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Martin Brandt

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    Bladesmithing,blacksmithing,indigenous blades and tools, and learning what makes things and people tick.

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  1. Aiden CC, Wonderful work. I'm especially inspired by indigenous blades also. Have been working on Puukkos and Leukus lately. I have also used the soft steel for better peining of the tang end as well, but I learned from my knifemaking mentor to silver braze the soft iron to the blade. The joint is as strong as the steel if done correctly, and heat is more isolated, and no large grown grain as in forge welding, however it's not period correct for older knives. Common nails are an easy source for almost pure iron, less carbon than mild steel. Nice work.
  2. Russ Evans, Flooring installers for oak, and other hardwood scraps. It's hard and pretty dry, and already has one good flat side. I do service work around town so I stop at many tree trimming jobs during or after to ask about taking some pieces of hardwood. Many hate to see so much great wood be fed into the chipper, and being hands on working guys, will sometimes cut a few pieces for you to take, or some leave good wood at curbside here for others to take for firewood. Be polite and explain your interests to the workers, or homeowner, and many are happy to allow you to take wood. As a
  3. I learned from my friend Wayne Goddard (50+ yrs. a knifemaker) that no wood is ever to be considered dry until it has spent a year or two in your dry box, or in side the house exposed to your furnace warm air vent, even if the seller swears it has been cut for 10 yrs. If a large block of dense wood like ebony, snake wood rosewoods etc. better to cut them up to useable sizes before their (quarintine) in the dry box or the inside pieces may still have an unexceptably high moisture content. Having cut and dried hundreds of pounds of local woods myself, (oak crotch, maple, holly, walnut, and
  4. Regarding welding hardenable steel. Bring the steel up to tempering temp. 400F or so, then weld and let cool. A second heat and temper wouldn't hurt for safety. The weld puddle will be over the quenching temp for hardening and without pre heating the surrounding steel in effect acts as a heat sink and quenches the puddle and surrounding steel and hardens it, but with large coarse grain and no temper. A pre heat at least tempers the new martensite and reduces stress a bit. Triple normalizing should relieve stress and reduce grain size even more, and if you can overweld and forge it down
  5. RobToneguzzo, That great flexing butter knife most likely has a hardness of about Rc. 45. I've tested several old and newer ones and that's about where they test out. Great flex as they are "spring tempered". Not the best for super edge holding, but hey that's what butcher's steels are for. Many butchers prefer a softer blade that will steel easily and the wire edge is what is doing the cutting.
  6. Alex Middleton, The burl needs to be completely dry before stabilizing. A piece can be dried in the microwave oven carefully if one's in a big hurry, but this is not practical for many pieces. Look up microwave drying of wood in wood turning sites for info.
  7. Ha, I'm from Springfield too, only in Oregon. Your first try at San Mai looks a lot like my firsts to. My core was all over the place, on one side on one edge, and running out to the surface the other way on the other edge. My hammering isn't as uniform as I'd like. My next ones I just forged it as bar stock and ground to shape checking the centering of the core as I went and those worked out better. Your use of the cable as the outside is wise as small diameter cable will be rather low carbon after forge welding, and this will make better sides for pattern and flexible strength. Next
  8. Did you forge to shape, or forge just to a bar then stock removal? When I tried to forge to shape I found I had trouble keeping the core centered. This process really exposes how much my strikes are different from one side to the other. I had to just forge to flat bar/spatula shape then stock removal, checking for core centering as I went. Your choice of materials sure created a stark contrast. Great experiment, and good job.
  9. Just cut them off and if you have a band saw cut to size or just a bit oversize for knife handle blocks. I usually orient the best looking areas so that the eyes are on the sides of the handle block. You cannot do that to all of the burl, but I try to get the densest and nicest pieces cut this way. Seal with a wax emulsion available from Woodcraft Supply and let dry stacked with separation for airflow in a cool shaded place with no breezes for at least 1 year per inch of thickness. This is for average woods like maple, however some woods like Madrone or Oak can have high levels of stress
  10. Aiden CC, Good luck on your birch bark sheath. There is one good tutorial on youtube for a bark sheath. He copies an old sheath he has. It is very good up until the end where the sheath narrows down, and he ends there without showing you how to finish the very end of the sheath. I figured out that you need to cut your strips a bit narrower there and weave them in and around the bottom. Also a heat gun is really a big help to soften and make more pliable the strips for certain areas. Heat softens the tars in the bark and helps prevent breakage, especially for tight bends, and where you
  11. Thank you for the picture George. The puukko is nothing more than an EDC knife from many years ago, little more than a stout paring, fish cleaning, small bird and trout, minimalist hunting and whittling knife. The Leatherman of its day. So many indigenous knives are so similar to this with small differences in local style. The exposed shoulders of many old maasepans nothing more than showing that that was as far as they could drive the blade in after burning it in and driving the pitch glued tang in. They weren't concerned about how the collector market would view their imperfections, th
  12. You might try a simple wax resist, salt water, and transformer etch for a mark. Wayne Goddard shows how in his book, The Wonder of Knifemaking, pg. 72.
  13. Last of all are you certain that was mild steel, (Spark tested), for lack of a more certain pedigree. If more carbon than mild it would be even more prone to cracking if forged tool cool. just my 2 cents worth. In either case it looks like forging too cool.
  14. A nice little knife. The blade looks a bit out of alignment with the straight handle though, and you might reconsider your makers mark. It is a bit huge and overpowering. Suggest looking into a simple wax resist and a saltwater and battery charger etched mark as taught by Wayne Goddard. It's simple to do, and costs next to nothing to assemble. My first setup was an old charger that melted down from some ones malfunction. I had to put new wires on it, but got it free. Another option is a professionally made stamp of appropriate size. I like the etched mark as I can size it for each knife. Also
  15. Coming along nicely. Be sure to post when it's done.
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