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JohnK

Your "least enjoyable" part of bladesmithing? Why&How you prevail?

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Im curious how yall, if anyone aside from me, push past that annoying part of smithing to finish your work? Doesnt have to be blades specifically.

I have 4 fully finished blades, for nearly 2 months now, that still dont have handles, much less the thought of sheathing them....laaaaazzzzzyyy.

For me its the full finish. Tempering, blade grinding and applying handles. I personally love the heating and shaping process. Not so much the rest.

Anyone else?

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Sheaths.   Ack.   Hate sewing, old broken hands.  And don't have any kydex gear.   Hand Sanding:  Mostly not fun.  Unless you got a nice hamon or something going.  Then it's not so bad.  Fitting gaurds with files:   Ughhh.   Handles not coming out perfect.  Most of my dislikes come from not having the equipment and funds and time that would make it fast and fun.   A lathe, a mill,  with tooling, a bigger grinder with attachments and a room full of sharp belts,  a stock of pre-shaped handle material instead of all natural reclaimed/foraged stock,  a leather capable sewing machine,  brand new and sharp drill bits and a drill press that drilled straight.     And all the gizzards/fittings/ and doo-dads that one can get from a bladesmith supply house.  And a new shop to put all that junk in.  All things that are not required to make a beautiful knife, but sure help make it easier and faster.  Especially when blade making time is severely limited to a few hours when I can get to it every other week or month.   The funds to just be able to sit in the shop and make would be the difference.

 

The Forging is always the best part for me though.   That's where all the magic happens.  It's the most Zen part of the process for me.  The rest is just polishing up the jewel.

 

The joy of playing with the knife after it's done and sharp.  And the sound and feel of that clean clean slice after final sharpening and the balance in the hand.  That keeps me going.   Something about having a finished blade, and then being able to use it.  Just makes it all worth it.  Plus I just like cutting stuff.

 

.02 cents

 

BTW:  I have at least 7 or 8 blades sitting on the table waiting for a finish months after HT/Temper.   One of them is a damascus bowie too.  To find the time....

Edited by Bruno

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Sanding.

Close 2nd is sheaths.  For about the last year by Dad has been making sheaths for me, and knocking it out of the park. 

He's getting on in years and recently injured his shoulder, good thing I'm not getting much done because he was in no shape to make sheaths.

 

My problem is he's raised the standard of my knives, and even with practice I probably can't match his results, I guess because a chore for me is a pleasure for him. That and practice.

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My favourite hate is cleaning up the work shop after working in it!, I can stand the filing, sanding, polishing even to a point sheath making, but the sweeping up and vacuuming after that's the bit I hate, although, if I've been welding at the end of a session, I do use the clean up to make sure that there's no smouldering embers hiding. 

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My most hated part is having to start over again after a week of work on a engraved damascus blade due to a hidden weld flaw.<_< sometimes I wish I had chosen to collect stamps or something as a hobby.

 

At the risk of sounding like a heretic, I´d have to say that I dislike making damascus the most, the high cost of material and fuel combined with the high possibility of random failure just sucks most of the fun out of that process for me.

However I do really like the end result so I keep doing it, and the first etch on a finished blade is worth the effort.

 

I actually like finishing and handle making the most, after finish grinding there is not much more that can go wrong and it is just steady work to a finished piece.

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The business end of the craft....paperwork and scheduling.

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I find hand sanding the hardest part to push myself forward. I've had 3 back surgeries and hand sanding just kills my back. I even stand at the anvil like you see in the old paintings. Standing straight upright with an arched back. Proper posture is how I would describe it. Any leaning forward And having my arms out in front of me for any length of time kills my back which makes hand sanding really hard to do for any length of time. Standing in front of the grinder and standing at the power hammer for any length of time kills my back. Man now that I think about it everything hurts me. :angry:

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Early stages of hand sanding.

 

I always think I'm done til I put on my 3x readers and turn the lamp at an angle.

 

 

 

 

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  Well, I've made my share of wood carving blades and now my first forged knife is finished.  I can truthfully say I dislike the hand sanding of the blade.   I only have three fingers on my left hand and it cramps terribly when I do really physical things like that.  My right hand is arthritic and it goes without saying, that makes for painful sanding.  So cleaning the blades up nice and clean is a painful labor of love...............but one I have to endure until I can afford to pay an apprentice to do it for me. roflmao.gif

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That moment when I start getting that blade down to the final grit and I see that line that says I've got a crack in my blade.  Fitting a guard is a close second.

 

Doug

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Thanks for the replies FRIENDS!!! I noticed a trend and I now see im not alone with the sanding/grinding process. I think its mostly because of my crap equipment but even then i just dont think itll move me with better stuff. Applying handles bother me because im worried if im off any then its all a ruin(i rivet my scales/handle). But holy crap i hate sanding them down. I love the ugly diamond in the rough and anything else is just work hahaha. I will say very fine hand sanding i like because it feels similar to finishing cabinets to me. I love decorative wood work so that fine final polish is ok by me. just hate the pre-pretty junk. I wont even begin on sheaths....I am not good at that. As i try to respond to everyone, there are more posts than i assumed there would be. Id love to try to damascus but i worry about the same thing. The ole oil forge gets the heat but my ego isnt quite big enough to let me risk it yet. About the only way I usually finish is when i have a deadline, a purpose, but for myself ya looking at 5 to 10 without possibility of parole lol

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i got trizact belts in 80, 220, and 400 grits. usually i can start hand sanding at 400, sometimes i have to start at 220, it has saved me so much time.

 

anyone here can afford to build a 2x72 grinder with a little scavenging, mine is an extruded aluminum beam with slots for carriage bolts from a bowflex, the motor and tracking device are movable/modular for tension and the platten is just clamped on.

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@steven smith my belt grinder is a HF 36" that i rigged a full 3/4hp central air system blower motor onto. ITS WAYYYY BETTER. but even then its not quite what i want. I did plan on building a much stronger 72" but i havent the time yet. At the moment i cant afford decent belts but i did discover with more HP, even plain Aluminum oxide belts for wood work ok with a bit of cooling fluid. I took the advice of Alan and use windex. works quite well. Ive just been looking for an old laminator or printer for spindles. Cant really build those.

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i have a 4x36 from harbor freight, you can get a lot of work done by grinding on the wheels and then flattening the workpiece on the flat area. i bet its not too bad with that 3/4 hp motor.

 

my grinder has a longboard wheel with 5/8" all thread for the axle, for a two wheel grinder like mine it doesnt matter but with three wheels it would fight itself and you would need something more accurate. nothing even remotely fancy going on there.

 

the trizacts last 20 times as long as other belts (more or less) so they are totally worth the money if you are ever considering them. 

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Oh yea that 3/4HP is worlds of difference. I cant bind the motor, just the belt. The motor just keeps on going. I appreciate the advice everyone and ill certainly buy some better belts if they come in 4x36"

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I hate grinding....everything, whether it's finished grinding on blades, grinding tack welds on Damascus billets, grinding the scale off steel when prepping a billet...anything that involves a grinder (belt and angle included).

Edited by billyO

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I'm about the same as you, John. I'm super into the forge welding, forging to shape, and HT, but dont much care for hand sanding for a whole day. I have the patience to do it, but I cant say I enjoy it. It starts getting fun again when I start to etch. From there (if all is well) it's a race to the end. I find myself with exravagant ideas from the design stage, but usually skipping most of it by the time it's all done. 

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Howdy..I hate grinding and I was taught by one of the best blade grinders in the world..the late Bob Engnath...He showed me alot of things to make more "dramatic" grinds and all but I still detest it. That is why I built  Frankengrinder...14" serrated wheel...5 HP motor moving 6300 SFM belt speed...Cuts fast..cuts deep and it doesn't care what it grinds...steel..copper, you...it just grinds..

JPH

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Posted (edited)

The parts of blade smithing I hate most are. 

A, 

   Cleaning up the shop at the end of the day, even though my wife bought me a workshop vacuum for my birthday. 

B, 

  Trying to explain why and how much money that latest pack of steel or the latest special tool/part /accessory cost to my wife

C, 

     Explaining to my wife why when I said I would be in the shop for a1/2 hour  I'm in there for 5 or 6 hours :rolleyes:

Edited by Martin Tiney
More typos than I care to admit to
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Heck, Martin, I find myself explaining to ME exactly why I walked out to the shop to do one simple task that should take 10 minutes and end up being there for 5 or 6 hours.  :D

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Time indeed flys when your having fun in the shop, :D

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Hand sanding....no doubt lol. I can spend hours at this horrid task. I could do like some smith's and just work the bevel, leaving the flats with a forge finish, but I just dont like it. Right now I'm working on building skill with surface conditioning belts so that maybe I can knock a few hours off this lol.

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17 minutes ago, Brian Myers said:

Hand sanding....no doubt lol. I can spend hours at this horrid task. I could do like some smith's and just work the bevel, leaving the flats with a forge finish, but I just dont like it. Right now I'm working on building skill with surface conditioning belts so that maybe I can knock a few hours off this lol.

I heard a rotary platen really helps getting a nice finish with the higher grits. The idea is to have a not so bard backing so the belt "bump" is dampened and the general finish is also better. 

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Joel I have a Grizzly 2x72 grinder buffer. Compared to other grinders, this is like the deformed cousin you keep in the basement and feed fish heads lol. There is no way to put on attachments that wouldn't endanger the user or compromise the machine. One of these days I am going to try and make a new steel platen to replace the cast iron one so I can attach a glass backer for better grinds.

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