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Connor Lyons

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Everything posted by Connor Lyons

  1. really like that blade shape, you've definitely got an eye for good design.
  2. What a score on the 35 dollar kiln! As far as the PID goes, if you're not having any luck with getting it to read over 999, id recommend swapping it for a Mypin TA-4 SSR PID. I have it on the oven I built and it will read out four digits. It also has a pretty handy auto tuning feature, which i've found to be pretty useful for switching between quenching temps and tempering temps. I think it was 18 bucks or so on amazon.
  3. Pretty slick little scribe! Could you describe a bit how you calibrate/adjust these to match the centers of the various thicknesses? With the scribes ive made that has been the most challenging part, it takes a good while of fumbling around for me to get it close.
  4. I got one as a birthday gift a few years back and I'm pretty impressed with it actually. I was initially skeptical as it seemed sorta gimmicky but its certainly been very useful for me.
  5. So after quite a long while of slow progress, I plugged in my HT oven last night and nothing blew up in my face! In fact, she glows hot and beautiful just as intended. Ultimately stoked! I still need to add some additional kaowool insulation on the door as well as a proper latch. And make a removable cover plate to go over the heater connections outside the control box. It runs on regular old 120v household outlet with a 20amp breaker. There are 2 heating coils in parallel with a combined measured resistance of 6.2 ohms. That comes out to 19.4 amps on paper, which had me worried I would blow the breaker. But the heating coils actual resistance increases as they heat up, so I suspect it actually draws a bit less. So far I've only run it for about 40 minutes, but it made it up to 1800 deg.F without issue in that time! I bought the bricks, thermocouple, high temp mortar, and coils at Seattle pottery supply, just a few minutes from my house. They can make custom heating coils from kanthal wire to any resistance and size specs you need there, but mine they had on hand and premade as spare parts for the little 120v kilns they sell there. Super convenient! The kiln expert there was super helpful too. The PID controller and SSR I got off Amazon. I used Dan Comeau's website as my bible for building this thing, and I cannot stress enough how amazingly useful it was! He has all the info you need to build one of these and some really useful calculators and tools to make it easy for even a dummy like me! If you want to build a HT oven, definitely check it out: http://dcknives.blogspot.com/p/electric-forge.html?m=1 As you can see mine is super beefy and covered in sheet metal, but I made it keeping in mind the fact that I'll be moving in June and will need it to survive being lugged around to my new shop. I think all in all I have about 400-500 bucks invested in this thing, but I'm sure it could be done for much less depending on what you have lying around. I bought damn near every piece of this specifically for this project. I won't be able to put it to use for another week or so, but I'll be back with an update when I do and when I get the final bits sorted out.
  6. Ahhh I see what you mean now. I have not tried that but I'll definitely give it a shot on my next one!
  7. Yes I grind the edge after HT starting with what I'd guess is somewhere around a 320-400 grit belt on the WorkSharp. I suppose if 400°f is sufficient for a temper that would point more towards my sharpening technique.
  8. So after a couple years of working with 1084 I feel like I've dialed in my HT method reasonably well, at least normalizing and quenching. But I have been getting somewhat inconsistent results with how sharp I've been getting them, which makes me wonder if I should adjust how much of a temper I give them. I primarily like to make small edc type knives with maybe only 2" or so of actual cutting edge. So my thinking is that I can afford to have a somewhat harder blade than if it were say a 6" blade, because it's likely not going to be used with nearly as much force as a bigger knife, so therefore a catastrophic failure or chipping due to excessive brittleness is less likely. So my first question here is: is that a reasonable assumption? Or is that wacky nonsense I made up? The reason I want an extra hard blade in the first place is because I'm also going for maximum edge hold, just cause I'd rather be sharpening a brand new knife for the first time rather than keeping up an old one! So after quenching, I usually only give the lil suckers a one hour temper @ 420 F or so and leave it at that. So what I'm left with seems to be an obnoxiously hard blade, but that's what (I think) I want. So once I've got them all finished up and put on edge on the little fellas, this is where things get somewhat wonky. About half of my blades come out razor sharp after moving through three grits to the finest finish belt available for my little WorkSharp belt grinder doo-dad. Sharp enough to push cut through thin paper and shave the hair off my arm. The other half of my blades come out pretty dang sharp, and can slice paper pretty well, but not shaving sharp. Im also pretty dang meticulous about maintaining a final edge thickness of between .015" and .020", so I'm thinking that shouldn't account for too much of a difference in sharpness. So do I just need better sharpening equipment? Must I finally spend the cash on a quality set of diamond stones or the like? What I'm most curious about is the magnification required to actually see the difference between a differently sharpened edges. Is there anyone that has used some type of microscope or other magnification to examine their edges? I mostly just think it would be a nifty way of understanding what's going on with a truly sharp blade. Anyways, thanks for any suggestions or input you may have!
  9. Wow. Thats my new favorite bowie. This knife is officially on my list of truly inspirational pieces
  10. Good info here. I'd love to know more about how files are classified, its much more complicated than i would expect.
  11. A real beauty you've got there. Looks like we've both got some work to finish up before christmas. Yep I certainly won't be using galvanized. Got some schedule 40 lying around the pumphouse that I'll give a good squashing to before I weld on a cap.
  12. Yeah ive attempted to soak some blades before by fiddling around with my regulator and choke on my venturi burner, but without any way to read temp it was kind of futile. Would this same thermocouple be appropriate for use in an electric heat treating oven if I were to eventually build one you think?
  13. Sweet, I've got access to plenty of scrap pieces of steel pipe at work, I'll weld one up tonight!
  14. Awesome, I was just wondering about baffle pipes and thermocouples. Definitely going to order a thermocouple and a reader today, but i still don't exactly know what a baffle pipe is? I'll have to use that handy search function...
  15. Thanks a bunch for the very detailed guide Wes. I'd love to know more about what kind of thermocouple you use and how it's set up. And what's a baffle pipe? Sounds like you've got your forge dialed in to work almost like a HT oven which I would love to do with my forge.
  16. Will do. Soaking could be challenging with my forge, but i have an extra piece that I think I'll experiment with first. Thanks!
  17. Super awesome, curious how you did the serrations? I'd love to see a close up of them
  18. That is a really awesome shape, id love to see how it turns out!
  19. Just finished the bevels on my first attempt at a kitchen knife. It is definitely my most ambitious knife, but so far I am pretty pumped about how it's coming along. I drew up the design for it with the idea that I wanted a sort of cleaver/chef's knife crossover, and upon doing some research (after I had profiled and ground the bevels) I've discovered that it pretty closely resembles a Chai Dao. It is made from .110" 80crv2. I plan on giving it to my cousin who is a professional chef. My cousin being a true cutlery enthusiast, i hope to get some real feedback on how it performs and how I can improve it. I myself am a lousy cook and have nothing to compare it to seeing as I have never used a carbon steel knife in the kitchen. My main goals with this knife are to get a feel for how to grind a slightly convex grind across a really wide blade, and achieve a slight distal taper in the process. This is also the first knife that I have used my new and improved filing jig to file the bevels. And I must say I'm effin stoked with how it worked. Anyway, on to the pictures. I'll start by highlighting my jig setup:Basically a much more rigid version of my old wooden jig. Its made out of 1/8th" thick 1X2 box steel. I've draw filed the surface where the blade is clamped to try and get the flattest and most consistent surface possible. I did my best to keep everything as flat and symetrical as i possibly could. And I sure got some practice drilling and tapping holes. I discovered I could easily mount my file cleaner to the other side of the jig, which proved to be super useful. Much faster than having to stop and pick it up. Here you can see the plunge line stop pin with a steel sleeve around it to act as a bearing for my file to roll against. This keeps the file from grinding into the stop pin and pushing the plunge line farther towards the ricasso. The little brass piece is just a spacer to keep the sleeve from sliding up too far and allowing the file to slip underneath it. My plan was to grind to my edge centerline and then bring the grind angle down gradually. As the bevel pushed it's way up towards the spine I lowered my angle more and more to create a sort of faceted effect to achieve a slightly convex grind. Here you can make out the progression of the different facets going all the way up to the spine. Once I got about halfway to the spine my file started pinning a whole helluva lot, and having the file cleaner mounted on the jig proved invaluable as I was having to clean my file at least every 3 or 4 strokes. It also became really hard to keep the different facets running evenly down the length of the blade, you can see how they dont perfectly follow the profile of the edge. But I hoped this would all be buffed out in sanding. You can also see that my front stop pin is brass so my file could easily peel off the top of it when the angle got really low. After filing the first side I decided to go ahead and sand it with 220 grit while it was still in the jig. I simply wrapped my file with sandpaper and reversed the direction I worked the bevel, going from the spine down to the edge. It was lightning quick! Way faster than hand sanding out of the jig. And to my surprise and pleasure, no signs of pinning across the whole thing! It also smoothed out the whole grind to where the different facets have blended into a smoothly transitioned convex grind. For the second side I did everything the same except I used a thin piece of brass to shim the underside of the blade to try and compensate for the slight distal taper forming towards the tip. Without this the tip of the blade would get pushed down by my file and I worried it would affect my grind angle. But even with the shim, the tip was pretty flexy, and I had to use as little downward pressure as possible. No one said filing bevels is quick... This shot is looking down the edge from the heel of the blade. Clamping the knife to the jig on the second side is always a bit challenging because you have to get the plunge lines lined up as best you can. I was really pleased to see that I got them lined up within a few thousandths of an inch, definitely my most symmetrical grind thus far. This is also where having the edges of the file chamfered at a 45 degree angle is important. I took my edge down really thin to around 15 thou, which im hoping will allow for a really sharp final edge, but I'm also really nervous about how that is going to go in heat treat... the only part of the spine that shows signs of a distal taper is up towards the tip, but i think this is mostly because of the shape of the profile. My next kitchen knife (I already have one profiled) will be a more European style chef's knife and the drop point profile shape should hopefully produce a more pronounced distal taper. And there she is thus far! I'm already filled with nervous excitement over this one. My dream is to one day create high quality kitchen cutlery that above all else, performs as well or better than commercially available knives. I feel this knife is a small but important step towards one day getting there. I'd say I spent at least 10 hours purely filing away on these bevels over the course of 3 or 4 days. And lemme tell ya, it is as brutal as you'd expect. It is quite an arduous task. But a word of advice for those who file bevels, HEADPHONES. This would not be possible without being able to listen to something other than the squealing of my file for hours on end. Personally I really enjoy listening to some podcasts or an audio book as I dig into the seemingly eternal tedium. But every now and then I have to listen to so some good ol' death metal to really get in the spirit of shaving metal. Please feel free to offer any criticisms you might have about what I could have done better up to this point, and or advice for moving forward. Unfortunately it is going to be at least a week or two before I get back to my forge to HT. And I gotta say I'm pretty nervous about it seeing as my edge is so thin, and I have never worked with 80crv2 before. My plan is to normalize a couple times then quench in canola oil, and probably give it rwo or 3 temper cycles at 350 or so. Any reccomendations here would be greatly appreciated.
  20. The tape you see is just wrapped around the bottom hose clamp to protect the edge of the blade if I happen to push too far and crash into it. Definitely going to add a top handle though. I have seen pictures of a distal tapered chef's knife, and I think that is my ultimate goal with this new jig.
  21. The first two photos are of my first jig, which is built almost exactly as specified in Aaron Gough's YouTube tutorial. Great design, and i reccomend it to anyone inerested in building a siper affordanle jig. The last photo is of my new jig, which I hope will be more accurate because of its rigid steel construction, I've found that when clamping my blades to the wooden jig it has a tendency to squish the tang into the wood a bit and lift the tip of my blade up, which alters my grind angle and can be challenging to compensate for. I'll post another update on the new jig once it is finished and I've had a chance to test it. I haven't tapped the stop pin holes just yet.
  22. I haven't considered using the jig for forged blades, I meant all of this in context to stock removal. But as far as draw filing goes with my jig, no it's not possible. But I've seen a jig that does not hold either end of the file captive and I would imagine it would allow you to draw file.
  23. So I have almost finished building my second bevel filing jig. In doing some research on what other people's filing jigs are like, I have discovered that many people have strong opinions on whether or not they are a worthy tool for the kinifemakers shop. Ive found this to be an interesting debate, and I'm curious to see what people's thoughts are on both sides of the argument. One camp posits that a jig will only hinder your ability to fully use a file, and that using a file jig will only inhibit the development of skills. I've also heard the argument that filing jigs restrict options for blade shapes and bevel heights. Now I am certainly one who appreciates learning a craft the hard way, and have great respect for the many blademiths that file bevels free hand. But I have been so overwhelmingly impressed with the results of my first filing jig that I must disagree with those who say to ditch the jig. It might be considered a bias that i have enjoyed building my jigs almost as much as making knives, but I think even if you are someone who would rather be grinding on knives instead of wasting time fiddling with jigs, I think they are absolutely worth your time and effort. Now I myself have only free hand filed 2 small knives, which were also my first knives. So I certainly don't have much practice freehanding bevels. But I have ground over a dozen bevels on my jig now, and I can tell you it was at least twice as fast and I think now that I've had some practice with it, I can produce flat grinds that are completely even to within around ten thousandths of an inch as far as I've been able to measure. And although my first jig did have it's limits, I think it's possible to build one jig that could accurately grind a flat bevel on almost any blade. But of course I also must wonder what i could be overlooking on this matter? Oh and I'll post some pics of my new filing jig in a few days when I finish it!
  24. Absolutely stunning! It's nice to see a smaller blade with an antler handle, I've really been digging the little blades these days. I also like the way the spine rises out of the bolster for a little thumb grip.
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