Friday, November 8, 2013

Hangedmandesigns etsy store is LIVE

Good Afternoon,
  Just wanted to share that my awesome wife has made my etsy store happen.  It will be a slow process to get acceptable pictures of all the items taken, edited, and posted, but we've started the process with a couple of bowls, pens, etc...  Stop by and check it out! 

Small Decorative Katalox Bowl, Hand-turned,  4 3/4" in diameter, 1 5/8" high
Katalox Bowl

Tamboti Barreled 24k Gold Plated Bolt Action Ball Point .30 Caliber Bullet Pen
Tamboti Pen

Ancient Kauri Letter Opener With A Chrome Blade, Office, Home Decor, Gift For  Men or Women, Hand Made
Ancient Kauri Letter Opener

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Getting Closer...

After a couple weekends I have a few products available for listing on the future etsy store.  I’ll be pulling out old stock as well of course, and have a variety of other things to make before Erica takes nice pictures of things, but here are a couple samples.

 Shaving soap bowls, razor and matching stand and bolt action pens...
 And more razors, stands and pens.

 One of my challenges is remembering or figuring out what type of wood I made things out of – especially when it’s one that I don’t use often, or is an old scrap of something that I made a long time ago.  Some woods are pretty unique and don’t cause me issues, but as I expand my wood turnings, I am experimenting with more than I’m used to.  I’m also developing allergies to some of them – not a surprise when it comes to Cocobolo, but definitely a surprise for the Blood wood.  I am now intimidated by my block of Rengas, which has a warning on the wood indicating that it is related to Poison Ivy/Oak and has similar compounds.  Where is my Tyvek suit when I need it?  And fully enclosed respirator?

I’m also learning that getting a nice even hollow grind is hard, not sure how many straight razors I will ever end up with, but at least I started J

After stringing the bow I made Autumn, I tried it with a real arrow, and snapped it in half.  With a little work, it became a takedown longbow, and works just fine.  Her technique leaves a little to be desired, but she’s working on it!

That's all for now folks.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A new Etsy Store...HangedManDesigns

Hanged Man Designs Etsy Store…

It’s not active yet, but it will be.  I’m intending this to be a clearing house for my crafts, Knives, Pens, Bowls, Shaving Brushes, Pipes, razors (Mach 3 and possibly straight) and whatever miscellaneous man stuff I manage to come up with (not that women can’t use this stuff too-shaving with straight razors is sexy!).
When it’s active, you’ll be able to access it at:

I have managed to get a little bit of work done in the shop over the last couple of weeks.  One of my friends, the amazing Pat Pruitt – check out his work at:, just got married, so I made a nice little bowl out of bloodwood…and immediately developed a pretty nasty rash on the inside of my elbows – didn’t realize I was allergic to it.  I know I am getting sensitive to coccobolo, but never had issues with bloodwood before.
I forgot to take a picture, but he was nice enough to take a few for me for me - Nice work again Pat.

As you know from the last post, I finished off my Kindjal project – inspired by my friend Jason Marker of  who just wrapping up a Kickstarter for a Savage Worlds Role Playing game setting: 

I also finished up my W2 Tanto.  Not at all a traditional handle, but I like it, and that is what is important.  It has the best hamon that I have managed to create so far, nice and dark, but not a whole lot of activity.

I’ve been working on a little 1084 mini kindjal – I’m thinking that I will use a modern handle (canvas micarta), and making it my interpretation of a Crysknife – without the worm tooth – since I haven’t been able to find one yet. I’m still in the forging and shaping period of this one.

I’m working on a couple matching shaving sets – Soap bowls, Mach 3 razors, and badger brushes.

I’ll be putting together another several bolt action pens – at least a couple will be deer antler, and depending on leftovers, I might manage to add a pen to the one or two of the shaving sets.

I started on another pipe, and have the materials for a few more – might do a pipe and fountain pen set too – out of briar of course.  If I can figure it out, I think it will be two bents and a straight pipe.

I also tried to make my daughter a longbow. But I used an old 2x2 pine board as the body., and as I didn’t know, but expected, pine isn’t ideal for this sort of project.  I fully expect the bow to break either when I string it, or when I try to draw it.  I also don’t know how heavy the pull will be.

Lastly, I’ve decided to finally try my hand a couple straight razors. VERY early stages, but it did get me to finally unpack my wet/dry grinder that has been sitting in its box for over a year!

Hopefully, and update with a shop opening date will happen soon.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Alloy Banding - Kindjal

Have you ever searched for the answer to a question many times, only to, much later, stumble across the answer? 

Some time ago, I forged a chef’s knife out of 1084 steel:

When I quenched and heat treated it, a weird zig-zag pattern appeared. I got it to happen in another piece as well, but didn’t know what it was.  Apparently, I recently learned, this is called carbon banding or alloy banding.  From the quench line to the edge, the steel reverted back to a plain silver/grey.  The knife is still sitting on my shelf, so I don’t really know how the performance is affected. It’s still pretty though.  I’ll just have to see how my current project works out, since I’m working in 1084 again.

And this time…nothing, possibly if I hadn’t used clay to try to get a pattern in the hamon; but who knows.
So here is the project…

Not too long ago I started working on a Kindjal – in this case a double edged slightly curved long knife, in the style of weapons used by the Cossacks a couple hundred years ago. There are various stories about the origins of the knife, but they don’t all agree, so that’s what I am calling it.
I started off with a foot long piece of 3/8th inch thick, 2 inch wide 1084FG steel.

Over a couple of forging sessions I stretched it and shaped it to about 20 inches of blade and handle.

I’ve mentioned many times that making something double edged is a pain – and this was no exception.

In the past I’ve gotten some interesting banding patterns in this type of steel, so I thought I’d give it a shot with a clay temper, once I got to that point.
Working with such a long blade was kind of a pain, because the weight of the blade would bend the hot metal more than I wanted.
The quenched blade did need some minor straightening as well.
After waaaaay too much time spent polishing (belt sander to 320, then back to 220 hand, 320, 400, 600, (ran out of 800), 1000, 1500, 2000.

There was a slight suggestion of a temper line towards the handle, but a little acid failed to show anything else, so I buffed it back to a mirror.

There were still a few irregularities along the back edge that I took care of with a diamond file.

I went with a more traditional handle, 3/8” Brass for the guard that will be just wider than the blade, stepping down to the grip, finally stepping back up to a rounded pommel.  I used a variety of pins to decorate the handle – not quite what I was planning, but my selection of carbide bits is a bit marginal at the moment.  Time to buy some more to match my collection.

I decided to go with a piece of Tineo (South American) for the handle, fairly light colored wood, but with some flaming – I intentionally chose a piece without much veining.  I turned the handle on the lathe and then flattened the sides for a nice feel.

All that is left now is the final edge and marking the base of the blade.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

August 2013 - The month I turned 40.

The glacial pace of work in the shop has continued since my last post.  I have managed to make a few things though.

Back in March, I talked about clay tempering and slowed a couple of blades.  Well, I finally got around to finishing 2 of them.

The tanto (AR67) has a hammered titanium guard, Macassar Ebony and stacked leather handle, and brass Raaen pins.

The drop point hunter (AR68) also has a hammered titanium guard, and a desert ironwood handle with brass Raaen pins. 

Now, you may not have heard of Vernon and Helen Raaen of Tennessee, and they don’t have much of a web presence, but their son Nial was my next door neighbor growing up and helped inspire my desire to make knives.  When his father passed away, Nial, knowing that I made knives, offered me a bunch of pins in a variety of sizes, so expect to see them on a lot of my work in the future, if I ever manage to produce a lot again.  Thanks again Nial, and thanks to Vernon and Helen as well.  One of their chef’s knives is still in daily use in my kitchen.

Turning projects….
I had thought I was done with my bolt action pens, but found that I had three more.  So I made and sold those also – amboyna burl, macassar ebony, and black ash burl. 

 At request I also made a matching ball point and fountain pen set out of kingwood.

I can’t believe that it has been almost 4 months since I turned a bowl – but I was getting kind of board with those also.  I had a series of pieces split, crack, or generally break on me, and that soured me a little bit.  I was dreaming that I would put 20-30 together and give them as Christmas presents.  Maybe I will start up again one of these days, I think I’m about a third of the way there.  I do still have quite a bit of wood left over.

Oh yeah, I finished up another ice cream scoop in Macassar Ebony.

Back in March/April when I was working on the bowls, I bought a replaceable carbide tipped roughing tool for my shop.  It is amazing how much faster and easier it is to work with that hard and sharp of a tool.  I’m pretty sure that without it, I wouldn’t have finished quite so many bowls.  I haven’t tried sharpening the bits with my diamond sharpener, but I’m hoping that I can extend the life of them just a little bit.

Upcoming projects…
I started working on a new pepper grinder – and had to repair my salt grinder as well.  So hopefully I will finish that soon, and post them together.

I have the 2nd Tanto blade, that I would like to get a handle on soon.  I’d like to make a slightly fancier guard rather than just the beaten titanium, but I’m not quite there yet, nor do I have a design.  I also haven’t figured out what I want to do with the handle.  I might try for traditional Japanese style (rayskin, silk cord) since I have those, and haven’t done it yet; but I really haven’t decided yet.  I also have some more modern materials that might work well – m3 volcanic black ash, white canvas micarta.  We’ll see.  Might depend on how the guard turns out.

I also want to make a Kindjal.  Double edged but curved – did I mention how much I dislike making double edged knives, and here I am,wanting to do another??

I must be crazy!

I also turned 40 this month.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The REAL news

As many of you may know, I have a wife.

In general, she is pretty amazing.  She plays roller derby (and has for 7 or so years), is a successful entrepreneur (go visit ), does workouts that would make me puke, mother of 2, cooks extremely well, puts up with me, is a fashion designer, can out leg press some of the male trainers at the gym, is an artist…  See? Pretty amazing, right?

So, you say? My wife is amazing too.  Well, maybe she is, but… did YOUR wife just buy you the motorcycle of your dreams?  Mine did.

I have had a motorcycle license for more than 10 years.  My taste has changed a bit since I first got it, but it evolved to wanting a Triumph Speedmaster several years ago, and stuck there.  So, what is sitting in my back yard now, but a 2006 black Triumph Speedmaster.

Even better? She lets me ride it! I get some special me time on Sundays (after cleaning the house), to go play, or work in my shop or whatever, without the kids hanging on me or anything.

Had a lovely ride up through Jemez this weekend, nice to see the trees flowering, and the rivers flowing.

Have a great spring everyone!

I love my wife!!

Thanks Honey J You are the best.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Pens and bowls and pipes oh my…

Who knew that Bolt-action pens would be a hot item?  I sold all of my first set, and my second set and about half of my third J    Deer antler is pretty popular here, and I’ve added an optional dear head pocket clip too.  In a hunting community like this one, people are practically chomping at the bit.

I also carved my first pipe out of aged and dried briar.  I guess a lot of people stain them to make them dark, but I left it natural. It was a fun little project, but, as usual,  forgot to take pictures. These pictures are courtesy of .

My wife and I collaborated on our first clock – I can’t say I had to do much: Some wood, her laser cutter, a little sanding, drilling a hole, and installing the mechanism.  But it looks pretty cool.

I also turned a nice little bowl out of figured maple.  I tried a spalted piece first, but it split along the spalting L  I am not very proficient at bowls yet, and need a couple of accessories to get the inside right, but I’ll get there.  Eventually.  So I worked in Manzanita next.  Manzanita has lots of gaps, which I filled with powdered Turquoise, and powdered Copper – I think it went pretty well.   I enjoyed it enough that I bought 4 more pieces to turn:  Osage orange, Lacewood, Honduras Rosewood, and Chechen. Erica really likes this shape so I haven’t branched out much.  Unfortunately I can’t make anything particularly large – 5 inches in diameter is probably about my limit.

Knifewise, I don’t feel like I’ve made much progress.  I quenched and tempered a tanto  (tried the clay technique to make a fancier hamon) but didn’t seen much development in the polishing process.  With the judicious application of acid, I discovered that the hamon – though present- was really close to the edge.  I tried again with the other Tanto, and managed to pull it back just about the right amount, not to fancy, but a nice wavy line.  The little hunter – which was a lot thicker, managed a little bit of a line towards the point, but not much along the edge – but I did have some issues with the clay falling off.  More practice is needed.

I also just received another rusty stockman’s pocket knife to clean up (see Autumn, Crazy Horse, Uncle Jed and Rust (2011)).  I intend to have a little fun with it once I have it moving again.  It’s not too old (scales are plastic), but it doesn’t take too much to get a knife all rusty and full of crud. 

As I mentioned a few years back in “Pictures from the lathe (2009)” some people think its offensive to clean up a knife.  Removing character is one thing, but restoring function – to my mind- is another.  It’s interesting to see how knives survive the years, but when “character” destroys the knife for all practical purposes, some of the character needs to go. We’ll see if I can fix this one without breaking it like the last stockman.  To date, it is making progress, but not there yet.

Oh yeah, I also made a couple letter openers – One in Ancient Kauri, another in Maple – it was supposed to be birdseye, but apparently I missed all the eyes.  Oh well.


But none of that is REALLY news…