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Doug Ayen

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blog ideas [Dec. 4th, 2005|05:29 pm]
Doug Ayen
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Since I've got this thing, I really feel a need to get back in the habit of actually updating it.

So, blacksmithing things I've been working on:

Xmas knife project: Got a bunch more cable welded up, and have more cable on order. Have sorted out enough antler bits to make a decent number of knives. Next steps: grinding and polishing of the knives into knife-shaped bits. Heat treating. Stabilizing the antler bits (got a quart of Nelsonite from http://refractory.elliscustomknifeworks.com/ that I won in an "Iron in the Hat" that I want to try). Just lost next weekend to a con, so I'll have to work harder during the week to make my deadlines.

New knives: Got a brainstorm Friday and sketched out a bunch of new knife designs, fantasy pieces that I think will both look and sound cool. Yes, sound. I'll go ahead and scan them in and give some progress reports as I start working on them. In addition, I now have in hand the tritium vials (green) that I've been waiting for in order to start work on a couple of designs. They're smaller than I thought they'd be, and much dimmer, but still cool. Still, I'll have to come up with a design that is visually stimulating, practice my engraving, or at least get better with my etching. My drawing ability sucks. I either need to practice drawing, or break down and hire someone to do some art for me.

Old knives: Got some polishing done on the wakizashi, it's looking good. Sharp, too -- accidentally shaved off some skin when I got distracted by a cat earlier. And I'm still working at 220 grit -- this is going to be one hell of a sharp sword when I'm done. Still working on a poniard/smallsword, but I think I really need to get a lathe to make the guard I want. Probably should re-do the blade as well, I know I can do better than that, but I'll probably finish it and add to the collection of "knives not for sale 'cause I'm embarrassed of them." Got about 5 of those now.

Steelmaking & documentation/Celtic Sword Project: I agreed for the Early Iron mailing list to document my process for making steel from wrought iron using a small-scale cementation process. Of course, having made that promise, I haven't had time to follow through yet. Still, the winter is young, so I should have no problems doing up another couple of batches. One batch will be used for the Celtic sword project, the other I'd like to use for a katana or tanto, depending on how much I have left over after the Celtic sword is done.

New forge: Still not as hot as I'd like, so I'm relining the NC forge with new blanket insulation material, higher-temperature refractory coating, top coat of ITC-100, and will be converting the burners to ejector-style. That should get me what I'm looking for. If not, well, guess I'll do Forge Design #3, a blown recuperative model that pre-heats the air. In the meanwhile, the new forge is performing adequately, and does seem to be nicely efficient.

New tooling: Having gotten the CD for the Hugh McDonald-style Rolling Mill (see review at http://www.anvilfire.com/bookrev/mcdonald/mill.htm ) I really want to get moving on the project. I think this will be my "it's too cold to forge, let's make something" winter project. Though if anyone was selling a version I'd buy one. I'd rather spend money than time for tooling -- I like knifemaking, and put up with toolmaking as a necessary evil. Ok, maybe evil is too strong a word -- but I'd rather be making sharp pointy bits than the tools to make sharp pointy bits. I like the small, underpowered jewelry-style mill enough to justify the expense and/or effort, though.

I managed to do something to my wrist on Friday, so I'm not going to be hammering for a bit -- fortunately, as I've made enough cable damascus to get started with the grinding, I can afford to take a few days off. Hope this isn't the start of an RTS or anything, though.

Cheers.

--doug
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