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Folders : washers, relief milling, and bearing)s ... oh, my!


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Once again, I am getting myself confused by inputting too much information from divers sources.

In some circumstances I am seeing people milling some relief on folders around where the tang would be. In others I see a bigger hole put in the pivot and a bushing put in it. And in yet some others, I am seeing 0.005 washers put in on either side of the blade. Yet others may even suggest combining these things. And even others suggesting that these things make no difference.

Is it just adding specific specific value to the final product? I saw something that suggested it prevented scratches from appearing on the ricasso or some such thing.

So the question is, is this necessary? If so, which is the best bang for the buck?

Any clarification or suggestions.

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In my opinion, which isn't worth much when it comes to folders, since you don't see anything like that prior to 2010 or so, that no, it's not necessary. It does prevent scratches on the tang, and it can make the action nicer, but we lived just fine without them for 2000 years or so.

 

That said, if I had to use one it would be a bushing 0.001" thicker than the tang. Or the relieved liners, those are probably more solid.

 

There's not many slipjoint makers here, you might try the folding knives section at the knifenetwork forums, or the makers area at allaboutpocketknives.com.  

 

And maybe stick with the default font size so it doesn't look like you're yelling. ;)

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Alan and I started making slip-joints about the same time, and he has made more than I have by now so my opinion is about as (un)valuable as his :lol:

 

I like to use a blade bushing that is that is 0.0007"-0.0008"  (yes that is tenths of a thou) wider than the thickness of the tang.  That keeps the blade from getting too tight when I peen the pivot pin, but keeps it from feeling like there is end shake in the blade when it is open.

 

If I am using bronze liners, I don't use washers.  If I use steel liners, I will often use 1/2 thou thick bronze washers to keep from scratching the bolster/tang area of the blade.  When using washers, you have to adjust the bushing width to compensate.

 

However, as Alan said, it isn't necessary.  This knife has been in my pocket every day for a couple of years now.  It's cut open a few hundred boxes, and is no worse for wear even though it has no washers and steel liners.  (It does have a bushing)

 

 

PXL_20220415_200741740.jpg

 

Edited by Brian Dougherty
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1 hour ago, Alan Longmire said:

In my opinion, which isn't worth much when it comes to folders, since you don't see anything like that prior to 2010 or so, that no, it's not necessary. It does prevent scratches on the tang, and it can make the action nicer, but we lived just fine without them for 2000 years or so.

 

That said, if I had to use one it would be a bushing 0.001" thicker than the tang. Or the relieved liners, those are probably more solid.

 

There's not many slipjoint makers here, you might try the folding knives section at the knifenetwork forums, or the makers area at allaboutpocketknives.com.  

 

And maybe stick with the default font size so it doesn't look like you're yelling. ;)

Not sure what happened to the font. I didn't intentionally change it

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3 minutes ago, Brian Dougherty said:

Alan and I started making slip-joints about the same time, and he has made more than I have by now so my opinion is about as (un)valuable as his :lol:

 

I like to use a blade bushing that is that is 0.0007"-0.0008"  (yes that is tenths of a thou) wider than the thickness of the tang.  That keeps the blade from getting too tight when I peen the pivot pin, but keeps it from feeling like there is end shake in the blade when it is open.

 

-snip-

 

Do you mfg these bushings yourself, perhaps on a tiny metal lathe? Or is there a source to purchase them? I would assume the washers would simply be punched from shim stock..

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I make the bushings myself on a not so tiny lathe.  It's a 1000lb WWII era South Bend "Heavy Ten"  However, a small lathe would work if you have access to one.

 

I make my own primarily because it gives me freedom to make whatever diameter hole I want in the blade.  However, I think you can buy standard bushings from some the knife making supply houses.  Tweaking the thickness is easy to do with a sanding jig and some 400 grit wet/dry paper.  I show how I do it about half way down on the 3rd page of this thread: https://www.bladesmithsforum.com/index.php?/topic/41410-build-your-first-slip-joint-tutorial/

I didn't invent this procedure, it is pretty much how all the "pros" show it done.

 

As for the washers, yes I just punch them out of shim stock.

Edited by Brian Dougherty

-Brian

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1 hour ago, Brian Dougherty said:

Alan and I started making slip-joints about the same time, and he has made more than I have by now so my opinion is about as (un)valuable as his :lol:

 

But you've made more that work right...  as of this moment I have a 50% success rate. <_<. I've got eight successful ones, four of which got remade two or three times.  My best one only took one blade, two springs, two liners, and two sets of scales to make a single working knife.

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On 4/15/2022 at 4:38 PM, Brian Dougherty said:

I make the bushings myself on a not so tiny lathe.  It's a 1000lb WWII era South Bend "Heavy Ten"  However, a small lathe would work if you have access to one.

 

I make my own primarily because it gives me freedom to make whatever diameter hole I want in the blade.  However, I think you can buy standard bushings from some the knife making supply houses.  Tweaking the thickness is easy to do with a sanding jig and some 400 grit wet/dry paper.  I show how I do it about half way down on the 3rd page of this thread: https://www.bladesmithsforum.com/index.php?/topic/41410-build-your-first-slip-joint-tutorial/

I didn't invent this procedure, it is pretty much how all the "pros" show it done.

 

As for the washers, yes I just punch them out of shim stock.

Just so I am understanding what we are talking about doing. You are taking phosphor bronze, oilite, or possibly brass and turning it down to a precision 0.12495. Then center reaming 0.0938 hole in it. Then, you are slicing off something in the area of 0.094 thick. This is placed inside a reamed blade pivot hole of  0.125 or possibly 0.1251 since you want the blade to rotate on the bushing, rather that the pivot going through the bushing. Then when assembling a pin 0.938 is peened through the center of the bushing and will fix that bushing in place by upsetting the pin thickness during the peening, without affecting the external dimension of the bushing. All this assuming your blade thickness is 0.0938.

This will eliminate the scratches on the ricasso/tang and prevent the reappearance of the pivot pin that had been sanded invisible into the bolster.

If this is accurate, my eyeballs hurt, just thinking about it :)

Alternatively, one makes the blade pivot hole 0.0938. Then thins the whole blade down to 0.0838 and creates 2 washers from shimstock at 0.005 and places them one on each side of the blade. Then blade, washers and 0.0938 pin are inserted and peened, and likely upset. The bolsters and pin are polished until the pin disappears.

This will eliminate the scratches on the ricasso/tang, but may not do anything for the disappearing/re-apearing pin halo.

Thirdly, one would forgo either of them, and using the size of the ricasso/tang create a relief into the liner material of 0.005 or possibly less, seeing as the point is to protect the ricasso/tang from scratching anything consistent on both sides under what the eye will see as an unsightly gap should work. I assume this can be done with a milling machine (don't see one in my immediate future) or possibly a dremmel, or maybe evne a drill press if I could ever figure out how to tighten the MT :) and some kind of rotating arrangement.

Again this protects the ricaso/tang but does nothing for the pin halo.

Lastly, using a liner material that is of a sufficiently lower hardness to the blade material brass vs hardened medium-high carbon steel should not cause scratching on the ricasso/tang in the first place. Somehow gently enough peening of the pin such that it is not upset inside the blade pivot hole, yet upset sufficiently inside the bolster, should allow the blade to pivot on the pin, and so long as it freely rotates on it, there should be no returning halo. Well, unless one is using the blade in some lateral prying function, in which case they deserve trouble. :)

I will further assume that something like linerless knives where synthetics like mycarta are in direct contact with the blade, you can expect the inclusions to have sufficient hardness to scratch the knife steel. Similarly, I would assume, with metal scales like titanium or stainless or even aluminum, will eventually scratch knife steels by virtue of their hardnesses, or the hardness of their produced oxides, or even environmental dust and grit that might get trapped within the mechanism.

Do I have the general recipe correct?

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2 hours ago, Bradley Small said:

Just so I am understanding what we are talking about doing. You are taking phosphor bronze, oilite, or possibly brass and turning it down to a precision 0.12495. Then center reaming 0.0938 hole in it. Then, you are slicing off something in the area of 0.094 thick. This is placed inside a reamed blade pivot hole of  0.125 or possibly 0.1251 since you want the blade to rotate on the bushing, rather that the pivot going through the bushing. Then when assembling a pin 0.938 is peened through the center of the bushing and will fix that bushing in place by upsetting the pin thickness during the peening, without affecting the external dimension of the bushing. All this assuming your blade thickness is 0.0938.
...
Do I have the general recipe correct?

 

Close.  I find the fit of the pin diameter to the bushing ID isn't all that important.  The peening distorts the heck out of the pin anyway.  I also don't get too worried about the fit between the bushing OD and the blade.  Somewhere around a thou of clearance is good.

 

You may have a type-o in your last part.  If my blade was 0.093" thick, I would adjust the bushing to be 0.0938" thick.  I use a bearing bronze stock to make them, but forget the alloy. 

 

If you haven't made a slip-joint yet, I suggest you forget all of this, and just make one with no bushing or washers.  It will work fine, and you'll end up learning more about the actual slip-joint design process than you would if you let yourself get distracted by all these extra details.  All this stuff about bushings and the like is really only sprinkles on the dairy queen.  Learn how to dish up the ice cream first.

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-Brian

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17 minutes ago, vlegski said:

Have you thought about finding a someone who makes folders in your area an getting a class. Might save time an money in the long run. 

I have thought about it. Haven't found anyone close by yet though.

Although, I agree with your suggestion, it doesn't seem to be a response to my question? Or at least not a response to my last post 2 hours ago. So what am I to intuit from your recommendation of taking a class at this point?

Either:
1. You read the first post in the thread, then chose to simply respond to that without first reading the following posts in the thread.
Or:
2. You read this whole thread, and after reading my post that started with "Just so I am understanding what we are talking about doing"... and you feel that I do not actually understand the information presented in the thread, and are suggesting that I am so confused as to need to take a class.

Unless you hit the "Quote" feature it is hard to determine which post specifically you are responding to. But, now can you see my dilemma in how to respond?

I have no problem taking a class. I would love to take lots of classes. Especially hands-on type classes. Now, I recognize that I am a beginner, and have mentioned that a time or two. However, I have also shown that I am in the process of making 6 different classic slip-joint knives.  When I asked this question, it was because i watched and read some books/tutorials and the author was using one or more of the described techniques, and I was looking for clarification on why one would do one over an other. Subsequently, I read several discussions both suggesting one of these techniques, as well as some who completely feel they are all unnecessary and not worth even doing. So you could see where my confusion may have come from.

So, although I guess it is always a safe bet to suggestion someone in a beginner's forum go out and take a class, or get into an apprenticeship program, or buy a particular book, in this case, a more appropriate answer might have been "Yes" or "No" or possibly a clarification, on some fine point I outlined, with a correction of one number or process for another. Perhaps, something along the lines of "You didn't want to ream that to 0.0938 but rather use a #41 reamer to give it more room to play..." Something like that. 

Anyway, and I digress, I am open to suggestions of classes, trainers, and makers of folders near me if you are aware of any.

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3 minutes ago, Brian Dougherty said:

 

Close.  I find the fit of the pin diameter to the bushing ID isn't all that important.  The peening distorts the heck out of the pin anyway.  I also don't get too worried about the fit between the bushing OD and the blade.  Somewhere around a thou of clearance is good.

 

You may have a type-o in your last part.  If my blade was 0.093" thick, I would adjust the bushing to be 0.0938" thick.  I use a bearing bronze stock to make them, but forget the alloy. 

 

If you haven't made a slip-joint yet, I suggest you forget all of this, and just make one with no bushing or washers.  It will work fine, and you'll end up learning more about the actual slip-joint design process than you would if you let yourself get distracted by all these extra details.  All this stuff about bushings and the like is really only sprinkles on the dairy queen.  Learn how to dish up the ice cream first.

So when working with the bushing, you are making it only 0.0008 thicker than the blade? But someone working with washers is making each of them 0.005 thick each for 0.010. I assume the same could be done with the washers if such thin shim stock were available. As there merely needs to be a difference in size, not necessarily 0.010 or 0.001 ... both seem to be fairly slight in size.

I have rebuilt slipjoints, and resurrected them from factory parts (somewhat equivalent to a kit), and am currently working on 6 classic patterns, I will post pictures below.

 

Country cousin snaps open but not closed yet :(
 

wip.jpg

lc4.jpg

lc3.jpg

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59 minutes ago, Bradley Small said:

 So what am I to intuit from your recommendation of taking a class at this point

 

I read it as being a genuine helpful suggestion. Always give the poster the benefit of doubt before assuming it's a personal attack.  We do not allow those here, and anyone who offers such is deleted without warning or chance of return. 

 

If you don't find a post to be relevant, ignore it.  

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I second Alan's suggestion.

 

As a matter of general practical advice, the path of good knife-making is littered with trial and error, and anyone (not just you) who expects a perfect recipe right from the beginning is bound to be disappointed. Perhaps you do things exactly the same as someone else, but their crafting process and yours are different enough, that you need a different approach. That's fine, and entirely valid. Often we learn more from the mistakes we make on the way, than we do my simply following a recipe, and we develop our own styles as well, which is a good thing for the community. There is rarely a single "right" way to do anything (except, possibly, heat treatment, but there are many ways to get the right results).

Best of luck to you.

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The Tidewater Forge

Christopher Price, Bladesmith

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It's different strokes for different folks.  Someone using a 0.005" washer on each side just uses a different process than me.  I'd find the extra thickness caused by washers that size to be problematic the way I do it, but there would be ways to accommodate the extra thickness if desired. 

 

In my mind, the decision tree looks something like this:

 

Do I care if the tang/bolster area of the knife rubs against the liners?

  • If "No", then just peen the thing together with no spacers, and control the tightness by controlling how hard you peen the main pin.
  • If "Yes", then decide how to create a slight space between the tang and the liners without creating a lot if end shake when open.
    • Washers are simple, but tend to create a visible gap, and can be more prone to clamping down on the blade
    • Bushings are less likely to clamp down on the blade, but are more difficult to make
    • Milling relief into the liners is even more complex than bushings, and may still clamp on the blade, but requires fewer parts

I still suggest you finish assembling one of the ones you have in progress without washers or a bushing.  The knife will work fine without either.

 

Best of luck!

 

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Posted (edited)
36 minutes ago, Brian Dougherty said:

It's different strokes for different folks.  Someone using a 0.005" washer on each side just uses a different process than me.  I'd find the extra thickness caused by washers that size to be problematic the way I do it, but there would be ways to accommodate the extra thickness if desired. 

 

In my mind, the decision tree looks something like this:

 

Do I care if the tang/bolster area of the knife rubs against the liners?

  • If "No", then just peen the thing together with no spacers, and control the tightness by controlling how hard you peen the main pin.
  • If "Yes", then decide how to create a slight space between the tang and the liners without creating a lot if end shake when open.
    • Washers are simple, but tend to create a visible gap, and can be more prone to clamping down on the blade
    • Bushings are less likely to clamp down on the blade, but are more difficult to make
    • Milling relief into the liners is even more complex than bushings, and may still clamp on the blade, but requires fewer parts

I still suggest you finish assembling one of the ones you have in progress without washers or a bushing.  The knife will work fine without either.

 

Best of luck!

 

I intend to put these knives together with no washers, bushings, or relief. They all have brass liners, and I can't imagine brass scratching 80crv2 that is properly hardened.

The reason for the initial query was because I read a recommended book "Slipjoint Folder Designing and Building", watched a video and tutorial on Chris Crawford's site and another that I can't remember the source where the guy made a single blade shadow pattern trapper with no liners and just G10 and did the whole relieve the liners thing.

So while I am learning "basic" slipjoints, I am hoping to move forward into intermediate ones, as well as lockbacks, and liner locks. Some day hoping to be able to pull off flippers, switchblades and balisongs... But I am in no grand hurry for any of those things. However, right now, i am collecting all the knowledge I can fit in my skull. So when something like this comes around, and so many pieces of data are contradictory... It seemed worth the ask. It is likely that I will eventually try all three ways, and make my own decision as to whether I like or dislike any of them. I just don't have the knowledge to evaluate the claims.

I assume I can make the washers the way Chris showed with his punch kit from HF. Seemed a no-brainer! The bushing, doesn't sound as easy to make. I assume the larger the pivot hole in the blade the more chance of punching a hole in a piece of round stock with my drill press alone, since I don't have a metal lathe, nor a mill. Although, perhaps I can try it in the wood lathe, and see how well my head and tail are really aligned :)

As for the liner relief, I could probably do some sanding with the Dremmel, or faux milling with my drill press. I question the accuracy or either technique, and I would fear the resulting appearance anyway.

Anyway, I guess the real question of the last post was how much gap is still invisible?

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1 hour ago, Alan Longmire said:

 

I read it as being a genuine helpful suggestion. Always give the poster the benefit of doubt before assuming it's a personal attack.  We do not allow those here, and anyone who offers such is deleted without warning or chance of return. 

 

If you don't find a post to be relevant, ignore it.  

It's the lack or being able to follow which post he was responding to. If he was simply responding to my first post in the whole thread, then yeah, great response. But this late in the game, I already know I need to learn more. However, if that was the response to the last post I typed in... then I must have gotten it all wrong.

So it's like I said something that summed up what was explained "Ok, so if I do xyz, then I should expect qrz and this is this and that is that, right" and the response that I read next is "You might need to consider getting some training..." Kind of suggests that "Wow, you didn't even begin to understand what was told to you."

As opposed to "hey I have some confusion about why some people do A and others do B, and yet others do C" and the response is "You should consider some training." I would actually read that as "You are lacking in the basics, and that is why you don't understand the difference between those 3. If you get even a modicum of basic training, such a question will not even enter you mind." Or simply "Get a mentor and do what he tells you and don't ask questions... :)"

Either way, knowing which post within the thread he was responding to, changes the interpretation of the response.

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1 hour ago, Christopher Price said:

I second Alan's suggestion.

 

As a matter of general practical advice, the path of good knife-making is littered with trial and error, and anyone (not just you) who expects a perfect recipe right from the beginning is bound to be disappointed. Perhaps you do things exactly the same as someone else, but their crafting process and yours are different enough, that you need a different approach. That's fine, and entirely valid. Often we learn more from the mistakes we make on the way, than we do my simply following a recipe, and we develop our own styles as well, which is a good thing for the community. There is rarely a single "right" way to do anything (except, possibly, heat treatment, but there are many ways to get the right results).

Best of luck to you.

I agree with that 100%. However, when observing different people doing different things, perhaps towards a similar goal, it is legitimate to ask why? Or how? And that's what I think I am doing. Especially so, when you are reading discussions where someone says something to the effect that "If you don't do ABC you are a hack and your product is crap!" and responses that say "I've never done ABC and my crap outsells your treasures." and a third that says "Neither of you has a clue, just do this!"

I know what I am currently trying to accomplish. This particular topic is a stretch from where I am now, but probably something worth considering where I am heading next. And, other than some hand-waving, "I am doing it this way, but you don't have to worry about that yet" I am not getting lots of information about why one wants to do it in the first place, and what all my options might be, if I even care to do it.

Heck, maybe I am asking questions in a place where there are no n00bs and everyone is an expert already, and no one remembers what it was like when they were trying to learn all the mysterious secrets. I have been there before. Either way, thanks for your sincere wish of luck, and philosophic view about paying dues, or learning from one's own mistakes and so on.

Hopefully I won't be too much of a pain in the anatomy, asking stupid questions when they come to me. :) Thanks again.

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34 minutes ago, Bradley Small said:

I agree with that 100%. However, when observing different people doing different things, perhaps towards a similar goal, it is legitimate to ask why? Or how? And that's what I think I am doing. Especially so, when you are reading discussions where someone says something to the effect that "If you don't do ABC you are a hack and your product is crap!" and responses that say "I've never done ABC and my crap outsells your treasures." and a third that says "Neither of you has a clue, just do this!"

 

I haven't seen anyone tell you (or anyone, for that matter) any of that here.  It's always fine to ask how and why, but remember sometimes the answer is "I don't know" or more likely "That's just the way I've always done it, no other reason."    

 

37 minutes ago, Bradley Small said:

I know what I am currently trying to accomplish. This particular topic is a stretch from where I am now, but probably something worth considering where I am heading next. And, other than some hand-waving, "I am doing it this way, but you don't have to worry about that yet" I am not getting lots of information about why one wants to do it in the first place, and what all my options might be, if I even care to do it.

 

As I said earlier, there aren't many slipjoint makers on this board.  I don't even call myself one.  I've made eight that work well, three that don't work well, and have a pile of parts that aren't getting used for one reason or another.  Brian's made a few more, and he's more meticulous than I am, on top of being a better machinist.  Other people here have made one or two, but that's it as far as I know.  You're not getting the answers you want because we may not be the right crowd to ask, in other words.  If you ask a question and get deafening silence in return, it's a good bet that nobody knows the answer.

 

42 minutes ago, Bradley Small said:

Heck, maybe I am asking questions in a place where there are no n00bs and everyone is an expert already, and no one remembers what it was like when they were trying to learn all the mysterious secrets.

 

We're pretty much mostly noobs here these days.  15 years ago there were many professionals here and almost no beginners. Now there's a couple of professionals (I'm not one) a lot of experienced serious hobbyists (that's me), even more relatively new to the craft folks who are showing greater skill with every knife, and a lot of people who are just starting.  We all have areas of strength and weakness.  I'm pretty happy with where I am making fancy pipe tomahawks, but I am a rank beginner at slipjoint folders.  I've been forging stuff for 24 years, but only in the last ten have I made the decision to move out of my comfort zone of early medieval northern Europe and late 18th century North America. 

 

Have you investigated these guys? http://www.ncknifeguild.com/ ?  They cover the state, and even offer classes in conjunction with Montgomery Community College. https://www.montgomery.edu/programs-courses/continuing-education/take-classes-for-fun/nra/ An excerpt:

 

Basic Folding Knife Making (SS)
This class covers basic design and construction of a frame lock folding knife with exposed pivots. All materials for class will be provided. Class is open to all levels of experience. Some knowledge of knife making or completion of other classes in knife making is recommended but not required. Students will finish a completed folding knife. * Limited seating available* Basic knife grinding skills are highly suggested for this class. Instructor: Ed and Tanya VanHoy
Basic Folding Knife Making | 9/15-9/18 | THFSASU | 9AM-6PM | $356.60

 

Advanced Folding Knife Making (SS)
This class covers design and construction of knives, including advanced topics like the use of hidden pivot, bolsters and liners. Class will be open to all levels of experience. All materials will be provided for the class. Some knowledge of knife making is recommended but not required. Students will finish a completed folding knife. * Limited seating available* Basic knife grinding skills are required for this class. Instructor: Ed and Tanya VanHoy
Advanced Folding Knife Making | 10/20-10/23 | THFSASU | 9AM-6PM | $366.60

 

 

For a lot of stuff like folders, in-person instruction is so much better than learning by reading that a single class can take years off the learning curve.  Even that first one about frame locks with exposed pivots, which I'm not interested in making either, but the experience of doing it carries over to other things. 

 

1 hour ago, Bradley Small said:

I have been there before.

 

Trust me, you're not there now. :lol:  

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11 minutes ago, Alan Longmire said:

 

snipped because I couldn't figure out how to do it piece-by-piece

I am in quite a number of places simultaneously. BladeForums, KnifeDogs, r/knifemaking, several groups on FB, TheKnifeNetwork, AllAboutPocketKnives, NCCKMG, SCKMG, as well as working through several books on the subjects at hand, online written tutorials, as well as video ones from several different makers.

I tend to ask the same questions across all those places and whenever there is enough interest, I get to collect opinions and that gives me something to at least start to formulate opinions about.

Eventually, I will determine that I get better answers about A from one, and B from another and none at all from another altogether. And hopefully, I will end up on only one or two boards, at least until I find a mentor or two. Hopefully, at some point I will be one that can offer answers to questions someone else has. But, until then I will be that annoying n00b asking all the dumb questions. It's my responsibility to sort through the answers. I get that. Sometimes, however, a response, out of order, or out of context is either hilarious, or simply no longer applicable by where the thread has gotten to. Kind of like spelling errors that change the meaning of a statement while still making it a legitimate statement. Most times I can ignore it, but sometimes I can't help to call it out, so perhaps someone else can share in the humor, or otherwise... My bad, I will work on controlling those urges. :)

When people say there is no such thing as a dumb questions.... to that I say "Hold my beer! I got a question!" :)

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32 minutes ago, Alan Longmire said:

I'm pretty happy with where I am making fancy pipe tomahawks, but I am a rank beginner at slipjoint folders.  I've been forging stuff for 24 years, but only in the last ten have I made the decision to move out of my comfort zone of early medieval northern Europe and late 18th century North America. 

That sounds fun. Unfortunately, I have little to no interest in forging whatsoever. If I pick up a hammer, it will be measured in ounces, and likely single digit ones at that. But I wouldn't mind smoking out of a tomahawk, especially one covered in the blood of my enemy :)

 

32 minutes ago, Alan Longmire said:

Have you investigated these guys? http://www.ncknifeguild.com/ ?  They cover the state, and even offer classes in conjunction with Montgomery Community College. https://www.montgomery.edu/programs-courses/continuing-education/take-classes-for-fun/nra/ An excerpt:

I have looked into both them as well as the SC one. There are 2 members on their list with addresses near me, and I have reached out to them. But I got very little back from one, and the other simply told me to go to the meeting. Not everyone wants a mentee, or even a n00b to chat with. :)

Unfortunately, they seem tightly coupled with the college. Which means that is where there meetings are, and that is an hour and a half away. That might be worth a trip once in a quarter, but as a not-retired person, I will not be going down ThFrSaSu as a commute, and would definitely have to make special arrangements to take time off work and blow a whole weekend of chores to go and do one of those classes. I think by the time that I finish my basic 6 knives, I should be fairly comfortable with slip-joints in general.

 

:)

 

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