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I Forge Iron


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Everything posted by IanJ

  1. Frosty: I've done barely any blacksmithing, but I am very nearly a photographer by trade (except I don't actually make any money at it). http://dangerpants.com/photography/ For anyone in Seattle, ping me if you want to collaborate on a blacksmithing/photography thing. I don't have much product photography under my belt, and I'd like to do more.
  2. I mostly call it dihydrogen monoxide so I can remember the name of the website. Of course it's called monoxide to sound more sciencey, and also put people in mind of carbon monoxide, which most will at least associate negatively, even if they're not sure why.
  3. Frosty, I think you mean Dihydrogen Monoxide. There's even a website warning of its dangers: http://www.dhmo.org/
  4. That's gorgeous. I love how the handles look like jade. Complements the brasswork nicely.
  5. One thought that occurs to me is feed rate. With some kinds of stainless, if you drill too slowly (ie, too little pressure on the drill bit), it heats up enough to work harden, and exhibits a problem very like the one you're describing. It just gets diamond-hard, and no amount of drilling seems to work, or it takes forever and destroys the edge on drill bits. If you drill at lower speed and higher feed, it works like it should. Could that be happening here?
  6. Most interesting, thanks for the photos Wayne! Based on what I've been able to find (ie, nothing), and the apparent rarity of the loop handle in antiquity, I'll call it a basically modern invention and move on. I agree with the assessment that it uses too much iron and energy compared to (for instance) a wooden handle on a whittle tang, although on my first knife project (a loop-handled knife), the handle was ridiculously easy to make compared to even a whittle-tang handle. I can't imagine the iron handle would be comfortable to use as I made it, though Owen Bush's flattened design looks quite comfortable. I still really like the loop-handle look, I'll just stop thinking of it as a historical design. ;)
  7. Is it possible to do the heat treating in a fluid-like medium such as sand? I'm having a hard time imagining a system which would work without also pumping in an inert gas like nitrogen, but sometimes weird ideas spark other ideas, so I'll leave it there as an improbable suggestion. However, I also echo Thomas's statement: a prudent business that's trying to save hundreds of thousands of dollars would do well to spend money on an expert who will give you a real solution. I understand the desire to come up with a great solution on your own, but "I found the answer on the internet" is not an explanation I'd be proud to give my boss. (Well, except that I program computers for a living, where solutions are legitimately found on the internet... You get what I mean. ;) )
  8. IanJ

    Towel Hook

    For what it's worth, most cameras have orientation sensors in them to tell the camera which way is up, and will store the orientation in the picture. Some image viewing software will look at that and rotate the picture before displaying it, and some won't. I've found that web browsers usually ignore orientation data, and the picture will come out rotated weirdly if the camera wasn't held in its normal orientation. Usually when you upload a picture to a website like IFI, the software that processes your picture after it's uploaded will reorient the picture so it's always right-side-up no matter which program looks at it. It's possible the software IFI's using was misconfigured or not working quite right.
  9. Owen Bush mentions a Danish bog find. From his page of Viking Blacksmith knives for sale: I have based the design of these blades upon some iron age bog find knives from Denmark, having altered the shape a little from the original to make them more ergonomic and feel good in the hand. JM, I started doubting myself for precisely that reason: iron must have been comparatively hard to come by in medieval times, and too precious to waste on an extravagant tang which offers dubious utility when compared with a regular wooden/bone/antler handle.
  10. D'oh! Certainly no problem with any expiration dates if you're just going to melt it over hot iron... ;)
  11. I've been searching off and on, but thus far (including in Scabbards and Knives, which just arrived) I haven't seen any historical evidence for the loop-handled knife. I feel like I've seen them before, but now I'm doubting my memory. Based on the high quality of finish of the medieval knives, I'm guessing the loop handle must have originated fairly early in blacksmithing history. Do any of you have references for archaeological evidence for the loop-handled knife?
  12. I've noticed a few comments on here about how to break up beeswax blocks, and figured I'd throw in some info, and a question. The info: if you load up everyone's favorite internet retailer, Amazon, and search for beeswax, there are lots of vendors selling beeswax pellets for about $12/lb. Sounds easier to me than trying to break up a block of wax. The question: where are you guys getting beeswax blocks, and how does the price compare to $12/lb? (The beeswax I most recently used came from a farmer's market honey stand, and was perhaps $3 for a 1 oz stick, so pretty spendy compared to the pellets.)
  13. IanJ

    Knife Steel?

    Anything that says Starrett on it is worth money to someone -- they make very high quality, very expensive measurement tools. Might be worth throwing on Ebay and buying many similar lengths of O1 for the price that would fetch. For example A straight scribwer made bu Starrett is listed at $60 on ebay. Off site sales link replaced with only the needed info
  14. Billy: that's the impression I get, yes. :D
  15. Absolutely agreed on the choice of steel -- the situation was that I was taking a class, and the instructor (Scott Szloch, a great guy from my interactions so far) handed me some bar stock for the next project he'd planned. I decided to strike out on my own and do my little pet project with the steel I found in my hand. Although I appreciate being able to start in a mild steel for ease of working, I would not choose it for a knife project. I'm actually fairly amazed that it hardened at all. My hope for this project was that I would end up with a knife-shaped object, so the fact that I was able to put a reasonable if non-durable edge on it means that hope was exceeded. I appreciate the recommendations to check in with NWBA, and I probably will when I have more time to pursue the skill (my time is currently being taken up being a Technical Director at a small theater, working a 9-to-5, and getting my house ready to move). I'm not sure what I'm interested in doing with blacksmithing, although certainly knife making appeals to me. If I can get myself in front of an anvil again, I'll almost certainly make more copies of this knife to see if I can get closer to the vision I've got in my head. Frosty: NaNoWriMo is pretty enjoyable. I've written I think five novels so far, none of which are great works of literature, but I have had fun doing them. It's a really interesting challenge to try to write 50k words in 30 days, and really helps you shed your inner editor (a frequent block to creativity in service of a perception of quality). My novels are all up for anyone to read at http://dangerpants.com/ and the one where the knife appears is called Sight. Iron is the sequel that would ideally have the forged knife on the cover. There's a third book of that story planned, but I didn't have the requisite gumption in reserve to do it this last November. Maybe this year. I really appreciate all the feedback. Congrats to all on a welcoming and informative forum, and I'm glad I've found it.
  16. Thomas: I haven't read it yet, but it's now on my list. I've been doing the "firehose of information" approach so far, which has let many gems slip past, and that's one of them. Thanks for the reminder!
  17. Greetings, IFIers! This is my first post after spending hours and hours avidly reading. The blacksmith bug has bitten. I am not yet anything more than a person very interested in blacksmithing, although I have spent a tiny amount of time behind an anvil. I took a class at Pratt Fine Arts (a great school in Seattle that has a very well stocked blacksmithing studio), and rather than take on the trivet project the instructor suggested, I decided to try making the knife that's been rattling around my head for a few years now. I wrote a novel (for NaNoWriMo), in which the main character receives a rough-forged knife, about the size of a paring knife, which becomes a primary item in the story as it moves on. It was supposed to have been made in a fantasy-reality Scotland of around 700 AD (ignoring, for the moment, historical questions of what Scotland was called in 700 AD). As I started on the sequel, I kept imagining actually having a real-world knife that looked the part for the cover photo. Anyway, I eventually decided I should just make it myself, and after exploring a bunch of options, ended up at Pratt. It was a good choice, and although I didn't end up with exactly what I had been imagining, I'm still pretty happy with how my more or less first-ever blacksmithing project turned out. Just to set the context, I've done a lot of book-larnin', but I started on this knife after about 45 minutes of hammer time, and spent about an hour and a half forging (along with another hour or two finishing, back at my own shop which includes metal-working tools and supplies, but no heating equipment beyond a propane torch). To make this, I started with 1/2" x 3/8" flat stock, most likely 1018 or something else on the "mild" end of the spectrum, although it has enough carbon that the edge got harder when I hardened it. The tang was drawn out, found to be vastly too long (I had plans in my head that included 1/8" thick stock, and I didn't make any adjustments for the thicker steel), so the first thing I did was make the massive scroll on the end, to shorten the handle a bit. The twist followed, then the bend. I cut the blade off with a hot chisel hardy tool and shaped it almost entirely by forging. Because I don't have any real heat at home, I did the heat treat at Pratt, planning to take it home and finish there. Unfortunately, my anvil time was limited, so I was rushed to get the project done. I would have been much happier to spend another hour or so getting it right. Once home, I used a file to clean up the profile (the chisel cut needed to be dressed right at the tip, you can see it in the picture next to the normal butter knife), then filed down until I got something like an edge. Then it was on to a finer file and a whetstone to clean up the edge. The thumb notches (which I'm sure have a more technical name that I'm forgetting) were done with a tiny round file. The whole thing got more wire brushing, and I regretted having left so much scale on the blade, but decided not to worry about it. It's coated in straight beeswax which was melted on and spread with a clean chip brush, then wiped down with a clean paper towel to remove the excess while still warm. I did the warming with the propane torch. Unfortunately, I had been aiming for a small knife, something like a 4" long handle and a 3" long blade. So I got that part totally wrong. I had been hoping for a triangular blade with more or less a straight line edge from the handle to the tip, and a straight spine. So, I got that wrong, and the "swaybacked" spine shape is not very pleasing to my eye. However, I got the handle shape almost exactly as I'd wanted it (excessively large scroll aside, although that's grown on me, so to speak), and it is still pretty darn good for a first project. The edge is sharp, although it was so easy to file and sharpen (thus so soft) that I'm sure it would make a terrible knife to actually use on a regular basis. So, now the bug has bitten, and I'm reading more (which I have time to do right now), and eyeing classes at Pratt, which will then allow me to rent their studio for a surprisingly small amount of money. I really appreciate what I've read on IFI so far, and will be reading more. For the outright beginners like me who are reading through, perhaps seeing this will give you a bit of inspiration to get rolling.
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