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Author Topic: The Little Things we learn. Shop tips and more  (Read 9317 times)
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Ed Fowler
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« on: January 21, 2007, 02:51:15 PM »

Alan asked what I think about while I make knives.
Today, (amoung many other thoughts) I was again amazed at some new little things that I feel make my knives better as I learn.
100's of little tricks, some make the job easier, or better, or different.

When I was starting I was obcessed with function and still am. While I was finishing a knife my thoughts were of function, many little things were not significant. My equitment was as rudimentary as it gets, an old wore out 1/4 inch drill, files a blow torch and sandpaper.

Today I was working on some very fine scratches on the side of a blade just infornt of the plunge grind. I decided to experiment. I started with an X22 belt, then a x16, to an x4. The x4 left its own scratches that defied buffing due to their location. I decided to lightly add some Brownells 555 black buffing compound to the surface of a worn X4. (X belts are Norax made by Norton).   

Years ago I watched the video put out be Bob Loveless, (strongly recomended) he stated the finer the belt, the slower you want to run it, Bob's shop was a lot more sophisticated than mine and he had a variable speed grinder. The informaiton remained buried in my subconscious. A few years ago I purchased a variable speed Burr King 960. (The 960 in my experience is the most versatile knife maker friendly grinder out there).

The coated X4 belts left their own scratches, finer than frog's hair, but still scratches. I dressed up a 3M neutral scotch brite belt with 555 black, slowed it down and worked on the scratches. I found the scotch brite belt would flow with the contours of my complex convex blade well. The blade is now in the etchant and soon I will know if the blade will be of sufficient quality to finish into a knife.

When I started I wondered how some of the new guys who worked with Draper, Warrenski, Hibben, and many other great knife makers ever got so good so quick.

Now I know, they spent many hours watching, sharing the little thougts that go through a knife makers head while he makes a knife. No great earth shaking events, just many little tricks that we learn one at a time, again and again.    

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Ed Fowler
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« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2007, 04:26:39 PM »

On another form I read about coloring bone. The fighter I have written about so many times was made by Rudy Ruana. Vic Hangus (Rdy's son in law) told me that Rudy used to get a beautiful honey color on bone and elk antley be coating the bone with oil and burning it with a torch.
This is one way they were able to identify the knife that has intriged me for so long. Rudy did this in 1938.
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Ed Fowler High Performance Knives
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Ed Fowler
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« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2007, 07:20:44 PM »

Lets talk a little safety and being prepared for wrecks.

Today I was buffing a blade, Tena was working in the office doing computer stuff.

I let my attention slip for a split second and - wap - I got the blade into the buffing wheel and as it has been years since I let that happen I had let my ring finger get a little low and I was cut. I cussed, pinched the cut together immediately and headed for the alcohol and super glue. Tena met me half way, bottle of rubbing alcohol in her hand. Once she saw we could but Ed back together again on our own she poured the alcohol over the cut, then locktite super glue and finally a cloth butterfly had it fixed.

Our planning before an accident can make a real difference. When Tena first started working in the shop I showed her how our shop first aid worked. She learned and can handle any wreck as well as most professionals. She again proved she knew how and was ready.

Close to the buffer is a roll of stretch electrical tape with about 6 inches of loose tape hanging down. This is meant to serve as an emergenacy tourniquete (sp)? . I know they are considered bad, but incase of a bad wreck a man working alone in his shop could very well bleed to death waiting for help that may or may not show up.

In order to be prepared every now and then I roll-play a bad wreck, grab the tape and apply enough wraps to stop arterial bleeding, on right arm, left arm, using only one hand, sometimes I even wrap a leg. I do my absolute best to encourage as much reality as possible.

It is all about being prepared.

One of the first things a new comer to my shop learns is where the tape is, or should be, if not put up another roll. Where is the fire extinguisher? The phone, the stretcher, first aid supplies, alternatives if what you are  looking for is not availabe and more.

Ethicon used to put out a stitching manual, I used their practice boards and could sew one handed right or left. This was much more economical than going to the Doc's office every time I cut myslef. I got pretty good at it. One time I cut my leg and was actually kind of enjoying sewing myself up being able to use both hands for a change.

When you get into a wreck, don't count on other folks, sometimes they faint and then you have to doctor them after they hit their head on the floor.

Just some thoughts you may or may not need, but if you are prepared it will not hurt.
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« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2007, 08:47:58 PM »

     That is some of the best advice I've read in a while. Life-saving in fact.
     
When you mentioned people passing out, it reminded me of when I cut my right little finger off with a band-saw. I was doing a cut the way my shop teacher told me to do it, knowing it was stupid, when I slipped and it cut my finger off right through the first joint from the knuckle. The skin on the inside of the finger was still there, so the finger was dangling down with the bone sticking out with the appearance of a chicken leg bone. I walked up to the teacher holding it up to him and said " I had a little accident. " It's a good thing that teacher was sitting in a chair at his desk, because he took one look at it and passed out cold. I cussed him and walked down to the nurse's office to get her to take me to the hospital. They patched me back together and it still works. /////// See? 
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Harold Locke
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« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2007, 03:29:24 AM »

Ed,

Great advice. I didn't know that tourniquetes were considered bad?? I might cause your balls to drop off if left on too long. LOL

I work in my parents garage and I found it necessary to brief everyone not to yell or try to interupt me while I was at a mahine or consintrating on a task. Be startled has wrecked my etching, gouged more than one blade and caused a near wreck on the buffing wheel. A sign posted before entering a formal shop advising those that enter not to disturb the knifemaker until he or she breaks a task would be an important saftey device.

Thanks for reminding me about super glue I will get some this weekend and add to my first aid kit.

Harold
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Ed Fowler
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« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2007, 08:25:59 AM »

I like you idea of a sign at the door. I tried to arrange my shop where I could see anyone comming in, but it is impossible to cover all events.

The super glue I use on cuts is Locktite. Some others do not work too well, one will feel like you just stuck a hot pepper in the wound. The Locktite works well. I always flush the would with rubbing alcohol before the super glue. The last thing you want to do is trap some bacteria in the wound. The alcohol has never failed me.

I learned about the alcohol from my grandfather Fowler, a urologist who practiced medicine before antibiotics were available. His knowledge was based on what worked. He and another classmate developed a strain of lactobacillis acidopholis that when sprinkled in a would would kill all pathogenic bacteria. They were ready to market it when penecillin came on the market. I still have his notes about its development. In those days Doctors could experiments with that kind of work without the help of federal rules. I feel it is too bad his thoughts of friendly bacteria did not work out as no bacterial could develop a resistant strain to it.

My grandfather Fowler also invented what was first known as the Bard Parker scapel with a changable blade. Before that they had to sharpen their own blades. I believe it was one of the most successful knife designs ever as they are around the world. He did not accept any money for the design, gave it to the world to make it a better place. He also invented some surgical instruments that are still in use.
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Alan
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« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2007, 01:11:12 PM »

So I was in the middle of a project around the barn here, and I needed to drill a 1 inch hole in a 4 inch pipe...

Now I dont own drill bits that big, nor is my little drill press up to a job this big, so I packed everything up and took it down to where I work and used their shop drill press.
They have everything you would need; a huge set of drill bits, and a monster size drillpress.

But I learned a very important lesson....

This shop drill press is turned on with a foot switch....(yes, thats handy)
.
HOWEVER - I nearly took some fingers off when I was useing the chuck-key and stepped onto the switch.
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« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2007, 07:05:27 PM »

  That brings another thought to mind Alan. Jewelry around equipment is great for yanking a finger (or hand for that matter) right off.  Big lathes are notorius for limb removal. A kid in my hometown had his arm torn off at the shoulder on one.
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« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2007, 07:23:26 PM »

     Some people have to learn the hard way.

     To finish the story above about the teacher that told me how to cut my finger off, I'll add this.
     About two weeks later that teacher was showing others how it could be done his way. I told another kid that he is about to cut his fingers off. I no more than said it, when he let out a yell. He cut his right index finger down the middle from tip to second knuckle. He passed out again on the floor. I saw him a couple of years later and we compared scars. He had become a soap salesman. Wise choice, I thought.
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Ed Fowler
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« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2007, 09:11:05 PM »

Using sheephorn for handles probably puts me is a different game than makers using synthetics or bone and other materials for handles but the following are some ideas I have learned how a protect my lungs from harmful dust.

Years ago I had many sinus headaches, I would put up with them finally go to the Doc for some high priced antibiotics. I repeated this senario for years. Then a young lady who worked with me for about 5 years and was a nurse made a suggestion.

She had once also been plagued by sinus headaches, she solved her problems when she started spraying salt water into her nose every night. She gave me a few lessons and I had it figured out.

It is simple, pour some salt into a cup (amount varies accoding to mood and how much salt you like), add water then take one of those baby rubber syringes lean over the sink and spray the water into your nose while you say cokacola over and over again, then blow your nose into the sink.  You will be surprised at how much black goo you will clean out after a grinding session. At first it is a little tougth, but after a week or so you will be a pro.

I trim the hairs in my nose flush, leaving enough to keep the air filter god gave me in operation and follow up with the salt water. The dust masks are great and it is a good idea to use them, but when you just go to the grinder for a second I seldom go to the trouble of putting on on. This way you always have a filter in operation and it is free.

I have been using Kim's treatment for sinus infection prevention and maintainence and no sinus infections since 1984. And my last lung xray was clean.

The salt may help, I feel it helped me. The besthing about it , it wont hurt a thing and it is virtually free.
.
Harold: I really got chewed out by some emt readers when I wrote about the electrical tape tournequets. Their claim was that it was very easy to loose a limb from shutting off the blood supply. They recomended that we should always have someone with us in case of accidents.

I know of no knife maker who is able or lucky enough to have someone with him all the time. Ranchers always work alone, except for a horse and dog naturally. Sure some times a wreck gets us, but I know of very few folks I could have around me always. The way I see it, if I get a bad cut I can choose between losing a limb and bleeding to death.

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Harold Locke
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« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2007, 03:44:10 AM »

Knock on wood, I have had accidents where I was the only one around and was bleeding badly. It was never so bad as to require a tournequet. It could happen so it is best to be prepared.

Growing up in the 50's and 60's every first aid class Boy Scouts and in school the tournequet was one of the main things you were instructed to do if there was bad non-stoppable arterial bleeding. The old snake bite of sucking the blood and the poison out has been discarded I understand. I was only told a couple of years ago and haven't found out for sure what the official recomindations are.

I agree. Its like the guy a few years back who was mountain climbing that got his hand pinned under an unmovable boulder. All he had was a dull pocktet knife with him. He had to apply a tournequet and use the dull knife to sever his wrist at the joint. He then made a crutch from a branch and walked to a place where resucures could find him. So once again we are shown how important it is for  man or woman to have out most basic and ancient tool with us at all times.

Harold
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« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2007, 07:01:58 AM »

     Awhile back, Ed mentioned the possibility that the man who had to cut his hand off may have benefitted from a better knife. 
     I believe that if he had had a high performance knife, he could have chipped the stone away from his hand over the several days that he was trapped. If I could go to that sight I'd test the theory.
     But, of course, I'd have to go to Wyoming to get one first.
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« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2007, 12:30:22 PM »

Hi Ed, Jumping back to your sinus rinse comment, the salt does help. It's not fresh on my mind, but consider looking up 'isotonic' solution for the ideal ammount of salt to dissolve in your rinse. No magic there, it just sets the rinse to the same salinity as the body. There's science to it, but basically it'll feel neutral on sensitive tissues, intead of an irritating.
Take care,   Craig
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Harold Locke
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« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2007, 01:32:20 PM »

Craig, Clay and Ed;

Those are all on point. I believe that a high performance would have got you from under the boulder. I'm going to use the isotonic solution for sure. I have also during bad bad sinus infections, and this should be used carefully and to a minimum a week mixture of hydrogen peroxid. It worked.

Harold
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Ed Fowler
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« Reply #14 on: March 26, 2007, 07:44:13 PM »

I have been using the salt solution so long, I like to use a pretty strong solution, sometimes even a supersaturated solution.. Water without salt is very irriatating to my nose.  I also use it a lot when I find myself comming down with a cold.
 
So far it hasn't harmed me, but I guess the ususal disclaimer should accompany all thoughts like "This is what I do, be sure and consult your physician before trying it yourself.
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