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About Steelfinger

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    Mississauga, ON, Canada

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  1. seems to be my recurring problem, not reading and just doing. I hope its not too late for a bump, but I had a more interesting question and didn't feel it appropriate to start a new thread. The first billet I had melted on the second attempt. I took it out after a minute the first time because I realized I used zinc bolts (for as concerned as I was about the danger, I should've also realized brass contains zinc). I noticed some of the plates were sticking, despite not being properly welded, and when I did pull them apart most of the copper plates had a brass residue. initially I chalked this up to the plates welding slightly from the extreme force of the clamp, but now I'm not sure. I ran my second stack yesterday which seems to have welded, though I haven't tried any destructive testing. I got 12 plates of each copper and brass, but for fear of welding to the steel clamp despite coating them in white-out, I wanted copper on either side, which meant I put two brass plates in the middle. I don't think the hammer on the clamp did very much, i probably missed a factor when I made it and it didn't want to move down. so I got an initial crappy weld on all the plates, except the brass-on-brass. I welded these properly as two separate billets, but I don't think I can manipulate them until they're a full stack. Hopefully I've described well enough. I'll be flipping one of the billets, working on sanding the faces down now. But what's causing the initial weld, and why didn't it work between the brass?
  2. Seems I only get to post when I have a problem. I decided I'd try Mokume. I see it as a step before welding steel. I grabbed some copper and brass which ran about $70. Of course I wasn't paying attention and melted my brass. The puddles off the forge floor and the patio stone came out easy enough, but now I got this expensive lump of trash. I tried a chisel, but the copper wont budge. I think that's more a result of remaining brass than an actual weld. I'm not concerned about the brass (I'd use any left over for a casting project I'm thinking on), but if I can save the copper it would reduce my cost, and make me feel less wasteful. I'm thinking of melting it again, but with a rack to hold the piece and a crucible so I can collect the brass. Would there be any perceivable problems with that? would it get any brass between the copper plates? where would I even look for a crucible? I'm also wondering if the borax I used actually helped the brass melt. Earnestly, I'm not clear on how borax works, or even completely on what it can do. I know it reduces the melting point of oxides, at least Iron Oxide, so it may have been the wrong flux to use here. Lesson learned - pay attention and watch your heat. At least I wasn't arrogant enough to use silver or gold.
  3. Well, I certainly see the xxxing, no messages yet though. If he did, I'd reply personally. Since he hasn't I'll anticipate he reads this, and I'd like to apologize. It certainly wasn't directed, which would be worse, but its still an inappropriate shop language I've developed. I'm smart enough to know better. I took the step to contact Jim Walls who makes the forges. He doesn't recommend the coatings I'd heard about (didn't mention the name, I forgot it. Plistex and Metrikote, credit to Wayne Coe from when I was considering it, might even have to buy it from him, but that was three years ago). Jim also suggests a reline (same material of course) for about $160(!) plus probably duty both ways to cross the border. My guess is those are somehow incompatible with the soft firebrick? Or maybe a secret deal with the propane companies. Either way, I kind of anticipated that sort of reply. I'm not sure what I can grab close to me. I'm trying to find something, I'm sure either Home Depot or a landscape place should be useful. I'll follow up on research. I'm also curious if anyone viewing has seen carbon foam,such as this Carbon foam Making video, or this Loaf of bread foundry, both of which are swear-filled, but informative. Some might also find his humour off-putting, and I apologize. I hope a warning is enough for these. Any ideas how good this would be, not that mum would be happy if I started burning bread. The foundry video also looks like that stuff wouldn't last long.
  4. Hey Gang, I've had a Majestic forge (the 2 burner knife maker) for about 4-5 years now. I've never had a problem really, some concern from reading bad things after I bought it, but that couldn't be changed, and she served well. She has been slightly abused. The top of the mouth warped, which split the soft fire brick there. I've also heard tell they're not as good as others when it comes to insulating. It's also fun to note, I just did a quick search on the forum, and a recent posting talked about running the forge at maybe 8-12 psi, while I'm usually in the 15-20 range, tuning down to 5-7 to idle her. no wonder I use propane so xxxx fast. I also try to keep the mouths closed with a pile of hard firebricks (from my first forge attempt) but not sure how well that's working So here's my questions: -when is it worth while to reline a forge? -what are the options, and which would make it harder to cook an egg on the top of the thing? I've only seen bricks and some refractory cement (which, no idea where to grab it) -are firebrick soft and hard worth using again, and where might I find more softies (I think my brick supplier only had hardies, or I used the wrong words) what the xxxx, While I'm here -is it worthwhile to run oxy through with the propane, or would this only mean more scale? This might be too much restriction, and I know I need a good lining to keep the forge going good and save money on propane, but I'm still a starving college student. I was hoping to get some work done on summer break come august, and someone's gotta buy me beer and smokes. I'm not saying cheaper options, but cheaper ways for good options. oh yeah, I've got some slag built up on the bottom hard fire bricks. tips n tricks? I know I shouldn't be resting anything on the bottom, but xxxx I touch that puddle on accident and come out with a good glob I gotta wipe off and pray against.
  5. I came up with an idea, and before I execute it I was hoping for some opinion on it. basically, as an alternative to engraving a blade, I'd use temper colours to place letters on there. the idea I had was hardening the blade, then coating it in a clay which Id then scribe letters into-I'm thinking thin and well spaced lines, just in case. then running a blowtorch over until they're blue. as I think about it, I feel like I'd want a conductive layer on first to take heat out of the steel in blank areas, then an insulating layer to protect it from the torch. what do you guys think? can it work, and even look good? has anyone tried anything like this? I hope at least the idea is appreciated.
  6. I'm still pretty newb, but I think I'll throw my two cents in. 12 inches is massive for a first knife. I started on nails (sort of failed that) moved on to leaves (actually made some nice ones after a while) and then did a bears head (looks more like a rat and is rather rough) before I did my first knife. it was actually a 5-6 inch Sami knife, and I learned a lot from it (and the grinding it took to fix it....) my second was recently posted (but an old project) which turned out crude. but I learned to eliminate forge scale (and NOT beat it into the metal!) If I'm going to be honest, I've always hated the 'cut away' method. the waste steel feels so wrong, hell I avoid grinding where I can. If you do choose this route (because I understand better than most that money gets tight and tools must be substituted) it would be better if it wasn't by hand. and I know the disappointment a lot of these guys give, and I'm giving, but do something smaller. Don't worry a whole lot about uses, or giving it away. Do that later. Just like sex, your first could be a 'get right into it' almost mechanical feeling, or you can do what you want, and be proud of it. let it be not only a lesson, but something you can keep and treasure. Don't rush it, both as a general rule for learning, and specific to this project. now, not telling you this is how you should do it, but here are my recommended processes, given what it seems you have for tools: if you have a drill press, drilling multiple small holes will make the cutting SO MUCH easier, but I'm not sure you'd get them with a hand drill. if you have a forge, anneal the metal (heat it orange and let it cool as slow as possible) which makes cutting, drilling, and filing a beauty. also, forge can be used to harden the metal by heating it (again to orange) and cooling it as fast as possible (water works, but pros use old motor oil) after its hardened, tempering can be done by cleaning the metal, and running a blowtorch over the edge (the colour will change, which is why you clean it, so watch for a straw yellow as one of the first colours for the main body, and a blue for the tip) assuming the metal isnt terribly thick, you can clamp it down and run the file across the entire edge at about a 22 degree angle (just for the edge) and this wont take too long. **however, I cannot stress this enough. I'm not sure what cutlery steel you had in mind but watch out for stainless, especially '304' grade because it is so hard and bitchy to work with, I almost sold my forge the one time I (blindly) bought it.** I think I spent 2 hours and got a failed 'sort of' edge on there with a bench grinder. thats all I can give you. if you revise your plan, I'd be very interested in knowing what it becomes. but even seeing the final product here would be cool. feel free to PM me for advice Be aware of the fact that used motor oil is toxic and bad advise. New is safer, Proper quenchant is best.
  7. Hey folks, I found a knife blade I made as probably my second knife (and soon after the first) and had to finish it up. My forge is inactive for the time being, with snow and college keeping it up gets difficult. But I'm glad I got to at least do this. So, as mentioned, probably second knife I've made. I was going for a leaf shape. Might've been two years ago and I've learned since then (stupidly, I may have hammered scale into the metal, and the scale was caused by low gas levels). It's made of mild steel, which I think is irrelevant as it's more decoration for my kilt, but I did want some practice on heat treat, so its hardened and tempered (if that did anything). I spent a lot of time trying to work the purple heart I had for a one peice handle, but I decided this would be easier and better. The black leather is wrapped around a peice of dowel, and Dacron was used to wrap around again (plus some super glue) and just in case, I applied polyurethane to the Dacron. The most fun I had was with the copper for the sheath. I had a peice if thick wall copper pipe I opened up, so I used my ball peen and worked it cold, cut it, and messed it up a little with the hammer again. Those prices are secured by super glue and have holes with Dacron holding them (glued the joints to prevent wear) Not shown, but there's a belt clip on the back secured mostly by Dacron wrapping. Unfortunately, won't hold on wider belts, and certainly not on my kilt hose. I'm proud of it, even with its imperfections. In fact they may make it look more hand crafted. I'd like to reiterate though, purple heart is a damned hard wood. Really doesn't want to cut, drill, or burn.
  8. indeed. When i did carry my knife, it stayed in my pocket. it came out once, but i felt a serious threat, however didnt want any serious injury on him. everybody walked away, and this was years ago. but I love those hatchets it has, but its enjoyable. I've heard it said that it's safer to not talk to cops. but you have to be careful with absolute refusals, as that can get you in trouble. I know asking if you are detained is one thing, but (as far as I know, maybe just in Canada) blatantly refusing a search is considered grounds for them to search you. The way around that is to declare that you NEITHER are PERMITTING nor REFUSING a search. Technicality is everything, right? But on topic, I suppose because of dueling's phase out, laws have been restructured as now there is no reason to carry a sword (although, many places outlawed dueling when swords were legal, sooo) which would also be why many places (as far as I can tell with my non-american view) have outlawed guns in general (or placed so many restrictions on them) AND BY NO MEANS DO I MEAN TO BRING UP A GUN DEBATE but the purpose in general is to cause bodily harm, even in self defense.
  9. Ill keep that in mind on my next plane trip:to have a larger distraction to get away with something... actually, I'm being trained on using explosives. So I've already got a good reason for TSA to pin me to the ground, only to find out everything's legal. I might put a well trained axeman against any smallsword/saber user... especially in tight quarters. but then theres the blood and lethality issue, as most times duels are first blood (from a poke, not a missing forearm...)
  10. A good general rule is not to agitate them. And I don't expect cops to recite laws like bible verses, but given that one of those cops was buddies firearms instructor, I'd expect him to know. I also know our federal police have a list of whats legal for firearms on their website. And that when you spend two hours reading a book, that tells me you're looking to lay a charge for statistics and wasting tax dollars. He wasn't even a threat (still a moron) but its this idea of 'this has to be illegal lets charge him anyway' that makes me ill. I believe if you cover it reasonably so it's not easily accessible, or even lock the briefcase. Ultimately its a cop's decision, and it would involve searching you, acquiring an explanation. but I think the strict definition of the law says no. Whats even worse is some Dick Tracey can confiscate it, pawn it off, or add it to his collection. I thought Concealed carry was illegal in TX, but open was permitted. something about being proud of your guns... but even so, a knife is a tool and is actually less designed for self defense. My thoughts run to attempting to use your gun in place of a knife... This is definitely informative discussion, even if we moved away from swords.
  11. xxxx, you're right. While I acknowledged honour codes for the type of sword, I failed to see it for swords in general. Some interesting law talk. I think it had to have fallen out of style before it was banned I.E. The governments brought these laws into place when this honour code was gone and people no longer lugged these things around. As a side note, (I've never realized the patchwork that State laws are) Canadian Law seems more clear on the matter, if still stupid to a degree. Some knives are prohibited, but only if they open with a certain mechanism (that mostly revolves around the button on the handle being illegal, but the button on the blade being fine, which is a stupid distinction as my spring assist opens one hand, and as fast as I need). Blade length is not an issue (and concealed is illegal in all circumstances), but you need to have a reason for carrying any knife or sword (and that cannot be 'fashion' or every day carry) and even then, a cop can still seize it. One story I read involved a fencing student who was stopped by a particularly rude cop. My buddy was also legally carrying his shotgun to go get it fixed, walking because he didn't have much choice. Cops spent 2 hours combing through legislation only to find out it was perfectly legal. While it may have been a stupid thing to do, cops have a responsibility to know legislation before they haul him down to the station for 2 hours while they educate themselves.
  12. I know this question gets asked a lot, but it's really starting to bug me. The first part is to why (and when) civilian swords fell out of fashion: And to the first person who says 'Guns became a thing', I'd like to point out that most countries have laws against civilians carrying firearms, and even when both were legal and available, it was considered 'socially unacceptable' to carry a firearm (at least in Britain). The second and important part is what we'd be carrying today (shout out to Micheal Kors new sword line up, and the iSword). But seriously. As far as I've landed, blade length would be around 2 feet. We left off on Smallswords, Spadroons, and the like, but is that how we'd continue? Perhaps thrusting was more cultured, and we've certainly moved away from honour codes and gentlemanly behaviours, leading to the belief that a gladius type would be more common, used moreso for slashing. I just wanted some opinion from some like minded smiths:its not exactly dinner table talk.
  13. Hey guys, I've been working on a crossbow for a client. If anything, I've learned being self employed is pretty crap. Anyway, I'm using whats about a 1/4 inch trailer spring for the prod (bow portion). I made a mismeasurment along the way. Without thinking, I filed the spring. As I did so, I realized it should actually be very difficult, but the file has no problem scoring the metal. for the moment, I will continue working. is there something wrong here? it has been sitting in the garage for a few years, but can a spring lose its hardness? Am I fine, or am I throwing it in the forge?
  14. I apologize. I think I just fumed all day and didn't actually read what you were saying. I believe the sword wasn't the problem. perhaps I felt I let someone down by failing. it didn't even need to be perfect, but I've moved along and don't have the introspection to fully understand what was happening. I may just feel gyped by how little I've been able to make of this forge. its going away for the season though. I'm moving away tomorrow for higher education. for the record vaughn, what did you think of my knife? I actually do appreciate the depth the pitting adds
  15. the sword isn't the issue. you clearly misunderstand, and I won't take the time to explain. here's my knife, by the way. I like its character. shiny knives are for dull people