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Paul Rohrbacher

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About Paul Rohrbacher

  • Birthday 01/12/1939

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  • Location
    Scotch Grove Iowa
  • Interests
    Blacksmithing, tool making,Woodturning, Hunting, Fishing

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  1. Please view on Youtube "That Works" "How to forge Bevels on a Blade-The right Way". The video shows how to forge the blade bevel without making the blade curve and the correct way to use a hammer. My question is they dipped the hammer in water and wet the anvil face print to forging., While forging, the hammer tapped the anvil to get water on the hammer's face. There wasn't any POP or evidence that the water turned to instant steam. I am assuming that the water removed the scale from the forging peace. The water didn't appear to cool the blade either. Can anyone comment to forging with water on the anvil face and hammer their experience using water as seen in the video.
  2. Thanks for the mind blowing information. The best way for me to make a blade with carving would be to make a laminated blade. The 1018 outer layer could be carved and an inlay applied after hardening. With experience, the 1018 could be forge welded in the Damascus pattern where the inlay would be located. One of the patterns showed a laminated section where the edge steel is located. Thank you for the guidance information.Tthe blades were significantly more complicated than I ever would have imagined.
  3. I have been searching information on the Seax knives and sheath design. My search has come up with you as an Expert on the correct design of the Seax knife. Could you point me in the correct direction to the dimensions for the "Honey Lane" blade? The Honey Lane blade as shown in the British museum pictures doesn't give dimensions other than the overall length, including the Tang as "266mm". The Honey Lane knife has twisted silver/copper wire embellishment inlay. I would assume that the original blade was Iron or unhardened steel of the day. Is there any way to make a hardened/tempered blade and soften the spine area enough to make the inlay work? The silver/copper inlay would melt at heat treatment temperatures. From my limited search of the forum, others have make the seax knife Ie: Robert Suter in 2011. The sheath is equally important to correctly complement the knife. Can you point me in the direction of the correct Sheath design? It appears that the sheath may not be sewed but secured with a rivet every 4-5 cm. rivet iron or copper? Bronze would be too brittle to reliably forge the Head and upset. Copper and bronze plus iron/steel were the metals of the day. I would assume that most Seax knives were very basic, with no embellishments. The embellished knives probably would have been owned by the wealthy and leaders of the day. From my google searches, the knives and sheaths shown fall into the "seax-inspired" category.
  4. Viking knife progress report. : Blade: 15N20/1080, 15 layers, Twisted, forged flat, flat sides forged blade to a "V" shape, back 1/4" thick, length 6", sanded with 1000 Gr. Handle:Curly Maple, 5" long Etch: 10 Min in FC/water, 50/50 solution (Too Strong) There is very little contrast between the layers. I tried Cold Gun Blue thinking the 15N20 would not blue-Wrong. The entire blade was a very dark blue. I used the 1,000 gr. wet sandpaper to start removing the blue from the 15N20 and hopefully leave the 1080 alone-wrong. Finally, the blade was buffed with White rouge. I did wind up with a little better pattern definition in the line around the 15N20. Both steels remained about the same sheen. The scratches seen in the blade photo are from wet 1,000 gr. sandpaper. The handle was shaped using a belt sander, the Brass ends were shaped and CA glued on. The handle was then finished as one piece, sanding to 400 gr.. The cavity in the handle was partly filled with epoxy and the blade was then inserted. After the epoxy was hard, the handle end of the knife was soaked in Walnut stained Walco Oil for 30 min. and wiped dry. When the oil has curbed in several days, the handle will be buffed. The blade will be buffed to eliminate the sandpaper scratches. The leather sheath will be next. I have never worked leather so any suggestions will be appreciated. I bought half a Tandy store for leather tools. I use the Black 3M wet/dry sandpaper, wet and wrapped around a flat steel bar. This maintains a flat surface. But, it doesn't' prevent sanding a dip in the blade. When the blade was annealed after grinding, it was draw filed , then flat sanded. Are we having fun yet? Paul
  5. I again thank everyone for their "How to do it" processes. The responses are very similar which leads me to conclude 15N20/1080 or 1084 is the way to go. Thinking, since the 15N20 stands proud of the 1084 and the 15N20 has nickel in the composition, could the hardened/tempered blade be polished and then hot blued? The 15N20 shouldn't take the blue while the tool steel should blue nicely. Has anyone tried the hot bluing idea on their blades? If so, what were the results?
  6. Thank you for the information, I will be using my almost finished being built Side Draft Forge. My home built propane forge won't reliably reach welding heat. However, I have a aspirated two burner Mankel forge with three open sides. With 2" thick brick stuffed into the open spaces on 3 sides and the open side choked with another firebrick, it just might be able to hit welding temperature. I will need to get clay type kitty litter to fill the bottom depression that is about 1"deep x 3" wide and 12" long. It uses a blower that has a regulated air flow flap. I got the forge almost 20 years ago, didn't like it and pushed it off into a corner. I use coal for all my craft type forging. Making knives and especially Damascus blades is new to me. I just checked with the Jersey Steel Barren and they have 15N20 and 1084 in 0,070" thicknesses. I had dbbe checking the knife supply houses like Jantz to be treated with a "Out of stock" note next to the steel. I will order the steel in 1-1/2" width 0.070" thick. I will find out what the postage difference is between 24" and 48" stock. I will check out "L6" also. At the Thrashers Reunion I found a vender selling O1 flat stock from 1/16" up to 1/4" thick and 2" to 4" W ,18" l.. The thicker O1 will be used to make laminated blades in axes. I will send an order in for the steel blade stock tonight. great information!!!
  7. I am new to making Damascus blades. 15N20 seams to be the desired steel for the silver appearance in the Damascus pattern. Other carbon steels such as 1080/1084, O1, W1, 1095 are all listed as good steal to partner with 15N20. Looking thru the knife blade material suppliers shows various thicknesses of each of these steels. The thinner the steels, the more layers can be forged in the initial billet. Can you recommend what your favorite steel type numbers are for the billet? What is the best thickness for each steel? What is a good pattern sequence of these steels as stacked into the billet? How many times do you recommend folding the billet? How many layers of steel give the best Bling? I assume that each time the billet is to be folded, the billet is ground to a flat, scale free surface before the next weld. How much extra thickness of the initial steel layers (or added layers of steel) do you add to the initial billet to account for the steel removed from grinding so the final billet can be forged into the desired knife blade? After the Damascus blade is ground to shape, is then etched. What is your recommended etching solution concentration, solution temperature and time to etch? The 15N20 steel stays bright and the other carbon steels will be eaten away making the 15N20 layers stand proud. After the black carbon deposit is removed from the fresh etched knife blank the carbon steel won't be significantly darker in the pattern. What is the best way to darken carbon steels to better pop the Damascus pattern? If possible, what are your favorite suppliers for the steel grades that you use to make Damascus blades? I will be using the Mark Aspery design Side Blast Forge with the Super Sucker Hood , burning coked coal with green coal around the outside of the fire..
  8. Thank you for the information.  


     I am currently building a Side Blast Forge with a Super Sucker Hood.    The forge is water cooled, see the tank to the left with hoses attached. The blower is now on top. The Tuyere controls the air with a ,Guillotine. The gate ,leaks enough air to maintain the fire.  A hand crank blower can be added to replace the power blower for fine work such as billet welding.P1040734.JPG                                                                                       

    This forge is made with no part weighing over 50#. The Hearth is a Mark Aspery design. However, the Water Tank is connected to the Tuyere with a top and bottom hose.


     I also have a stationary forge that is traditional bottom blast. I can make a deep fire in this forge. This forge is set up with an electric blower plus a hand crank blower connected in parallel to the electric blower. I have had good luck welding 1018  and A36 steel in this forge. I haven't tried a stack of knife steel in this forge.


    My hope is the Side Blast forge will work better for welding because the clinkers will drop below the air blast. 


    I have a small amount of Blacksmith coal. Most of my coal is from house basements left over from when they burned coal for heat. Some of it is stoker coal but most is in baseball to football size chunks. I take the chunks and line then up around the fire. Then the stoker coal or blacksmith coal is piled up inside the ring of chunk coal. As the chunk coal heats, it will look greasy when it is ready to break up using a Coal Hammer. Then, it is fed into the fire and more chunk coal is placed around the fire to repeat the process. 


    I have found that by placing a large flat piece of chunk coal on top of the fire, the fire below the chunk gets much hotter. I tried placing a sheet of steel over the fire and got the same results, a hotter fire.



    I just got the Shatto & Son 25# power hammer running. The power hammer is located about 6' from the forge. So, after the weld is set using a hammer and anvil, the weld can be finished using the power hammer. DOES ANYONE HAVE INFORMATION ON THE SHATTO & SON HAMMER?


    My plan it to place an anvil directly in front of the forge so little time will be lost from fire to anvil. A second anvil will be placed conveniently for all other forge work.


  9. I greatly appreciate the great information concerning pattern welding. From the information I have received, using coal throws a huge snag in the welding process. Namely, there is a huge risk of overheating the blade.on the outside of the stack and having the interior too cool to take a weld. Just thinking, the size of the stack may be a major contributing factor in coal forge welding problems. If the stack is kept thinner, then the interior would have a much better chance to reach welding temperature at the same time as the exterior. Of course, thinner stack mean more cut and weld heats. My propane forges won't reach Welding heat, so the coal forge is to my rescue. I have been reading about dipping the stack in Kerosine I have a lot of diesel fuel to run tests on instead of kerosine. Anyone tried diesel when welding in a coal forge?
  10. Being new to knife making and forge welding Damascus knife blades, I see references to Welding with no flux, welding with Borax, welding with WD40, and Kerosene. Could some of the experts members detail how they prepare the blade material stack for a, Dry welding (no flux) , b, borax and other commercial welding compounds, c, WD-40 and, d, Kerosene. I use a coal forge for most forge work including welding. To determine if the metal is hot enough for the weld, should I look for the first spark and then weld or match the color of the wet looking billet to the coals under and around the billet? In the past when the first spark welding, when the metal was removed from the fire it burst into sparks. Matching the metal color to the background coke worked best.
  11. charcoal making using 30 gal. barrels and dirt. Cut the top and bottom out of one barrel. second barrel remove the top by cutting it off about 2" down on the side and for the bottom cut small holes all around the bottom,. Fill the bottom barrel with small pieces of wood. Light a fire on top of the wood in the bottom barrel.. Place the first barrel with the end removed on top of the bottom barrel. throw more wood on top of the bottom barrel as the charcoal volume will shrink when the wood becomes charcoal. When the fire is seen in the holes cut in the bottom sides of the bottom barrel, knock the top barrel off and place the cut off barrel top on the bottom barrel. shovel dirt to cover the vent holes cut in the bottom barrel. When the bottom barrel is cold, it will be full of charcoal. second method. build a large pile of wood chunks, tree limbs etc. set the wood pile on fire, When the wood pile has burned and the flames are mostly out. shovel wet dirt on the pile to keep the air out. After several days, the fire should be out and the wood turned to charcoal.
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