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Author Topic: My friend, Ed.  (Read 9203 times)
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kbaknife
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« on: July 25, 2010, 07:38:41 PM »

Here's the thread that was in question on Chris' topic about forging hot.
http://tradgang.com/noncgi/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=110;t=002555
I was hoping to not see any more about this, and my day was going pretty good until I saw what I see here.
The last thing I would ever hope to do it sully my good friend, Ed's, forum.
But I am sure Ed thinks enough of me to let me have my say.
Here's what I suggest to you, Chris:
And I suggest this from personal experience when it comes to traveling this path we call knifemaking.
The next time you are at Willow Bow, leave your ego at the door. If you're lucky, while you're there, you'll learn something about knife making from ED Fowler.
If you're REALLY! lucky, you'll learn the most important thing he teaches of all, and that is to treat ALL the other people who share this passion with respect and courtesy.
I have seen Ed stand proud and firm in the face of some really underhanded slander, not to mention outright attacks, and without the slightest hint of anger or animosity, continue on about his way with respect and courtesy for all concerned.
And he wouldn't have to think very hard to remember me standing there right beside him.
Today you told me that what I wrote was "offensive and pathetic".
And that I shouldn't use Ed's class as one of my "credentials" if I was going to discredit what he does.??
Never even crossed my mind to discredit anything Ed does.
There are many 'big names' in this knife industry, and I have been lucky enough now, over the last 13 years, to have rubbed elbows with many of them, and have traveled this country in search of every bit of information I could to help me in my own personal adventure.
My visit to Willow Bow was one of many. And one whose message walks with me to the shop every single day.
But those aren't the only messages that accompany me. I also carry messages from people like Don Fogg and Hank Knickmeyer and Jerry Rados and Darryl Meier - makers who have forgotten more about knifemaking than most people will ever learn.
I made a good friend of Ed, and hope that friendship remains true until the anvil no longer rings.
But he's not the only person I have met, nor the only person I have learned from.
In fact, I would bet very good money that Ed would think less of me if I took his lessons blindly and adhered to them with no thought as to the "how" or the "why".
What Ed admires in me (I'm speaking for you, Ed) is my constant effort to improve my own understanding of what I do.
I do NOTHING blindly, and use NOTHING if it doesn't work - proven by my own testing.
Not one knife leaves my shop that I do not stand behind.
Not one knife has returned to my shop since I was honored to partake in a Willow Bow session. To the contrary, I get frequent and repeatable commendations from my customers regarding the quality and well-thought-out design and performance of my knives.
Chris, even Ed's processes have changed since I was at Willow Bow in '05. Does that mean that what he was teaching then is now wrong? Absolutely not! Because someone does something different does NOT make it wrong, nor does it "discredit" the other.
I take offense at you saying "It would be good for a laugh if it wasn't so sad".
You certainly didn't learn THAT! from Ed.
Ed is too much of a gentleman, and far too humble, to ever laugh at another for the simple reason that they did something differently than the way he did it.
To the contrary, he might question it and see if there was not something there to be learned.
I talk to Ed often - even though I might be a little negligent since the Blade Show - and am always inspired by the subtle messages I get about how much more there is to know about what we do.
The knife world is big, and getting bigger all the time.
There is so much to learn. That's the important thing I learned from Ed.
On the day I passed my JS performance test with Don Hanson, I got ONE! phone call.
You can guess who it was - Ed. He was as proud of me as I was of me.
I'll never forget that phone call.
Chris, I will use my visit to Willow Bow as one of my credentials as long as I make knives. And don't ever suggest to me that you could tell me to do otherwise.
I learned a LOT more than how to heat up a piece of steel while I was there.
And I also learn something every time I talk to Ed or read one of his articles.
I learned that steel is only a small ingredient of "knife making". Knife making is passion, people, adventure, learning, understanding, respect, honor, pride, success, failure, and doing it all the while in the good company of those who admire each other for their efforts.
There are those who differ from me so greatly in how they do things in their shops, but I would not consider for even a moment calling their efforts "offensive and pathetic", because I know they would stand up for MY right to do things however I chose.
And I consider those people my good friends.
And I'm honored to call Ed one of them.
You can be a friend, too, Chris.    

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When the last elk vanishes from the hills,
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I will hunt mice for I am a hunter and I must have my freedom.
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kbaknife
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« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2010, 07:56:36 PM »

And keep in mind, that web site is NOT!! a knife making web site.
It's a traditional bowhunting web site, which, incidentally, is one of the most influential factors leading me to knife making in the first place.
Of the 30 or 40 people who frequent that sub-forum, for the exception of me, Lin Rhea, Matt Lamey, Doug Campbell, and a few others, the vast majority are hobby makers who we just try to keep out of trouble.
Most of the knives there are made from old files, disks, saw blades, horse files, etc.
One of our biggest focuses is the Cancer research donations we get from frequent auctions.
There is absolutely NO ROOM! for dispute or arguments or name calling, etc. It will NOT be tolerated.
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When the last deer disappears into the morning mist,
When the last elk vanishes from the hills,
When the last buffalo falls on the plains,
I will hunt mice for I am a hunter and I must have my freedom.
Chief Joseph, Nez Perce
caknives
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« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2010, 08:29:33 PM »

First i think we both might of gotten alittle over excited out of the gate. If I offended you that was not my intention. My intention was, and still is, to promote what I know to be true from my experience just as you do the same i'm sure. Without dispute how can anyone learn anything? If someone says something is true it just is, no question? I don't remember any name calling, and I don't remember you being in charge of what will and won't be tollerated. You said and I quote "Forge HOT! Well take care of excess grain growth when the forging is done. Forge HOT! Forge HOT!" If this is metalurgically sound advice I haven't heard it before and its the opposite of what I do and believe. I would never recomend this to a begining bladesmith. One gentleman in the next few posts says that he forges his blades at a near yellow heat because the steel moves easier. Niether of us corrected him, and we should because we were paying to much attention to each other and not this fellow who could use our help. Then you say if you forged your damascus at barely magnetic you would have welds tearing all over. No kidding? One we are not talking about damascus, we are talking about 1084 and 5160. Why throw that bit of noninportant and seamingly discrediting little nugget of info. in? You say the master smith damascus blades perform EXCEDINGLY well. What does that mean? They are never cut tested, only chopping and bending. Then you reference industry which has " all kinds of grain growth and distortions and " got it to where I started". I use virgin stock poured and forged to exacting specifications, much like the mile of 1 inch square 5160 you use. Why not just use the flat stock from admiral if its all the same? I think you say that your 5160 is the "best" as far as your concerned. What maked it so good? Its good because it was handled properly before you got it, and its quality after that is up to you or me the bladesmith. All That goodness can be lost at any time in the process by overheating or otherwise poor forging practices. Also please explain why you want to minimize the number of forging cycles? I don't understand that. How is that benificial?
« Last Edit: July 25, 2010, 08:42:05 PM by caknives » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2010, 09:02:46 PM »

I visited the thread and read what was said. I read several errors, many of them semantic.

Forging HOT, "Yellow heat", do so and you will never be able to achieve the performance potential of that steel. When I test blades to destruction that have been forged that hot they will never preform to the level that blades from the same parent stock that were forged at 1,625 f and lower. I would ask that maker how he tests his blades?

Joe Szilaski came to my shop, he forged a tomahawk from a rail road spike. The slag on my anvil was a fine powder, he was able to brush the slag on the anvil into a pile, wet his finger and pick it all up.
he did not need to go to a yellow heat to forge or punch that spike. This my friends is a demonstration of the art of the blade smith carried to its highest level.
 
Rex tells me that 1,750 f is the absolute top heat for limiting grain growth, forging at any temperature over that and you loose performance due to grain growth. Once you grow grain through over heating I do not believe you can ever achieve the potential fine grain the blade could have had. Fine grain and blade performance go hand in hand. For my blades I call 1,625 the top temperature to provide a safety margin. Also the finer the grain in a piece of steel, the lower the temperature at which it will grow.

I have never seen a case where forge welded Damascus blades can perform to 1/4th of the performance limit of quality 52100 or 5160 forged at the lower temperatures.

There was a time I felt Damascus was the door to better blades, when Wayne and I started testing our blades we found out very quickly that Damascus is not a high endurance performance blade. Karl - you found out one of the weaknesses of Damascus when you tried to forge it at lower temperatures, it came apart. This is the nature of Damascus, it is pretty and can perform OK, but in my experience it will not out perform a well forged blade of 5160 or 52100. The best cutting performance I was able to achieve with chain saw chain Damascus was 240 cuts, the best 52100 steel blade tested was 1,200 cuts. This is only one aspect of performance, there is also strength and flex, I have never seen Damascus to be competitive in these venues.

We can ask others to test our knives, but when they know more than the maker does, he is in bad shape.
The maker has the primary responsibility to test his knives and test them thoroughly, then he knows and the learning from those tests provides instant feedback he has the best opportunity to gain knowledge (learn).

It is natural to feel that folks on the out door channels know more than we do, just because they are on TV. Most of them are showmen. Just like folks think the rodeo cowboy is a true cowboy, they are actually mostly athletes on race horses. Very few can work cattle and leave as many pounds on them as possible.

Looking at the size of the scale from the tang of the blade photographed I would bet it was too hot.

My next thought is that the blade smith did not let the blade soak in the forge long enough. It took me a long time to realize that while the outside is hot, the center may still be too cold. Soak time is 2 hours for every linear inch to the center of a piece of steel.

I try to keep my forge around 1,650 f, when I fire up my forge I place the billet of steel in the forge immediately and let it heat up with the forge. You can watch the blade color brighten, darken and then brighten again as the forge and blade reach forging temperature.

One member asked a significant question "how heavy is your hammer?" Light hammers have a tendency to mushroom the steel more than heavier hammers. Still if you pay attention and keep the sides tight you do the steel no damage, when you fold the mushroom into the blade it is always a wreck.

As for the comment that for the past 50 years science has learned ---. I have heard that for over 40 years and still laugh. To day we still have more to learn, and very probably none of what we learn will be new, someone learned it long before we ever picked up a hammer. Very little of their knowledge is economical for industry, it takes too long. In our experiments Rex has been able to suggest lower temperatures than were thought necessary in industry. You won't read about it in the journals, they stay ahead of the competition.

There was a time when I tried many steels, then specialized in two similar steels, quality 5160 and 52100. I still have a lot to learn about them.

Chris Amos shares my obsession with testing and has destroyed more blades by taking beyond their limit than any other maker I know. He also shares his knowledge honestly and without reserve. This is hard for some will always be offended.
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« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2010, 10:02:53 PM »

Gentlemen,

I am glad for the chance to read the posts on the other forum and this one. The debate has given me a lot to think about and what to watch out for when I get back to the forge. Great discussion, as an outsider on the conversation, didn't find anything funny. Sometime I think the discussion has to get a little heated in order to dig down into details in order to get a good definition about what is being talked about. Really good info got out in this exchange. Thanks to all that gave info on this one.

I study with Ed and Chris and definatly a believer in the Fowler method, but want to know about other makers methods also. Karl, you would be someone that I would travel half way across the country to learn from, no doubt about it.



From my side of the woods, I have been having a great time getting together with the knifemakers of the California Knifemakers Association it's like Ed says the people in the Knife World are the best people you can meet and the guys and gals out here are the best. It looks like we all have different visions of Lady Knife but each one that I have had a chance to converse with has had important information to share with me.

I'd like to share a couple of pics this long ass project i'm calling a forge. Just started assembling the burnners today. So it's getting really close now!

Harold Locke


* forge front2.jpg (44.82 KB, 334x462 - viewed 134 times.)

* forge back2.jpg (50.7 KB, 322x342 - viewed 122 times.)
« Last Edit: July 25, 2010, 10:26:30 PM by Harold Locke » Logged
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« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2010, 10:20:43 PM »

Dang Harold! That looks down right profesional! Can't wait to pics of it running, well done my friend!
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« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2010, 09:18:59 AM »

Nice work Harold: if you are going to set it up there, be sure and watch that the wall does not get too hot. I have a heat shield between the wall and forge with a 1/2 inch space between wall and shield.

It was stated that "My knife beat a Randall". In order to make a statement like that you have to know what the maker (in this case Bo Randall) intended his knife for. When he started he stated that his goal was to make a knife that would be easy to sharpen and would no break as a companion to the men in the field of warfare and exploring. He has accomplished that goal, I have never seen a broken Randall.

In order to beat a Randall you would have to test one along with one of your own side by side to destruction and compare the test results in light of the goals of each maker.

The man forging a tang is doing it the hard way, it is much easier for me to leave the blade on the billet until the tang is almost completely forged, this allows greater control of both heat and the blade while forging the tang.
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« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2010, 12:36:38 PM »

Ed and Chris,

Thanks for the encouragement, building the shop from the ground up has been fun, and hopefully rewarding.

Harold Locke
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« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2010, 06:52:30 PM »

I was a little disapointed in my first Randall knife. It didn't hold near as good of an edge as I thought it would. I had been using a Gerber Shorty that would cut for ever, but was a pain to sharpen when it did get dull. I thought that a Randall looked so much more like a knife should look and a being a handmade knife, it was the only way to go. It couldn't match the Gerber for edge holding, but it did sharpen much easier and to me it looked so much better I never carried the Gerber again. It didn't help when one of my buddies pointed out that I should have known it would need sharpening from time to time because the maker put a sharpening stone on front of the sheath.

The best information I have learned from this thread is the location of the Traditional Bow forum. I have been shooting a bow since I was 12 and it looks like a great forum. I would like to thank this forum for allowing kbaknife to show the link to another forum without getting all bent out of shape about it.
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« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2010, 01:11:41 PM »

Harry,

Great story!!! A number one example why knifemakers have to to stay on top of their quality control and production methods to make sure that our handmade knives are the best they can be and always better than the factories are willing to produce.

Thanks for sharing that on Harry

Harold Locke
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« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2010, 09:43:53 AM »

I would like to thank this forum for allowing kbaknife to show the link to another forum without getting all bent out of shape about it.

Far from getting bent out of shape I think we should encourage links to forums that can be related to the interests of our members here.

But, please no more links to products that will help make my private parts bigger.
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« Reply #11 on: July 29, 2010, 06:23:59 PM »

I must have missed a post or two at some time.
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« Reply #12 on: July 30, 2010, 08:08:22 AM »

They do show up, but don't last long thanks to Phil and Jeremy's diligence.
However if you are interested:
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« Reply #13 on: July 30, 2010, 06:43:26 PM »

Nope, not interested! I'm completely happy with no complaints. Grin I'm just surprised that kind of trash has showed up here. I've not seen it and I visit fairly often. You have a couple of guys doing good work!
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