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Here is the latest I made. It was a first for me on so many levels:

 

IMG_0006.jpg

First full tang.

First multi-block construction on a curved tang.

First metal turning (turned the brass pommel nut on my wood lathe using hand held carbide cutters - would not recommend this...).

First take down.

 

Took four tries on the wood for the handle, four times on the guard, and two times making the pommel nut. Still not totally happy with it as there are some cosmetic defects (not shown in the picture) that I just can't seem to fix (thus the reason for so many attempts on the different parts). I really need to learn how to do the "floating" threads for the pommel nut and I need to get a metal lathe.

 

But this is not the reason I am posting this knife. The pattern I was shooting for in the blade was inspired by a picture

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in @JPH's first book; and I hope he doesn't mind me posting a picture of it - if he does, let me know and I (or a mod) will remove it.  From the first time I saw this after I bought and read the book (too many years ago to count), I wanted to make this pattern. Other than the "deep hollow grind" I think I followed the directions. I've tried twice and this is the closest I've got.

IMG_0013.jpg

 

The blade is ~150 layers 15N20 / 80CrV2. Was forged to a 3/4 inch square bar, twisted to about 4 per inch, rounded, and forged flat to ~1/4 inch thick. The tang and profile were then forged in, but the bevels were completely ground in. Spine thickness is now just over 1/8 inch so I've cut into the middle quite a bit equally from both sides, but it falls way short of the pronounced stars in the book picture.

My question is; Am I on the right path and just missing the hollow grind or am I missing something else? Thanks for any comments / constructive criticism. 

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Nice looking blade Bill!

 

 

3 hours ago, Bill Schmalhofer said:

First metal turning (turned the brass pommel nut on my wood lathe using hand held carbide cutters - would not recommend this...).

 

Next time try chucking the stock up in your drill press and using an angle grinder and files to profile it.  It's at a little bit safer anyway. :D

Edited by Alex Middleton
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3 hours ago, Bill Schmalhofer said:

am I missing something else?

 

Yes. ;) You used too many layers and twisted too tight for the number of layers.  To get that look, go with a ten-layer twist that incorporates a double-thick bar of the dark steel in the middle. Forge it to a square bar about 1" thick, and twist it to 4 tpi.  Flatten to about 3/8" without drawing out, then grind about 5/32" off both sides equally.  The stars show up in the middle 25% of thickness. Look at Niels' diagram here: Active_Render.0480.0.jpg

 

You are aiming for the middle of that range, which means you have to stock-remove about 25% of the thickness from each side.  The bottom bar in that image being a split directly down the center of the bar.

 

And yes, you need a metal lathe!  You can also turn brass nuts using files and a drill press, but it's not nearly as fast or fun. B)

 

But yeah, nice blade and overall shape!  If it were me I'd thin the guard branches and put some curve into them, the guard looks too much like a static block for my personal taste, but that is entirely up to you. 

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6 minutes ago, Alex Middleton said:

Nice looking blade Bill!

 

 

 

Next time try chucking the stock up in your drill press and using an angle grinder and files to profile it.  It's at a little bit safer anyway. :D

Thanks for the compliment.

 

Thought about the drill press idea but the stock was 3/4 inch and that won't fit in the chuck. I'm limited to 1/2 inch max. Trust me, I spent a long time trying to figure out a way to do the drill press.

 

In good news, I was complaining about the turning to the "financial officer", and I think I have her convinced that I really need a metal lathe to "go to the next level" :lol:. But as @Joshua States has commented about a band saw and needing space, so do I need space for a metal lathe :blink:.

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Posted (edited)
46 minutes ago, Alan Longmire said:

 

Yes. ;) You used too many layers and twisted too tight for the number of layers.  To get that look, go with a ten-layer twist that incorporates a double-thick bar of the dark steel in the middle. Forge it to a square bar about 1" thick, and twist it to 4 tpi.  Flatten to about 3/8" without drawing out, then grind about 5/32" off both sides equally.  The stars show up in the middle 25% of thickness. Look at Niels' diagram here: Active_Render.0480.0.jpg

 

You are aiming for the middle of that range, which means you have to stock-remove about 25% of the thickness from each side.  The bottom bar in that image being a split directly down the center of the bar.

 

And yes, you need a metal lathe!  You can also turn brass nuts using files and a drill press, but it's not nearly as fast or fun. B)

 

But yeah, nice blade and overall shape!  If it were me I'd thin the guard branches and put some curve into them, the guard looks too much like a static block for my personal taste, but that is entirely up to you. 

Thanks Alan! I've seen Niel's diagram, just never thought about a low layer count and doubling up the middle. Know what I'm doing this weekend if it's not raining! 

 

The guard is something I'm not really happy with either, but after screwing up three of them trying to go thinner and bends (two of them snapping while pounding on them) I went with simple. I'll have to take the time and go through the archive to learn how to form brass. Once I do that (and get that lathe!), since it is a take down, I can re-do the guard and nut;).

 

Additional thought as I sit here at work waiting for some plates to dry. If I need to remove 25% of the thickness, should the bevels be slightly forged in so that the pattern doesn't change so drastically as the bevels are ground in?  Or just leave it as a block and grind everything in (other than the tang)?

It looks like in the picture from JPH, he ground the shape too as there doesn't seem to be much if any deformation in the pattern at the tip.

Edited by Bill Schmalhofer
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42 minutes ago, Bill Schmalhofer said:

Thought about the drill press idea but the stock was 3/4 inch and that won't fit in the chuck. I'm limited to 1/2 inch max. Trust me, I spent a long time trying to figure out a way to do the drill press.

I've run into that before too.  I drilled and tapped a hole in the end of the stock and ran a piece of threaded rod in, secured with a jam nut.  Then just chucked up on the threaded rod and was super careful when grinding and filing to make sure I wasn't loosening the stock off the jam nut.  Definitely a bit shadier than just clamping on the stock, and goes even slower yet, but I'll do it that way again before trying to turn metal with a hand held chisel.

 

Maybe your "financial oficer" will let you get the band saw and the lathe.  Then you just have to work on putting an addition on your shop!

Edited by Alex Middleton
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3 minutes ago, Alex Middleton said:

Then you just have to work on putting an addition on your shop!

That would be a trick as "that part of my shop" is in the basement!

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6 minutes ago, Bill Schmalhofer said:

"that part of my shop" is in the basement!

For some reason, Silence of the Lambs  comes to mind.  Perhaps you should start excavating now?

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2 hours ago, Bill Schmalhofer said:

Additional thought as I sit here at work waiting for some plates to dry. If I need to remove 25% of the thickness, should the bevels be slightly forged in so that the pattern doesn't change so drastically as the bevels are ground in?  Or just leave it as a block and grind everything in (other than the tang)?

It looks like in the picture from JPH, he ground the shape too as there doesn't seem to be much if any deformation in the pattern at the tip.

 

I really hope Jim chimes in on this, but I think that's pure stock removal. -edited to add- AFTER flattening the bar a bit, possibly on the diagonal so as not to stretch the pattern lengthwise. -end edit-  I see your point about doing the bevels, but I'd be worried that would tighten up the pattern towards the edge a little more than you'd want.  But it might not!  Play with it in plasticine and see what happens.  Low layer twists are a bit more resistant to that kind of pattern-funkification than high layers, but they will blow out completely if you try to draw them longer.  I know this because on all my Migration-era stuff  I use either five or seven layers max.  I also learned that if you want a thicker bar in there, add it last.  I start with six inches of 1" x 1/4" 1084 and 1" x 0.065" 15n20, and by the time it gets drawn to a 24" long 3/8" square and twisted, all the layers are the same apparent thickness.  If I left it at 6" x 1" that would look different, though... :huh:  Thus the plasticine recommendation.  You can learn a lot without wasting steel that way.  You just slice instead of grind to see the pattern. B)

Edited by Alan Longmire
last-minute thoughts
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Another way to skin this cat, and proving what Alan said about layer count. I would forge the bar square say 1-1/4" for some stock removal customers. Then spend a good block of time on a bandsaw removing about a third from each side to get to the goodie in  the middle. The sides aren't wasted, they help fill a canister later. This photo shows the resulting 3 pieces. The top one is the outside  of the bar, the center is the goodie and the bottom is the inside of the other outside slab.

 

Cemnter of twist.jpg

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5 hours ago, Matt Walker said:

Another way to skin this cat, and proving what Alan said about layer count. I would forge the bar square say 1-1/4" for some stock removal customers. Then spend a good block of time on a bandsaw removing about a third from each side to get to the goodie in  the middle. The sides aren't wasted, they help fill a canister later. This photo shows the resulting 3 pieces. The top one is the outside  of the bar, the center is the goodie and the bottom is the inside of the other outside slab.

 

Cemnter of twist.jpg

Interesting way to skin the “cat”(bar)!

 

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All great responses and ideas in there. Confession time: Most of my Damascus blades are purely stock removal once I get the pattern where I want it. I may do some forging to profile, but I really don't want to jack the pattern up with a lot of forging. So its make the bar, scribe the shape with a template, and grind it. I have done Mat's trick with splitting the bar in thirds, but I take the outside thirds and weld them back together with the inside faces out. If you throw a piece of HC mono steel in the middle, you have a great looking San Mai bar.

 

On 8/24/2021 at 9:42 AM, Bill Schmalhofer said:

I'll have to take the time and go through the archive to learn how to form brass.

Like most non-ferrous metals, you need to anneal it every so often to take the work hardness out of it. Heat it up to a dull red and quench. Now do the hammering on the tang to get that tight fit. If you want that guard to look a lot thinner, take it off the knife and thin down just the branches. Round off those square corners so it flows more from the center portion out to the branches. I do this on a lot of my guards, Thick around the blade and taper thin out the branches. 

 

On 8/24/2021 at 9:13 AM, Bill Schmalhofer said:

so do I need space for a metal lathe 

If all you will do is turn small parts, there are benchtop lathes out there that will do the trick. I have the Sherline mini-lathe and it lives under a bench until I need to use it. I did a short turning of a pomell nut in a hand drill with my disc grinder somewhere around here. It's very similar to Alex's suggestion of using the drill press, but you are working on the piece right in front of your belly, so it's a lot easier to control. You can also turn it in the slack belt on the 2x72. 

 

Edit: I almost forgot. NIce job on that knife Bill.

Edited by Joshua States
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16 hours ago, Joshua States said:

 I have done Mat's trick with splitting the bar in thirds, but I take the outside thirds and weld them back together with the inside faces out. If you throw a piece of HC mono steel in the middle, you have a great looking San Mai bar.

I was thinking the same thing. Would be quite cool looking.

16 hours ago, Joshua States said:

Like most non-ferrous metals, you need to anneal it every so often to take the work hardness out of it. Heat it up to a dull red and quench. Now do the hammering on the tang to get that tight fit. If you want that guard to look a lot thinner, take it off the knife and thin down just the branches. Round off those square corners so it flows more from the center portion out to the branches. I do this on a lot of my guards, Thick around the blade and taper thin out the branches.

Went back and looked at the subject matter on the site and figured out what I was doing wrong. Should be able to take the present guard and work it down.

 

16 hours ago, Joshua States said:

If all you will do is turn small parts, there are benchtop lathes out there that will do the trick. I have the Sherline mini-lathe and it lives under a bench until I need to use it. I did a short turning of a pomell nut in a hand drill with my disc grinder somewhere around here. It's very similar to Alex's suggestion of using the drill press, but you are working on the piece right in front of your belly, so it's a lot easier to control. You can also turn it in the slack belt on the 2x72.

All I would be getting is a bench top lathe. Found one at Harbor Freight for 699.00 on sale. The problem is ALL my under-bench space it taken up already and the top bench space is pretty full too :wacko:. If I had a three or four jaw chuck for the woodlathe it wouldn't have been so bad but I was doing a conglomerate work by drilling a hole and threading it, putting that on a 1x8TPI mandrel, and turning.

 

16 hours ago, Joshua States said:

Edit: I almost forgot. NIce job on that knife Bill.

Thanks!

 

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Howdy:

 

Too many layers as already mentioned...too tight a twist and you didn't get "into it" deep enough (as already mentioned)..All in all..you are on the right path..at least I wold say you are...But what do I know??

 

JPH

(rumors of my demise have been exaggerated..just recovering from neck surgery to remove some shell fragments that got "gifted" to me in 2004)

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22 hours ago, JPH said:

Howdy:

 

Too many layers as already mentioned...too tight a twist and you didn't get "into it" deep enough (as already mentioned)..All in all..you are on the right path..at least I wold say you are...But what do I know??

 

JPH

(rumors of my demise have been exaggerated..just recovering from neck surgery to remove some shell fragments that got "gifted" to me in 2004)

Thanks so much for the confirmations.

 

If you don't mind me picking your brain a little bit, was the knife you pictured in the book all stock removal or was it forged a bit (tip, handle, etc)? Also, if you flattened it a bit before removal, did you flatten on the sides or the diagonals?

 

Hope your recovery goes quickly!

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