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Al Massey

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Everything posted by Al Massey

  1. It shouldn't cost you anywheres near 8K to build a press. I built mine for about 2K, granted, a few years ago, but still...your equivalent of Princess Auto should carry the parts for the hydraulics and then it's just a matter of getting the steel to put together an H-frame.
  2. The only trick to it was gaps were not something they particularly worried about. Gaps could be filled in with pine resin or wax or a mix thereof.
  3. 20 sounds high. At 8-12 PSI I do most of my forging, 15 PSI for forge-welding and I do pretty heavy billets.
  4. I find that if the blade has been ground clean before hardening, that the black scale almost always pops off or becomes so loose it can be cleaned off with a rag after the quench. It also gives you a good indicator of where the blade has been hardened and where not. I always aim for that demarcation to be half an inch to an inch forward of the tang-blade junction.
  5. Very flat convex, or as I referred to it for years, a f-d-up flat grind...and please no "armour piercing" katana-style tips!
  6. 5160 can be stubborn to move under the hammer and the scale can be a bit sticky, I usually grind it off with a wheel before using my belts. Also, go a bit past non-magnetic, 5160 hardens best around 1550F in my experience.
  7. Definitely a Lee-Metford 1888 bayonet. The SMLE bayonet was single-edged and fullered.
  8. Sword guards could go historically very tight or very loose. Some were made by wrapping an iron bar around the blade/tang junction and forge-welding it onto itself, so obviously it would be very tight, some were hot-fitted, i.e. the hole for the tang was slit/punched and then the hot gaurd was pushed into position and lightly forged down on the sides and as it cooled it contracted, and some were a very loose fit. There was no absolute standard.
  9. I've had good results with Easy-45 solder, I think it melts about 1150 so not as bad as brazing but a lot stronger than the soft solder.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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
  16. I think I'll mount that piece of maille I made years ago on my work vest, about stomach level...
  17. I like using soapstone on the file and every few strokes, tap and card the file. The tapping loosens the swarf in my experience.
  18. G2 epoxy works really good for most stuff, I find. Very long set-up- at least a day or so- but very strong.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. I've heard another smith refer to the same thing as Scrapahagane.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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?
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