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Alex Middleton

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Everything posted by Alex Middleton

  1. Dont give up man! Like I tell my probies, you never learn anything if you always get it right the first time. Failing with a good attitude is by far the quickest way to truly learn something. I dont know enough about decarb to do anything more than suggest it to the masses, but is it possible that there is a thin layer up near the tip of the blade with good hard steel underneath?
  2. It sounds like your stuff might be a little bit softer than anything I've played with, but I would think that if it stays together as you cut it up, it should be fine. If it blows apart when you touch a saw too it, probably not worth the trouble. Just my $.02.
  3. Thanks for that Alan. That'll give me something to do during my lunch tomorrow. I got the blade cleaned up and started filing in the pattern grooves: There's still a ton more filing to go, then it's back into the forge to rough in the bevels.
  4. Thanks for the tip Alan. If I recall, that's a pinned thread somewhere. I'll look it up.
  5. I may be biting off more than I can chew with this one. It's intended as a retirement gift for a man who has had a large impact on my professional life over the last 15 years. When I asked him if he wanted something to use, or something to display in his collection, his response was "Something to display, making something to use would be too easy for you." Knowing the knives he already has in his collection, making something to go along with them is definitely not going to be easy. Very rough sketch: The proportions of the handle and fittings are a bit off, but the general concept is there. I haven't decided if it will be Spalted Maple with brass/copper fittings, or African Blackwood with mild steel. I'm leaning towards blackwood/mild steel but I want to see how the damascus turns out before committing. I was able to get a very rough forging of the blade done tonight: Its 48 layers of 1084/15n20. I thought I started with enough material for 2 blades, ended up having to incorporate some of the rebar into the tang because I ran short . Next up after cleanup is a bunch of hand filing in order to get the diamond pattern I want in the blade.
  6. Funny, I've had the exact same experience at family get togethers!
  7. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but the basic definition of a hamon line is the delineation between hard and soft material. I'm sure it's more technical than that, but I'm a simple kind of guy. Connors hamon intersects the edge about halfway down the straight part of the blade, meaning anything under that point didnt necessarily harden properly.
  8. Don, that link seems to be broken. Zeb, Curtis at Turntex, the guy that sells Cactus Juice, recommends keeping a constant draw on the vacuum. That would be tough to do with a shop vac. I use a vacuum pump that I pulled out of an old dehumidifier and run it for as long as I can until it overheats. It's not perfect, but it works. All in I had about $30 into my initial stabilizing setup.
  9. Nice! A vacuum chamber is pretty easy to build........
  10. Now that you're making me think about it, I may be confusing our bandsaw blades with our end mills (don't wast your time trying to forge down an end mill ). I'll check in the morning. Edit: I called our saw guy. He pulled up the bandsaw blades we buy and they are listed as generic HSS. After some googling, I'm definitely thinking about the endmills when I referenced M2. Sorry about that Connor. Maybe you'll have better luck with that than I did.
  11. I've made several fillet knives from .040" thick M2 bandsaw blades. I've had really good luck with heating just the edge and using a water quench. I'm sure it's not optimal, but it hardens well and seems to temper fine and hold an edge as well.
  12. I have been thinking that something like this would be pretty useful for scribing center lines: It's similar to what Garry uses, but by simply twisting to catch both sides of the blade it will automatically align the scribe point up with the center line, regardless of the thickness of the stock. A small sleeve of a given thickness could be placed over the pin on one side. It would then work to scribe the line a consistent distance off center to give something to grind/file up to before heat treat.
  13. That doesn't even include the scallops that it ended up with (didn't get a picture) after forging in the bevels that all had to be ground off to get it back to shape. I had thought about forging them back flat, but I figured that it would disrupt the pattern too much.
  14. Its possible. I'm afraid that theres too many weld flaws hidden inside to make it worth while though. I can definitely see how this can turn into an addiction all right. I've already started working on the next billet using some more predictable materials than what went into this one.
  15. I like the finish that BLO leaves on natural wood. I've also had very good luck using multiple light coats of polyurethane, sanding each one back off, until all of the pores are filled. The last coat gets sanded out to 1000 grit and buffed. If done right it can leave an incredibly smooth finish on even very porous woods.
  16. I actually managed to find some shop time this afternoon so I worked on this a bit more. I wanted to something a little different than a straight up ladder pattern, so I ended up marking my grooves with a cutoff wheel, widening them out a bit with the corner of a square file, and then finishing them with an 8" half round file. Since it's a dagger, and I wanted symmetry, I tapered the depths from the edge up to the spine on both sides. It ended up looking like this: Being another snowy day here, I didnt really feel like working on the honey-do list so I pulled the forge out and fired it up. After a very rough grind and a test etch, I was excited to see the pattern come out pretty much like I'd hoped for: You can see that I need to be more careful when filing in the grooves, I also need to leave more material to grind off after forging in the bevels. I guess using this as a practice blade was a good idea.
  17. Alan, I'm planning on grinding them in for the most part, and then cleaning up with a file. Thanks for the tip on rounding off the corners, I'll make sure I do that. Thanks for that link Billy. I had forgotten about that thread, there's some good info there.
  18. I welded up a billet today that ended up with a few flaws in it. I'm going to keep going with it to see if I get the pattern that I'm looking for before I start on another one. I'm planning on trying a version of a ladder pattern, but I've never done one before. Out of curiosity, after I finish putting in the grooves, should the follow on forging be done at a welding heat? Is there a better way to avoid cold shuts when flattening the billet back out?
  19. I'm digging it John. I may have to give that a try. Lord knows I have plenty of scrap OSB laying around.
  20. Borrow away! Hopefully I'll get some shop time this weekend and be able to give it a proper test. I have the magnets in baggies hanging up already, now that I moved the grinder I need to reposition them a bit. Its surprising how much stuff they can collect.
  21. September or November works for me. Absolutely can't be October though.
  22. With the creative and artistic talent that some of the members (unfortunately not me) of this board posses, I think this one has the potential to be exceptionally interesting. Do we have a "deadline" yet?
  23. Josh, I had a similar experience last week at my local Production Tool store. I ordered almost exactly the same files (I'm assuming we both took Alan's recommendation that he posted), and got pretty much the same results. I think you got the better deal though, my lathe file came in as a Nicholson that was made in Mexico . I'll be interested to hear your opinion of the 14" mill bastard though. I thought the first one I had was halfway decent, but I really dont have much to compare it to.
  24. Seeing as how I just got done cleaning up all of the grinding dust in my shop, I decided to postpone any more forging until I could come up with some sort of dust collector to keep the shop a little cleaner in the future. Using pieces and parts I had in my collection, I came up with this: I'm not 100% comfortable that it not just a giant fire hazard, but if I like how it works I'll probably rebuild the whole thing out of steel. I was only able to do a little bit of test grinding, but I'd guess it catches 80-90%. Much better than just a bucket of water, which seemed to let 80-90% go all over the place.
  25. Band-aids for a cut! Sacrilege! Paper towel and tape is the proper way to stop a bleeder.
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