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nose (ok, knives) to the grindstone (ok, beltgrinder) - Doug Ayen's Blacksmithing Blog [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Doug Ayen

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nose (ok, knives) to the grindstone (ok, beltgrinder) [Feb. 8th, 2003|04:36 pm]
Doug Ayen
[mood |energised]

With the temperature registering in at about 15 deg. F. this morning, decided not to go with plan A and do some casting in the unheated workshop (not to mention the inadvisability of trying to pour molten bronze into greensand at such a temperature -- sounds like a good way to ensure your casting has gaps and bubbles in it to me.) Instead, plan B -- hop on the working grinder and see about finishing off some project knives.

Got the frankish seax profiled, and down to 45 micron (gotta love 3M Trizac belts. Don't know why they sell them, they should just lease them -- they last forever unless you break one or get one wet). Had some fun getting all the lines evened out, and it's very clear that I have a metric buttload of cold shuts and inclusions on this piece. Oh, well, adds to the realism of the work. I'm planning on doing a dark-etched finish on it anyway, so those inclusions won't be quite as obvious as they are now. The pattern of the pattern welding has come out a bit from some surface discoloration, should be a pretty blade when done.

Hauled out a trio of tanto blades, took off some accumulated rust and got them down to 45 micron. I'd like to finish these off enough so I can move the the hand-polishing phase. These should be nice looking knives when done -- the hamons are visible even now. I'm thinking one lacewood, one kingwood, and one in ebony since I have a good piece kicking around the workshop. Maybe desert ironwood if the ebony isn't large enough.

Scrounging around the vermiculite bin, where I do my normalizing and anealing, found an old project -- the first knife I'd tried to do a carburized wrought iron welded onto a wrought iron body. The weld went fine, but the tang was a disaster (wrought has this nasty tendancy to split into fibers instead of moving if you forge it at the wrong temperature, or hit it too hard, or look at it funny . . . ). Took the time to weld on a new tang, then profiled the blade. Still trying to figure out how to finish this one off -- there is a very clear transition between the edge material and the body of the blade, and I'd like that to remain, but I'd also like to remove the scale. I might just try electrostripping the scale -- it's not a period technique, but it should give me bright metal without having to grind off that nice transition bit.

Did some more grinding on a chef's knife I'm making for myself, got that one down to 45 micron as well. That should be a sweet little knife when done. Ok, 9" blade, not so little.

That's pretty much enough for today, unless I feel energetic again this evening. Oh, and I have two bronze pieces out in the workshop ready for furniture, so that makes a total of 8 pieces in progress, plus the commissioned sickle.

Decided to bail for now on the maceheads, too much else to work on, and it looks like the castings are full of bubbles. Drat, wonder what I did wrong. Could have been that the molds were too cold -- I hope this doesn't happen to the sickle -- it's always annoying to get halfway through a piece only to discover some flaw that means "start over." I may just cast a backup piece using a warmed mold next time I fire up the casting furnace.

Hope everyone is having a good weekend.