arc has the diameter of a penny at the bottom, and widens toward the top-- it is not a circular curve. It worked really well and made lots of little shavings, until it didn't. I have reached a point where the fuller is almost but not quite done, but the cutter just seems to have stopped having any effect. I tried sharpening it, but that didn't help. The sound even changed from a screechy horrible sound to a less offensive grinding noise, and it's barely making dust now. Does anybody have any insight into why this might be happening? I'm thinking that I'm trying to cut too much surface area at once, and I lack the mass to get the cutter to bite. If this is the case, has anyone tried making a serrated cutter? I'm thinking like a toothing iron, for those of you familiar with olde-timey woodworking. If I file notches in the cutter, it would reduce the contact area of the cut, and then I could clean up the resulting surface with another cutter, or with sandpaper, depending on the resultant surface. Thank you for reading my quite possibly incoherent thoughts on this!
  19. Nicely done! I remember when I first read about Otzi's equipment being kind of awestruck by the primal nature of this little stone knife with the blood of his enemies still on it. I wish we could hear the story of his last days-- and I'm a bit surprised that nobody's made a movie out of it. A friend of mine made an Otzi-style sheath for his Mora knife out of... I want to say it was phragmites stems? Some kind of long grassy, reedy thing. But yeah, it was a surprisingly effective sheath. It had really excellent retention because of the stretchiness of the weave, and good drainage. Pretty sure he's been using it for a couple of years now.
  20. I would add to Bill's excellent advice that I have found that the size of my hammer handles is vital to not injuring myself; I did mess up the tendon in my right middle finger a few years ago when I spent ten hours forging and then re-forging a spearhead with one of those Estwing fiberglass-handled 4lb hammers. The handle was too thin for my hands, and consequently I was gripping it awkwardly and too tightly. I learned better hammer technique and never used that hammer again, and my tendonitis has not come back; it will start to twinge a little bit if I'm tired and holding the hammer like a dope, like a little reminder to maintain good form.
  21. My first reaction as well. If the edge isn't on the longer, straight side, it's more of an American-style tanto. That rustic look is fine, but don't let the Viking history buffs catch you saying that it makes it look more Viking-- they were excellent craftsmen and their work only looks rustic once it's been buried for a thousand years.
  22. That leatherwork is absolutely top-notch. Really illustrates how the fine details elevate a blade from "really cool" to "jaw-dropping."
  23. Just my $.02, I've had good success with something very similar to the method Joshua described in terms of doing 3-4 hour sessions. What I had the guys I worked with doing was making things akin to colonial-era scalpers or rip knives-- forged out, full tang, but no ricasso and plunge cuts to worry about-- the style is a bit less complicated to forged and file, in my opinion, but still very functional, and nobody feels bad if they look a bit rough around the edges. I had them practice some hammer form stuff while we drew out a billet from .75"x.25" bar (keep it straight and even while making it thinner), then would demonstrate the next step in the process, get the shape started, and let them have a few heats to do the grunt work, stepping in to explain and fix problems if they arose. We forged out the blades in a few hours each, then I gave them a filing demo and told them to soak the knife in vinegar overnight before drawfiling it to clean it up. They're all ready to get handles put on them now, but nobody has had time to get into the finer points of finitiob yet. Results so far have been good, except for the dope who lost his blade (with like five hours of filing on it) in his van. It's been two months and it still hasn't turned up. The guys I worked with, though, are all primitive skills enthusiasts and wilderness school teachers, so they had a good grounding in craftwork and well-developed motor skills. Tailoring the curriculum to the student can be the most challenging part of teaching.
  24. Fantastic details on that hawk, Alan. Looking forward to seeing more new work from you!
  25. Dude, awesome! I've been trying to figure out how the hell I'm going to heat treat this sword I'm working on, and this just solved the quench tank problem!
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