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Alan Longmire

Back in the game

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Some of you newer guys may wonder why you don't see me posting much of my own work, and I don't think I have done so since back in April, if then.  Many factors are involved, but a diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis a little over a year ago slowed me down quite a bit for a while there.  But I'm back! 

Some of you saw these sneak peeks at my latest hawk down in the "what did you do in your shop today" thread in The Way:

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and I promised I'd put finished pics in Show and Tell when it was finished.  And it's almost finished!  Just need to rub out the oil finish a bit more, then top it with wax and it's done:

 

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I don't have the dimensional specs on it handy, I'll add those in a bit, but it's a big and heavy hawk.  The head is forged, filed, and turned from antique wrought iron anchor chain with a 1084 steel edge inset.  I then inlaid it with silver and engraved it, then I browned it to make the silver really pop.  The idea of the nameplate on top of the head came from the gunmakers of upper East Tennessee 200 years ago who would inlay a silver plate into the top flat of the barrel as a nameplate for both their signature (almost always in Roman capitals rather than script) and sometimes the customers as well.  That's also what made me decide to brown it, that connection with the rifle guys who lived here long ago.  If you know anything about the iron-mounted TN rifles you've heard of the Bean family of gunsmiths.  I live about ten miles from the sites of two of their shops.

The handle is curly maple from Dunlap Woodcrafts, modified by me of course.  All mounts are sterling silver, no pewter on this one.  Wire inlay at the mouthpiece end just for fun.  The relative restraint on it is also an homage to the TN gunsmiths.  Their work was very plain.  Little to no engraving, no shiny brass mounts, only browned iron, dark wood, and the occasional silver or bone inlay.  Thus, the only engraving on this hawk is on the head.  I'm not thrilled with those slag stringers that mar the design, but that's the price of working with wrought.  It didn't show up until the final drawfiling, needless to say, and unfortunately the browning solution didn't stick where it appears.  Makes it look old, though.  Anyway, there you have the Tennessee Mountain Hawk.  Soon to be for sale, just in time for the holidays!

And just for giggles, I also whipped up a little chef's knife.  7" blade, around 11" overall.  W-1 with hamon, African Blackwood scales with brass pins.

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Those aren't scratches at the end of thehandle in that last pic, dunno what caused the effect.  But it doesn't matter.  I'm back in the game!  WooHoo!

Edit: Got the specs on the hawk! 19 1/4" / 48.25 cm handle, head length 8.9"/22.6 cm, edge length 3.25" / 8.2 cm.  The overall weight is 1lb 12.5 ounces, or 800 grams.  About what a good single-hand sword should weigh, but all the mass is in the head.  And it's thicker than my usual, since it's wrought forged down from BIG anchor chain and i was just eyeballing the width and thickness of the initial bar.  It was supposed to be 11 inches of 1/4" x 1.25 " flat bar, or 28 cm of 6.5mm x 32mm flat.  It ended up I got the width and length right, but the thickness was around 5/16" / 8mm.  Thus the extra heft and thickness just ahead of the eye, which is what inspired me to do the silver nameplate inlay.

Edited by Alan Longmire
added dimensions
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Back with a vengence I would say... 

That hawk is sahhh-weeet!

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I hereby name thee "The King of Diamonds" Mr. Longmire!

For some of those "newer" guys who don't know your history, somewhere around this forum are photos of Alan's shop with something like 20 of these hawks hanging from the rafters during production. 

Edited by Joshua States

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for the person who wont settle for just a hawk! a Knife hawk! the browning is quite lovly.

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Thanks, guys!  The inlaid silver knife is a detail I blatantly stole from a few originals of the 1790-1830 period.  For that matter, the only thing original about it is the wire inlay.  And some of the engraving, just because I'm not that good at it. ;)

And yes, I used to do up to 25 of these a year. :ph34r:  Only two this year.  So far...  I'm digging the look of a browned head too.  I suspect there will be more of those in the future!

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Beautiful work Alan!  I love both, but that hawk is where the heart is.  That sucks ass about the arthritis, but I am glad it didn't keep you down.  I hope you caught it early enough so that it is more manageable.  

Is that a hamon I see from you Alan?! 

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Two thumbs up Alan (only because I don’t have more thumbs).

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Thanks again!  Wes, thanks to my friend Jesus Hernandez, who happens to be a retired rheumatologist, we did indeed catch it early enough to control it without too much impairment.  Right hand (of course...) is a bit stiff, but so far that just affects my already abysmal handwriting. :rolleyes:  Enbrel is the stuff!  Turns out that wasn't tendonitis, either. :ph34r:

edited to add: Yeah, that's a hamon.  Just 'cause I can. :lol:

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Great work Alan, glad for your come back, this past spring I tore my rotator cup in my right shoulder  ( damn sticky manual dump box on the ol' 8n tractor ).

Hope to be able to get back at forging seriously again soon myself.........;)

Edited by Clifford Brewer
rong kinda grammer

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Ouch!  Yeah, those 8Ns are like ornery mules.  They work hard for their size, but they'll bite you at every opportunity!

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I'm happy to see you working, albeit a little slower than before! I can sympathize as I've had to slow down quite a bit since starting a new job. It makes the time spent working even more valuable though! I look forward to seeing more stuff by you Alan :) I really love the simple lines and engraving, your work is clean and subdued in a very beautiful way, not too flashy for the sake of being flashy. The inlay and engraving plus file work is done exactly where it needs and wants to be! I also love that little kitchen knife! The hamon is beautiful and so whispy! I'm in love with both of them!

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Really nice Alan. You got me wanting to step up and go for the fancy!! Where are you getting the curly maple for the handles? If you don't mind me asking!!

 

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Alan, I share your pain, haven’t done squat for forging much either. At least I can stay connected via this awesome site and everyone on here. 

Now I have to ask....how did you get that cigar band in the middle? I like the teardrop shape tapered to round round as well. And what did you use to brown the axe head?

Always in appreciation.... Gary LT

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Fantastic Alan.
Glad your health issues are getting under control.
Always inspiring to see your work.

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5 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

Thanks again!  Wes, thanks to my friend Jesus Hernandez, who happens to be a retired rheumatologist, we did indeed catch it early enough to control it without too much impairment.  Right hand (of course...) is a bit stiff, but so far that just affects my already abysmal handwriting. :rolleyes:  Enbrel is the stuff!  Turns out that wasn't tendonitis, either. :ph34r:

edited to add: Yeah, that's a hamon.  Just 'cause I can. :lol:

Excellent!  I see his talents extend past making swords... I bet he he rub his belly and pat his head at the same time too :D  Glad you are well though and Jesus took care of you.

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That is awesome, Alan! Love the little inlay of the knife on the hawk.  The browning on it is very nice, also.  Just a great overall presentation!

Welcome back, man!

Dave

 

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I love the brown patina, the contrast with the silver is awesome.  I never tire at looking at your work, it is always an inspiration to me.  Glad you are back.

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Thanks yet again, guys!  Cliff: I get my handle blanks from Dunlap Woodcrafts out of Virginia.  Predrilled adds $10, but considering I once ruined $50 worth of handles trying to drill 'em myself it's worth it.  That is the high grade curly.  They sell four grades, and that is #2.  #1 is rarely available, most of it goes to gunstocks and furniture makers.

Gary: the "cigar band" is just that!  22 gauge sterling sheet inlaid into a wide shallow groove, held by a pair of sterling nails every half-inch or so.  The ends ofthe strip butt up on the front side of the handle, which is circular in cross section below the notch.  There's a tiny gap, but nothing major.  The mouthpiece is the same, as is the cap on top.  Handmade silver nails, no glue or epoxy on this hawk.  The brown is Laurel Mountain Forge barrel brown and degreaser used far more aggressively than the instructions suggest.  I wanted that matte antique look.  It's a good product, the only trouble is if you go as aggressive as I did it doesn't like to stop rusting.  I had to give it two good soakings and brushings in a hot saturated solution of water and washing soda.  Baking soda isn't strong enough.

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Mr. Alan, I did not know you were not working for a health problem. I am very happy that you can return to the ring. it is like the water that the fish lacks or the air that the bird lacks. I hope to see much more. regards! leonardo.

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Very very nice Alan. I love this style of work.

Love the silver inlays 

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Fantastic details on that hawk, Alan. Looking forward to seeing more new work from you! 

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