Posted 20 December 2011 - 06:08 PM
Posted 20 December 2011 - 07:01 PM
Nice job on the fighter looks great. Good activity in the blade, nice shape, and good choice of material. It is hard from a photo to critique fit and finish, you really need to have it in your hand to do that, unless it is a dogs breakfast which this is clearly not.
Only one thing I would be concerned about. If the OAL is 13.5" that would give a handle length of 4.5" which is fine except that with the shape of your handle actual grip would be under 4 inches which could be a bit short. Always think about the effective grip length, in other words from the back of the guard to the last portion of the underside of the handle, not just the total length. Handles with angled butt ends can tricky that way. I have been making changes to those angles over the years and find myself making them steeper as time goes on.
Without having the knife in hand though the paragraph above may not apply, just a thought.
Posted 20 December 2011 - 07:39 PM
Your knife design looks great,and appears to be well executed! The picture looks like the handle and blade look proportional, but the overall measurement of 13/1/2" would make the handle a little short.I have a big hand. A person with a small hand it may fit perfect.
Posted 20 December 2011 - 08:11 PM
Overall I like the shape of the knife, but I have to agree with Shawn and Russell. The handle may be a bit short. Even adding a quarter of an inch can change the look and balance point on the knife. Like Shawn I am also still working with handle shapes and designs and am also going towards a steeper angle in the butt area. More slope towards the blade on the bottom. Still an evolving process. Just curious, where is the balance point on the knife?
Nice work Justin.
Anvil Top Custom Knives
Posted 21 December 2011 - 08:49 AM
Brion thank you, I do not have the knife in hand but the balance is pretty far forward. This is a problem I run into being self taught, I'm not sure where it should be. I assumed that with a 9" blade and hidden tang the balance will be forward no matter what. I would love to hear your insight on this. The Parks 50 is something I want to try, but money is tight and it is all I can do to keep my propane tanks full.. I had been using canola but was not happy with the hamons I was getting. Straight water was cracking too many so the three seconds in water is my compromise. Most blades are making it through but I do lose some.
The consensus seems to be that the handle is a bit short. If anyone could give me some advice on sizing handles I would appreciate it. Thanks for the help guys, -Justin
Posted 21 December 2011 - 08:40 PM
Handle length is one of those design questions. I usually go for around 4 3/4" for a hunter, and 4 3/4" to 5" for a bowie. I also will go to the drawing pad and trace the blade. Then I can try different handle shapes and sizes to see which will look the best. A lot of it comes from experience and from using different handles in cutting demos. You will learn what handle shape and size works well.
Canola oil will work fine for some steels, like 5160 or 1084, but for getting hamons is not really fast enough. I think John White said Maxim Oil in Texas had parks 50 for around $75.00 for five gallons. I think Houghton company also makes a fast quench oil.
Keep up the good work.
Anvil Top Custom Knives
Posted 22 December 2011 - 08:15 AM
Posted 22 December 2011 - 08:41 PM
Keep up the good work and the good questions.
Anvil Top Custom Knives
Posted 14 February 2012 - 08:50 AM
I think your biggest "issue" is the photo more than anything. And I'm sure no Weyer, Eggly, or Coop... so I don't mean that it's not a professional shot, just that it's hard to see all that's going on in the knife with just this photo. Adding several shots from different angles and some up close detail shots would REALLY help us to see what you made.
For example- I'm a hamon freak--- as are my Ms friends that have posted here... and it looks like you've got some SMOKE'N action going on in this steel.... it's just hard to see it. I'd love to get a better look at that hamon. Hamon are incredibly hard to capture in a static photo, so for you to have shown one that well, it's gotta be good. I've found that even a crappy video clip, is a great way to show things you can never get with even a professional photo.
The guard and spacer are great! Nice shape and flow well with the design... But hard to see here. It looks like you even have some line cuts/fluting going on, but it's hard to tell (at least on my computer---hey wait, maybe our laptop is the problem here... ). My one small "critique" from this photo would be that the lugs on the guards could be thinner and the actual guard stock could have been thinner to start with. That's a nit-pick based on my personal preference--- some folks think I make my guard lugs TOO thin, so take this all with a grain of salt.
Handle shape is GREAT! Flows very well with the overall knife, there looks to be some nice contours, and the material itself is beautiful. Of course I agree with my Ms friends here in that it could be a tad short, but that's based on the dimensions you posted. It doesn't LOOK too short, but as mentioned, you can't know that for sure without having it in hand. My $0.02 on handle length is that it's better to make one a tiny bit too long, than too short. There's no be-all/end-all handle length. My Dad has a friend that is 6'8" and 400#, my entire hand including fingers will nearly fit IN HIS PALM. He HAS to have a handle in the 6.5"-7" length!!! I have another friend with hands about the size of a 10 year old boy and he usually has about 1.5" of handle sticking out while holding one of my knives. Luckily, most of us are somewhere between those 2 extremes.
This is all just my take on your post, and is only worth the paper it's printed on... Er...uh....um.
I really like your style and am excited to see what you come up with next.
Posted 19 February 2012 - 10:28 PM
Nick thank you for your feedback, I used most of my alloted picture space on my first two posts,(I actually had to go back and delete a couple to fit this one)so I am sticking to one picture per knife. If your intersted you can see a couple more pictures hereMy link. I've actually hit a bit of a brick wall, I cracked two blades in a row and didn't discover the cracks till after polishing so I have been a bit discouraged. Any way your kind word come at the right time and I feel a bit better about it all now. I saw your bowie in the winter 2010 American Bladesmith and loved the hamon, actually the whole knife. Your handle was the inspiration for several of my first knives. But back to hamons, are you using water or Parks 50 (or something else). I ask because I wasn't getting the kind of activity in my hamons I wanted until I switched to water, but since I assume the cracked blades were because of the water I am seriously considering ordering some Parks. Thanks again, hopefully I'll have more to show soon, -Justin
Posted 20 February 2012 - 10:15 AM
I am new to this forum and didn't know about photo limits/restrictions. I've only posted one knife and am probably already over the limit!
Thank you for the mention of my knife, that really made my day!!!
To answer your question, I am a Park 50 guy. I have friends, the best example is Bill Burke, that can quench in water time and time again with GREAT success.... but I am not one of those guys. I spent over a year trying to figure out water quenching, and the best I got to was about a 70% success rate. Which is really hard to swallow, ESPECIALLY when doing this stuff full time (the mortgage doesn't seem to care if your 30% failure rate came in the form of 5 cracked blades in a row ).
Personally, there are a few things that helped ME with water quenching. First was SEVERAL descending thermal cycles to not only REALLY refine the grain, but also to lower the hardenability of the steel. You can actually lower the hardenability of a steel with thermal cycles so much that a blade won't harden in anything but water (or so I believe from shop experience). Second, is using the very bottom of the austenitizing range for your steel... so for W2 I had my best success down around 1435 or so.
I sure don't have it all figured out. I'll nail one blade, and then have to do the next one over six times before I'm happy with it.
I have been doing a lot of differential hardening with just time and temperature lately. It doesn't give quite the same nuances as clay can, but I'm getting a lot of activity and it's a very "natural" look, kind of like the natural swirly action you see in burl wood.... which I like a lot.
Like these two, W2 quenched in Park 50.
Posted 20 February 2012 - 05:26 PM
Thanks again for your encouragement and for sharing some of your methods. I'm going to have to try it without clay, -Justin
Posted 21 February 2012 - 07:06 PM
Those two were done in my salt bath, so the whole blade is up to temperature. The "trick" with them is that they had pretty extreme cross sectional geometry (0.300" thick at the guard, tapering to a needle point and ground to ~0.040" at the edge prior to hardening)... which helps out with differential hardening right off the start. Also, I did an interrupted, point down quench into a large vertical tank of Park 50 at about 80degrees. Many folks are heating Park 50 really hot, but the specs call for room temp to warm... not hot.
On these the blades go in the oil for a count of 7, out for 3, and in till cool.
Speaking of Park 50, I was having some issues with a couple of clay hardened blades so I called my friend Stuart Branson (who is doing CRAZY AWESOME clay hardening) to run my process against his. Turns out we were doing everything exactly the same except he was austenitizing in a Fogg style heat treat forge and I was austenitizing in my Paragon (and wasn't thrilled with what I was getting). I reclayed the blades, took them to my forge running around 1450-1460, austenitized and quenched in slightly warmed P50... the hamons I got have more activity that any water quench I've ever done.
So my point, is that P50 really can do some neat things. And even if you don't want to be a hamon seeker, it works exceptionally well for hardening shallow hardening steels.
I bought mine back when it was fairly easy to buy.... I've heard it's really hard to get and very $$$$ now.... but not hearing that "tink" in water is worth a lot of $$$
Posted 21 February 2012 - 09:24 PM
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Posted 22 February 2012 - 05:14 PM
All in all a very nice knife! Keep up the good work!
Posted 22 February 2012 - 05:19 PM
I hate to ask because I feel it's side-tracking the thread and taking away from Justin's work... But, I'm fascinated with the clay-less hamon process. Especially after seeing your photos that you posted. There is just something beautiful in the natural randomness of that blade's hamon. I guess the word that I would choose for it is "organic". I understand the process that is taking place to create it but I'm curious as to the science. Specifically... With W2 steel, which is a shallow hardening steel right? Do shallow hardening steels have to soak at temp to fully come into solution/fully harden? If so, how does the clay-less process provide for that, or does it? I hope I'm not coming across wrong... You've inspired me to break away from my normal steels and play with hamons now. I think I have the bug! Thanks!!
Posted 23 February 2012 - 08:49 AM
Brion, thanks again for the Parks info, I think it's time I bite the bullet and get some.
Rick, thanks for the feedback. I don't think the lugs are uneven but I sold the knife so can't be sure at this point. This was the first time I tried doing this style guard so it is entirely possible, and something I will consider in the future. I think Nick had a point earlier when he mentioned the guard may be a bit to thick.
Don't worry about side tracking the thread, I'm curious too. W-2 should get a soak to bring the vanadium into solution. That said I believe it is mainly an issue of performance levels. I have made W-2 blades without soaking and they have performed very well, with the soak you are getting everything out of the steel you can. Currently I soak for 1.5-2 min in my gas forge.
I'm not sure if other shallow steels such as 1095 require a soak?
I don't want to answer for Nick but he said he was using salt baths so I would assume he gave a full soak. It sounds like he is using the tapering thickness of the blade to control which parts turn to martensite. So the thinner areas along the edge harden and the thicker areas along the spine don't have time. Nick please let me know if I have this right.
Thanks again to everyone for their constructive advice. I posted this knife on three other forums, but the feedback here was certainly the most helpful. Most people even if they see something wrong tend not to say anything, I am glad to have a place like this where people speak their minds, as that's how we learn. -Justin
Posted 23 February 2012 - 10:20 AM
Thank you for the post... I went back into the thread and found what you mentioned regarding Nick's processes. I don't know how I missed that post, but I did. Thanks for straightening me out.
Nick, Never mind. You already answered my question before I had it. Keep my compliments though... I'm not taking those back!