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A couple of new projects

John C. Lewicki

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Howdy folks,


I am happy to announce that I finally have my new shop up and running as good as opening day at Disney Land. So far, in the last month, I have had more failures than in the whole of my knife making experience. I started using new steels (1095 and L6) and experimenting with them to find a good heat treat has been actually a lot of fun. I now have a grand total of 5 broken blades!


1095 fail.jpeg

1095 blade after the quench. A total of six cracks are visible


I had it stuck in my mind after the first broken blade that no matter what, I was going to quench my 1095 in water. It does say in the material data sheets that it should be quenched in oil when dealing with small cross sections, but i figured what the hay! So after learning that my heat colour judging was a bit off, I started to hone that in. After making sure I wasnt over heating before the quench and leaving a little extra meat on the edge, I arrived at a hardened blade. Actually two blades, since I was determined to have a blade survive the quench, I decided to work on two at once. I could see, what I believe to be the line between the hardened edge and the softer spine.


I horizontally quench my 1095 in water that has been boiled, but backed of to the point where it stops bubbling. around 130-150 dF or so. I wait untill my blade is a deep red to bright red colour, but staying away from orange hues. Im looking to get it around 1475 dF, give or take. I had been relying on a Analog pyrometer, but realized that it must have been reading off a bit. That, or my thermo couple placement was off. I run a horizontal forge made from a 40lb propane tank, that roars a 1'' T-Rex burner. It easilly gets hot enough to weld, but i find it harder to keep lower temps.


So here are those two blades! The first one out of the forge is some kind of antler that my buddies dog found in Rossland, BC. It has stainless and mokume gane fittings(definitely not made from quarters ;-) ). It has some copper and leather spacers and currently does not have a sheath. The second is red brass, and stacked leather pieces. On these blades I could see what looked like a hamons, but it was hard to photograph. It was just a bright line running exactly where the colours divided on the blade after the quench. Both of these were a lot of first for me, including peening the tangs. The antler handled blade has the pomel hole tapered so the tang would smush into it, but the other one does not. By the way, smush "IS" a technical term. I apologize for the low quality pics...


hunter 1095.jpeg


hunter 1095 2.jpeg


hunter 1095 3.jpeg


hunter 1095 4.jpeg


hunter 1095 5.jpeg


hunter 1095 6.jpeg


leather hunter 1095.jpeg


leather hunter 1095 2.jpeg


leather hunter 1095 3.jpeg


leather hunter 1095 4.jpeg

Edited by John C. Lewicki
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That looks great! Use a magnet to determine temp, as soon as it does't stick quench, the line you're getting is known as a 'temper line' abouve soft below hard, nice work! ( I have to move and re set up end of the month... Dreading it!)

To become old and wise... You first have to survive being young and foolish! ;) Ikisu.blogsot.com. Email; milesikisu@gmail.com mobile: +27784653651

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