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Alan Longmire

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Everything posted by Alan Longmire

  1. I'd think 5/8" minimum. If the handles are really long, I'd use 3/4" at the crucible and taper them to 5/8". You really don't want them sagging!
  2. Borax does indeed work well as a flux, just remember it's not glue. It merely suspends the oxides long enough for you to weld, if you're fast about it. Speaking of which: sand the blue off the pallet strapping, it'll weld better. The blue is an oxide. To use the borax, assuming it's plain 20 mule team, heat your billet to red and sprinkle liberally with borax. It'll foam up and fall off. Keep doing this until it has melted into a thin coating over the piece. If using anhydrous borax, it'll just melt on like a glaze. If using boric acid, same thing. On etching: Nitric acid (HNO3) is too strong, it'll eat both steels equally. Most of us use ferric chloride, aka circuit board etchant. Dilute with distilled water to about 1/4 strength versus what the bottle recommends for etching circuit boards. you can use sulfuric (battery) acid or hydrochloric/muriatic acid, but they are also too strong and will not give a lot of contrast. They're also harder to neutralize after etching. With FeCl a shot of regular Windex will do it. The other acids need a strong solution of sodium carbonate (washing soda) to stop the etch.
  3. Helpful hint: next time alternate blue steel pallet strapping with the bandsaw blade. It's 1095. Bandsaw blade is usually an alloy with nickel for toughness and flexibility rather than straight mild, which means it'll etch bright. The pallet straps etch dark. And harden. Via the magic of carbon migration, you'll get a blade of uniform carbon content that will harden and will also show a decent pattern.
  4. Love it. . Got a shot of the beryl?
  5. Yep, I see 'em now. The one with the patina looks good! The rest still look unfinished to me. Try using 3m Trizact CF belts. Start with A160 grit after your last regular belt, then go to A60 followed by A45. That will go quickly, and leave you with a lineless satin polish. A quick hand sand at 400 will really make it pop afterwards.
  6. Truly! All those teaser pics now make perfect sense.
  7. And this takes a little practice to know where to stop with the coarser grits. Blades can get very thin very fast, and then you start losing width as the edge gets ground away.
  8. Dan saw exactly what I see. As for grits, it looks like you still have some 60 grit or coarser scratches. The time to get those out is while you're still at the grinder. What's your grit progression? I know more than one professional maker who won't use anything rougher than 60 grit due to the difficulty of removing 36 grit scratches. They (and I!) take the blade through at least 220 on the grinder. The finer you go on the grinder the easier it is to hand sand the scratches out. I often go to 400 on the grinder, then do a quick hand sand at 220. This will show any leftover scratches and is easily erased by hand sanding with 400 and up. This is before HT. All that said, it's a nice little knife. I like the handle material, and I'd call it a hunter/skinner. Good job on the plunges and the choil!
  9. Just to play devil's advocate, this is the standard Italian pattern. Nimba anvils are designed this way, and nobody says they are ineffective! Some historical Spanish and French patterns stand off the stump on feet as well.
  10. I always thought the cutlers' or Filemakers' hammers were the true "dogs-head" hammers due to their smaller, angled face and lopsided bulge on the top opposite the handle making them look like a dog's head in profile. But yes, in this age of generalists it seems that any strongly weight-forward hammer is called a dogs-head hammer.
  11. Rather than hydraulic oil, use an animal fat like lard or tallow at 325-350 F. It'll get into the horn and let it move more easily, and doesn't smell as bad when you're deep-frying the horn. Note I say as bad.
  12. I love that you're so into this thing that you left work early to grab the inspiration when it struck!
  13. Or you could, although I don't recommend it, discover that part of your outdoor iron stash fell on a jug of muriatic you were storing outside to prevent rusting everything in the shop, then went undiscovered for an unknown period of time, but at least two years... Really shows the layers, but I'm afraid the really bad parts are not salvageable. Once the chlorine gets into the grain it'll keep working until the iron is gone unless you soak for several years in regular changes of distilled deionized water. Or chop it up and run it through a hearth melt. But as a nice bar of iron, no. Sigh... Yet another reason to not have strong acids hanging around the shop, even outside.
  14. The classic anvil-shaped object! . Actually, some of the vevor stuff is decent steel, you just have to test it in person.
  15. Ooh, nice! Love the details.
  16. I do, because wrought is so much softer than 1095, even at welding heat.
  17. I collect every one I find, and Gerald is right. Only about half are wrought, the rest are mild steel. Bessemer steel became cheap enough to compete with wrought for wagon tires by around 1890. If your wagon is newer than that, or was re-tired later than that, there's a chance it's steel. If it's rusty, the grain will show if it's wrought. If it's gas welded rather than forge welded, it's usually steel. If it's arc welded rather than forge welded and the weld is clean, not pitted around the edges, it's steel. In my part of the world, animal-drawn wooden farm wagons were common well into the 1950s, and only got fully replaced by tractor-drawn steel-frame wagons in the 1960s. They may have had the tires replaced right up to the end. Most of the farms around where I grew up in the 1970s had at least one old wagon quietly rotting under a shed by the barn or the corncrib. In fact, the standard corncrib was built with the crib itself to one side and an open shed to the other under a shared low-pitch gable roof, designed specifically to keep the wagon out of the rain. Tie rods and brake rods may be wrought or steel as well. King pins, quadrants (if it had a set), and hub bands the same. Seat springs may be shear steel or modern(ish) steel. Always check, the shear steel springs make great knives that show cool patterning when etched and will take hamon if that's your thing. The cut-and-bend test Geoff mentioned is pretty foolproof, or if you don't want to do that you can polish a spot an put a drop of muriatic acid on it. After a day or two the grain will show when you brush off the rust, if it's iron. If it's steel it'll be uniformly pitted.
  18. Lovely! People who have never used a hammer that shape have a hard time understanding how they work. I know I did before I was given a 3 1/2 pound saw doctor's hammer. It's a whole different way of swinging, much less tiring than a balanced hammer once you realize it's self-guiding. That short, angled handle is the key.
  19. That's always the best part of using wrought and files. I did one a few years ago that shows this really well. Not to hijack your thread, but That was wagon tire. I like your iron better!
  20. Great character in that wrought! I'm hoping my most recent one turns out that clear. Not ready to etch yet, though. I do love seeing the uniform black steel against the kaleidoscope of wrought.
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