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I Forge Iron

Graham Fredeen

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About Graham Fredeen

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    Senior Member

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  • Location
    Colorado Springs, CO
  • Interests
    Bladesmith, blacksmith,

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  1. Thanks everyone. I greatly enjoy all the comments, compliments and feedback from folks. Thats got to be one of my favorite things said about this knife, too funny! Thanks!
  2. Hey folks, Been a long while since I've been on to share any of my new work, so thought it was about time. I thought you folks might like to see a special project I've kept under wraps for awhile. This is my first foray into more advanced patternwelding techniques and my first complex mosaic pattern. Didn't know exactly what the outcome would be, but I think the result was great . I'm definately addicted to mosaics now and I'll be cranking out a lot more as soon as I can squeeze in some more shop time. This knife is the first knife I've had professionally photographed, and the first time I have worked with a sheathmaker besides myself. Figured I'd better do it right, so I enlisted the help of Paul Long and Jim Cooper. The experience with these two gentleman was fantastic to say the least. They are definately artists in their own right, and phenonimally skilled in their respective crafts, and their service is impecible. While this was the first time I had the pleasure of working with these two, it certainly won't be the last I sent the knife down to Paul, and told him to make it a right handed sheath and to "have fun with it." I gave him free reign with things and he delievered an amazing sheath, with beaver insert and an overlay. I still don't know how Paul can be so good with leather! (makes me a bit jealous, lol) I had Paul send it over to Jim Cooper after he was done. I'll let the results speak for themselves: I ended up calling the pattern "flaming rose". Had a few folks tell me it looked like some flowers, others thought fire, so I put em together. Jim had the idea to put "Flaming Rose" in the picture tag line, so I decided to call this guy the "Flaming Rose Fighter." Blade is about: 6" Overall: 12.5" W pattern damascus for the guard and spacer Stabalized California Buckeye for the handle, with a small stainless pin in the middle. Hope everyone enjoys it. I certainly enjoyed making it and getting to work with two men who are at the top of their respective crafts!
  3. Unfortunately those swords didn't really make it. I accidently ground the fuller too thin near the tip of that smaller viking styled sword, so I ended up using it for HT practice and a destruction test afterwards. And the larger longsword, I still have, but it warped pretty badly durring heat treat (its got good performance though) so I never took it further. I tried heat treating those swords in my forge, before I built my digitally controlled vertical HT furnace, which is why I had the warpage issues. I havent had time to really play with any swords since then. Hopefully life will slow down here in the next few years and I can get back into doing some swords. I'm really wanting to do some multi-bar pattern welded viking swords and things like that, maybe even some large pattern welded longswords etc... but thats all a ways off still. I think my main focus for the next couple years will be prepping my work to go for a Journeyman Smith test in the American Bladesmith Society, and just trying to keep up with various commissions that come in, etc.
  4. Thanks guys. Michael, good too see a familar face. Glad you enjoyed my youtube videos. Someday I'll get the rest of them up there (there's tons more in that "series" on making a pattern welded knife.) bigfootnampa, I don't think you'll have to worry too much. My production is very very limted and I get very little time in the shop anymore, so its not too often I have new work to show . But definately don't be afraid to post your work here, even if its next to mine and you don't think it looks as good. There's nothing wrong with making a knife that isn't perfect or pretty. And remember, my knives didn't always look like this, you should have seen some of my "firsts" ;)
  5. Thanks folks. Mitch and mcraigl, the answers to both of your questions is with hours and hours of work, and being very perfcetionistic Believe it or not, I actually didn't use a file guide to fit those handles. I filed the shoulders completly by eye, and then slowly with many trial fittings, sanding slightly in between (removing a little here, check the fit, a little there, check the fit, etc), fit the handles sections to the bolster. A file guide would make this process a heck of a lot easier and faster for sure. I know Uncle Al, over at Riverside machine shop makes a nice integral file guide, with a round section that can clamp to round bolster transitions. Its not exactly "cheap" though, but would be well worth it if you plan on doing any more of these guys. I'll probably end up buying one, or make something of my own for the task on future integral blades. And in terms of the blade finish, that is just lots of practice at hand rubbing blades. The important thing when doing a hand rubbed finish is to keep all the sanding scratch pattern going in the exact same direction, and you must have a great deal of consistancy in your sanding motion (speed, pressure, direction, etc). Also its important to not try to jump and skip grits too early, you must first make sure you get all of the previous scratches from the previous grit out of the blade first (helps to not have drastic jumps in your grit progression). Doing good hand rubbed finishes is extremly labor intensive and takes a great deal of time to do. Most folk don't do them right and end up with "hooks" in the finish (little c-shaped scratch patterns from changing direction, or stopping/starting inconsistatly, etc). Despite all the work though, I think its completly worth it for the result. I've come to really hate grinder finishes (they are alright on some blades, like those that will take a beating, but for anything else in terms of high-end custom knives, I think its just poor craftsmanship and taking the "easy" way out. Again, there are exceptions to the rule). Hopefully that answered your questions. If you need any additional pointers, feel free to drop me an email. Graham
  6. Thanks folks. Darksaber, yes these are done on a lathe. I use the lathe to rough out the ring shapes and to precisely bore to size, and then the rest is done freehand with files, sandpaper and the like. I'm definately not the best photographer in the world. I've got a little light booth setup (garbage bags and PVC ) and it does an alright job. Most of the ring pictures (the lower ones) were taken in a hurry, just for final customer approval before shipping them off, and I didn't take the time to break out all the lights for the booth etc. I also don't have the greatest camera in the world, certainly nothing even close to being professional. Just use what I have to get by. Its something I'll be experimenting with in the future. I'd take some more pictures of rings right now, but unfortunately I'm all out . Additionally, I don't want to make these look too good , I've already got about as much business with them as I currently have time for. I'm firstly and foremost a bladesmith, and don't want these little things to take over completly. Just want to do enough of them to give some decent funding for the bladesmithing. I should have some more rings made next weekend hopefully. And they'll come with better pictures too.
  7. Thanks again folks. Bent, unfortunately no one has purchased any wooden rings, its been damascus, damascus, and more damascus (got 13 more damascus rings to do for folk on the wait list, and seems like more keep comming in at a steady trickel). I was hoping some nicely priced wooden rings would sell pretty well, but I guess when you put them up against nicely priced damascus rings, no one cares about wood. I've had a couple people say they might want some wooden rings, after they get their damascus one first Thomas, I wish it'd be that easy to re-size these guys, but somehow I don't think this steel is going to be as malleable as silver. I could probably squeeze up a couple sizes with some annealing in-between, but it'd be faster and much easier to just bore out the ring to the bigger size. I'll get some more pictures of things as they come along. This next batch of rings should look better than this first run anyway And BTW, feel free to drop me an email: [email protected] if you folks are interesting in a damascus ring, have questions, or just want to chat a bit, always good to hear from some fellow smiths. I've already gotten a couple emails from folks, so thought I'd just put it out there to encourage more.
  8. Thanks folks. Svarttrost, salt bluing, or hot salt bluing is a bluing process in which the steel parts are immersed in a heated chemical solution of different nitrates and chromates (there are many different bluing salts out there and I am unsure of all of their exact compositions). In this case nitre blue solution from Brownells was used. The bluing salts are heated until molten (temperature will also change the colors you achieve, of which there are a fairly wide range, much like temper colors). The bluing salts react with the surface of the steel, depositing oxides and other chemical desposits which give color to the steel as well as help prevent oxidation and rust. It is a very common process used in gun bluing (any gun buling that is not the cold bluing, is a form of "salt bluing" or hot bluing, whatever you prefer to call it). In terms of sizing, once they are made to a particular size, thats pretty much where they stay, with the only exception of being able to bore them out larger if there is enough material present. I custom make each ring for individual customers to their exact size (and style) specifications, this way I avoid the need to re-size rings after the fact (at least in the terms of making the rings). Its much easier to just wait to make a ring for a customer than to make a bunch of rings and to try and resize them anyway, even if I could. Unfortunately it is the nature of the material, can't really cut the rings and re-weld them to a smaller size (or add a bit to get a larger size) and have them come out looking decent with the pattern present etc. And the steels used in these rings were 1095 and 15N20. In future billets I'm switching probably to mild steel (or at least a eutetic or hypoeutetic steel) with pure nickel. The pure nickel will provide a good deal more contrast in the pattern. I'm also going to be playing with many different damascus patterns in these. Right now these are just a simple twist pattern, but I would like to get into some more complex patterns someday. This means much more advanced forge welding techniques though to get typically "flat" patterns into ring shape without a noticeable lap weld. So to get the pattern into a ring shape, think spiral welding a damascus barrel. Its something I'll be experimenting with.
  9. Hey folks, Figured its been so long, might as well post a few things I've been up to. An idea I've had for awhile has been to make some damascus. I figured there'd be a much larger market for damascus rings than knives, so was hoping to use the rings to fund my bladesmithing a bit. Here are a few that I've done. Started out with just some "plain" etching and then started salt bluing them with good results. Got some other "better" pictures of some of the other blued rings, but they aren't uploaded online. I've probably done about a dozen of them so far, and have been able to sell them reasonably well. I've got a waitlist of about 12 more folk that want them and will be doing another run of them hopefully starting this weekend. Also fooled around with some wooden rings, just for the heck of it. Figured I'd start doing a few of these in some nice stabalized woods. Haven't had too much interest in the wooden rings though, probably just because I put them up against the damascus ones. Anyway, thought you folks might enjoy seeing these guys.
  10. I figured since I neglected to post these here when I actually finished them, I might as well do it now. Figured you folks might enjoy them. Blade Length: 3.125" (tip to start of edge, 1.5" choil/bolster) OAL: 8.0625" Hand Forged 52100 Blade, differentially hardened. Hand rubbed finish Big leaf maple handle with hidden tang integral bolster construction And here is the second: Blade Length: 2.75" (tip to start of edge, 1.5" choil/bolster) OAL: 7.5" Hand Forged 52100 Blade differentially hardened Hand rubbed finish Madrone burl handle with hidden tang integral bolster construction
  11. Thanks Donnie. While it is a nice knife with a higher-end finish, "too pretty to use" is all relative to the customer. What some folks call a good using knife, others call display pieces. Some will use a knife for everyday work that some would hardly dare to touch for fear of "ruining" it. I think the customer plans on using this blade, at least for some light cutting tasks. Either way this knife is made to perform and certainly will, whether it ever has to or not :)
  12. Thanks Don. Got to love that amboyna burl for sure. This was a really nice piece too. Amboyna burl is up pretty high on my list of "favorite" woods in terms of figure and color. Ironwood burl probably tops that list, followed maybe by some buckeye burl, box elder (especially some of the dyed stuff), black ash burl is pretty amazing as well, thuya burl... better stop or I'll be here all day, lol. There are so many nice woods and its that natural figuring and natural beauty that I think really adds to a piece.
  13. Hey folks, Been a long while again, so thought I'd better make another post at last. Just finished up this little guy as a commission for a collector down in NM. He started out wanting a full tang EDC with micarta grip, but happened along a nice piece of amboyna burl, so it turned into this instead. 5160 blade with hand rubbed finish Blade length: 4" Overall length: 9" Stainless guard,spacers, and pin Stabalized amboyna burl handle Inside pocket carry sheath (left undyed at customer's request) Have a good one guys.
  14. Thanks guys. Glad you all are enjoying it. Almost wish I had a little more time with that one after I finised it, I quite liked it, and would have liked to get to know it a little better before sending it out on its own Been way too busy (as usual) so havent gotten any more blades finished. I have 3 integral bolster blades that are so close to being done, its seriously not funny. However, I've had to do some shop house keeping instead. For the past month I've had a metal lathe sitting right in the middle of the floor preventing me from doing any serious work, or forging any new blades. So it needed a stand, which I fabricated today, and got the lathe up on it, and started re-arranging the shop. Once things are back in order, I'll finally be able to get back to some blades. Take care all, and have a happy Thanksgiving Graham
  15. Thanks folks. Glad you like it. It was a fun little piece to do, and I'm pretty pleased with the result. Chuck, I didn't have a whole lot of choice in the matter . It wouldn't be very good business practice to sit down with a client and design a knife speciffically for them, have them wait a month for you to make the knife, while giving updates and pictures of the progress, only to get the knife finished and have them chomping at the bit to buy it, and then decide you want to keep it . Thats something one learns pretty quickly with bladesmithing/knifemaking, if you want to sell knives, you'll have to limit your love for them, or you'll be wanting to keep every knife you make and then you wouldn't be selling knives. I guess it would almost be like being a parent, with the knife your child. You love your children (in this case knives), while your raising them (making the knife), but there comes a time for them to head off on their own into the world, and while you'll always love them, you don't want to prevent them from doing that as they'll never reach their full potential, and instead end up to be a 40 year old living in your basement . Since I'm trying to get my name out as a maker I've come to the conclusion that the best way is to get my blades out there to as many people as I can. This one (and most) went to a very good home. The future owner will probably baby the blade and care for it much better than I ever would. AND, good to see another coloradan! If you ever want to get together sometime, my shop doors are open (not all the time, but whenever I'm in there ) Graham
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