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JamesK

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  1. My first time successfully making a Damascus product over 10 layers, so I’m happy with it for sure! Only thing is it has a dirty Damascus kinda look to it, even though I had a 600-grit finish. In a 4-1 ratio water to ferric chloride, I took about 45-60 mins with about 15-20 min soaks followed by a 600-grit sand on both sides, followed by another soak. What do you all think? I kind of like the worn look, but would have liked a specific pattern. What should I look out for in the future?Also, you can clearly tell where I heat treated the metal, so it’s very dark compared to the back of the hawk
  2. JamesK

    Etching before or after heat treat?

    Yea I was going to do just that, thanks for the info!
  3. So I made a 10 layer Damascus billet from 2 files, a nail spike, and 2 layers of low carbon steel in between (then folded to make it 10), drew it out into a billet and made a hand sized tomahawk head from it, so now it’s more like 20 layers at the edge. I have it nice and cleaned up but no heat treat yet, and I was wondering when I should do that. Is that like the final step? I’ve never succeeded in a Damascus blade so this is a very new thing to me Also does anyone have any cool design ideas? I’ve made tomahawks before but none looked as good and symmetrical as this one so I want a nice handle to complement it
  4. JamesK

    Damascus from files?

    Ok awesome, thanks! I have this old giant billet of steel from Lowe’s that is so low in carbon so I could probably use that
  5. JamesK

    Damascus from files?

    Just for reference these are my 4 billets (first 3 are files last is the nail spike), they’re a lot darker in the photo I had to use my flash
  6. JamesK

    Damascus from files?

    Just a question about using files for patterns...I have 3 old files that I forged all into same width billets, as well as a nail spike I did the same with, and cleaned them all up into 4 separate small billets. Is it possible (or plausible) to create very simple Damascus from these components? I don’t have a welding kit or even power tools, so I was thinking weld each piece separate then combine them, and I could fold that billet over 3 or 4 times for a very simple pattern
  7. So this is my first hidden tang knife I’ve made, or I should say finished, and I learned a lot from it. First of all I learned how to make 90 degree grinds with a cheap $80 4x36 grinder so that’s good, and I learned that without a drill press you can use the prying end of a slightly modified crowbar to forge-punch the slit for a guard in. There’s a lot of minor flaws and things I wish were better with this knife (like a tiny warp near the base on the edge, blade isn’t super sharp, hole in wood is way too thick so I had to shove it full of epoxy for the knife to stay, handle is a bit awkward, etc...) but as a beginner this, I can say, is my first pretty and functional knife. I still obviously have a ton to learn and this is no where near being a really good knife, but it works and it’s at least prettier than anything I’ve made so far! please leave criticism! I love being told how I can make my next one better, I’ve only received helpful criticism on this forum thanks to an amazing community and everyone has been so helpful! Tell me how I can make my next knife better, and the major flaws with this one! Thanks!
  8. JamesK

    Shopping for new belt grinder...

    Ok thanks everyone for all the feedback...I technically CAN afford a $1000 grinder my issue is putting that kind of money into a hobby, I’d feel much better going with a grizzly in time after putting aside extra money and being able to get good enough stuff done with that. Still would be extremely better than what I use
  9. JamesK

    Shopping for new belt grinder...

    Thanks for the feedback! Based on the fact that I’m still a big forging noob and don’t need big expensive tools, do you think a 1x30” belt attachment to a rotary knife sharpener (sharpener and attachment $200 total) would be a good investment compared to what I have? Plus I’d have a better sharpener
  10. I know this might not be the best place for this topic, but I was wondering if anyone knows of any cheap (but not too cheap) belt grinders I could order online, one that would be better than my current 4x36 $80 one I bought when I started forging one year ago. It works, sure, but it’s pretty big for any detail work at all, and I’m limited to what I can use it for and make from it. I want a 1” or 2” thick belt so I can do more precision and professional work. Now for the price: I’m willing to put up to $300, maybe $400 if it’s really nice and quality. I understand I won’t find anything really good unless I wanna spend $2000-$3000, but that’s unrealistic for me, especially for a hobby. If anyone can point me in the right direction, I would appreciate it!
  11. JamesK

    Help with guard slots

    Also just for a reference as to what my knife looks like, here’s a picture before my first handle cracked and before I ruined my first guard (yea I’ve ruined a set of handles and guards already which adds to frustration) *the handle and guard aren’t on this is an aerial to show what it would look like
  12. JamesK

    Help with guard slots

    So I’ve been working on a knife for a bit now and I’ve moved on to the handle. I have the hole for the wood drilled but I plan on also having a guard. The guard isn’t working out though and I can’t figure out how to make the slot without a drill press. I’m not worried about it being a perfect fit at all, just able to fit at all and stay with epoxy. Today I drilled 3 holes by hand but they weren’t exactly lined up and even this took a while, and they were too far apart to file together and the whole process seems incredibly frustrating to me now. What keeps me focused is the fact that before power tools were a thing, knives still had guards, which means I can too (with practice obviously), so I was wondering if anyone knew any tips or tricks to making slots with as little tools as possible
  13. JamesK

    Forge welding

    Thanks for the feedback! I understand your point completely, looking back it was dumb to even try and attempt Damascus at the level I am at (honestly it just looks so cool I had to try!), and what’s most important is knife design and function above all, Damascus can come back in a few years...maybe I’ll even get some pattern out of two layers
  14. JamesK

    Forge welding

    I’m new to bladesmithing and decided I’d try and do a super simple 3 layer “Damascus” out of different tools, and made 3 somewhat even billets. I then forge welded what was once a nail spike to a modified file and it worked! Tried to weld an old piece of a saw blade (a mild, soft core!) to the other side of the spike and I couldn’t get it to stick for the life of me... Obviously some steels forge weld better than others, but can someone explain why exactly that is the case? Also if anyone has any techniques to forge welding WITHOUT power tools, as I don’t have any, please share them! I spent two days making the billets now I feel like I wasted them...
  15. JamesK

    Noticed warp

    Ok thanks for the advice! I may just heat it to a few hundred degrees then clamp it and let it cool slowly in the air with pressure on it, maybe that’ll work...otherwise I’ll jist leave it because it’s near the base of the knife and I’ll use it mostly for chopping so it shouldn’t get in the way
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