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Mike Blue

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Everything posted by Mike Blue

  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.
  14. If it adds confidence to your welding ability...then use it. I had this discussion with Bill long ago. HIs original background in jewelry was where the boric acid comes from. It's a common flux additive. I do not fault his reasoning for using it, and I have in the past as well just so I would know for myself. Borax is not a dangerous compound by itself. The addition of boric acid (in which industry uses arsenicals to produce) has a reputation for being a carcinogen. The combination of both increases the health risks of the operator. Bill did use iron oxides to color his clays for coating blades when producing hamon. That came from his studies in Japan. As a thought problem: What happens to a compound at welding temperatures? What will you be left with when that boric acid reaches temperature and reacts with all the other chemicals in the forge environment/atmosphere? Does that provide any advantage or disadvantage when compared to anhydrous borax? Will it function as an acidic compound at temperature? If I might: On Friday evening there will be a memorial service for Bill at the University of Wisconsin from 4-6 PM. The weekend we will be toasting his memory at Tunnel Mill in Minnesota. If you can't be there...send a thought in that direction on his behalf. Bill was one of the originals of our craft and deserves much more credit for his influences on us all.
  15. I would guess you figured out how to move a hot billet of titanium bits that just discovered a room air source of oxygen.... and didn't burn parts of the shop, or the floor or yourself at the same time.
  16. Go here: www.metalsmith.org and root around. They offer forge building (all manner of) classes from beginner to advanced stuff. You are right across the river from the MN School of Horsehoeing. The Guild of Metalsmiths keeps a large pile of coal there for sale to members. The next meeting, referrred to as the Corn Feed, is August 10th east and south of Northfield. I would recommend showing up if you can. There will be someone there to further infect you with the disease of steel in all its forms. The next gathering is the Almelund Threshing Show NE of the cities. After that is the big conference south of Hastings in September.
  17. Not entirely. I have never met a blacksmith who was claustrophobic. Does that match everyone elses' experience?
  18. I should admit that I'm partially responsible for a very small bit of Ric's floorspace accumulation, but he started it.... The general rule is that tools will multiply to fill the space available. I'd regard that 4 x 6 spot as temporarily as Patrick does. We both know you too well Ric.
  19. Possibly, but some of those pieces look like they have a rounded spine, not enough detail to see for certain. I dunno Ric, rumors by qualified visitors to your shop say that you can't swing a four foot piece without banging into some immovable piece of quipment.
  20. It would require a rolling mill setup that is more complicated than presently available in the common forms for knifesmiths in the US, e.g. the MacDonald RM or clones. Forging that shape will rapidly produce a circular piece of steel using two simple flat rollers. As the steel, now tapered, exits the rolling mill for the taper, there would have to be another forging setup to straighten the piece while hot. Doing that would cause potato chip shape along the tapered edge, which would require another set of rolling dies and more to reduce the curve induced by that correction and so on. A big industrial setup could do it, if there were enough buyers for the number of 20 foot bars needed to be produced for the cost of the setup. Economy of scale (not iron oxide) is the limiting factor.
  21. That line had to do with wind, if memory serves. Lovely.
  22. +1 on what Howard said about what Ric said. The only thing better is being confronted by the old guy. If you survive his test you can claim you have some potential.
  23. Sometimes you get stalled by what you really would like and it's un-availability and have to make do with what's on the shelf at home. My good friend Vikstrom will bring over a small bottle of pitch they make in his village, but I found the Big can of horse hoof pine tar in my local hardware store. I should tell you about the time we had sugar cubes with pine tar on them, but I'll spare that fine tradition for a lubricated conversation. I do admire the Finn's sense of humor.
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