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Alan Longmire

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Everything posted by Alan Longmire

  1. Since you're doing stock removal only, you may want to normalize two or three times to refine the grain. The raw barstock is probably spheroidized annealed, and the grain will be on the large side.
  2. So that's why I've seen a core recipe that was basically brown sugar greensand! Well, dry loam bound with molasses and baked.
  3. What is your heating setup? Just a forge, or do you have a kiln? And if a forge, gas or solid fuel? How are you judging temperature, in other words? 1075 is one of the easiest steels to heat treat, since it's right at the eutectoid point with reference to the iron/carbon phase diagrams and it has no other carbide-forming elements. This means no soaking needed, as there are no big carbides to break up or distribute. Your only variable is manganese, which ranges from 0.4% on the low side (the maximum recommended for good hamon) to around 0.8% on the high side (deeper hardening).
  4. It was probably what Larry had on hand, knowing him. last time I did this trick I used a pcket of turbinado, and it worked fine. Honestly, salt might work too. I think it's more of a magic thing, something to make you think you're doing something special. Sometimes forge welding needs that.
  5. Thanks, MacKinnon! I know just enough about Japanese stuff to get in major trouble talking about it.
  6. That will serve you well! It just takes a steady grinder, a steady hand (with a LOT of practice), and then if you need to tweak it go to drawfiling. I find that drawfiling is the easiest way to quickly crisp up a bevel that's a little wavy off the grinder. Of all these things, practice is what will get you there in the end. But there's nothing wrong with using a jig. It just limits what you can do on certain blade shapes and profiles.
  7. I keep coming back to look at this, and I noticed something that you also did on your last Japanese-inspired piece: Rather than a full wrap, you inlayed panels of Same? I can see there's not a real need for it under the ito, particularly on this piece, but I was under the impression a Same wrap served as an additional layer of strength holding the tsuka together. Certainly not necessary on a tanto, but maybe on katana and tachi? Just curious.
  8. I like it! Is that a frame handle?
  9. You can even use a slitting chisel if you have one. And while the technique isn't guaranteed to work every time, it's better than not trying to save it at all.
  10. A trick from the late Larry Harley: If you see a blister, it's trapped flux or something preventing a weld in that spot. Take a sharpened rod and hot-punch a hole into the blister at welding heat, then immediately re-weld without reheating. One fast sequence of action. It should go away, and the poked hole won't affect the pattern that much. If it turns into a an edge delamination, try to clean out the pocket and pack it with brown sugar, re-weld. The sugar is basically pure carbon once it burns, lowering the welding temperature at the weld location and acting as a sort of anti-
  11. Really fine work! The patina on the copper is excellent.
  12. I can see it for twisting small hooks in a production shop, due to the time saving aspect. Cool tool, but yeah, I don't think I'd spend $200 on it for the cool factor.
  13. Hmmm... Might not have hardened fully, OR you may have ground through the hard part. Do you know the manganese content? That's what governs depth of hardening in simple steels. Even so, it should have hardened around 1/16" deep from all surfaces. Maybe the shop gremlins snuck in and overtempered it while you weren't looking...
  14. Nah, I see it. Well done!
  15. You're having entirely too much fun with that airgraver and gold inlay! That was very brave of you to use meteoric iron like that, for the very reason you discovered. Congrats on making it work! And yes, if I had any pride left you'd have humbled me, but you did that a long time ago. You just keep improving exponentially!
  16. The best portable (for a blacksmith portable, heavy as heck for anyone else) vise stand I've used was a 30-inch circle cut from heavy plate with the vise mounted on a four-inch square tube upright welded to the circle on on edge. That way you stand on the plate when using the vise, and tip it up and roll it to move. I wasn't that smart when I made mine. You do stand on the baseplate when using it, so it can't move, but I left the plate square so it doesn't roll. And it's too small to cut it into a circle. We have one at my guild shop that was made by Doug Merkel that's also nice. It'
  17. Joshua had a better idea, but you don't need to harden and temper spring fullers. Mild steel works fine.
  18. Matt, I thought you were using kast-o-lite! Glad I didn't comment first!
  19. The other part of hammer dressing is the handle. Most factory handles are too fat and force you to grip too hard, which ruins accuracy and control. Round handles are hard to keep indexed to the exact orientation you want. My solution is to reshape the handle to a sort of octagon with very wide flats on the sides, basically rectangular but with the corners knocked off. Sand it down to 220 grit and call it good. Maybe oil it with a non-drying oil if you want, but in regular use it'll pick up enough skin oils to make a finish. Needless to say, you can't really do this with a fi
  20. +1 on that book, and all of Aspery's books. There's a lot to hammer dressing, but the gist of it is to radius the edges to some degree, depending on the intended use and results desired. A slightly domed face leaves a gently wavy surface that looks good on ornamental work. A mostly flat face, used properly, leaves a smooth flat surface. A sharp edge or even a sharp chamfered edge on a flat face will leave marks. If you have a pocket watch, look at the crystal. That's the right shape for a round-faced hammer to be dressed. A square or rectangular face needs a little bit different approach.
  21. Learn to straighten the blade without a flatter. I bought a flatter when I was starting out back in 1998. I've used it once. They're just not a useful tool for a one-man shop. If you can't straighten the blade with hammer and anvil alone, use a vise and a wrench. If you're wanting to use it to remove hammer marks, you need to dress your hammer face and/or learn better hammer control so you don't leave deep marks. A flatter won't do it.
  22. That's a very kind offer, and I'll keep it in mind.
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