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Everything posted by bigfootnampa

  1. Charles is right about this. Ideally you have a tang hole slightly undersized and black heat the tang so that it MELTS (not chars) it’s way in. Then the heated and compressed wood fibers cool to form a very strong socket for the tang while the resins in the wood (which are a natural form of ferrule cement) glue the tang into place. Done this way, the hidden tang is at least the equal of a through tang for security. I generally make a tapered square tang and melt it into a step drilled round socket. For tools that will see rough use, I’ll carefully fill the slight gaps along the flats of my tangs with a thin glue filler (usually some version of cyanoacrylate). If you use the burn in method, IMO, it’s best to use an undersized model of your tang and then follow up with a tang broach or drill/mill bits to create an overly tight tang socket that will melt to a perfect fit during the hot fitting process. This requires a bit of experience to judge as softwoods will compress a lot more than hardwoods while being hot fitted. Each wood species reacts a bit differently. A little practice will get you there though... and the results will be well worth your efforts!
  2. Mostly I work my hook knives with a very powerful pulling wrist twist stroke. You should not use your arms to pull toward yourself! That is too dangerous! The wrist twist is strong and quick and safe. It works best when taking many small bites, quickly. Skill is an underrated factor in using hook knives. They are MUCH more efficient in the hands of experts!
  3. I only use axes in the rough out phase. A drawknife and shaving horse is most efficient once the rough splitting is done... but not as portable as an axe. Sloyd knife and hook knives are generally most effective after the profiles are roughed out. Except for the interior of the bowl, skillful drawknife work can bring a spoon to near completion in an amazingly short time! Axes and sloyd knives can do all the work that a drawknife will... but they are slower. It’s nice to have them for working in the field though! The ambience of working in the forest is hard to beat!
  4. I love the small scale! Personally I prefer my carving hatchets beveled on both sides and worked ambidextrously. They cut curves better that way and the angles give clearance for the hatchet eye. I do like fairly long bevels and I quite often do some splitting with mine. A smaller and lighter version like this is nice for small scale work like carving spoons... which I like to do. I am a big fan of small axes!
  5. They look pretty good to me! You’ve polished them nicely! I don’t see my favorite type there... Hofi type compact or balanced hammer. So maybe you need more? I think I could work with that collection though... you are well hammered!
  6. I am no expert! I do have one in my new shop. It works great and seems very efficient! QUIET, requires no backup system. I like the no freeze setting that keeps it about 52 degrees all winter. I rarely change it till summertime. We put one in our rental cabin and it eliminates worry over unsafe portable heaters and provides efficient, trouble free cooling as well. We are very happy with ours!
  7. Please keep in mind that the cow wearing the bell will have to live with it’s sounds at close range... ALL DAY... EVERYDAY! Excessive loudness and sustain are NOT desirable... from a cow’s point of view!
  8. I use a drawknife with a 12” blade on handles and spoon rough outs quite regularly. That knife looks to be a beauty... but you might like a bigger one even better. You can skew a larger knife more effectively and it sometimes helps. The stiffness and mass of a larger knife can also be useful. I hope you have paired it with a good shaving horse! They are really much more effective in partnership! You can make a pickup load of shavings in an afternoon with a good drawknife and shaving horse!
  9. Bader grinders are top of the line industrial machinery! They have a variety selection of belts that you can buy as a package. I think it runs about $184. I recently bought one that they had donated at the BAM conference auction. Purchasing a kit like this allows you to try various belts and figure out what you like to use. There are some polishing belts in it and different types and sizes of grits. I have a Pheer grinder that I am pretty happy with! The Pheer runs about 1/3 the price of the Bader machines. In no way is it the same level of quality as the Bader units... but it does my work pretty well and I don’t really feel the need for anything more. Bader has sales people that can answer most of your questions. My Pheer is 2 horsepower, variable speed and that is what I’d recommend.
  10. Frosty I have to completely disagree with your premise here! No disrespect intended but I am a highly skilled woodworker and worked in the building industry for most of my life. MY hand forged nails hold VASTLY stronger than wire nails from the hardware stores! They hold stronger than glue coated sinkers! They hold stronger than most screws! That’s if I don’t do anything special to them! I was originally quite SHOCKED by the incredible differences in holding power! Now I’m sorta used to it. The only machine made nails that rival the holding power of my standard hand forged nails are the glue coated ring shanked nails shot through my nail guns! I do make my nails with a bit longer tapers than most smiths... but not dramatically different. I theorize that the square edges cut and grip the fibers much better than a round nail will. The taper seems to be an advantage rather than a disadvantage... keeping the nail TIGHT all the length of the shank. I think the scale that naturally roughens the nails increases the friction that contributes to the great holding power. I believe that the slight waviness in the surfaces and edges that result from my forging process also helps. Whatever the reasons, incredible GRIP and hold are my observed results! For hardwoods... even VERY hardwoods... I will tend to forge my nails a bit slimmer with less taper and I will pre-drill for them. I’ve successfully nailed into 200 year old oak logs that would burn up a good chainsaw this way... you’d have to break those nails to pull them... it would NOT BE EASY! I’ve used my nails to make pine and fir furniture... a lightweight desk for instance... that get a lot of use and are moved around plenty. Years later nails are STILL TIGHT! I made some with larger heads for decorative fastenings of tapered thresholds on floors... despite daily traffic they never loosen!
  11. I notice some new lasers, designed for paint prep, that remove rust and oil and even loose paint. Has anyone here tried one yet? They look amazing in the videos! At around the $200 or $300 price level for the cheaper ones... they seem accessible for small shops. It looks to me like they might be extremely useful on projects with complex surfaces! I think they might also work to remove scale! I’d like to hear advice from anyone who has tried one out.
  12. Thomas; I have to offer some support for your DW’s position though. As a former firefighter I worked on one farmhouse fire where the farmer had plumbed propane from his bulk tank to his furnace. He didn’t realize that he needed a regulator on the line! The furnace sat in a small dugout basement room. When the full pressure propane blew through the valves on the furnace it filled up the space with gas/air mix!!! The explosion cannoned through the floor, ceiling and roof. By the time I arrived the flames were shooting thirty feet up through the roof hole! The chimney collapsed on the infant’s crib... fortunately the infant was not sleeping at the time. They escaped with only minor injuries from flying bricks and glass. The furnace was designed for natural gas, easily altered for propane... BUT natural gas is delivered at 4 to 6 pounds of pressure. The straight in line from his propane tank delivered around 120 psi! I know that you are not some Idaho farmer... but actually most farmers are pretty sophisticated mechanically. It is at least a good idea to have a careful inspection of the work... which you did. Wives are naturally suspicious of their husbands... sometimes with good reason!
  13. This unassuming thread has turned out to be real gold for me! Thank you JHCC and J.P. Hall! Thanks to everyone contributing! I have learned quite a bit! I hope I can put the knowledge to good use! I am grateful to be part of this community!
  14. Aha! Thanks Steve, I live and learn! Aha! Thanks Thomas... some times I learn more stuff right away! This is a great forum! BTW Thomas, no great amount of pressure will likely ever be applied to these blades. Mostly they just whisper off fine shavings. Reasonable stiffness is for extreme control rather than for heavy work. I try to come off the knife with a spoon that will need extremely little sanding... or none at all. Chatter or digging in is BAD. See through shavings are GOOD!
  15. Well my aim is to make my hook knives as inflexible as practical. A rather stiff knife that will hold it’s shape as it cuts is ideal. Limiting factors are that it must be able to follow the spoon bowl’s profiles without marring the wood on the back of the blade and it must possess a thin and EXTREMELY SHARP edge. So wide blades are not generally good. The best sort of architecture seems to be a blade with a thin edge, fairly narrow, with a bit thicker back edge that is rounded to slide through the curves of the spoon bowl. I’ve never tried Forging any L6, but if it seems like a good steel to you I will get some and test it out. My understanding of the L series steels is that they have lead in the alloys to facilitate machining processes. It has always seemed to me to be an undesirable ingredient for my forgings. I might do well with something like 1095 or other simple carbon steels. I once made a carving knife from an old hollow ground planing blade for a circular saw. It was OUTSTANDING! I understand that such blades are usually made of something like O1 steel with an additive to increase abrasion resistance.
  16. The small hammer is likely for repousse work. They like those hammers to have a whippy handle. They must also be quite small as lots of tappety taps are the way to work in that field. I’m not sure what the large one is, but I don’t think it’s a cobbler’s hammer. It looks more like for body work.
  17. Thomas I do not currently own a heat treat oven. Even getting the D2 ramped up to preforging temp (1450 Fahrenheit) looks daunting to me! I could send it out for heat treating. I want to make spoon carving hook knives with it. Probably I’d begin with something like 5/16” or 3/8” drill rod. I am looking into heat treating ovens. At the moment it seems a bit of a reach for me. I don’t want to invest a lot and not get good use of my equipment. I am already stretching things a bit... what with my large inventory of tooling and slowly declining energy levels.
  18. Update. I had a great time at the BAM conference. I bought a new anvil from Jymm Hoffman. A thing of beauty that is solid cast H13 steel and about 110 pounds. I also bought a new propane forge from Bob Alexander. His beautiful Saint Bernard “Toby” was a really big hit with my son Lukas! I also bought a couple of hammers and a few tongs. The 1 3/4 pound rounding hammer from Nathan of Jack Pine Forge is a finely polished paragon of the hammer arts! I have ordered a “San Mai” blank of “Blue Paper Steel” to do some experimental forgings with! I found it on eBay! Apparently this steel is best used as a welded edge rather than as a monolithic forging. It must be a bit brittle for forming the main structure of tooling. I will follow up with results of my test forging experiences! I also have ordered some O1 and some D2. The O1 will be good for me... I think. The D2 looks like quite a challenge!
  19. I have not made garden tools for handicapped people, but my basic processes would be adaptable. I either make mine with tangs that are tapered square and heat seated or I flare the end of the tool shaft to make a socket. I generally don’t bother to weld my sockets as I’ve not found it needful. I have done some with a tang and ferrule as you are considering and any sort of tubing can be tapered to make the ferrules. Usually I find it simpler, faster and stronger to use a wire wrap or a cording wrap instead of a metal ferrule. Wrapped ferrules can be coated with epoxy or similar for easier cleaning and more durability. This leaf blade hoe is the most effective and efficient garden tool that I’ve ever made or used! It’s 27 inches overall with about a 4 inch blade. This one was made from a large piece of rebar, but 4140 would be a better material. I only garden in containers now and this tool does almost all weeding, planting and tilling chores with ease and grace. It’s very light and well balanced! It has a rustic beauty and feels like part of your arm in use! It can dig like a badger!
  20. As regards to your power grinding, you should get quality ceramic belts for your heavy stock removal steps. You’ll find that you can get lots more work done without overheating the stock and that the belts will vastly outlast aluminum oxide belts. You’ll still need patience when working thin edges and especially toward the points of blades. I keep a water dip handy but rarely use it. Start out with cool metal and use very light pressure when grinding thin areas. Grind several pieces at a session and you can have several cooling while you work on others. Remember that the belt heats too so don’t try to work too fast overall. Good ceramic belts only seem to be available in about 120 grits and coarser... so I use the aluminum oxide belts for the finer grinds. Just work slow and carefully as you get to the finer grinds... light pressure and short spates of work on each piece. BTW variable speed grinders are essential IMO and slower speeds are better for almost every step, but especially the finer finish grinds. If you are using a machine designed for woodwork... it is likely way too fast for doing good blade grinding!
  21. I have watched a highly skilled hammersmith who uses 1045 and regularly quenches his hammers in water... with no adverse results. He never just tossed them into the water though! He would dip them and then pull them out. Basically lowering the speed of his quench by his technique. Water tends to be a very uneven coolant when the work is not carefully agitated. This may have some bearing on your problems. Personally I prefer oil quench for most purposes including hammers. Severe cracking seems to suggest fairly serious stresses and maybe a combination of factors at work. I suggest slowing down your whole process and being attentive to each step.
  22. Thanks Frosty! I am leaving it with Jymm till Saturday evening so that people can look at it. Then I’ll have to make a stand and retrieve my coal forge from my Saint Louis smithy. I also intend to make a Hoffman style propane forge. So scale is a few weeks away yet. I’ve got at least one pre-order waiting! I’m looking forward to the demos today!
  23. 110 pound Jymm Hoffman anvil! Of 30 ordered to sell at this BAM conference... this was the ONLY one that didn’t get sold before the conference! Jymm is one of our demonstrators at this event. I came early to get in on the good deals. I got a nice hammer and this anvil from Jymm today! I am excited to put it to work! This is hardened to 52 Rockwell and cast of solid H-13 steel! Isn’t it a BEAUTY? It is Jymm’s design for an improved European anvil style. I think it is as fine as any anvil I’ve ever seen! I am thrilled to be it’s new owner! It takes about 30 weeks to get an order for these anvils cast and machined and shipped. Yes... I could be slipping back into smithing addiction. Pray for me! Odd scraps of metal are making my fingers tingle again!
  24. Black locust is a very strong and flexible wood... even fully air dried. You’ve done good so far! You could put a single coat of something like an oil finish, or even a wipe-on varnish (essentially a thin varnish). I would advise against putting on a thick rigid finish as it’s likely to blister, peel, craze, or do other bad stuff, as the staff dries and shrinks. Rot is unlikely. Personally, I’d likely use some “Tried and True” finish... which is beeswax and linseed oil in a food safe version. Any large cracks from shrinkage can be fixed with a carved and glued insert or a good flexible epoxy... with or without fillers or coloring.
  25. 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.