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1  KNIFE TALK / Ed's Thoughts / Re: Knives for Blade Show 2016 on: June 01, 2016, 03:18:10 PM
the knives look great ed!!

that is one heck of a way to get ready for blade early....... will you do the same thing next year?  Grin
2  KNIFE TALK / General Discussion / Re: Quenching oil alternative for 52100 on: May 13, 2016, 02:12:02 PM
the label on the back of a jug of vegetable oil that I have in the shop for 5160 says it is soybean oil.  the only time I have used it with 52100 is for the post forging quenches. the reason I use it for the post forging quenches is that I have a veticle sword quench tank that I keep it in for doing double edged large blades, it stays set up and full of oil al the time. whereas I keep my Texaco in jugs on the shelf, and take it out and fill the tank each time I go to quench 52100 in it.

now for the shortcut part. your logbook, and the method I described is the only shortcut that I know of. approaching your development with a logbook and a methodical method will cut years off your learning curve, and will produce much better blades much faster than the "Christopher Columbus method" of just sailing until you find something.

when I went to develop a base heat treat for 440c, I bought 2 sheets of steel from a reputable supplier. I was fully prepared to use up both sheets to find a good "base heat treat", and really expected to. I got pretty lucky and only had to make and test 30 knives or so to get something that I was happy with for a start.

here is the problem with data given, and not gained......   lets say I give you my heat treat for 1095. I use a pid controlled kiln for most of my 1095, canola oil, and an old toaster oven for tempering. I heat the kiln to 1500, place the blades in the kiln, and set a timer for 7 minutes for 1/16" stock. after the 7 minutes, I remove the blades and quench in 130-140 canola, then repeat for a total of 3 quenches. then place the blades in the toaster at 385 for 3 hours, then 2 hours, then 2 hours.

seems easy enough to follow right? like you could just follow that recipie and get good results?   What if your thermocouple in your kiln reads a bit different than mine? what if you don't have baffles in your kiln? what if your setup doesn't allow you to get the blades out of the kiln and into the oil at the same rate that my setup does? what if your toaster cycles further from the set point than mine does?

the logbook, a methodical process, and relentless testing is the only shortcut that I know of to make knives that perform the way that they should. it will not shorten your path up that curve that you showed, but it may let you walk it, instead of crawling it.
3  KNIFE TALK / General Discussion / Re: Quenching oil alternative for 52100 on: May 12, 2016, 03:26:16 AM

Welcome to the forum!!

I believe that it is more about what the smith brings to the table, than what materials or tools he has to work with.

now on to quenchants...... for 52100, I use Texaco that I got from ed. because I could get it from him and he likes it and I have had good times with it also. for 1095 and 440c, I use canola oil preheated to 130-140 degrees. for 5160 I use vegetable oil.

If and when I ever run out of Texaco and need to develop a heat treat for 52100 with another quenchant, I will probably start off with vegetable oil. veg oils: canola, veg, corn, olive, ect..... have a lot of good things about them that I like. they are food safe, so the smoke "should" be fairly safe. they are easy to come by, inexpensive, and environmentally friendly.

one thing I have noticed about veg oils, is that the ones that I have used, seem to work better and more consistent after they have been heated a couple times to drive out any water. the only small "downside" I have found with veg oils is that you will need to develop your own heat treat with them, but then again, you should do that anyway, even with commercial quenchants to make sure you are getting the results that you want.

so here is a process that has worked pretty well with me. pick an oil that you think has potential. say veg oil. fill your quench tank and heat it to 130-140 and just heat a couple pieces of steel and quench them to drive any water out of the oil. let the oil cool. and then take a sample piece of whatever steel you are using, heat it to non magnetic, and quench it in the oil and note the temp of the steel, and the temp of the oil. file test the sample, then break it. heat another sample up a little hotter, or run the oil a couple degrees hotter and repeat. log it all in your log book, and you will soon find where the steel seems the hardest, and the grain looks the best. both on the temp fo the steel, and the temp of the oil.

now make a knife and quench it with what seemed to work the best with the samples. using your tempering oven {I use an old toaster with a couple oven thermometers in it} temper real low, like 300 for 2 hours, cool to room temp, then another 2 hours. then grind the blade, and test the edge for edge flex. if it chips out, adjust your temper in 10 degree increments until the edge will fail the way you want it to. then repeat with another test blade using what you found on the first one to make sure it is repeatable.

you will now have a "base" heat treat. and can then try the multiple quench, longer tempers, lower quench temps, ect... until you find what you are looking for. the important things to remember are to:

keep a log book

keep everything as consistant as you possibly can

keep a log book

test everything, never just take somones word for something, a test will only cost you a couple blades, and then you will know for yourself, with your equipment

keep a log book

test, test test. test your knives in as many ways as you can think of. use them, abuse them. no one in the world should be able to tell you more about what your knives can and cant do than you.

and last, keep a log book.

if you are thinking that I believe very strongly in keeping a log book, then you are completely right! your log book, if you keep one, will become your most important tool in your shop. log in everything you think could be important, the date, the temp in your shop, where you got the steel, the kind of steel, the oil, oil temp. damage to the blade during the test, your thougths about the test, everything.

on my youtube channel, I did a couple videos taking you through the process above when I was working up my base heat treat for 440c, here is the first one     
4  KNIFE TALK / General Discussion / Re: etching to reveal faults in knife blades on: May 03, 2016, 03:56:23 AM
thanks Tom! I'm very glad that you enjoyed the videos!

I know everyone sharpens differently, but when I am sharpening with power equipment, I just use it to shape an edge and get it close. with as little pressure and heat as I can get away with, and with coarser belts as they cut faster and cooler. and then do the final sharpening by hand.

and there is always more to learn about sharpening.... just the other day, I learned how, and sharpened my first couple of saws! I believe they are my grandfathers bone saws. the blades were riveted in pretty hard, and so I took about an hour and a half to build a jig to hold the blades still, and then the first saw took me about 10 minutes to sharpen, and the second took about 5 minutes. in todays age of power saws, and disposable blades, it had never occured to me to sharpen a saw. and now that I have the basics down, it is very cool to know how!
5  KNIFE TALK / General Discussion / Re: etching to reveal faults in knife blades on: May 02, 2016, 11:21:13 PM
thanks ed.

the knives are in a box and will be headed your way tomorrow so you can take some pictures if you want. I ended up forgetting about one of them in the vinegar tank, and left it there until sometime the next day. it is pretty interesting in that you can really tell the harder parts, and the parts that were either left soft, or were damaged either by the torch or grinder. the hard portions are quite a bit higher than the softer parts :} and the edge where it was overheated has been eaten back into the blade.

another interesting thing is that on the back side of the large parer, there were some deep scratches left in the finish when I went to etch it. Id guess 60 grit. the scratch looks like it wasn't etched at the same rate as the area around it, and they are standing up from the surface. almost as if the grit that caused it, moved the metal around the piece of grit as it cut, work hardening it. as soon as you run your finger over it, it will be pretty obvious.

I was hoping that the part that I just heated to a sizzle would show something, but looking back on it now, the parts that were overheated with a torch or the belt were pretty faint in the camera. and that part of the test was an attempt to get an etch of something like what happens when powergrinding an edge. but it may be that that sort of damage is fairly shallow, and that the etchant may cut the damaged steel away as fast as it reveals it. ill probably try that part of the experiment again sooner or later. maybe with a weaker etchant and higher polish.
6  KNIFE TALK / General Discussion / Re: New Knife on: May 02, 2016, 11:08:12 PM
Daniel, you always take some amazing pics!

what is the hump near the tip on the top one for?
7  KNIFE TALK / General Discussion / etching to reveal faults in knife blades on: April 29, 2016, 07:31:43 PM

did a couple of videos today and yesterday about etching blades to show faults. had a pretty tough time both burning an edge on the grinder on purpose, and showing the damage in the etch, but I think there are a couple shots in there that show it pretty good. it seems like it is easier to see the faults while the blade is still wet from the etchant, both with ferric and vinegar. once the blade dries out, its much tougher to see them.
8  KNIFE TALK / High Endurance Knife Discussion / Re: some interesting information on: April 13, 2016, 09:14:04 PM
Congrats to you both!!!!!!

for me, this is where it is at as a maker. there is a huge difference in performance when you go from a factory making knives for the masses, or a maker using the flavor of the month, sending it off for a basic heat treat and then making knives out of it. and a performance minded smith, using either one steel or a small selection of steels, and learning everything they can about it.

you have proven something that I have thought about quite a few times. if a smith were to get a good amount of a steel, enough to work up a good heat treat for it, and enough to test it out to their satisfaction. and then using what they learned in the testing to set the geometry around that heat treat. then the quality of that steel may not be so important. the whole package will take into account the steel, heat treat, geometry, and design and make a good knife for what the maker intended.

the really exciting thing is that no matter if you continue to work with that steel, or select a different one, you use the same way that you came to find out what processes worked with it, to develop your process with that new steel.

it is also a good way to show what I tell a lot of my customers that ask for steels that I don't work. I tell them its not just the steel, but the relationship that the smith has with that steel that matters.
9  KNIFE TALK / General Discussion / Re: Calton-Rohde Collaboration Pictures! on: April 01, 2016, 02:19:22 AM

you did a fine job cleaning those up and installing the handles on them!!

you can really tell some differences in the way that you and I do the same pattern. I can point out some of them and give you my thoughts on why I do them the way that I do.

first off is the amount of hardened steel. on a hidden tang knife, I do like the hard part to stop before the blade enters the guard. usually knives with guards are a bit thicker so you have more room in the guard slot to get your files in to fit the guard, and the guard and handle material gives some rigidity to the whole knife. on these thin little blades {1/16"} though, if you leave the tang completely soft, you can run into problems in heavy cuts where you bend the tang permanently. so I like to have a small ribbon of hardened steel that runs through the tang to give it some stiffness. also I like more hard part on these thinner blades. not only to give a bit more stiffness to the blade since its so thin, but also I use the heck out of the ones that I keep. the stainless prototype that I kept, and used for about 8 months, I used up about 1/8" off the width in that amount of time. of course I use them harder than I expect most of them to be used, and so wreck the edges a lot, and have to sharpen much more often than someone using them for what I make them for :}

the second big one is where to end the handle material on the ricasso. I like to take it up a bit higher to where it meets the point, and then round the point off a bit. that way the handle scales soften that point so that its not so hard on the hand in different grips.

the finish also. I usually stop at about a 400 grit finish. it doesn't show off the hardening line as well as your nicer finish, but also the scratches that will happen with a kydex sheath blend in a bit better with the coarser finish.

but man you got some finishing skills that is for sure :} that koa is especially nice looking!
10  KNIFE TALK / General Discussion / Re: Happy Easter on: March 28, 2016, 02:23:20 PM
happy easter to you ed and to everyone else also!
11  KNIFE TALK / General Discussion / Re: Narrowing the field. on: March 27, 2016, 06:02:33 PM
are you trying to narrow the field for the types of knives that you want to make? or the kinds you want to collect?

either way, it is a tough thing to do. I started off wanting to make working and hunting knives. the classic 4"ish hunter, and "rough use" 5" plus knives, and then big choppers. I had never had very good luck with stainless knives, so I narrowed it down to high carbon blades. and as I am mostly interested in working, a high degree of finish doesn't really matter to me.

then, someone talked me into making a couple kitchen knives. that lead me into very very thin precise grinds, and what makes a good kitchen knife from a not so good one. and then that lead to wanting to offer a stainless kitchen knife that would give as much cutting performance as I could get, along with stainless properites.

somewhere along the line, I also got into everyday carry knives like neckers. and trying to find a balance between very good cutting ability and thin grinds, balanced with an acceptable level of toughness.

and lately, even though I never thought that I would be interested in Damascus, that bug has bitten, and I have been playing with some basic Damascus. and learning about that and will soon be offering the different classes that I already make in Damascus.

ive also made some folders, and would like to make some more sooner or later.

about the only classes of knives I haven't been interested in so far is the tactical types, fighting knives, fantasy knives, and high finish art knives or things like hatchets or tomahawks. but you never know, I may make some of them also.

one thing that has really struck me is how much things cross over between the classes. like when I got into kitchen knives. it was how thin can I take one of my steels and maintain a usuable level of toughness. then when I applied that to my choppers, I was really able to make a big leap in performance. as I was used to having a mic handy, and grinding to a known thickness, instead of just grinding by eye.
12  KNIFE TALK / General Discussion / Re: Blade Show 2016 on: March 27, 2016, 04:10:31 AM
I wont be able to make it this year, too many other projects going on this year. but hope to make it next year.

13  KNIFE TALK / General Discussion / Re: RohdeEdge- First Try at a Video on: March 27, 2016, 04:08:36 AM
great video d!!!

Id like to see you try 2 things a bit differently. one is to make a swing away rest for profiling on the wheel. if you watch while you are profiling on the wheel, your hands are fighting keeping the blade in position on the wheel a lot, and if you were to add a simple rest there, it would save a lot of stress on your hands and wrists, and let you profile much faster, safer and more efficiently.

the other thing is the blocks on your drill press. as much as they are shifting around, that is just asking for the bit to grab the blade and bite you. if you raise your table then it will give much more solid support. or if the table is a pain to raise, then grab a big block of wood and drill on that. also might see what you can do to come up with a stop that you can brace the blade against, so if the bit does grab the blade, then the stop takes the hit and not your fingers.

but that is a really really nice video!!!
14  KNIFE TALK / General Discussion / Re: Super Glue Finishing? on: March 17, 2016, 11:41:46 PM
I have no idea whether or not those are too smooth, I cant touch them through the screen. they are gorgeous though!

you would have to decide for yourself what grit finish that you like on a working kitchen knife. which is why I suggested making yourself one, and trying it out with your hands covered in chicken fat. veg or olive oil works good also to test your handles out.

kitchen knife handles can be a bit deceiving. on one hand, you are likely to be using a kitchen knife in a pretty controlled environment. as in a kitchen. where it is normally warm, and you are on solid footing, using the knife on a controlled surface. compare that to a hunting or outdoor working knife where you may be very cold and shivering, cutting on the ground, or overhead, working on a sidehill covered in loose shale with a snowstorm blowing in.

but on the other hand...... imagine cooking dinner..... you should have had it in the pot an hour ago, the kids are screaming, the dog wants out, the timer on another dish just went off. and you didn't sleep well the night before. little johnny decides that the moment you have your hands full of that whole chicken that you are quartering up to fry is a great time to run his Tonka truck across the counter while you are working. and all of a sudden that nice warm "controlled" environment isn't so controlled anymore. these are times where you would be very glad that you had tested your kitchen knife handles as best as you could have :}
15  KNIFE TALK / General Discussion / Re: Super Glue Finishing? on: March 16, 2016, 01:46:49 PM
I did a super glue finish once that I remember, on one of my first neckers, which was the necker that convinced me that neckers should be as light as possible, as this one weighs a ton. but I did carry it for a few months, and the super glue finish is still on it and hasn't peeled or worn away that I can tell.

the reason I did the superglue finish wasn't so much to get the wood all nice and shiny, but because the piece of burl that I used wasn't completely dry, and had quite a few little voids in it. so after I shaped and sanded the handle down to about 600-800 grit, I started filling voids with some of the sand and superglue. well the glue got all over the place and looked horrible, so I just put the glue over the whole handle to even it out.

the handle is way too smooth for what I like now, and especially too smooth for a working kitchen knife. and I remember that it got really slick when I was cleaning some trout that I caught the last time I used it. the wood also continued to dry even with the glue, and now there are little cracks all over the handle.

I really have gone down in the grits that I like to finish handles out to since that knife, and rarely go over 400 grit now. somewhere between 200-400 grit is where I like a good working knife now, unless its a rough use knife, and there I even like 120 grit. keep the lines of the sanding with the grain and it looks nice, and feels smooth, but not too smooth to hang on to. for kitchen knives, I mostly just dip them in food grade mineral oil then wipe them down and let them air dry over a few days. the mineral oil floats the sanding dust out of the pores of the wood and makes them look nice, you don't have to worry so much about the oil making someone sick if it rubs off on their hands, and most folks that enjoy custom knives will have some on use on their wood cutting blocks. you can recoat it at any time without needing to sand off the old stuff first, which make maintenance for the customer easy also.

but its easy to test out kitchen knife handle finishes. make a tester with the handle and finish that you want, then put it in your kitchen for a few or 12 months to see how it holds up. cook as much as you can with it. and see especially how well it works when you are cleaning fish, or cutting raw chickens. chickens really tell you how your handles work. when working them up, grab a handful of chicken fat with your knife hand, and then see how well you can hang on to your knife handle and control the blade. you can also speed things up with the finish by sticking the knife in the dishwasher for a few months to see how well it wears. 2 months in the dishwasher probably equals 10 years of normal use and will really point out things you need to work on.
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