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Adam Betts

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Everything posted by Adam Betts

  1. Welcome to the rabbit hole that is axe making! I would recommend starting with the tomahawk-style drifts, since they're relatively easy to buy and you can do a lot with them. I have found exactly one guy who sells drifts for the long, narrow eyes you see on axes with top-wedged hafts, and it's expensive. I ended up forging my own-- took me a few days.
  2. You did a great job forming the beard, especially for your first project. They can be tricky to shape. Getting your order of operations right is important-- I usually trim and profile the edge first (since it's the most functionally important part of the axe) to get nice points at the toe and heel, then work on shaping the heel/beard area. That way I know how much material I have to work with and can match the curves and lines of the beard (and the rest of the blade, for that matter) to the edge. I have found that this approach generally gets me a better-looking result than grinding on the beard first. Just something to think about. Seriously, though, it's challenging to forge a radically asymmetrical axe blade, and you pretty much nailed it. Well done.
  3. Make sure you go with insulation and refractory that is rated for whatever temperature you think you might be trying to melt things at if you also want to use your forge as a small foundry (assuming that's what you meant when you said you wanted to be able to turn it on end and use a crucible); I used 2300*F rated insulating firebrick to build mine, and when I tried melting copper in it, I pretty much destroyed my forge.
  4. Oh don't worry, you'll ALL be hearing from me if it's been seven days and I still can't make the fittings work. I should go get a post started for my thing and stop hijacking Lukas's thread. Thanks, Kevin.
  5. Nice leather work! How secure is that retention strap? Do you think you could wear the knife upside-down with it? I'm still torn as to whether to use a strap like you've got here for my sheath, or whether to go for a strap with a snap at the top end of the handle like the original production sheaths had. I made my sheath so that I can actually wear it concealed point-up under my arm (not that that's legal) or point-down on a belt the regular way, but retention and extraction become a bit more challenging when the thing is upside-down.
  6. I am a big fan of the double-clip messer profile. This is going to be cool! I'm working on a smaller but similarly-constructed blade at the moment (honestly I'm not sure whether to call it a bauernwehr or a messer of some sort), and I'm very curious to see how you fabricate and fit the guard and handle, because that seems like the most technically challenging step of the process. I'm sure yours will be fantastic, of course.
  7. I'm usually just really careful about how much epoxy I use, and I pick out any epoxy that gets where it shouldn't be with a dental pick while it;s still gooey. I've never used the vaseline trick; seems messy.
  8. This was the final bloom of the day. This is what we produced over the course of the day. Not too shabby!
  9. This was the part where we couldn't find the bloom; turned out that it was fused to the wall.
  10. I finally managed to get the pictures from this event formatted in such a way that the forum didn't spit them back at me. Here they are! Some of them may be oriented wrong. Dammit Jim, I'm a bladesmith, not a photographer.
  11. I really dig these little knives you've been posting lately, Jake. The profiles are so simple and elegant, with just enough decorative work to make them look special.
  12. I was looking for similarly-sized steel for the same purpose the other day. I believe Admiral Steel has bars of 5160 and several other blade steels in the size you're looking for. I haven't asked Aldo about getting bars that large because I'm not ready to buy them yet, but if he can get them, I would absolutely buy them from him over anybody else. 5160 tempered to be a bit soft makes a fantastic axe head, in my opinion.
  13. If you have the $35 or whatever they cost to buy the drift, my advice is go ahead and buy it. In the time it took me to forge my small axe drift, I made at 4 tomahawk heads with the drift I bought. I only forged the axe drift because I couldn't find anybody selling one. I'm usually all for the "why not do it yourself" thing, but damn, forging that drift got really tedious by the end. If you do decide to do it yourself, heed Mr. Higson's advice and start with a piece of steel that is already sized to the largest dimensions you need, then work down from there. I started with a jeep axle; trying to make it twice as wide while only losing half the width was a serious pain.
  14. Welcome to the eternal argument going on inside my head!
  15. I don't disagree in the slightest. I think my reluctance to sell comes from seeing what others on this forum do, and not feeling like I have a right to compete in the market until I'm producing a product of comparable quality--not so much that I don't value my own labor. I have donated tomahawks to a local wilderness school for a silent auction for the last three years, and they've gone for upwards of $150 every time, so I guess that's a sign that I'm moving in the right direction. If I was working with fancy stainless alloys and expensive equipment and fossilized ivory, I'd feel differently. I buy blade steel occasionally, but my handles generally come from the woodpile and my fittings are either brass or mild steel. I've only recently come to regard my own work as approaching saleability, but I'm a perfectionist. As one who frequently thinks regular problems INTO abstraction, I'm certainly not going to fault you for that. Axes and hawks are my first love in blades, so I happen to know a fair bit about what's out there.
  16. If I wanted my hand held, I'd be in a different line of work. Kidding. I like the sentiment, Jon, but could not pass up the opportunity for macho humor. I am very grateful that there is so much knowledge sharing and mutual assistance happening in the bladesmithing community. I've given away nearly everything I've ever forged because I have learned so much of the craft through the generosity of others that I have not felt entitled to demand payment. Also, just for the record, I wanted to point out that Gerber, CRKT, SOG, and Cold Steel all make pieces of metal that they are marketing as tactical tomahawks. Estwing is trying to get that train, though their offerings are kind of a train wreck.
  17. Beautiful work, Rob! I've made several hawks out of those big crowbars; the local scrap yard had a bunch of them a while back. Whatever the steel is, it makes a durable axe head! Can I ask how you forge the eyes when you're working from solid stock? I've been working with a slitter that I made, but my results are frequently not as clean as I would like.
  18. Some rebated scales might look good on that, but your copper idea could also be cool, especially if you gave it some texturing with a ball-pein or something.
  19. Thanks for the kind words, guys. Always appreciated! I was just re-reading this, and I think I need to work on keeping my posts shorter. That's a lot of words for a little knife.
  20. I'm going to have to try that etch/temper trick on an axe head one of these days. I usually leave them as-forged, but a bit of color might look really cool. Nice work on the whole project. I really like that sheath!
  21. That is so cool! I am eternally impressed by miniature work like this. I see the blade is 4 inches, so that'd make it about a foot long total?
  22. Hello, fellow smiths! I present for your consideration a little knife with a lot of personality. I've made several knives lately that were intended to be my personal carry knife, but none of them really felt like MY knife, if that makes sense. I finally settled on this one. The inscription is something I did on request for a knife that I made for my best friend last year, and I liked it so much that I made mine to match. Also, I'm still on my wire-wrap binge, and honestly I like how it comes out so much that I don't see it going away any time soon. If I can get some slightly thinner wire, I'm going to try my hand at incorporating some decorative knotwork into the wire wraps as well. I was inspired by a piece that Jake Cleland posted in late January to try a forged-in semi-guard-thing. I expected it to go horribly wrong, but I kept the heat pretty localized and only heated to reddish-orange to forge it with a tiny ball-pein. The rest of the blade stayed straight and true, and the guard is really comfortable when using the knife. This is a really awesome development for me, because aesthetically I generally don't like plunge cuts and grind lines on knives (bowies are notable exceptions) and having this sort of forged guard makes a small knife with full transverse taper much more comfortable in the hand. The art on the sheath is original, but is based on depictions of ravens on Anglo-Saxon artifacts that I've encountered doing research for other projects. One of my goals for this project was to try to combine aesthetic themes from the various cultures that have inspired my work over the years into something unique and different and meaningful (to me, anyway). Thanks for looking, and I look forward to reading your thoughts, comments, critiques, and/or questions! Blade facts: Length: 4 inch edge, 8 inch OAL Thickness: 1/8" at the spine Weight: 2.8 oz (without sheath) Steel: W2 from Aldo, differentially hardened Other materials: Cherry handle darkened with vinegaroon, brass pins, copper wire
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