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R. Alex Dorris

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Everything posted by R. Alex Dorris

  1. Hey all, Quick question, what is the best type of welding rig for general bladesmithing? Tacking billets together once I have the means to forge weld, welding rebar to your steel to hang onto it while forging, etc. I'm seeing some wire feeds for a few hundred bucks, will that be sufficient? I understand that's the easiest type to use as well. Thanks!
  2. Hey y'all I have a (probably stupid)question about forging bevels. I understand how if one wanted, say, a sort of standard hunting knife profile, where the belly of the blade is straight and then tapers towards the point, you might start with a straight or even recurved profile. Then when you forge in the bevels, you end up with the proper shape. But what if you're making a "hook", or sickle sort of blade, where the edge curves in? How on earth do you maintain the inward curve? I suppose you could just grind them in, but I imagine there must be a way to forg
  3. Nice, I ordered mine. I've never used an anvil other than my harbor freight cast iron one, and before that, a sledgehammer head set into a stump. Looking forward to it. I had a similar issue, I ordered a cello recently, it took forever to arrive, and I got home from a long week of work on the road and was excited to open it. The box looked like it was dragged behind a car down the highway, and the neck was cracked in half. They sent a return label, but still a bummer. Especially since it was the only used one of that model they have, so now if I want that model cello, I'll have to
  4. How did it turn out, did you get it? I'm thinking of ordering this one myself
  5. I have an atlas forge, which I'm happy with, and I was going to ask you all what you thought of their anvils! That brand actually has another anvil thats 117 lbs with a small conical horn. It also appears to have swages along the bottom, and it has a similar square, blocky shape like the one you mentioned. 500$ new. Seems to be about as good a deal as I'm likely to find. I'm gonna be making jewelry and miscellaneous other stuff in addition to knives, so I think I'm gonna go for something with a horn to keep my options open.
  6. Ah ok. I'm not dead set on that price, or that size anvil. I just want something serviceable. For some reason I thought the rule of thumb was a dollar a pound? But that doesn't seem to be accurate haha, I must've had faulty intel
  7. Hey all, hopefully this type of post hasn't been made a thousand times already. I looked, but couldn't find what I needed. I currently have the old harbor freight cast iron 55#. I'm looking to upgrade to something decent, can anyone point me towards a good source/brand of anvil? Nothing too elaborate, I'd just like something that doesn't take a dent so easily, maybe 150-200lbs? I'd like to keep it under 500$ or so. I make mostly small to medium size hunting knives and the like, and I'm in southwest Florida. Thanks!
  8. Hey guys, so I've been using a ball peen and trying to leave a forge finished, peened texture towards the spine of my blades. I'm happy with the results when I do the first side, but then when I flip it over to get the other, the anvil mostly flattens the texture out and erases it on the first side. I tried using wood instead of my anvil for the second side, to try to preserve it, but of course it just burst into flames. I feel like there's probably an obvious way around this that I'm not seeing. Any ideas?
  9. Nice! I loosely followed something like this, but much less methodical and precise haha. I have a bad habit of pushing ahead without concrete plans, and trying to improvise my way through a project. It's definitely nice to have it written out step by step in one place, I'll reference this for my next full tang.
  10. I also like the tool you initially use to forge in the bolsters. What's that called exactly? I'd like to do some research and maybe build one
  11. Ahh, I was worried about that. I was thinking I'd just try to fit it tightly, and line the sheath with leather so it would grip it. But a magnet sounds better and easier. Maybe just inlay it in the cavity where the blade inserts?
  12. Spent an inordinate amount of time fitting up the brass spacer, and got the handle cut out. Sanding and heat treating the blade tomorrow, and epoxying/peening the handle on if I have time. Bonus shot of the insane numbers of no-seeums in my shop, in the south Florida swamp. Normally I light a fire and smoke out the whole area to keep em off, but I skipped it today.
  13. Haha it was like magic! Just straightened right out.. I also quenched it in the sink between heats, at 400F. Is that advisable? I read something about that reducing cold embrittlement, but I dont think that'll be an issue for me in south FL. I was just impatient, and I read that it wouldn't hurt.
  14. Hey guys, not sure if this is the right category for a wip. Gonna build this and post pics as I go, let me know if it should be moved elsewhere. I've only made a handful of knives, and each one has been smaller than the one before haha, my first was probably 12", now I'm all the way down to a 3" OAL neck knife. I attribute this to my almost-worthless grinder. Trying to stick with things I can forge as closely to shape as possible, and cut down on the grinding, until I can upgrade. Anyway, this build is a small, leaf shaped neck knife, in 5160. It'll be a through tang wi
  15. Thanks guys! Appreciate it. Im definitely improving a lot w each knife. HT: 1. Thermal cycle- 3x, first just above nonmagnetic, second right to NM, third just below. Cool to black each time. 2. Quench- heat slightly above NM with the "dragons breath" at the mouth of my forge, edge quench in warm canola oil. (I got the oil just a little too hot to touch, I figure thats around 130-150F.) I think it was Alan Longmire who recommended that 5160 be quenched at 1550F, so that's what I was aiming for, but I was just eyeballing it. 3. Temper- straight from quench
  16. Hey y'all, new knife completed. This one is forged from 5160, with a copper bolster, leopardwood handle, and a sterling silver pin. The blade is not quite as hard as I'd like, a file skates over it pretty well, but it still takes some tiny dents on a brass rod chop. This is the first blade I've completed in 5160, still trying to get a handle on the HT process.
  17. Ahh so since the tip cools faster, it was too cool by the time it hit the quench. That makes sense, thank you. I'll try bumping up the temp a bit, and getting it into the oil faster next time.
  18. Dunno if it's necessary, but my HT is as follows: Thermal cycle 3 times- just above nonmagnetic, right to NM, and just below, cool to black each time Heat using the "dragons breath" at the mouth of the forge, to just above NM, edge quench in canola oil, which was approximately 130 F. Temper, 2 one-hour cycles at 400F. I noticed a bend after tempering, so I clamped and shimmed the blade with a slight counterbend, and did 2 more short cycles at 400. Probably 20 min each, and quenched from tempering heat in water. Took care of the bend nicely.
  19. Hey guys, I'm working on a little 5160 blade, got it heat treated. I was testing it by cutting into a bit of brass rod, the lower 3/4 of the edge is holding up great, but the part towards the tip is taking some dents. Naturally I'm assuming that the tip got hotter than the rest of it, since the soft part starts right where the distal taper makes the blade pretty thin. I took care to heat the blade evenly, but who knows, I'm not very experienced in heat treating. Question is, could overheating potentially make the edge soft? I would've thought the opposite, that it would be too hard a
  20. Thanks man! It was a fun one. Fortunately, this will be my last salvaged steel blade for a while, just got my load of 5160 in
  21. About 1.5mm at the base, tapering to less than .5mm at the tip. Hard to say exactly, I only have a straight edge as far as measuring tools haha
  22. Hey y'all, new knife completed. A friend requested a small utility knife she could use in the field for dissecting wildflowers, and when asked, said her favorite type of leaf is a ginko leaf, so i carved one into the butt of the handle: I made the blade quite thin, so as to be able to cut open plant specimens with minimal damage. First blade I've made that's thin enough to be significantly flexible, it's springing right back to shape so far. Blade is forged from an old craftsman allen wrench, handle is cowbone and mexican cocobolo, with a leather spacer
  23. Commenting on this to bump it up in the feed haha
  24. Hey all, I'm thinking of getting some bronze bar stock for making guards and such. I don't really care for the look of brass, but I want something easier to work than steel. However, there's a large variety of bronze alloys- phosphor, aluminum, etc. Is anyone familiar with the properties of the various alloys? I guess I'm looking for something a little closer to copper, than brass, appearance-wise. Also, if anyone has any general knowledge or advice that might be useful working with bronze, I'd love to hear it. I haven't used it before, mostly have worked with copper or steel.
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