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Alan Longmire

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Everything posted by Alan Longmire

  1. In all its glory, 2006. You hit with the pointy end.
  2. Very good video, thanks for the link! The speeded-up power hammer shots were fun. You can get a much smaller one here: https://www.blacksmithsdepot.com/trunion-swage-block.html but yeah, I really like that big one...
  3. Found the thread, you might like it. If you want to see a really wild one, look for Tai Goo's "flogging hammer." It's a doghead that's all cross pein with a curved handle that curves the wrong way. He copied it from a Mexican coppersmith's raising hammer.
  4. Usually the handle is straight, but set into the head at an angle. That's for the Euro style. The Japanese ones are usually at a right angle. Somewhere around here I have a picture of mine that shows this. I hate to post it again if I can just link it, let me see if I can find it...
  5. A few English smiths (among others) I know like to run the belt away from the blade rather than towards the blade. It is similar to how the Sheffield knife grinders used their stone wheels. But as Brian said, the tracking adjustment has to be the last stop before the platen or contact wheel, which means you need either a dedicated directional grinder or a two-wheel grinder like the Coote. Since my grinder is a non-VFD three-speed it only runs in the one direction, so I never really thought about it.
  6. That's been my experience. The trick to using a dog's head is to have the handle canted. This is the European way of compensating for the longer head, unlike the Japanese style which are straight-hafted, and used sitting down on a very low anvil. Some of the more specialized European dog's head hammers, like the file-cutter's hammer, had very short very curved handles and an angled face, so you could use them while sitting at a high anvil with no strain on your joints.
  7. Wow! I like them all, but that last one is just incredible. Excellent work!
  8. That's a question we all end up grappling with, and we all find our own "proper" anvil height. A too-high anvil will mess with you as much as if not more than a too-low anvil. The old "rule" about anvil height being at your fingertips or knuckle assumes you will be using a striker and top tools, since that requires a low anvil. Striking on a too-tall anvil will hurt both smiths, since the sledge face can't hit squarely. The striker ends up with elbow and shoulder problems, while the lead smith often gets the top tool upside the face. Since I work alone, I put the face a little higher, about mid-palm height. That way I stand straighter (so less strain on the back) and I can control how the hammer face lands. It does take some getting used to a slightly high anvil with a long dog's head hammer, but then using a dog's-head hammer takes a lot of getting used to on its own. They do not swing like a balanced hammer. I once did a hawk demo on an anvil set about two inches high for my taste, and I couldn't do it. I couldn't stand up tall enough to get the hammer to hit squarely without blowing out my elbow or wrist. Ended up standing on a box. And I'm six feet even. The guy whose anvil it was is maybe five foot seven. I have no idea how he can use it. Then I also have what have been described as "freakishly ape-like long arms," so go figure. So: too low is better than too high. But only you can figure out where you want it.
  9. What Jeff said, and make it a deep pouch. Wet form it to the blade and handle and it'll act like a snap.
  10. Before ca. 1856-ish steel was extremely expensive, so they only used as much as was necessary to get the job done. On most European swords the tang was wrought iron even when the blade was steel for over 1800 years. I agree that a peened tang has great psychological value, though.
  11. What Alex said. If you're doing something boneheaded enough to snap the tang off, you're using the wrong implement for the job. Case in point: Average new guy thinks A: full tang = ultimate strength, yet B: katana = ultimate sword. What kind of tang do katanas have? A short hidden stub tang held on with a single bamboo or horn pin. I realize you're asking about knives rather than swords, but if it works for a sword, it'll certainly do on a knife that will never see half the stress. Ever see a full-tang sword, historically speaking? Nope. German messers and dussacks, yes, but they're more of a big knife. How about the legendary wootz / real damascus swords of Persia and India? Stub tang, no pins, handles held on only by cutler's resin. In other words, up to a point, tang strength is a non-issue. As far my favorite kind to make, I like them all, but I find hidden tang to be the easiest, followed by through tang, then full tang, then frame handle. But that's just personal preference.
  12. That's a great idea! My bucket is on a pillar of cinderblock that holds it at the bottom wheel of the platen. Catches a lot that way, but the weekly shop-vac treatment is still required.
  13. Bummer. There's a reason axes get a soft temper, though...
  14. Welcome aboard, and not bad for a first at all! You learned some good lessons in the process. What's your steel?
  15. Good to see you back, and nice work!
  16. I like to have my belts tight enough that the short stretch between tracking wheel and platen twangs like a guitar string. The A below middle C, kind of. And check the belt, some only run in one direction. There will be arrows on the back if that is the case.
  17. That's a new one to me, but then my grinder doesn't have a reverse gear... I suspect that since it works in forward mode with the tracking wheel being the last thing the belt touches before the platen, that the crown or alignment on the drive wheel is throwing it off in reverse. The quick and easy fix (if it works) is winding a few layers of 3/4" or so masking tape around the drive wheel to give it more crown. If that doesn't work, you may have to shim some of the mounting bolts to shift the drive wheel around until it's exactly lined up. Have you asked the guy you got it from? Most makers are very concerned that their stuff works right and will do whatever it takes to fix it.
  18. The usual issue with coal forges is too much heat. I suspect your air supply is too constricted. You want a tube as large as your blower outlet at a minimum. Solid fuel forges need air volume more than air pressure. I use a hand-crank blower that supplies the air via a 3-inch / 75mm pipe. The tuyere/nozzle in the firepot itself can be smaller, especially with a side-blown forge, but the supply pipe needs to be large enough to get a lot of air into the forge.
  19. I recommend asking our resident bronze age guru, Jeroen Zuiderwijk. Hopefully he'll see this and chime in, but if not, send him a PM. I'm an archaeologist, but I know nothing about the Cypriot bronze age. I'm a new world guy. I do love the wall-o-bronze at the Museum of London, though.
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