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Martin Brandt

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

    Origin of the "Modern" Puukko?

    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.
  2. Martin Brandt

    Origin of the "Modern" Puukko?

    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.
  3. Martin Brandt

    Some new Puukkos

    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.
  4. Martin Brandt

    mild steel cracking?

    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.
  5. Martin Brandt

    simple copper and cherry

    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!
  6. Martin Brandt

    Rasp and Mule Deer EDC

    Coming along nicely. Be sure to post when it's done.
  7. Martin Brandt

    Yotvingians blade

    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.
  8. Martin Brandt

    Gyuto and funayuki damascus kitchen knives

    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.
  9. Martin Brandt

    WIP Bunka Bocho

    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.
  10. Martin Brandt

    What preform for tanto/roach belly point?

    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.
  11. Martin Brandt

    Drying Wood in a Microwave

    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.
  12. Martin Brandt

    Drying Wood in a Microwave

    I dry wood in mine from time to time, but you have to go real slow and not get it too hot, just a little warm on lower pwr. settings. Always try scrap pieces first so as not to wreck good stuff. Generally woods that check and split badly drying normally will also do so micro drying. Softer open pored woods like maple, hickory, etc are pretty tolerant. I make my own hammer handles from oak, or hickory used and broken axe, shovel,etc. handles if they are big enough to repurpose. When handling a hammer I dry the handle completely in the micro before wedging it on so that it is as dry as it will ever get, then it can only swell tighter out in the shop. No loose handles. If it is too hot to touch to your cheek, it's too hot for wood. Look up woodturners sites and check microwave drying of wood. They turn bowls green then micro dry them and finish turning.
  13. Martin Brandt

    Some 'antler engraving' attempts...

    Scott, Yes, making a living and lifes obligations can certainly put a crimp in artistic pursuits. Big sigh.
  14. Martin Brandt

    Elk Ivories - Knife Maker needed

    Three Sisters, They would look right at home drilled and hung along with some early American trade beads on a period sheath with a long hunter style knife and fringed rawhide covered sheath. IMHO Martin
  15. Martin Brandt

    Some 'antler engraving' attempts...

    Scott, I've been going down this path a bit as well, and have learned from some of these makers that it is alder bark dust, or pine bark dust. Alder is the russet, and pine bark the black. They are applied with a little spit and rubbed in with a finger. I had done some beginning work like you, finding my way, and used alder bark dust and some Deft lacquer, mixed into a paste and filling the deeper cuts up to just past level to allow for shrinkage during drying. Then sanded with a small block and very fine paper to level. My early cuts were with triangle needle files for cuts around the handle, and fine engraving chisels for other cuts, but my work was course and overly large. None of the fine detail done by Swedes, or Saami. Someone told me you could use spray fixative over the pencil lines to help prevent rubbing them out while carving. Haven't tried that yet, but it seems like a good idea. Half of it seems to be learning their designs and how to draw them, and the other half, the learning curve in the incising. I'm learning how to hold the piece in the left hand, and push with the left thumb and lever off the thumb with the right hand and steer the blade Good practicing..