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Alan Longmire

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Everything posted by Alan Longmire

  1. I like mine so that the tooling arm is about an inch above the belly button, but then I'm blind and need it close. But somewhere around your center of mass is good, because you'll be locking your elbows and leaning into it.
  2. Nice stuff! That chip-carved guitar is kind of mind-blowing, I've never seen one.
  3. That's more a function of the humidity in your shop. Red scale is hydrated iron oxide, gray/black scale is anhydrous. Doesn't mean much.
  4. Depends on how much manganese there is. Less than 0.3% and your depth of hardening is about 1.5mm from all external surfaces.
  5. The file is for an automatic filing machine. They work like power hacksaws, and are obsolete (but cool!) for the same reasons. The other thing is a machinists scraper. Think mini-sen. It would have had a pointed tip once upon a time.
  6. Welcome aboard! You did get it too hot, you didn't normalize it, and untempered steel really is as brittle as glass and can crack if you just look at it wrong. I can tell it got too hot because of both the grain structure and the blistery look of the surface in that last pic. Ideal grain for knives should look like gray silk, with no individual grains visible without magnification. The "frogskin" look to the blade is a giveaway that it got overheated at some point. It won't grind out, you have to normalize it away. On your next one, here are some tips: do not ever harden a blade and leave it untempered. If you don't have time to do the full set of one-hour temper cycles, don't start heat treating it. Even a short temper is better than nothing. We'll talk about retained austenite later. Normalize! This is simple and often overlooked, but it can do magic. It's just rocking the steel back and forth across its phase transformation temperatures, aka "critical" temperature. If you do it in the dark or in a tube with one end sealed you can actually see it take place. Search the forum for "decalescence." We've written lots about it. Using Nicholson files is great for this, because they are made from one of the few steel alloys in which that transformation temperature actually corresponds to nonmagnetic. Most steels transform hotter than nonmagnetic, which is why you'll see me saying not to use magnets. When you learn to see the transformation you don't need to know the temperature, you can watch it happen and know it worked. What does that do to normalize three times? It shrinks the grain, it removes the frogskin, it de-stresses the steel after forging, and it leaves the steel soft enough to drill. All just by heating and letting cool in still air. Takes about ten minutes to do it three times. Edit: Jerrod beat me to it!
  7. I can't emphasize that statement enough! I've sat through several of Kevin Cashen's talks with photomicrographs of steel structures over the years. You really, really do not want to just leave a blade to cool in the forge overnight. It can be fixed, with some carbon loss, but it's better not to do it in the first place. A few normalizations will act like hitting the "reset" button. It goes against the blacksmithing lore, but the micrographs don't lie. Disclaimer: this is one of those steel nerd things where the difference in final performance after heat treating may not be noticeable. Your drill bits will thank you, though. Finally, nice work! Carry on.
  8. Those are an original and a copy by Old Dominion Forge, not mine!
  9. Agreed! I see what you were going for, but I like what you got as well. Congrats on a tough weld!
  10. Thanks, guys! It is finished now, but it looks exactly the same except a bit shinier on the bolsters, so no need for new pics. It was based on a combination of these: Mike, there are not any that I'm aware of. There's some info scattered around in several books like the "Accouterments" series by James Johnston, the Oak and Iron series by Gene Chapman, and various other places. Believe it or not, the internet, specifically Google Images, is one of the better places to find stuff from that period, provided you know enough to ignore the obviously wrong ones... There's far more info on earlier and later folding knives, but precious little on the 18th century.
  11. that bronze will be nice once it's got some age on it.
  12. Orange is too cold for wrought. White and yellow only!
  13. Good point, I wasn't thinking about swords for some reason.
  14. What Cody said. Those are too slow and too wobbly. Good for straightening leaf springs, pressing bearings, that sort of thing, but that's about it.
  15. I have an 18" army surplus machete by Ontario Knife, and it's stamped from 1/8" 1095 with a bevel about 3/8" tall. It's a bit heavy, but works well on hardwood. I also have a 26" machete by Tramontina of Brazil. It's stamped from slightly thinner unknown steel, and has a spring temper. Very light, fast, and flexible. Great for most weeds, not so hot on hardwoods. It has a bevel around 5/16" tall. Machetes are just thin flat bar with a short bevel, pretty much. The "real" ones from Mexico and Belize (and Brazil, they use the heck out of them) I've seen follow this general rule. I haven't made one, because they're cheap enough to buy. Not a good excuse on this forum, of course! https://www.machetespecialists.com/product/ontario-18-inch-military-jungle-machete/ https://www.machetespecialists.com/product/tramontina-24-inch-bush-machete-poly-handle/ except as I said, Mine is 26".
  16. Not sure I understand what you're asking? I use a lot of borax on cable. Regular or anhydrous, but I prefer anhydrous. Bring the cable up to red heat, make sure all the grease is burned off, and slather liberally in borax. Anhydrous will melt into a honey-like glaze, regular will foam up and fall off. If using regular, just keep smearing it back down into the cable with your flux spoon. Back in the forge, weld and square the ends, reflux the rest of it. Back in the forge, and make the first main weld by clamping one square end in a vise and twisting it as tight as you can in the direction of the lay as fast as you can. If your temperature is right you'll feel it turn into a solid bar on that heat. From this point on you can do any number of things to it, just work it hot.
  17. 26c3 from Sandvik has good recommendations.
  18. Sounds familiar... That's why (as you will remember) I always have a bandanna with me when in the shop. Acts as sweatband, napkin, handkerchief, and when you do something stupid makes a great bandage. I only got blood on the slack tub and hammer handle.
  19. EN45 is odd stuff. It does take a faint hamon, which it should not because of the chromium and manganese levels. The extremely high silicon makes it tougher than most other speing steels, and probably has some effect on depth of hardening. I like it, but as Doug said you can't get it in the US. You said you can get Bohler steels? How about Sandvik?
  20. But, it didn't start in your shop! Good to see you back, John. Hope things are looking a bit better!
  21. the inner blue cone is reducing, the clear is neutral, and the feathery yellow is oxidizing. It'll be completely different in the forge.
  22. That works too, you just might end up with flat ends to cut off after you get it twisted up tight.
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