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David Kahn

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Everything posted by David Kahn

  1. I made him repeat it several times, and you can also see some of the Swedish makers use the term on their websites: http://www.pbknives.com/no13.htm . What these guys told me is that it is fairly easy to work when wet, but that it hardens up when it dries. The finished sheaths are much harder and stiffer than the ones I've made out of the vegetable tanned leather I've gotten from Tandy. They said the half tanned leather is even stiffer when dry, but they said it tends to shrink as it dries, which can cause problems. Please tell me I don't need to go to Sweden to get this stuff!
  2. I was at the 2010 Southern California Knife Expo yesterday (btw, it's a very good show this year, with a large number of very nice and extremely talented makers, and a good number of well-stocked suppliers), and was admiring the really stunning sheath work by three Swedish makers who were there. I noticed, in particular, that the leather they use is much stiffer and harder than even the heavy vegetable tanned leather I get from Tandy. Talking to these guys, they told me that it's not half-tanned leather, which they say is even stiffer and harder, but rather they use something they call "shaf
  3. I have an older (7 or 8 years) Hardcore 2x72 variable speed belt grinder (110v) that I've generally been pretty happy with, but lately, when I put too heavy of a load on it, it's been blowing fuses. It works okay for general knife making work, but if I need to fabricate something or really remove material, it pops, which it never used to do. I've tried a variety of things to fix the problem, but nothing seems to work, so I contacted the vender (Tru Grit) to see about getting a new motor. They're telling me that the original motors were DC, but that they now have variable speed AC motors tha
  4. The dagger is gorgeous, and I love the video, but I notice you appear to do quit a bit of work without safety glasses. (In which case, you're a braver man than I. Hell, I'm the last person qualified to give anyone advice, at least outside of tax law, but I've had eye injuries while wearing glasses. I hate to think what would have happened if I had been unprotected.)
  5. That makes perfect sense. I didn't realize you were quenching into oil. I've been told that usually quenching into oil results in some reduction (or reverse) curvature. (I've always wondered whether this effect would be present when quenching into a fast oil, like Parks 50 for example.) In any event, that's a very interesting, smart approach -- forge in the curvature, then quench in oil. Less chance of breakage, and maybe more control over the ultimate shape of the blade. (Though maybe also harder to get that nice, organic curvature that a water quench produces, however.) Thank you
  6. Wow, seeing this, and your beautiful file work in particular, makes me want to try forging another sword. I love how nicely you've got the geometry filed in. Really lovely work. Every damn one of these I've ever done has cracked in heat treating. I don't mind screwing things up; I figure I learn more from my mistakes than from my successes, but the problem with this type of blade is you have so much time into it by the time you get to heat treat that it's kind of heart breaking. Still, maybe it's time to add yet another cracked katana to my already extensive collection! Btw, do yo
  7. It's stabilized snakewood, so it's already impregnated with plastic of some sort. I just finished it down to 600, gave it a good going over with very fine steel wool (0000, I think), then buffed.
  8. I haven't experimented too much, except the kind with whole mustard seeds is a pain for this. French's works well, is a good consistency for this application, and it's not too costly.
  9. Sorry I took a while to respond, but I learned this from Michael Rader up in Washington, and I felt like I should check with him before divulging his secrets. Michael says he learned it from Wayne Goddard and gave me permission to explain how it's done. (Michael is a great knife maker and a super nice guy, btw.) It's a patina, done with mustard. I use French’s, actually. You finish the blade (maybe to 600 grit), then apply the mustard in little dots with a toothpick, and then let it dry. Drying takes three or five hours and turns black. You then wash it off and repeat until you get
  10. Just spectacular! Something for the rest of us to aspire to!
  11. Really nice Serge. Is the temper line the result of an edge quench?
  12. Actually, the W-2 I have is in 0.75 inch by 1.5 inch bars, which makes it easy; you just forge it down every place it's too thick! I actually need to do some more of these; this was my first one, and as you can see from the photo of the rough forging, it was a little thick, which resulted in lots of grinding. A Smithing Magician (or some other tool that works well for forging tenons) is helpful when you get to the tang. (I think some guys just forge the blade and bolster, and then thread or weld in the tang, but I forged this one in one piece, except for the butt cap, which is threaded on.)
  13. Just finished this up today. The blade is forged out of W-2, triple normalized and hardened in salt, and the handle is stabilized snakewood. Not sure what it's called, but I did the handle in a shape I've seen on Japanese knives -- it's more or less oval, with a straight facet that runs the length of the handle under the base of the fingers. (Does anyone know if there is there a name for this style of handle?) The blade and butt-cap have a Michael Rader inspired mustard finish. (Also took some pics as I was making this, which can be seen here: http://www.rhinometalworks.com/wip.html ).
  14. I've been using the zirconia discs, and I just ordered some of the new "Blaze" orange discs in the hope that they will work better. (I really like the Blaze belts, so maybe the discs will be good too.) I've been doing what you described -- using the belt as much as I can, but truing up on the disc, and also moving to the disc at the end of the grinding process to finish things up. (And cooling the blade in water often.) Still, when I put on a new disc, I notice that it cuts really nicely, and doesn't heat up the blade so much, for the first minute or two of grinding. I sort suspected
  15. I've been making chef's knives lately (here's a blade in process that I hope to have finished this week: http://www.rhinometalworks.com/wip.html ), and I find that it's a whole lot easier for me to get and maintain the really flat grind these kinds of blades need using a disc grinder (as opposed to the belt grinder). I have a nice, 9 inch variable speed reversible disc grinder that I use for this, but the thing that's bothering me is that the psa abrasive pads seem to wear out very very quickly. They cut well when brand new, but within a few minutes they seem to get dull and end up generati
  16. I have a couple of Tim's units (one for high and the other for low temperature), and they work great. Very stable, accurate, and clean. Plus, with electric heat, you don't have to worry about venting exhaust gases. You need to be careful to keep the salt away from the electric heating elements because it will damage them. (I fabricated stainless steel splatter shields to try to avoid getting salt into the kilns.) There's some pictures of my units here: http://www.rhinometalworks.com/wip.html . My units are 24 inches deep, and you can add kiln sections to vary the height. (They're each
  17. Beautiful. Love the knife, and the sheath is gorgeous.
  18. Right now, I do some small scale ornamental iron work, and, mostly, knives of various sorts. Of course, the scope of my work is limited at least a little by the setting in which I'm working -- I'm not going to be forging any large gates or railings in my little garage metal shop. I've done some pattern welded stuff, but mostly these days, I find myself interested in making kitchen knives and old-timey hunting and other knives. (If you look at some of the photos on my website, you maybe get a sense of the sort of stuff I'm doing lately: http://www.rhinometalworks.com .) I suspect that having
  19. Thanks very much guys. This has turned out to be a great thread (at least from my perspective) and an interesting read. I completely get that there's a huge element of subjective taste and personal preference in a question like this. I will absolutely take the advice and go to some of the conferences to check out different hammers, but, even so, I suspect my first power hammer purchase will inevitably not be informed by a great deal of experience. (I kind of figure that I will be in a great position to select my first power hammer about a year after buying my first power hammer, if yo
  20. Beautiful work. Both the knife and the sheath are understated and elegant. Very cool.
  21. I live and smith in a very urban location, so a power hammer has always been off-limits to me. Recently, I bought a piece of property in a more rural location (where I hope to retire one of these days), and have started to think about setting up my dream smithy/shop. Outside of a couple of classes, I've taken over the years, I have almost no experience with power hammers, but I know I want one. So, if you were setting up a shop from scratch, and could put any power hammer you wanted into it (current production or something that hasn't been made for years), what would it be? (Or stated a
  22. Thanks for the suggestions/help guys. I ended up buying a unit from the folks at Marking Methods, and used it for the first time last night. This is a closeup of the etch on a small folder I just finished. (The etch is about 5/16 square, so pretty small.) Overall, very easy to use, and I'm happy with the result.
  23. Just finished this one last night, and am kind of pleased with it. (My first time posting a pic, so not entirely sure this will work.) The blade and spring are hand-forged from Japanese high-vanadium carbon steel. (It a material sold by Dick.biz in Germany -- as far as I can tell, it's essentially 1070 with some vanadium added for good measure.) The blade was triple normalized in salt, then heated and quenched in Parks 50, and has a Michael-Rader-inspired mustard finish. The spring back is salt-blued. The handle is antler, with sterling washers and copper liners and pins. What do
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