paulgatx

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About paulgatx

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    Austin, TX

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  1. paulgatx

    Mousehole review

    Thomas, to be honest, my first anvil does everything I need it to. To be even more honest, I have become addicted to searching for anvils. I can't promise that this will be my last. I do promise to get better at getting good deals ($3.50/lb for my first, $2.50/lb for my second, $1.50/lb for my third?) And I have determined that 200lbs is my upper limit for how reconfiguable my garage shop needs to be.
  2. paulgatx

    Mousehole review

    Arkie, my shop (garage) has a concrete floor. But I've already got it repurposed as a tool stand. Big bro and little bro look great next to each other. They are almost identical twins. Now I just need to get my 12 yo son smithing with me.
  3. paulgatx

    Mousehole review

    Great point, thanks!
  4. paulgatx

    Mousehole review

    Hi Marc1 and Glenn, thanks for the quick feedback, I do hobbyist weekend black and bladesmithing. My other Mouse Hole is smaller and has some sway in it, so the usable area is pretty small. This one is definitely an upgrade in those terms. I'll post some more pix after I get it situated on its new stand. I'm most curious if you think this is a new welded top. The stand it came with is way too tall for the anvil, by 6 in or so, unless the previous owner was 7' tall as I'm 6' and the anvil comes half way up to my elbow when mounted on it. I have another home made wood stand that I was going to use for this, so my plan was to sell this metal one. And I definitely plan to know it well, and it will know me. :)
  5. paulgatx

    Mousehole review

    I picked up my second Mousehole today, so I guess that makes me a Mousehole collector. It's in much better shape than my first one. However, after I cleaned it up (rusted and painted), I find that the rebound is only 50-60%. It felt and sounded decent with my hammer, but I didn't have my ball bearing on me when I checked it out. Upon inspection, it looks like maybe it has a new welded plate on it, but I don't know what this would look like exactly. See the pictures below. At $2.50/lb ($500 total) including a big stand, I figure it's still usable and not a bad deal. Thoughts?
  6. paulgatx

    Mirror finish help needed

    Thanks for the additional tips, guys. I called this one done and finished the handle. I definitely spent more time finished this one than I did forging it, so that's an area for improvement. Also found a nice sheath on eBay that fits it perfectly. I think he'll appreciate it, since he knows I only just started this craft. On to my next knife ... A camp knife for my buddy that supplied me all of the spring steel and handle wood.
  7. paulgatx

    Mirror finish help needed

    Had to go back to 600 with a sanding block perpendicular, then back to the 1000 belt grinder to finish. Not perfect, but much better. I need to be more careful when stepping up my grits next time.
  8. paulgatx

    Mirror finish help needed

    Thanks everyone, this makes sense now. I've got my plan of attack now, but no, I am not a masochist.
  9. paulgatx

    Mirror finish help needed

    Buzzkill, my bad, it's silicon carbide not ceramic. Sounds like I'll go back to the grinder with some 45deg passes to see what I can do. Then maybe I'll take a crack with the wet paper up to 2000 or so. Maybe not go for mirror but at least get the big scatches out. Thanks for the tips. So far I have found finishing to be the most difficult part of knife making, but it's also the area I had no training in previously since my classes used 1800s equipment.
  10. paulgatx

    Mirror finish help needed

    Thomas, I wasn't planning on buffing since I don't have a grinding wheel or sanding/polishing wheel. Just hoping to do it with the belt grinder and hand sanding, unless you guys tell me it won't be possible. In that case I'm willing to add new toys to my shop. DOCTOR, I wish I had taken some pictures as I progressed. I swear I had a finer finish after the 400 grit, which is why I was surprised to see the deep scratches after the 1000 on the platen. But perhaps you are correct in that the 1000 only highlighted the scratches from the previous grits. So would you recommend going back to the grinder? I can't really go perpendicular on my grinder because it doesn't have a usable flat surface wheel, just the platen and slack area as shown in the picture.
  11. paulgatx

    Mirror finish help needed

    Hello, newbie here working on my second knife. The first was a practice knife made from a file, and I left the finish rougher as I wanted to retain the file lines. This one is a wedding gift for a friend of my mother's, and while it will likely be a heavily used knife, I wanted to deliver it with a nicer finish since it's a gift. It's a Baby Bowie made from 5160 leaf spring steel. It's mostly done (hardened, edged, handle attached and shaped), but I still have to polish the blade and sand and finish the handle. I hoped to get it there on my belt grinder, but I realize now that I hadn't done the proper research yet. Now I'm trying to figure out how shiny I should be able to get it on my grinder and then how to finish it. I have a 1x42 Kalamazoo grinder with cheapy AO belts from 40-400 grit and then nicer ceramic (mod edit Silicon Carbide) 1000 grit belts. The finish in the picture, if you can see it properly, is the best I can get with stepping up from 120-240-400-1000. The scratches in the middle of the blade seem to have been caused by the 1000 belt when I put it against the platten. I can get it shinier around the edges of the flats on the slack part of the belt, but the platen grinding seems to not work as well. I don't know if this is me (pressure, technique), the belt, or the platten. So is that the best I should expect on a grinder? I have automotive wet/dry paper in grits 400-600-800-1000-1500-2000-2500-3000. Is it best to just use those now with a backer and alternating direction polishing? I've also seen videos using a sanding wheel, but I don't have one, and haven't purchased one yet. Thanks for any and all advice.
  12. paulgatx

    Forged In Fire Tests

    I know this is an old topic, but I thought I'd add my 2 cents. I knew then as I know now that FiF is a reality show that leaves out so much detail. But here's what it did for me. As someone with a long but peripheral interest in blacksmithing having gone to Renaissance Festivals since I was a teenager and being a fan of anything fantasy/medieval, it led me to believe that I, too, could make a knife with my own hands. I'm a 47 yo electrical engineer with 0.0 experience in hands on fabrication of anything beyond semiconductor processes for making computer chips. After 2 years of watching the show, I decided to could do it. So I found a local traditional blacksmithing class last December, and after 40 hours of training, 8 months of buying equipment and setting up shop in my garage and practicing the skills on my own, I'm making my first knives. The third one being this Bowie that is 100% hand forged from a piece of leaf spring and that I'm finishing up now. Not showable or sellable, but a really cool thing that I made with my hands. So as real or fake as the show is, it's the one thing that got me into this in my mid-life crisis phase. And for that I am thankful.
  13. paulgatx

    What tongs should I buy

    I was thinking about this recently as well and was going to start a separate post in the blade section about it. I recently forged my third knife, a 12" Bowie knife (5" tang, 7" blade) out of a 1.5" x 5" x 0.25" piece of leaf spring (I hope it's 5160!). I forged 100% of the knife with no cutting and minimal shaping on the belt grinder. It was a blast. It took about 5 hours of forging time and I did it mainly to work on my forging skills. As I was watching a few YouTube videos on forging a Bowie knife, I came across two popular videos that resulted in beautiful knives. They both started with a bar the exact width, length, and thickness of their final knife. One forged the tang and a bit of the tip, but then finished the tip with an angle grinder. The second angle ground the tang and forged the tip. Then everything else was done on the grinder. My questions are: For sale or show pieces, is there a general rule of thumb for how much forging should be done to consider it a forged blade? Do people and bladesmiths care? Are the details of how much of the blade is forged divulged and does it affect typical sale prices? For now I'm just curious as I'm doing this for fun and skill development, and making gifts for friends and family.
  14. paulgatx

    New forge no info

    Hi Foamhead, I have the exact same forge and I'm using the stock burner, hose, and regulator, but I heavily modified the inside. You can do a quick search and find my post with what I did. I'm about as far from an expert as you can get, but I've had very good initial results with this setup. Only a little but of huffing every once in a while, but gets super hot very quickly with relatively low flow (don't know how low without a gauge). Also, the owner seems very nice and willing to talk. Before I modified mine I talked to him to make sure I wasn't going to screw anything up. He should have included his number on the instruction book. Happy forging!
  15. paulgatx

    Commerical forge upgrade for newbies

    Well, I don't know how to say for sure, but I was pretty careful about the drying procedures I followed. I've run it for a total of about 5 hours so far, the first two being lower flow and the next 3 being higher flow. Is there any way to tell?