• Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

About bigfootnampa

  • Rank
    Senior Member

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
  • Interests
    Blacksmithing, whitesmithing, woodworking, photography, fly fishing, faux painting, fine finishing.

Contact Methods


  • Location
    Saint Louis, MO
  • Interests
    Woodworking, metalsmithing, photography, fly fishing, carving

Recent Profile Visitors

The recent visitors block is disabled and is not being shown to other users.

  1. I like them! Nicely ground surfaces. I might suggest a bit more curve along the length of the heads on future models. It seems like these might drag a bit through the curve of most bowls.
  2. I once used the wood from a very large old black locust that had grown in my yard for firewood. It was a tree with a stump over four feet in diameter! All firewood should be seasoned. Green burning leads to creosote buildup in your chimney... which leads to roaring chimney fires... which leads to having the fire department in your attic all night on Christmas Eve... which I know because I was crawling around up there once myself! Besides which burning green wastes much of the potential heat value... it’s like quenching your fire with a spritzer. That tree produced about six or seven cords of wood and heated a large old house for major parts of three years through Idaho winters! It did burn much like coal! Big logs would burn red hot for hours with little smolder! It reminds me of how my coal forge burns when I have it really going! When I moved from Idaho I still had some of that locust that I sold to a good friend.
  3. I am currently in Branson... but my forge is still in my High Ridge location (just south of Saint Louis). I have some moving to do. I have a dealer that I trust in Japan... I’ll check with him about getting some of the steel. I thought that some of the bladesmith suppliers in country might have it. I used to do some teaching at the Woodcraft store in Saint Louis... but I know that they are not in the steel supply business. Finished tools is likely all they will offer. The tool that I like best is a hand forged gouge with a shallow curve that has been sharpened to a fingernail shape with an elongated edge on the left side (looking into the concave side of the gouge while holding the handle). I think it’s pretty old and it might even be handmade steel. I find it a remarkably handy tool and I think it will be great for spoon carving! My plane blades are mostly the blue paper steel though and they have superb edges... better than my Swiss carving tools.
  4. Thanks for the info Steve and SLAG! I plan to be at the BAM conference in May. I’ll ask some of the vendors and Smith’s there and see if maybe I can get some while I am there. I am not in any hurry... just thinking ahead. I’ve picked up some older Japanese tools lately and I love them! Some of the edges will literally shave hair with astonishing ease!
  5. I have been thinking about all of the blades and edged tools that I own. All of mine have serviceable edges. There is one type of steel that stands out as a consistent high performer though. It’s the “blue paper steel” that many of my Japanese tools are made of! I assume that many of you here are familiar with this steel. I would like to get some for my tool and knife forging. Do any of you know about a source that I might contact? I’m also interested in any tips that you might have for working or heat treating this type of steel. I just admire the fine edges that it will take and how well they hold up as I work with them.
  6. I would advise you to begin with forging a head and fitting a wooden handle. The all steel type will be a significantly more advanced piece of work. I also think you’ll prefer the wooden handle anyway... I know I would! I do have both types BTW. Using breaker bits for material is an excellent idea! They are often mostly 1070 to 1090 steels but often have custom alloy content that improves their abrasion and shock resistance. Another good source, when you can find it in large enough sizes, is old star drills. 1090 is better than medium carbon steels like 4140 but you have to temper it appropriately.
  7. It’s machined like a fine shotgun... a Purdy perhaps. It would pair well with such!
  8. Many of the mower blades that I have spark like pretty high carbon steel! I even have some brand new ones that spark test like pretty high carbon metals. I’d not hesitate to use them for utilitarian cutting tools. Clearly mine are different from what you have though. My new “Oregon” blades have really nice spark showers!
  9. The sparks look good, but... you need to compare with a known steel sample. It could be an old axle or some such thing.
  10. Thomas; Look up 2” roughing gouge on google. You’ll see near duplicates of that tool. I don’t turn anymore but I used to own a couple almost exactly like it. They are very useful for turning square to round or rough smoothing log or branch stock.
  11. The fact that it says cast steel would seem to make it pretty old. Others here will know more on that topic. I can speak to the shape. It appears to be a roughing gouge for wood turning. While there’s a chance that it could be useful for timber framing or bowl carving... I’d bet on it being intended as a turning tool. Similar ones are being made today... but they don’t use cast steel anymore.
  12. The vinegar treatment is not just to remove rust. It will actually sharpen the file teeth as it undercuts the tooth edges! I usually soak them for a day or two and use a nylon brush to clear gunk and bubbles two or three times during the process. I rinse them in a baking soda solution afterward and then clear water and dry very quickly with heat (not enough heat to affect the temper). I follow the drying IMMEDIATELY with WD 40 spray... to inhibit rust. Most dull or semi-dull files will cut like brand new ones after this treatment!
  13. That is a raising hammer. It’s typical use is to make bowl or cup shapes in copper, steel or silver. That’s an unusually large one. Those tongs are light duty fire tongs. People used to use them to get a coal from the fire to light their pipes with.
  14. You might want to get some persimmon wood. It is related to ebony and usually has dark heartwood and IME interesting figure. I’ve never seen it commercially available but local tree trimmers occasionally run into some. I personally love pecan wood! It’s in the hickory family and truly tough with beautiful colors and figures!
  15. Pferd files are excellent! They are currently one of the largest manufacturers... so... widely available. Grobet (Swiss) files are superb, though costly! Grobet does have many specialty styles available. For standard types of files I find the Pferd brand is difficult to match up to... especially if your budget is not very overfunded! if you’re not committed to all new files. You can often get good bargains at flea markets and antique shops. I’ve acquired many from such sources that were nearly as good as new after a day or two soaking in vinegar!