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About picker77

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    : Central Oklahoma, USA
  • Interests
    Computers, electronics, ham radio, leather work, bluegrass music, old vacuum tube radios, making stuff, fixing stuff

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  1. Sounds like me, I'll be 78 next month, I'll have to leave instructions for the wife to make sure she doesn't yard-sale this grinder for $30. Looks like you have a great setup for slack-belt grinding. I'll bet you will also eventually want to add a removable tool arm holder of some sort, so you can run home brew tool arms with a platen and a contact wheel one of these days. Neither are hard to add, the tool arm/contact wheel was easy, but from my experience I recommend purchasing a professionally fabricated platen/wheel setup from the outset. I initially made a platen using skateboard wheels and it worked OK most of the time, but wheel alignment on a platen needs to be perfect, and my "precision" home shop fabrication/assembly tolerances (add one more washer here or there, lol) resulted in intermittent tracking problems, depending on which side of the belt I put pressure on. After I was making knives more often I finally bit the bullet for the real deal, and it runs smooth as silk. Very well spent $90. BTW, in 1978, when the Navy was scheduling my next duty transfer after three years in Hawaii, they offered to send me on a 3-year assignment to the USN communications facility near Perth. But with two boys in high school at the time I opted to go to the U.S. east coast for my final tour before retirement (I retired the first of three times in 1980). I think I would have enjoyed a down under tour, have always liked Oz folks, they are salt-of-the-earth type people. G'day and enjoy the grinder!
  2. I suppose there is an exception to every general rule, and Pnut is correct that a TEFC (totally enclosed fan cooled) motor is definitely preferred for longevity. I built the pictured 2x72 grinder in 2006. The motor is a non-enclosed 1.5 HP 120V 3450 RPM capacitor-start fan motor rescued from the attic when we had our central A/C replaced back in 1996. The shaft drive wheel is 4" diameter and rubber covered, the tracking wheel was recently replaced with one from OriginBladeMaker, and my original skateboard wheel platen setup (which never worked well) has been upgraded to OBM's nicely machined platen/wheels, which run smooth and true. Every few months I suck the grinder crap as best I can from inside the motor with a large shop vac, and blow it out with the shop air hose, but that's been it for maintenance for the past 13 years. I used it daily and pretty hard, and it still runs just fine. Because I really would like to have speed control, I'm getting ready to upgrade with a VFD and a new 2HP 3-phase TEFC motor. I also have an accessory tool arm with an 8" rubber covered contact wheel that works really well. I guess my point is don't hesitate to at least temporarily make use of a non-enclosed motor if that's what you have and cost is a factor at the moment. You can always upgrade later as funds permit. That's what worked out best for me.
  3. No problem, Gill. I'll just do a bit more experimenting. There's a WoodCraft store within driving distance from me that carries a lot of different dyes and stains. They also stock some small "turning block" sizes of exotic woods for carving and ink pen turning, although like everywhere else their exotic wood is also exotically priced. From my guitar building days I think probably alcohol-based dye will be the way to go. BTW, for the knife makers among us, a good source for handle finish materials is Stewart-MacDonald's website, it's the cat's butt for almost any wood finishing/staining material you could think of, and is the Amazon of the stringed instrument materials supply world. If they ain't got it, you don't need it.
  4. Gill, nice knife! Did you dye the scales yourself? If so, what did you dye box elder burl with? Alcohol based dye? Water based? I have a pretty good stash of beautiful stabilized 1-1/2" x 1" x 6" blocks of BEB, purchased 10 years ago when you could buy this stuff cheap. Now it's ridiculously priced. I love the wood, but would like to try some darker dyes on it. So far the prettiest finish I've come up with is sand to 400, followed by a couple of coats of Watkins Danish Oil in dark walnut, followed after a couple of days with 1800 RPM buffing with green cutting compound on a sisal wheel, and finally white rouge on soft cotton cloth wheel.
  5. 1. Metal stack was clamped, MIG welded across each end, and also once across each long side. All welds were then ground down to flat clean steel before welding on the tong stub, which was a short piece of 1/2" square HR. 2. Don't remember on the soak time. I turned it over just once, I think. I probably slapped it down on the anvil shortly after it was yellow-white and I was sure there were no shadows. 3. I would not recommend trying this with mystery or pitted/dirty steel involved. This stuff was all new and shiny, and I cleaned every layer very carefully. 4. Do not make the mistake of assuming I knew what I was doing. This was my first time, and it just happened to come out well. 5. You made a nice looking knife there!
  6. Excellent. For hidden tangs, it should beat heck out of the flame/smoke/fire/stink/char & burn method, which I never liked, and the broach will still allow carving a "slotted" tang hole. I have never trusted epoxy to properly bond to charred wood, although haven't had any failures (yet).
  7. Echo that, IFC! I'm making a couple of these tomorrow! Thanks for lighting the spark!
  8. The billet was nothing special, I just was pretty careful in prepping it. The stack was made up of all new metal, alternating 1/2" x 4" wide strips of 0.035" 1095 shim stock and 0.049" 15N20, with a 1/16" strip of 1095 as the core. The first photo in the sequence above shows the billet (19 layers) after each strip was cleaned with acetone, stacked, tacked with a MIG welder, a stub added for the tongs, and after it was cleaned up on the belt grinder. I was really careful to keep the metal clean as I assembled the stack, and I ground the billet down to fresh metal on all sides after it was tacked together. After all that careful prep, the actual dry weld itself was kind of anti-climatic and was surprisingly easy to do. I had fooled around with borax on a couple of experimental billets and did not like using flux, mainly because it was messy as heck and cratered my forge's kiln shelf floor pretty badly. So I decided to go dry. I plan to try some more dry billets but have several knives for friends and family to finish up before I get back to experimenting. Also getting ready to add a VFD & 3-phase motor setup to my home built 2 x 72 grinder to replace the 1.5 hp single speed motor,which will give me some much needed speed control. Right now it's pedal to the metal at 3450 RPM or nothing. Thanks again for the hammer control advice, I'll work on it.
  9. Thanks to both of you for the advice. The wrist pain only lasted a couple of days, and faded out. This was the first layered billet I'd ever attempted to draw out, and after reading and studying lots of IFI member comments on hammer technique, I may have mentally abandoned all I thought I'd learned, and was concentrating so hard on not screwing up the billet, that looking back after it was all over I'm not sure what my hand/wrist was doing, ha. I was mainly trying to take my time and be accurate. I used an 800g hammer for most of it, but used a short-handled 3 lb little sledge for the initial series of gentle welding "taps". Learning hammer technique kind of reminds me of taking golf lessons, where there are maybe 8 or 10 things that all have to go just right simultaneously in order to consistently hit a clean, straight drive. It all comes easier with time, I'm sure, but I'm trying not to learn too many bad habits up front. Like golf and many other things, unlearning a bad habit is a lot harder than learning a good habit!
  10. Thanks for the nice comments. It is a beast of an implement, and should not be carelessly wielded, so I really should probably make a sheath. Never tried a wooden one, so what the heck, maybe I'll do that. Actually, the 1/2" brass tube lined hole in the handle is intended for hanging it on a nail in the potting shed or wherever, but it is pretty heavy and extremely sharp so should probably have something for a sheath. I'll also have to warn her that it's carbon steel, and like a horse should not be put up wet. Till now I'd never heard of one of these things, but they make a lot of sense, and apparently are very popular among the gardening set. However, some online research reveals a lot of QA problems with broken & bent blades, loose handle rivets, etc with the mass produced units. I already have my first order, the XYL (wife for non-ham radio folks) wants one!
  11. Don't see a garden tool category, so I'll throw this in here, although maybe it should be in "What did you do in the shop today" instead. Mr. Moderator please move it if need be. Thanks. One of my sisters is a University-certified Master Gardener, who also teaches others. Her favorite all-around garden tool is the Japanese Hori Hori, but she uses her tools daily and hard, and has suffered a rash of broken/bent blades (from prying roots & stones) and poorly attached partial-tang handles that loosen up in use in the commercially available tools. Most popular variations appear to be rather cheaply made with blades stamped from stainless sheet metal, and they are infamous for having cheap and poorly attached partial tang handles. She asked me to make her a heavy use forged hori hori and forget making it pretty, just make it a bit oversized and make it tough. Making things that don't break and aren't pretty is right in my wheel house, so I finished this today. It's a full through-tang digging and prying tool, 15-3/4" long with a 10" blade, forged from 5/32" 1084 with scale left intact. It is about 2" longer and quite a lot thicker than the common versions. It's heavily front-weighted for chopping and digging, very sharp on both edges, and the serrations cut wood and roots quite well. The string/line cutter is also very sharp. Scales are riveted Koa. In keeping with the hori hori's evolution from a garden trowel, the blade curves slightly lengthwise, and is also forged concave in cross section for strength. I do not think she will break this one, and I hope she likes it.
  12. I remember it being called the icebox. The ice company provided each house with a four-way sign to put in the front room window. Depending on how it was placed, the upright number either read 25, 50, 75, or 100, referring to how many pounds of ice you wanted from the ice man who cruised the streets in his truck every few days. If you ran short, you drove down to the ice plant and brought home a chunk to hold you over. But that was when our phone number was "803-J", so it was a while ago.
  13. Thanks, Les. And you're right, Frosty, if I was doing it again I'd make it into more of a Wharncliffe and put the edge on the other side. My wife and chief QA inspector already gave me one of those "why did you make an upside down knife?" looks about the handle when she picked it up. But, as I lamely explained, it was less intended as a real working knife as it was a dry-welding attempt. I tried welding a billet with borax and not only had delaminating problems, the danged flux ate a crater into my kiln shelf forge floor, which really torqued me off. So I'm going to try to stick with dry welds from now on. This one seemed easier to hammer out, I had no delams to speak of, and it left the forge floor in pristine condition. Heck, now that the idea has been planted, maybe I'll re-grind the profile and call it a semi-Wharncliffe.
  14. Thanks, Goat Lady! I had to work hard to get the image of the Hawaiian Islands into the pattern on the left side, but felt it was appropriate considering the Hawaiian Koa handle.
  15. Wow, nothing like following an artist like Templehound with a beginner project like this. Some of you may need to avert your eyes, lol. Anyway, this utility sort-of-tanto-shaped blade was not only my first try at pattern welding, to make it even more fun it was dry welded and hand hammered. 8-3/4" OA, 4-1/4" blade. 18 layers of thin gauge 1095 and 15N20, sandwiched around a 1/16" layer of 1095, for a 1" tall, 1/2" wide, 4" long stack. It was dry welded and not folded during welding. The handle is simple polished Koa from a small supply I brought with me when I moved here from Hawaii, and is pinned to a hidden tang with stainless pins. Several valuable lessons were learned in the process, such as don't heat directly in the flame path if possible - I think doing that created some scale/stains especially on the left side I could simply not get totally polished out (especially visible in the post-tempering photos). Tempering was 450F for an hour, and hardness seems fine, which leads me to believe the blue after-tempering color was probably caused by residual quench oil (another of many lessons learned). The biggest lesson, though, taught to me in no uncertain terms by my right wrist, is to start saving up for a small power hammer. 8 photos below, I resized them but hope I smashed them down enough.