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Al Massey

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Everything posted by Al Massey

  1. I hear ya, we've all got friends on the other side we really wish we could spend five more minutes with to get advice...thinking here of my old buddy Nate Cohen, master engraver, machinist and silversmith.
  2. Almost looks like spots of hitatsura on the blade. I have a late Koto/early Shinto katana with quite a bit of hitatsura, which I believe is Japanese for "Oh, crap, half my clay fell off." I really like the look you've gotten here, and I do see what you were going for. If you've been at Peggy's Cove near the rocks up here, definitely things get that wild at times.
  3. Back in the 18th and 19th century, the Gill firm used to strike iron musket barrels in addition to the bending and striking tests on a hardwood block. The motto they put on their swords, "Warranted never to fail" or simply "warranted" truly meant something in that firm.
  4. If you get the actual spec sheets, I think you're going to find a lot more chromium and other stuff than you were expecting. Even straight 10-series steel can be carrying chrome, nickel, etc. Really pure 10-series is almost a thing of the past, I talked to a gunsmith who told me he needed to hot-blue anything made since 1980 twice as long because of the extra crap in it.
  5. I find the thicker the better- I like either 3/16 or quarter inch, and will stack L6 and a high 10-series, 1084 or 1095, and usually I start with a stack about 5 layers, going with 1.5" wide stock and about 6" long. This makes up a billet around 3 lbs, which works down to a billet around 1.5 lbs after 3 cut and restacks. One will make 2 large knives/daggers or a short sword, and two a good size arming sword plus enough left for a couple daggers.
  6. Iron tangs on swords was a pretty standard way of doing things right through the Napoleonic era and to the late 19th century, iirc. You can see the exact method in this article, near the bottom; https://oldswords.com/articles/French Cuirassier swords AN IX - AN XI.pdf
  7. I think I'll mount that piece of maille I made years ago on my work vest, about stomach level...
  8. I like using soapstone on the file and every few strokes, tap and card the file. The tapping loosens the swarf in my experience.
  9. G2 epoxy works really good for most stuff, I find. Very long set-up- at least a day or so- but very strong.
  10. I've been told a lot of wire-feeds don't penetrate very far, this could be an issue. You might have more luck with an old stick welder and 7018 or 14 rod. I usually have to cut the rod off after I've done with the billet. I usually use 7014- yeah, I know 7018 is better but 7014 can stay out all year in my unheated shop and still spark.
  11. Most swords from the Medieval period up to the Napoleonic era were rarely over 50 RC, something in the mid-40's would be considered as quite a good blade. In a long blade, the ability to survive hard stress trumps how many rope cuts, etc. you're trying to get out of a blade. Most Solingen sabres were hardened in the 40's range.
  12. What sort of glue would be recommended for a standard (non-shirasaya) scabbard, keeping in mind that the Saya is going to be lacquered later and obviously taking it apart for cleaning is not going to be routine? I don't want to damage the wood as it is old. The Saya has been needing repair for decades but I think I can salvage it as most of the damage is around the koiguchi and can be built up and reinforced with horn.
  13. I've heard another smith refer to the same thing as Scrapahagane.
  14. Hardening of the spine might be more effective, but you might also increase the odds of cracking both in the quench and in usage, especially imho as not much in the way of tempering was done with these swords. I could be wrong, but I don't think nihonto were tempered past a very cursory stress-relief in order to keep a very hard cutting edge.
  15. I'm not so sure. Although nihonto were quite hard at the edge, most of the time the back was very soft indeed- from everything I've found an RC 20 or less would be normal in those areas, and even a minor amount of surface hardening would be a good thing for parries. Although most open warfare had stopped in that period, duelling was still quite in vogue.
  16. I was thinking, recently- dangerous, I know- I wonder if one of the reasons for burnishing the sides/backs of Japanese blades was to impart a level of work-hardening to an otherwise soft surface, so that in practice or in dueling those areas might get less scarred if parries were done with those parts of the blade?
  17. That's okay. I got careless at home checking out the fittings of a 400 year old katana. Blade went through my slipper, through my foot missing the bone, and tip hit the floor. Tip was fine, foot healed fine after I put pressure for about a half-hour, barely even left a scar, never got stitches. Blade was a Bizen-style with long kissaki. Still have the sword almost 40 years later. Threw out the slippers.
  18. Here's a good short showing one of that pattern of anvil in use for sword blades.
  19. My average steel loss in doing up a steel billet over 300 layers is 40 per cent or even more, and that's using a press and a good gas forge setup. Scale happens. As for compression- that's not happening. You're not going to "compress" anything unless you're starting with really raw bloomery steel.
  20. ...while drawing a soft temper on the back? I'm thinking of making a dotanuki styled blade (slightly wider/thicker katana style) from oil-quench patternwelded alloys (1084/L6 or 15N20) but using this paste on the edge while I draw additional temper on the blade back, so I get a back hardness in the 40's whilst maintaining a cutting edge in the high 50's. Sort of reverse hamon thing using the paste if you follow me.
  21. For most simple steels, foil is a waste, for things like 440C that need a long soak, they are a must. Scale on 440 is basically chromium oxide which eats abrasives like it is an abrasive- which in fact it is.
  22. Short answer- yes, or perhaps yes. Long answer- what kind of knife or you talking about? There is no such thing as an "ideal" edge geometry.
  23. I had breakfast with him at the Atlanta show with my wife the year after I got my JS stamp. An incredible mind.
  24. I gotta second this. There's no way I would trust the welds, it looks like a lot of them are not penetrating.
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