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Mike Blue

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  1. The only thing that will offer any protection is a sign outside the shop door (bigger and bolder the better, eye level where they can't miss seeing it, in multiple languages...well you get the idea) saying "Enter At Your Own Risk." This only establishes that you made a public warning of the dangers and that stepping across the threshold of the shop, they took on the burden of risk protection. According to a blacksmith/attorney in this area, even a signed statement absolving you of every considered risk, is not enforceable if an injury occurs. It's even less certain if you have a child involved. That is the short and sweet of it. Perhaps you can ask the Boy Scouts if they have some protection for these activities. They do offer a merit badge in smithing. Or perhaps the Community Education programs offered locally. But even then, you are going to attempt to shift the payment for liability onto another deeper pocket and may have to accept their version of liability reducing safety measures. I have good friends who do these things, but it is always a risk. And, you can't control everything at once. Responsibility seems to be something unavoidable. OTOH, teaching should be enjoyable if possible. It's an attractive challenge to leave no one behind at the same time letting go the hounds who are hungry for more.
  2. There was one with Louis Mills that was pretty good too. Ric, the problem with getting you on TV is that most producers want a script, not stream of consciousness. They can't handle your multi-thought entrainment...
  3. I wonder if he can be persuaded to fly your way. I took Mick over to his shop a couple years ago.
  4. If you can make it to this workshop, do it. Tom is a wizard.
  5. See if you can find some capsaicin cream at the pharmacy. The only problem with rubbing some on both hands is when you rub your nose or eye or pick your teeth. This stuff has some good potential for action compared to the typical "atomic balm" and has no odor. The source of the pain is a lifetime of use of your hands. Don't forget the occasional hot water soak. Some folks are noticing that taking fish oil for their cholesterol has improved their joint pain. At least the above are worth trying rather than visiting the sawbones right off.
  6. I think what you're after is 203E Mick. It's a low carbon steel with a high nickel content. I can't find the exact specs, but someone will come along with them, or I'll send them to you.
  7. From the pictures you posted on that link, it looks like etched low layer pattern welding. How thick were your beginning layers when you laid up the billet? Vinegar will give a good etch. I'd recommend warming it up in a pan to just below the boiling point. It will cut much better warm. Otherwise you will do well to find some ferric chloride or make some. It's really nothing more than hydrochloric acid with iron filings dissolved in it. that's a good first attempt.
  8. I offer my condolences to all who knew him. I was introduced to him and enjoyed his take on life. His work speaks for itself and is inspiring.
  9. Charlie is a very creative fellow. Like so many I've met in this craft, he didn't know what he couldn't do, and succeeded. The idea has been useful for quite a while. Here's a link that has a number of interesting things in it.
  10. It's a long time tradition to do so. Just look to Japanese plane irons and chisels, or anywhere for that matter. Blacksmiths are a practical bunch. Why waste a big piece of high carbon steel on one tool when you can weld a high carbon tooth on to lesser irons and have a limited supply of the good stuff go farther. The industrial revolution allowed us to produce huge quantities of good steel so except for limited places where handcrafting was kept alive, the practice was abandoned in favor of modern manufacturing processes.
  11. Look up the Babington Burner. All you need is some air pressure and you can burn all the waste oils you have. With a few tweaks something like this can produce enough heat to smelt steel. At a hammerin a couple week we melted some crucible steel in something that was a lot less efficient than this kind of burner.
  12. Hmm. I thought Mick had taken a page from Prince Claus' Declaration of Amsterdam. Looks to be a good time had by all.
  13. If the steel is W1, the best hamon will come from water not oil. An oil quench will take out some of the sori you have in the blade already (it will nose down). For that length of blade, a water quench will cause more sori (curve). Oil quench hardening lines are also generally more "muddy" than a line that develops from a water quench. Go with water. Who dares, wins. If not, you can always make another blade.
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