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William Johnson

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About William Johnson

  • Birthday 03/11/1971

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Northern Washington
  • Interests
    Trail running, djembe drumming, guitars, motorcycles, primitive construction, chainsaws, gardening and raising livestock

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  1. My first knife was at 21 yrs old from old industrial bandsaw blade and deer horn handle. Now, 30 years later this is my second. Yea I know it is ugly but it is mine. When hiking I found a 100 yr old leaf spring out of mining truck. Hauled this 30 lb beast on my back 4 miles. Spark test revealed high carbon steel. Painstakingly cut with angle grinder. Forge tapered with ball peen hammer. Carved maple branch into handle. Drilled out inside took reciprocal saw blade clipped to vice grips to rectangularize hole. Inserted metal, drilled 2 holes through handle/metal and used copper pins. Sharpened with hand file. Greased up handle and done. Purposely left primitive for effect. Very sharp, cut thump with light graze. Sorry haven’t posted in a while been busy with irrigation, goats, and greenhouse. Still have many future projects with leaf spring remnant.
  2. Started a new handle for hidden tang. Used cordless drill to start hole; will finish hole with reciprocal saw blade clamped onto vice grip. Got sidetracked because pregnant goat gave birth to two kids. Only have few hours time after work to get stuff done. Here is pic of “agricultural building” that houses the forge area. I enjoy reading the “activity” every day on this forum. Thanks.
  3. Took a seasoned maple stave (2” diameter) that I cut last fall to fashion into handle. Used old drawknife (with only one handle) to carve off bark. Then cut space for tang with electric chainsaw. Fit nice, then the problems came. Drilled 2 holes through handle and thick high carbon spring steel. Was just going to use torque screw as pins; big mistake. Didn’t predrill hole large enough and snapped screw heads off embedding broken screw in handle. Aagggghhhah! Was able to drill out one pin but other was stuck. Wore out 3 drill bits trying to fix and made holes in handle too large in chaos. Ended up splitting handle, so starting new handle with new piece of maple. Frustrating, moved to yard work like cleaning chicken coop and piling brush. Blade is forged tapered so ball peen marks are visible with minimal angle grinding. Shooting for rustic look. Will try nails for new pins. Will post pic when done with amateur endeavor.
  4. Jake, thanks for your kind words. Here is a pic of my fire pit forge hood. Hood has front access and 3 smaller arch doors that have removable covers. Can be used for entertainment or a forge. Today took that spring steel piece (in upper pic) and continued to hammer into size to fit hardy hole and made hot cutoff. Then grinded remnant diagonally so rest of spring steel will make 2 knives. Then drew out taper under anvil on one blade. A couple times added fresh wood and fire started roaring suddenly breathing breath, cool but very hot. Used tongs to pull out a little and then grabbed with vice grips. Nice bright orange but not yellow. Left 200 cfm fan on lowest setting whole time.
  5. Mr. Miller, thanks for your advice. I understand. I always, always wear eye protection no matter chain sawing, grinding, forging; in the dry desert I live in the wind constantly blows dust; my eyes do not grow back. I am extremely hot natured and overheat easily especially in the hot summers; usually the first to wear shorts, no shirt and run in sandals. I was wearing gloves while forging but one time the glove got so hot that I barely removed it without a burn, then read about folks not wearing gloves. I have not worn gloves since and get a good early warning system with bear skin from extreme heat. I will wear gloves grinding or cutting cold metal or moving firewood. So I was thinking down the same lines as the hands with the feet. If you are wearing shorts and a hot piece of slag gets into your shoe, then wow, the coal is trapped and the burn extremeness is determined by how fast you can remove the shoe or how fast you can dunk in bucket. I did read about he dangers of synthetic clothing and synthetic shoes and how they melt and burn causing worse burns. I read some old threads where several people on this forum expressed an passion for barefoot forging, and I was curious if they are still doing it and how it has been going for them? Wearing long pants in winter with boots is no problem but when it gets hot people start wearing shorts which opens up the shoe area to hot stuff getting trapped. So tight fitting leather shoes that slag cant get into and leather/wool clothing sounds good. When I hammered last week some slag hit my feet but since I was barefoot I could quickly move and suffered no burns. I saw several primitive 3rd world forges/bloomeries where the folks were barefoot; Africa and Asia. My forge floor is dirt and my forge is a ground wood forge, have not gotten the yellow/white temperatures where huge chunks of slag are flying everywhere. I also have a large hood over my fire pit forge for foul gasses. Tight fitting moccasins without socks might be a good choice for me. For now I will try barefoot.
  6. I am quoting Mr. Shearer from 2012, I forgebarefoot for most forging and have never burned my feet (badly). I usually am able to keep the steel on the anvil, but even when I do drop it, it rarely hits my feet. Even if it does, I don't let the metal stay on my feet long . Like you said, the dance, then the slack tub, and I'm fine .... Mr. Shearer, I was reading your above post from 2012. Do you still forge barefoot?
  7. Look forward to your reading material; read some yesterday and liked what I read; a large bloomery reading area, nice. I am still up at IFI. I just stopped logging in. They humiliated me and I decided to take the high ground and not take their bait, just logged out for good. Go read if you like under "williams keep", some good pics of my forge area. The 4' diameter firepit has been inside the drumhut for 10 years. Just recently took perforated alluminum satellite dish and sawed in half to make the form for hood, then covered in thin metal flashing, added old smoker as transition to 14" diameter pipe out top center hole in reciprocal roof. Cut 3 arches and covered in rock and cement. Upgraded 100cfm fan to 200cfm with larger centrifugal force. Only get to forge once a week on days off work. Did make a knife 30 years ago with bandsaw blade and put a deer antler handle on but and old timer did most of work. Have not tried to make one since. Really enjoy hammering metal; I think the bright luminous glow is fascinating and it activates ancestral memories.
  8. Hello, I wanted to introduce myself to your forum. Just finished adding a hood and anvil to a 10 year old agricultural building. It is round with reciprocal roof with fire pit in center. Added tuyere to pit and aluminum hood covered in rock with exhaust pipe. 9” centrifugal fan 200cfm for air. Gotten metal bright orange so far. Made tongs; now pounding leaf spring into some sort of machete. Learning how to move metal. Trying to facilitate better conversion of wood to charcoal to get hotter yellow. I like working barefoot and was ostracized on IFI for it. This forum will hopefully suit me better. Have been reading Sauder’s bloomery research articles. Most skills involve carpentry so new to pounding hot metal.
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