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I have a place in Montana being built... I've lived here most of my life due to the same reasons GNM mentioned, but I am growing out of that now so hopefully in the next few years we just make the move and be done with it; it has been a long time coming.

Paul - wish I could help there but my company deals in odd-ball stuff that most people have never even heard of.  I roll all my own ammo... if you do not I highly suggest you start; but a lot of components are hard to get right now, too.  If there's any way I can help let me know, and I will if I can.

 

 

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It's all super hard to find... or outrageously expensive right now. 

Kexel, I've got a buddy that's into some pretty random odd-ball off the wall collections, but I've just been pretty vanilla myself with my little collection of things.

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Kex, You'll never regret coming to the west.  I am very glad that my life took me in this direction. 

Where in MT?  there are some areas that are great and others not so much.  Depending on where you are winters can be pretty fierce.  Up on the High Line (Havre, Glendive, Wolf Point, etc.) there is nothing between you and the North Pole but a 3 wire fence.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

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Thank George - I have a 10 acre wooded lot on the top of a nice hill with a small cabin (for now) about 20 minutes west of Kalispell, or about 50 minutes from the West Glacier entrance to GNP (my favorite place in the world).

I've been going out there all my life... but like you said family/kids, etc. are still keeping me here for a few more years.  I drive through Glendive and Havre on my way out there and back, actually.

Thomas - ball moulds are easy... it's the dog spring that's impossible find!  But, we can always make our own now, couldn't we ;-).

 

 

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Kex;  A few years ago when Madelynn and I decided that we didn't want to spend the rest of our lives on the eastern plains of CO we looked hard at MT and one of the areas of interest was the Kalispell/Whitefish area.  We looked around the Kila and Marion areas west of Kalispell.   In the end we decided that Laramie was a better fit for us but NW MT was on the short list. 

I have a "nephew" (son of my best friend) who is a Physician's Assistant in Kalispell. Let me know when you get out there and I'll tell him to get in touch.  He is a hard core hunter and can put you on to some of the good areas around there. 

One of the main considerations about moving anywhere is how you are going to live there.  If you have a portable business that is a very good thing.

The main downsides of that area are snowy winters and that it gets hotter than you might think in the summer.  Also, and this could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your own values, it is a long old way to any major city.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

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Kalispell has great medical which will probably be useful as I age.  I have spent much time in all 4 seasons in the area over the decades, I am good with everything listed. Plus it has all the big box stores if needed, my business is portable, the land is paid for, excavation underway, building permanent cabin starts next year, I have a few decades of executive business experience in downtown Chicago... I joke about just getting a manager job at Baskin Robbins just for the health insurance.  I'm basically planning a younger-than-average retirement there with a couple small business, a few favorite hobbies and a solid resume. The summers in the Chicago area far exceed Kalispell as far as discomfort goes, and the winters here are just as bad if not worse considering the "wind chill".  I've backcountry camped in Northwest Montana for extended periods of time in all seasons, and the home i am building is modest, efficient and has a nice workshop.  I'm 46 now and plan on moving when I'm 50 so I have some years to enjoy what I've worked for. 

Thank you for your offer - I would be happy to meet your nephew. 

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Kexel; I hope that works out for you!  I was working for Lucent and planning to take an early retirement and then in 2000 I was diagnosed with adult onset juvenile diabetes; then Lucent crashed and burned and I had to find jobs that could support my medical needs---"pre-existing conditions"---and now I'm planning on retiring when I can go on medicare at 65.  My plans for a remote domicile also crashed as I need access to fast medical care.  "Life is what happens while we are making other plans."

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18 hours ago, George N. M. said:

Chicago very quickly stopped being "home" once I had left and just became a place where my parents and some old friends lived.

I grew up in the Dupage County, moved away for school and work to KY for about 7 years. Ever since I have been back up here, the idea of it being "home" is slowly losing its sentiment. Like you say, just a place where some family and friends stay. My wife has inherited a good acreage where she grew up in KY; been in her family for 100+ years and one day in the near future we will build on it.

13 hours ago, Kexel Werkstatt said:

I'm 46 now and plan on moving when I'm 50 so I have some years to enjoy what I've worked for. 

I hope to do the same one day! One thing I find common in IL is all the talk of wanting to get out; very little pride in residence and even less attachment. I can't help but hear and feel the opposite when in KY.

I often share in Thoreau's thoughts after he first saw Walden Pond:

"That woodland vision for a long time made the drapery of my dreams." 

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On 2/17/2021 at 10:16 AM, ThomasPowers said:

Kexel; I hope that works out for you!  I was working for Lucent and planning to take an early retirement and then in 2000 I was diagnosed with adult onset juvenile diabetes;

Fingers are crossed daily that I can turn the plan into reality.  Thanks Thomas, and sorry to hear of your troubles; glad to have you around after having to go through all that.

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Tis a botheration for sure; but we probably would not have ended up in New Mexico a great place to retire too and avoid snow shoveling here in the valley but there is still skiing in the Mountains (and trout fishing if you like that stuff.)  Places in NM have been an artist colony for 100+ years now.

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I was raised in KY for the better part of my childhood, then we came to Ohio. I lived for a few years down south, LA, TX, and FL. i have always been a hillbilly at heart. I discovered that the south just aint for me. Love the people, the food and the culture i just never felt quite at home. I remember when i decided to turn back north and was making that drive coming up on TN. As i started into the Appalachian mountains it was like a calm, peaceful feeling came over me. I realized it was becuase i was home. Even though i was still many miles from my destination seeing those mountains again was almost spiritual. Dont get me wrong i am a proud Buckeye but i would chose another location in the state if it were up to me. Somewhere around Athens or Gallipolis but the wife says no. I do however live in the same town we moved to and spent many a year here before the military. A little north of the moraine not mountainous but we do have rolling hills. 

Kexel, glad to see you got your life together. It took me till 46 to finally do it and at 50 now retirement is still a long ways off. 

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"Breathes there the man, with soul so dead,
Who never to himself hath said,
This is my own, my native land!
Whose heart hath ne’er within him burn’d,
As home his footsteps he hath turn’d,
From wandering on a foreign strand!
If such there breathe, go, mark him well;
For him no Minstrel raptures swell;
High though his titles, proud his name,
Boundless his wealth as wish can claim;
Despite those titles, power, and pelf,
The wretch, concentred all in self,
Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
And, doubly dying, shall go down
To the vile dust, from whence he sprung,
Unwept, unhonour’d, and unsung."

-- Sir Walter Scott, "The Lay of the Last Minstrel", canto six

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I think it is Taos New Mexico where the earthship guy lives.  I read all three of his books and build an earthship cabin in the woods entirely from scratch here in northern Washington 10 years ago.  I moved from North Carolina 20 years ago and love northern Washington; lots of elbow room and more freedom.  Recently, I started listening to this viking heavy metal band Amon Amarth and it got me thinking of building my forge, the song goes as follows:

 "Mjolner, Hammer Of Thor"
 

In the realm of Svartalvheim
Where master forgers reign
Loke met with Eitri and Brokk

With malice and deceit
He got them to agree
To create nine magic gifts for the Asa gods

Brokkr had a sense of foul play in the air
So he made a wager for Loke's head

Treasures will be forged
For the Asa gods
A spear and ring
For the Asgård king
But finest of them all
The Crusher it is called
Mjölner! Hammer of Thor

Loke's treachery
Knows no boundaries
He hid himself in the blacksmith's cave

But as work progressed
He feared he'd lose his bet
He knew his situation now was grave

Working the bellows
Heating the forge
Striking the anvil
Striking with force

Then as they worked on the last gift
A mighty hammer of war
Loke disrupted the work of the blacksmiths
The handle came out short

The nine gifts were brought to Odin's mighty hall
As Loke feared the gods praised them all

Treasures have been forged
For the Asa gods
For the Vana prince
A ship and boar
But finest of them all
The Crusher it is called
Mjölner! Hammer of Thor

Brokk came to claim his price
Loke fooled him twice
He saved his lying head
But got his mouth sewn shut instead

Treasures have been forged
For the Asa gods
For Sif they made new hair of gold
But finest of them all
The Crusher it is called
Mjölner! Hammer of Thor
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Little more work done on my first Yakut knife. I don't like how the shape of the tip ended up, but I can adjust it somewhat. Otherwise it's almost done. There is a scary sharp edge on it and I haven't even hardened/tempered/finish sharpened yet. Handle will be a spare piece of hammer handle I have stuck aside.

20210216_211818.jpg

20210216_211823.jpg

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Kex, is that an old file or do I just see filing marks?  I only sharpen blades as a last step because of safety considerations.  If you HAVE to put an edge on during the fabrication process cover it with tape while you are doing the rest of the work.  Particularly if you are using power tools (belt grinder, wheel grinder, buffer, etc.) having your work piece "scary sharp" is just asking to have your precious bodily fluids scattered about your shop.

Stay safe.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

Will, check out the German group Corvus Corax.  Also, google "White Man's Rain Chant."

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

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Plus there is no point (ha) sharpening before heat treating, that thin edge is going to heat up faster leaving it more prone to decarb/burning up/overheating. General best practice is to break sharp edges before hardening, not create them!

Not the end of the world though it'll turn out fine. Looking forward to seeing it done!

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20 minutes ago, George N. M. said:

Will, check out the German group Corvus Corax.  Also, google "White Man's Rain Chant.

That's quite the tune, intense fun. I'll have to check out more of their music.

Thanks George.

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And don't forget: "A knife is not finished until it has a sheath!"  Something my knifemaking Mentor used to  tell me over and over again.  Doesn't have to be fancy but a sharp blade requires a safe way to store it!

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Yes I got a little aggressive with the belt grinder... got caught up in the profiling and before I knew it, it was an edge. I'm going to knock it down a bit before I harden it for the reasons stated and I want to change the tip a bit anyway. I'm just surprised how dang sharp it is from just profiling it. 

Yes it is an old file George... scrap, dull file that I figured would be perfect stock for this.  Nice convex side profiled, flat side with the fuller done.

Thomas - I might go for a matching scabbard made from the same hammer handle so it just looks like a chunk of wood with some leather on it.

Thanks guys!

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There is a type of Japanese katana scabbard made that way to look like a walking staff; perhaps Steve  remembers the name?

Hickory is hard to carve; for wooden sheaths I generally liked to use tulip popular. Sheath inletting tools can be hand forged and use the golf ball handles for palm chisels.

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