Monday, November 23, 2009

News from the garage

Happy Monday everyone,

Erica gives me a hard time every once and a while about not writing blogs, and for posting them to hangedmandesigns when I do. So here's a relatively long one - at least for me.

Hopefully I will manage to attach some pictures to this one soon, cuz just text is kinda dull. Sorry.

Both the forge and the new lathe are up and running, despite a few hiccups. I'm definately still in the experimental stage on the lathe, especially considering that it was a really cheap one, and I'm using pretty cheap tools as well (my set of 8 cost about 45 dollars, and a quality single tool can frequently cost more than that), hopefully I have some mad sharpening skills :) Sharpness does make a difference, but metal and shape do too, trust me, I make knives.

Anyway, after turning a couple of legs for my daughters table - pictures to come - and the outside of a vase from a 4x4 i ran into some hollowing problems, and balance issues. After solving some of those (and throwing a couple pieces of wood around the room at high speed), I thought I would try something more interesting. I have a couple pieces of saltcedar root, and I threw one on, and roughed out the outside, then since that was working pretty well I put on a piece of purpleheart. Mostly because I've never really liked it, but also because I had a big enough piece to do something with. I even roughed out the circular shape in respect for it being a harder wood - and to reduce waste, since I may someday use some for a knife handle. It turns out that purpleheart is really hard. And I managed to catch the edge of my skew blade a couple times, and jam the faceplate onto the lathe. I've now managed to get it back off, and even have a solution to prevent it from happening again, but it was definitely a pain. I'll move back to the saltcedar tonight, and maybe do a little more sharpening first.

The forge on the other hand, is working pretty well. It heats up pretty fast, and seems a lot more even than my last one, but not quite as hot. The ceramic insulation keeps the heat in very nicely though, and I'll take the consistency. I tried melting some of my scrap together, and its not hot enough for that though. Oh well. Someday I'll get a gas forge. On the plus side, I now have about 7 knives that need cleaning up, and handles, but have gone through the heat treating phase! Which brings me to my next thought....daggers.

Why do I keep making daggers? Sure, I've only finished two, but now I have two more. And every time they are a pain in the ass. trying to get all the grinds to line up by hand on a primitive, 4x36 belt sander is extremely challenging. Nonetheless, I have two new daggers, in O1 tool steel and file steel (maybe W2?) that are ready to work on now. I'm thinking of using the lathe for their handles, since symmetry is more important with daggers. Sigh.

If you are curious, the other five that I'm working on are: a big Kukri (probably my biggest blade yet) and a santoku style kitchen knife (Both from a heavy duty jeep spring), a nice drop point hunter from one of my last chunks of 1095 steel, a scalpel/carving knife (O1), a straight point made from an old file.

I'll write a little more another day about an old (1942) boyscout knife that I cleaned up a little.

OK, back to work everyone!

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