Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Fall 2012


Temperatures here in New Mexico are finally beginning to drop, and it is becoming more tempting to start forging again.  Not that there aren’t unfinished blades scattered around the house, but at least its not so hot that standing in a semi enclosed space with a 2000 degree furnace blowing at you might make you pass out.
I actually have made progress on a few knives since my last report several months ago, completing numbers 64-66, each of these was started long enough ago that I will need to do some research to figure out what I made them all out of.

AR64 – 1095 Carbon steel - ~8 inch blade Chef’s knife, Canarywood handle, loveless bolts.

As I have less and less time for knifemaking, finish quality seems to go down.  Whereas early on, I would spend a long time making sure that there were no grinder scratches remaining; now I will let a few go.  Especially for some of the tougher metals (CruForge V for example), it just takes too long to get rid of the last few to be worth it for me.

I generally think that my creativity has suffered as well, I just don’t have time to develop the complex designs that I used to dream about.  Simple handles, simple guards, simple grinds.  That said, AR65 and 66 are a little unusual.  Both are daggers (and I know I’ve ranted about the challenges of daggers before – why do I make things that I know will annoy me, and I think that there is another unfinished one lying around here somewhere), one has a fancy handle (I finally got around to filling the cholla with powdered turquoise, and filing the guard, and grinding the pommel), the other is a little rough and is my first attempt at a wrapped handle, with rawhide no less.

AR65 – Stainless (S35VN) Cholla Dagger, Powdered Turquoise and Copper.

AR66 – 1095 Cold Blued Carbon Steel Primitive Style Dagger, Stained rawhide wrapped handle.

On the first weekend of November I fired up the forge! Twice!! Singed the hair on my arms, caught a few random sparks, but came through mostly unscathed.  I’m working for the first time with W2, and dreaming that I might be able to pull off some nice hamon.   The two are a semi-matched set of hidden tang tanto style blades (OK, they will be – I haven’t cut off the ends yet.  I’ll see if I can pull off a nice set of Tsuba or something. That’s still a little ways away though. No pictures yet.

 I’m also working on a little hunting knife – also in W2.  No pics of this one yet either.

I also tried out a new type of pen – Bolt Action.  They are pretty heavy as far as pens go, with a nice comfortable action.  They look fancy and are fairly simple to turn.  So far I’ve put together:  Desert Ironwood, Manzanita, and Bocote, Ancient Kauri, Macassar Ebony and Spalted Mulberry versions in Gold.

  Here's a sample...

I'd better stop here if I ever want to get this posted.

Talk to you soon...

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Of Teeth and Crafts

I hadn’t been to the dentist in a long time.  Then, last December, I had all my wisdom teeth out, and the dentist mentioned that I had some fillings that needed to be addressed.  So I finally got around to getting them filled, and one of my teeth had cracked (no wonder it hurt when I bit things), so I was going to get a crown, but then the root was bad, so I got a root canal, and am still waiting on the final crown. I also learned that I clench my teeth a lot when I am stressed, so I am trying not to do that , despite the occasional work and home stress.

I still haven’t managed to fire up the forge this YEAR, although I have some ideas.  I figured I should probably make some progress on finishing the knives that have been in progress for a long time.  Lately I’ve been able to use the excuse that it was over 100 degrees outside, and getting even warmer in front of a couple thousand degree fire wasn’t all that appealing, but the rains finally showed up yesterday, so it has cooled off a bit now. 

I did pick up some W2 that I am anxious to try out, since I’ve seen people make such nice temper lines with it. Gives me grand ideas for fancy things, but I should probably stick with something a little smaller to start off with.

I’ve almost made progress on a few of them, but have run into some errors – like forgetting to add the hardener to the inlace on a cholla handled dagger  >:-(  I run into those memory lapses all too often.  I think it is because when I do get to work in the shop, I try to do about 15 things at once, and then I make mistakes. Sigh.

I did manage to finish up the handle on the Spyderco Mule (CruWear).  I like Manzanita a lot, looks pretty J

And I made another Bighorn – this one in Damascus and Desert Ironwood. Fancy!

I also have ALMOST finished AR63 – Just needs its number and design mark. And a couple more coats of finish. And some final touches on the edge of course.

AR63. Koa with steel pins. CruForge V Tanto.

In the lathe-y world of wood turning, I picked up some stylus kits for the iPad world and made a few of them, and a stylus pen too.  Haven’t had a chance to get to the new bolt-action pen kits though.  Maybe next week.

Erica got a fancy new toy (I mean tool) though – a 40W laser cutter.  Too bad it doesn’t work on metal.  It’s pretty cool though, it cuts and engraves lots of things.  So in theory, I could laser engrave stuff on handles and sheaths, but I haven’t tried it yet.  We also have a piece of anodized titanium (courtesy of Pat Pruitt – who does lots of cool things with metal – check out his site), that we are going to try, to see if the laser will do anything to the stuff.

That's all for now folks.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Almost nameless post, now with pointless name :)

The beginning of April 2012 already, kind of amazing.

I never posted a blog about moving into the new house, no new pictures of my new workspace, nothing.

I'll blame all that on work, since I was leaving before real light and getting back after dark, things just didn't lend themselves to a strong desire to do more work, especially after taking care of the kids, and having dinner, and sometimes running errands, and occasionally getting some sleep.

Now that time has changed (a couple weeks ago already) there is a little more time in the evening to get a little bit of work done - so I've been really productive right?


We did start to put a vegetable garden in the back yard, and some other yard work though :)
And dealt with a little plumbing issue.

The shop is a little better organized, and I've played with the Lathe once or twice, but very little else. I bought a hollow grinder around Christmas so that I can make straight razors, but haven't even opened the box yet.

I added a guard to Uncle Jed's Country Skinner - not too exciting, but functional.

I also picked up a Spyderco Mule Team Blade - the concept is good - they put out blanks of different metals to give people the opportunity to test them out - everything else is identical. And of course, it is up to you to put the handle on. Which I just started to do yesterday.

The one I picked up is Cruwear, which in theory was designed to be a perfect knife steel with excellent sounding chemistry:


I also finally got around to putting together the Bighorn folder that I picked up a long time ago. Its a nicely shaped simple single blade lockback folder. I put salt cedar (tamarisk) scales on it, which look pretty nice, in my opinion at least. It went together well enough that I may do a couple more at some point. At least until I decide that I need to start machining my own, with a bunch of tools that I don't have.

If I don't post this now, I probably won't get to it for another three months.
Until then...

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Goodbye 2011, Welcome 2012

I wrote this blog a while ago, before the last one I posted actually - but never got around to posting it. Probably because I like to have pictures and this doesn't have any. Oh well.
Here it is anyway. At least three full months late.

I swear that that was the shortest year ever. If I wrote checks, I think that I would still be trying to remember if it was 2010 or 2011, and now it’s 2012. Despite that, I lot happened...

Autumn turned 3 years old.

Penelope was born.

I had all 4 wisdom teeth pulled out.

Erica’s business was booming. Pretty much every month was better than the one before it – a little dip for Penelope’s birth, but lots of business. Christmas season this year was scary. Thank you Alex for helping to make it possible.

We bought a house! And mostly moved in. Mostly it’s Erica and my workrooms that need moving at this point, we’ll work on those this weekend I suppose. Hard to want to go back to the old place though. We picked up some cheap and awesome new furniture from consignment shops – higher quality and cheaper than anything you can buy new!

There was a big drought – leaving Albuquerque the driest it has been in at least 50 years. This made for some challenges out on Laguna, but didn’t seem to have much impact on life in town – other than me missing the rain.

There were some big Snow Storms in Laguna! – But they barely touched ABQ, so I got a few snow days in December, but could still get around just fine in town. Nice!

I finished 5 knives all year. Pretty pathetic, especially since I got a new gas forge! – I do have a lot of partially completed ones, but finishing is a bit more of a challenge these days. Maybe with the additional space in the new house I can get a little more accomplished. We’ll see.

I did do quite a bit of woodworking this year – a bunch of pens, some shaving brushes, and miscellaneous other little projects. I have some ideas for more, but without insulation it’s hard to convince myself to work in the shop – or to take care of the kids when Erica is busy.

Maybe next time I'll add some pictures in again :)