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What did you do in the shop today?


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I finished my 9th knife today. It is definitely no where near professional yet, but it is leagues above the first one that I tried. There are still some fit and finish flaws, but I feel I am improving with each one.

 

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Forged the blade for my first hidden tang knife. No photos yet, as it’s still annealing. I’ll post some after it comes out of the hot box. 

2 hours ago, SFC Snuffy said:

JHCC, that's an impressively-sized swage! What sort of interior dimension do you have, and how big do you want/need your starting stock to be?

The inside is 1-1/4” square, so I’m guessing about 6” or so of 1-1/2” (or a bit more) round. 

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Looks nice to me Sfeile. 

I am curious if there is a reason for the foreword angled plunge line tho. Seems to me that a straight plunge line would make it a little easier to sharpen but then again at the angle for the sharpening bevel it probably doesn't matter. Just curious. 

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Thanks Das. No particular reason at all really. I just thought it looked good. I use one of those Lansky systems most of the time for anything other than straight razors just because I have gotten lazy with my sharpening. It doesn't interfere with that, but now you have got me thinking. I will have to try it on an actual stone and make sure that it won't interfere.

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19 hours ago, 58er said:

Rose lamp. 

This is beautiful.

I assume you make the component parts seperately and then join it all together? How do you join them? Forge Weld?

(Apologies for the possibly daft questions, I'm very new to all this!)

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7 hours ago, JHCC said:

No photos yet, as it’s still annealing. I’ll post some after it comes out of the hot box. 

As promised:

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Total length: 11-1/4”. Blade length: a hair over 6”. Still lots of filing and grinding to do.

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Bit of a bend in the blade, but should be fixable.

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Also knocked out a little bottle opener from some piece of automotive scrap, as a thank-you to the guys at the wrecking yard who promised to look out for a truck axle for me.

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That looks awesome JHCC. Can't wait to be good enough to have a go myself.

What size/shape stock did you start with? And how much of a taper/sharpness do you put on the blade at the forging stage, or is that mostly done in grinding?

Look forward to seeing the next step.

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Well, I’m barely good enough to have a go myself, so we’ll see how this works out.

The stock is 5/8” coil spring (probably 5160), so a lot of this was an exercise in using the cross peen to get some decent width. I did my best to forge in the basic levels and distal taper, but left the edge and tip pretty thick to allow for grinding and filing. “If a good blade you would win, you must first forge thick and then grind thin.“

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Thanks for the tips.

 When you say you're "barely good enough", what makes blades so especially difficult? Is it the challenge of shaping the blade itself (including, as you say, the distal taper etc)? I assume that all comes down to hammer control and your ability to move hot metal?! Or does the difficulty come further down the line in terms of heat treating etc?

Good luck! Watching with interest.

 

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Making a knife is like playing a solo Bach partita on the violin: it all seems so simple, but there are so many things that can go horribly wrong.

There are challenges at every step of the way. The metal behaves differently than mild or A36, you have to be a lot more careful about your working temperatures, what seems like a simple shape is actually extremely complex and sophisticated, heat treatment is a minefield, etc, etc. I've only made a handful of knives at this point, but each one has been an exercise in pushing my skills a little bit more. The one thing I'm constantly learning is how much more I have to learn.

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expanding on what he said: Knife steels move slower under the hammer, their forging range is restricted: they burn or cottage cheese at lower temps than does mild steel and if worked too cold they can crack. Contact quenching can be an issue too---or for some alloys even letting it cool in air will accidentally harden them!

If left in the forge too long they suffer from decarburization, grain growth and scale losses.  People still in the early learning stage tend to not be as efficient forging.

They are supposed to end up quite thin and so any hammer control issues either ruin the blade or add hours of boring work to remove them from an overly thick blade and bring it down into proper thickness---especially if you are doing the stock removal by hand.  If you are using power there is a much greater risk of damaging the blade by grinding too much off.

And then there is heat treat and straightening!  What is the right temperature? What it the right quenchant? (what is the right temperature for the quenchant). Can you straighten mid/post quench?  What is the proper draw temperature?

I generally assume that anyone that can't hammer to a a smooth flat surface and still having issues with burning thin piece in the fire is not ready for bladesmithing. The analogy is that when people still have problems driving in traffic  they are not ready for  driving in a race at a racetrack.  Not that they won't be ready in the future; they just need more work before they start the more difficult stuff.

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2 hours ago, ThomasPowers said:

any hammer control issues either ruin the blade or add hours of boring work to remove them from an overly thick blade and bring it down into proper thickness---especially if you are doing the stock removal by hand.

Conversely, a nice smooth surface with no deep hammer marks makes drawfiling a LOT easier!

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¾ in Hardy Tool Set almost ready welded and grinded most of the parts and cover it with linseed oil. Find out that I miss a cutting springer fuller (3/4 in) and have to finish the ¾ in hardy anvil horn (Ǿ 0-2 ¼ in)

Please lord, let me do some fancy forge work again, after seeing all this great work passing by (knives, sculptures, lamp and furniture):rolleyes:

Cheers, Hans

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Those are some lovely anvil tools, Hans. Don't worry about being jealous of our projects: we're jealous of yours!

 

 

(Although it should be noted that one of the nice things about IFI is how readily jealousy becomes inspiration.)

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Hans, that as some nice looking tooling. Sometimes you just gotta tool up to do the fun stuff. To some others making tools IS the fun part. 

It's all fun to me. Except wire wheeling. I dont like that. But I do a Lot of it. 

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On 5/28/2018 at 8:36 PM, SFC Snuffy said:

I made a couple of similar choppers for family members and had many of the same issues with cold shuts.

Well, I'm glad I'm not the only one! 

I think if I just keep rotating and little more as I bring the shoulder down it will be OK, I think I neglected one side for too long and kept doing 1/4 turns back and forth instead of going around and checking each face.

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Gents, and one specific lady – you are welcome to ‘steel’ as much as possible. Since I was born and discover I missed a third hand I’m lyrical about springer fullers.

And yes I’m hypocrite -because 'the journey is the reward’ and I like to create lots of the stuff by myself (shop building, tool/equipment making, air hammer design and building, first steps in bronze casting and so one)

If you want specific details don’t hesitate to PM me, I like to share my experience by 25 years of try and error in the colourful world of blacksmithing.

After all, there is no bigger compliment then being (good or even better) copied. Thanks for your encouraging words and replies.

Cheers, Der Hans

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On 5/24/2018 at 7:26 AM, jlpservicesinc said:

How heavy is your portable striking anvil now..?

Finally got around to weighing it, and it’s 122 pounds. The chains add another 43.

I’m thinking of adding some shelving or racking underneath to hold the tooling that fits its hardy hole. 

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