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Aaron Rheams

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About Aaron Rheams

  • Birthday June 13

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    Blountsville, AL
  • Interests
    Blades, Metallurgy, Chemistry, Technology, Quantum Physics

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  1. In following the advice from everyone, I ordered some more steel and I am going to build four billets, 6" x 1.5". I did decide to deviate from the even number on each billet, though, as I want both sides of the knife to be the same steel. Resultantly, I will stack four billets of three 1095 and two 15N20. The thing I hate about working these individual billets down is that I end up having to sand all of them to get a clean surface, and I cannot seem to forge anything perfectly flat, so I lose a good bit of material. I certainly cannot stack them all, though, so I suppose it's going to have
  2. My setup... Blower goes into tea dispensing port. Reil burners sealed in the back due to precombustion. Holes drilled in the sides. R Holes... Top view Rear view. The back is stuffed with kaowool. Top view dragon breath Burners pulled out... I left them detachable to make all of this more portable. Cooling down... flux everywhere, carbon, damage, junk, etc. It will be time to reline eventually. Railroad track anvil, modified claw hammer, big hammer, poker, and brush... A live sander zip tied
  3. After many failures leading me to this point, I can tell you that you are going to be uncovering variables for a long time. This is an art for a reason, and there's nothing easy about mapping out what you can get away with and what you can't. I have maybe 100-150 hours of forge time over the last 4 months, and I'm still a supernoob. That said, all the advice here is good, from what I can tell. Make sure you are heating to at least bright orange, preferably yellow. If you are having that much trouble with it, the only thing to do is get it hotter. Hit it with the heaviest hammer you can m
  4. Tea urns do appear to make a great oval forge if you're willing to punch out the middle with an angle grinder. I have had some luck with a random discovery that appears to have reduced SOME of my losses to oxidation. Burnt sugar, borax, and sand combined make a goo that seems fairly resistant to heat. The floor of my forge doesn't like it, obviously, but I've had less loss of material in these latter stages by keeping the billet coated with this. I will try to get some pictures of my setup soon. I knew that forced air should be integrated into the burners, but I tend to fly by the se
  5. Ah, gotcha. AC current makes all the difference.
  6. Oh lort... my setup. It's a little embarrassing. The forge probably has about a 3 liter volume of working space. I've put two modified Reil burners in through the side of a restaurant tea urn (with the middle cut out). Koawool, Kast-O-Lite, and Matrikote on the inside. This was working fairly well, but it wasn't hot enough to weld, so I decided to use the tea port as a forced air intake. So I got an air mattress inflator and have been using it as a blower, but not through the burners. It enters through the tea port and mixes inside the working area. It gets nearly white hot, but I kn
  7. Has anyone tried tannic acid? I know coffee has some tannins, but I'm not sure if that is why it works. I knew a blacksmith artist who told me he used tannic acid for all his darkening, but I do not know where or how he sourced it.
  8. I speculate it helps that the load is paramagnetic? I don't know what it is exactly, but I heavily assume it isn't steel for two reasons. For one, it doesn't appear anywhere near hot enough to splatter steel like that. Also, steel would transition from ferromagnetic to paramagnetic once it became austenite. I thinking this would change the way it levitates or maybe cause the load to stick during the cool phase? The magnetic behavior of this material looks uniform throughout.
  9. I have HAND-worked a damascus billet to 89 layers so far over a few weeks. No cold shuts, and it's looking great. The odd number is due to continuously adding extra steel because it keeps shrinking. I started with 4 - 12"x1.5"x1/8" strips of 1095 and 3 of the same (slightly thinner) of 15N20. Does anyone know why little fiery gnomes show up and take all my expensive steel? The billet is now the volume of maybe 2 strips if I estimate generously. The best I can figure is that this is a combination of scale and compression, but I am shocked at how impactful this is. I probably have $60 in
  10. When you say "drawing" your bevels, do you mean forging them? You might consider grinding your bevels for damascus with minimal forging. I cannot speak to any loss of strength of toughness with ground bevels, but with damascus, grinding the bevels will give you maximum contrast for your layers. Something to consider.
  11. Thank you very much, Alan. I will check out those resources. I had heard of the sugar trick, but was unsure if it actually worked. If you say it works, I will have to try it. In the meantime, I had some interesting results. All that carbon... gone. I fused the billet, and you can see from the photo that there is no evidence it even existed! The cold shuts on the sides are from where the lip prevented contact in that spot. Spark tests around the edges were negative, but grinding through the center did produce a few sunbursts. I doubt very much all the carbon diffused into the steel,
  12. You might have better luck than some, Conner. Just make sure to perfect your bows and scrapings before you sign up.
  13. Oh goodness. I did not expect to see this topic here, but since it is, I might as well weigh in. That was my fault. I notice that the sign up option is back now. It disappeared for a few months after Steve Sells slammed me for a post I made. It turns out that I was too presumptuous to provide observations of my work given my lack of experience, so I was greeted with insults, a moderator warning, and a threat to ban me. I kid you not, though. All I did was give a respectful opinion about forge material based on what was currently working for me. Was I green? Certainly. Did I know what
  14. In an effort to save a buck, I decided to take on a new experiment while I worked a regular damascus billet alongside. I have some 1095 and 15N20, but I also have some stock welding steel from Lowe's. I seem to recall that Japanese swordsmiths worked charcoal dust into the blade to add carbon, and I have heard of people using cast iron for this purpose as well. I decided not to try cast iron yet because of the high silicon content, so I went with table sugar. Basically, I stick welded a lip all the way around a piece of 8" x 1" welding steel to get about 1/8" of height for a shallow well t
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