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ABS Intro to Bladesmithing class


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Last month I took the American Bladesmithing Society's Introduction to Bladesmithing course. I took a few pictures and thought you guys might want to check it out. This first post is from the first week:

Here is a shot of part of the forging area:


Jim Crowell using one of the power hammers:


We have been able to use the power hammers. Which is fun. It makes the slow stuff go fast. It also allows you to make mistakes quickly.

Here are the grinders. There are a couple of Burr Kings, a few KMG's, and a few Baders. Several of which are variable speed.


Jim Crowell was scheduled to be our instructor for the first week. Tim Potier was scheduled to be the instructor for the second week. However, Tim came up and helped out the first week on his own dime. Gordon Graham also helped out the first week and is planning on coming up for the last couple of days of the second week. So instead of having one instructor for our forging we had three!

Jim Crowell (He sure makes it look easy!):


Tim Potier A very fun guy. I am looking forward to learning a ton from him next week. EyeeeeEEEEEEE! :


Gordon Graham I was sure glad he came down to help out!:


One of the fun parts of the week is that some talented makers sometimes drop by. When John Perry stopped by on Friday I managed to pick up one of his sanding jigs and one of his broaches.

Here is a picture of J.R. Cook when he dropped by:


On Thursday evening some of us went to Kenny Rowe's and some of us went to the meeting over at Uncle Al's. I went to Uncle Al's and I had a good time seeing makers I hadn't seen in a while. There was some good BBQ and a flintknapping demonstration.


Here is a picture I wish I had before coming up. It is the kitchen in the bunkhouse. The kitchen has a refrigerator/freezer with an icemaker, a microwave, and an oven/stove. (Now you can plan your meals.)


And finally here is one of the blades that I forged:


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Week two:

The focus of the second week was on making knives that would be able to pass the ABS J.S. performance test. The test however, is not an official test.


Here is the beginning of my knife. At this stage I have just shaped the point.


Then a trip to the power hammer to put on the bevels and a little refinement with the hammer.


Now another trip to the power hammer to taper the tang a bit then some more shaping with a hammer and anvil. We didn't do much with the handles as the knife is about to get bent. Most just wrapped the bar of steel with duct tape etc. for the handle. I just gave it a little shape and called it good.


Then I do a little grinding to get it ready for heat treating. This is actually the last picture I got of it before I started the test.


So I cut a 1 inch sisal rope. Chop through a 2x4 twice. Then Tim Potier inspects the blade for damage and shaves some hair with the blade.


And this is the stressful part. Here you have to bend the blade 90 degrees. In this photo it looks like I am about halfway there. However, it does successfully go 90 degrees without breaking.


This is how the blade looks now.


Here is a top down shot of the blade showing the bend that the blade now has. The handle also has some bend in it as well. It was pretty exciting to have success on this one.

And while the test knives were the main focus for the week we were treated to info and demonstrations by Tim Potier on several topics:


Here is Tim working on a Brut de Forge piece.


Here Tim is showing one method for straightening blades.

On the last day Gordon Graham came back and I took advantage of his presence and had him show me how he grinds his clips. He also gave us some more tips and tricks which I will be trying out.

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