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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. 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.
  2. 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 one you might leave it a bit thicker to leave more for grinding past forging defects to leave cleaner sides. It's always learning as we go along. Fun experimenting..
  3. 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.
  4. 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 in them and will twist and split badly in drying even when coated. These woods I have found respond well to being boiled as soon as being cut up. About 1 hour per inch of thickness. This releaves the stresses and they seem to dry a bit faster afterwards. I have dried Red Mulberry with minimal splitting checking so yours may dry well.
  5. 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 are needing to slip under another strip without over stressing it. Also plan for a nice well greased leather thong the same width as your strips for your belt hanger. Also try to maintain a tight fit of all your strips as you go or you'll have big gaps between the weave later. Mine turned out real nice for my maasepan puukko with a masur birch handle, and a drill and burn in stick tang with old fashioned pitch glue. If I can ever figure how to post pics I'll post it.
  6. 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, they drove it in as far as it would go and it stuck tight and wouldn't come out and there it stayed. So many maasepans I've seen had handles that were little more than narrow potatoes or carrots in shape and the handle tang not quite all the way in, with the blade sharpened and worn away to a fragment of the original. I can just see the farmer, or herdsman asking "what for I need a new knife, this one has life in it still". In the past many rural folks had little money for fancy knives, or a "collection", they bought blades and put their own handles on then to save money. Bolsters and horseheads and extras came after more civilization and more commerce and money and spare time were available to more than the upper class. Everyone had access to a piece of wood, it was a good blade the rural folks needed. Just my thoughts.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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 there are the stencil makers for etching a mark. They cay design very nice looking marks. For starting out the battery charger and salt water etcher is the cheapest way to go. Also you can make your own stamp out or 01 rod, file to shape and harden. I also enjoy forging used materials quite a bit. Working on a parang from some old farm hi carbon steel, and a large puukko from some 100+ yr. old buggy springs. They turned out to be shear steel. Have fun forging!
  10. Coming along nicely. Be sure to post when it's done.
  11. Beautiful blade. Was the wrap 2 piece, or split up the middle and the Damascus inserted? It looks like a blade useable for many things.
  12. Beautiful work! The blades have that chatoyant quality I really like. Also look like the pinch area should feel right working with these. Question? How did you s. solder and etch? Did you use some sort of sealer or mask over the copper? Or did you solder after etching, something I'd be very nervous doing.
  13. Good start, but I have some concerns with the handle. Some cedar is pretty, but is too soft usually, and yours has some large cracks that would not bode well for the cleanliness necessary in food prep. You want a good hardwood that doesn't indent much if at all when you press your thumbnail into it and slide it along, and you don't want cracks or other gee gaws that will trap food particles, grease etc. and be difficult to clean. That being said, there are lots of old butcher, and food prep knives from days past that had lots of seams that were open, and most who used them lived afterwards. However we know better now, and if given as a gift, your knife will be appreciated more and used often if it is user friendly and easy to wash up. Once I did have some beautiful wood from a juniper bush stump, but it was too soft, so I sent it off with some other wood and had it stabilized. Then it was good and polished beautifully.
  14. Perusing old puukko posts, and saw these dilemma's and thought I'd post in case others have these problems. Jake is right, correct as you go frequently, and don't forge too thin on the edge, but sometimes we don't always perform perfectly and help is needed. That's where a good thwocker, or schwuaker, or club is handy. I make them out of oak 1 1/2-2" thick x 14" long and 4-5" wide tapering back to about 3", and a handle. Other hardwoods are great too. I chainsaw them to approx. thickness, dry a yr. or two, bandsaw out, sand on 46 grit belt, fill cracks with super glue, sand again. The wood deforms without rolling all but the thinnest edge. You can center your tang if of center with a good schwauk or two, move tip up or down, set up a negative droop for an edge quench where the tip will rise. Turn that banana shaped buffalo skinner into a straight back, or remove that blade tang junction Scagle hump all with a good heat and a well placed schwauk.
  15. Almost forgot!!! If you repurpose a microwave oven. Read up on the internal parts, as there is a High Voltage Capacitor in there that holds a charge that can KILL YOU if you touch the wrong parts. It must be shorted out (while unplugged) to remove the charge. You must do this properly or you get fried, NOT GOOD! Do not operate a micro wave with the cabinet off, (you get Microwaved) the cabinet is the shielding. The story about the bowyer cutting holes in and out the sides of his micro was setting himself up for some brain cooking as well unless he was outside the building when operating it, (take the shop cat out too) Making tools at home is satisfying and saves money unless it makes you sick or kills you.
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