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Sean McWilliams

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About Sean McWilliams

  • Birthday 02/14/1949

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  • Location
    Carbondale, Colorado
  • Interests
    Aviation, Search and Rescue, Firefighter/EMT, Blacksmith with 45 years experience, foremost expert in forged stainless alloys, successfully Forging stainless for over 35 years.

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  1. Alan, The colors are due to the etch, don't think they have anything to do with the temper.
  2. These are all S35VN cut from the same bar, and were differentially tempered. There were three blades sent to the lab, where they prepped and mounted them for photography. I next made three blades for the edge holding and toughness tests. All blades were heat treated in identical ways and bent each to the breaking point. BTW great comment about the New Improved Plow steel.
  3. Alan, Without compression, the photos are actually 2 MB to 3.7 MB. Photo #2.jpg is the stock removal blade, Photo #3.jpg is the forged blade, Photo #4.jpg is the forged and packed blade. These are cross sections of the three blades sent to the lab, #3 is somewhat fuzzy due to the focus of the camera.
  4. Jerrod, Thanks for jumping into the fray. You're right, the ferrite is being displaced as the carbide crystals are being packed more tightly together. This happens just above a black heat, maybe 1000F, (for the alloys I forge) but above the dreaded "blue-black brittle" range. Since this is a high alloy stainless, work hardening would crack the steel in a few blows. Work hardening does go away with higher heat, but the packing remains and is still there after hardening and tempering. Packing happens on the level of carbide crystals, in this case, chromium carbides. So, we need to be talking car
  5. Thanks, Mike This winter I taught a week long bladesmithing course at a private high school, Colo. Rocky Mtn. School, where they have a complete forging shop. 10 students, 9 of them never-evers, completed 5 layer damascus knives. The knives were as different as the personalities. It was a little scary in the current atmosphere around knives and schools in general, but well received. At the end we did a presentation and one student commented "If they only have to confiscate two or three knives, we'll probably do it again.
  6. Apologies to the 2 people who got the dreaded 404 white page trying to find my article on my site. I tried the link just now and it works. For your convenience I'll add it here.https://seanmcwilliamsforge.com/scientific-knife-testing-proves-performance-and-durability-of-sean-mcwilliams-knives/
  7. Joel, Thanks for the very scholarly dissertation regarding cold working steel. Useful and informative, to say the least.
  8. Hi Joshua, Thanks for the comment. I remember those days. I went to Catholic grade school 50's, we had pocket knives, played 'strech' on the lawn. I got in trouble once over my pocket knife, well not the knife exactly. I didn't want to wait in line at the pencil sharpener, so I pulled out my pocket knife and whittled a point on my pencil, letting the shavings fall under my desk. Sister Helen Brimstone was furious, made me sweep it all up and stand in the cloak room for the rest of the afternoon. It was winter, and there was no heat in there, so I borrowed some coats. Back then, the nuns
  9. You know, I should have said "light hammering on the bevels along the edge of the blade..." Not "...hammering on the edge of the blade..." My Bad, sorry for any confusion.
  10. Steven, The answer would be None of the Above. I didn't know I was sending it as a personal message, I reposted as a comment, subsequently. I was using the corn flake analogy as an analogy to describe what packing does. There is no empty space. I am actually hammering the bevels near the edge of the knife and on the anvil. I'm not shaking the knife or tapping the bevels. Temperatures above and below critical cannot exist simultaneously. Normalization and forging are separate processes. Forging is forging, normalization is heating the steel to critical and letting it cool in s
  11. Forged means shaping, tapering, drawing and thinning the edge. Packing occurs at the last heat level before austenite formation, above the point where "work hardening" occurs. This temperature is different for different alloys. I pack my edge with a lighter hammer (1 1/2 lb.) use 2 1/2 lb- to 5 lb. for forging. Light, quick blows along the edge turning side to side evenly. Gotta move right along before the blade is too cool. At that heat, carbide structures have formed, but not cemented, so I'm just jiggling the carbides into a tighter configuration. This is a final step, as further forging u
  12. You don't have to be older than dirt, but at least have some years on 'ya to remember when folding knives were just called "Pocket Knives." In the new age of retronyms the term is "slip-joint." I have fond memories of those knives, especially the ones I couldn't afford when my only income was from shoveling snow, mowing lawns, and my paper route. Thirty some years ago, I found some prime Sambar stag scales , just before the stag ban, and some red jigged bone scales like the old Case "Muskrat" that my father gave me when I was about 9. I lost that fishing when I fell in the swollen spring strea
  13. Have you ever had doubts about the value edge packing. Just an old blacksmith's tale? What is it, does it work, how does it work? I set about researching this subject in 1988, publishing the results in Knives Illustrated Magazine in the 1989/Winter issue. The article, titled "Microphotographing Steel" featured 400X photographs of cross sections of forged blade steels. The photos reveal considerable grain refinement due to forging, but the proof of "edge packing" was inconclusive. And there remained questions. Particle Metallurgy (CPM) steels were new on the market, and the question raised was
  14. First session is full with 12 students! Reply for information on summer 2019 sessions.
  15. If there's enough interest, I will be teaching a bladesmithing class at CRMS in Carbondale, Colorado.Class will be mid to late July 2018. Email me at info@seanmcwillamsforge.com with your interest cost and dates will w determined. Happy Smithin' all.
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