David Boye wrote the first book I ever read about knifemaking. This is a book that I would highly recommend if you want to make a good knife. Today, I am taking care of other business, but I stopped in the library to see if David's book is waiting on the shelf for inner-library loan. It wasn't in, and I am not willing to finish this knife without reviewing his book first. One of these days I will buy my very own copy of Step-by-Step Knifemaking You Can Do It. Our library used to own a copy of this book, but it is in some lucky persons discard collection. The books that I cherished so long ago are vanishing every day for the more currant and sadly less useful books. It really seems like the powers that be are gradually trying to dumb us down, rather than feed us critical thinking skills. Where is David Boye now days, and what would he think about the less useful books that have replaced his book? I googled him and found a more currant picture in the desert, and with a industrial sized belt sander. At least I think it is a belt sander?
I will be posting this blog a day early as the library is closed on Thanksgiving. I will be working on my knife projects in order to clear my workbench to make Christmas feathers. If you are looking for a nice $20 Christmas gift this year, please contact me. I will be making Christmas gifts right up till Christmas Eve. I will be back here on Friday, to check email, and post another blog.
I must admit that Thanksgiving has taken on a whole new meaning for me upon discovering my own genealogy (Native American links). Looks to me like a bunch of Europeans arrived here (America) 8 weeks before winter without any provisions like fishing gear, planting tools, hunters, etc. They must have thought it was going to be a little weekend camping trip to the KOA or something LOL! Jamestown was a flop resulting in cannibalism and the like. Plymouth was saved by the graciousness of Indians who apparently took pity on them. It is a pathetic story as I am learning, and all Americans should be making a gratitude list as all of us are lucky to even be here. It could have all been very different. My gratitude list is growing. I am grateful for the roof over my head in spite of those who tried to take that from me! I am grateful for my truck, my cat, my friends. I am grateful for the power of my mind and the work of my two hands. I am thankful that not everybody wants to take advantage of me, and my work. I will be happily making some sort of Thanksgiving feast on Thursday in hopes of my friends dropping in to visit...in absence of my indifferent family. Years ago, when I experimented with "therapy", my therapist concluded after 4 years that my family was violent, and dangerous. So....I can add survival of my dysfunctional family to my gratitude list.
Now that I have the blade guard soldered to the blade, I can take precise measurements for the wooden handle. The vanishing knife making books that I used to have access to, suggest making a cardboard template first. I am waiting on some 3mm polishing disks in the mail. I am hoping my friend Piper shows up for Thanksgiving, so I may have to delay some of the more exciting parts of this project as Thanksgiving requires almost a supernatural multi-tasking two day stint. I am not altogether sure I am up for all that. My Grandmothers used to put on the ultimate Thanksgiving spread. Nothing I can come up with would even compare. I am thinking about baking a pizza and just let everyone with families gorge. I will have gratutude, no matter what the menu that day.
I have an art deadline coming up on me pretty fast. I hope to get that in the works ASAP.
I am taking my friend to the food pantry on Friday 12-2pm. So, my blag will be late or non-existent that day. I think, I will get some Thanksgiving fixings while I am there, just in case my friend Piper comes to visit. Otherwise, I will just be taking the day off, and probably watching DVD's. Or, I just may use the day to start, and finish other projects. I don't have any family obligations, so I won't be trying to join in the Black Friday hb bub. There are advantages to having a family that is indifferent. This food pantry that I am going to gives single people turkey, which has not been the case for years. Syd and I don't care whether it is turkey or chicken. We are grateful for either, and sometimes both. Please consider donating to your local food pantry dear readers. Those of us have nots, rely on your generous donations this time of year.
This is an older picture of Brian's knife. These are the walnut knife scales I will be shaping and carving out the channel for the blade shank Thursday morning. If the process goes smoothly, I am going to use the momentum. So much of the time these past few weeks have been tied up in obtaining the materials, tools, and supplies to do this project.
Three years ago, I found a company in London Ohio that heat treats, and tempers steel blade shanks. Even back then, they wanted $90 to do it. They use ovens and carefully controlled temperature gauges. To save the $90, I used my eyeball to determine cherry red before quenching in oil. Then again, I used my eye to coax the spectrum of colors to temper the blade.. Heat treating the blade makes it hard, but it would be brittle if I didn't follow up with tempering the blade to give it back some of it's strength. It is my understanding that if I would have somehow dropped the blade between the two processes, it could have shattered. I didn't take any chances...after all, I have a cat. I have a cat that likes to brush items off the workbench, if he decides to nap, or bathe. Keeping Syd safe, and out of the work area, has been somewhat of a challenge. What I try to do is put him outside while I am operating machinery, and let him in periodically so that I can get through each part of the process. I anticipate that it will take me all weekend to finish this knife. In addition, I have two Christmas orders for feather ear rings that I am anxious to get started on.
After heat treating Brian's blade yesterday, I immediately tempered it. Unfortunately, my camera was not charged up enough to take any pictures of the miraculous process. Perhaps that was best, as it takes two hands to operate the torch, and two hands to operate the camera. This picture does not do justice to the brilliant plum coloration and rainbow colors that I painted on with my torch. Brian's blade turned a magnificent blue which I believe indicates some sort of tool steel. Even now, after tempering, the type of steel is a mystery. This blue will disappear when I do the final sharpening and buffing. It doesn't pay to hurry this process or put the sharp on the blade as I will be handling the blade throughout the handle making part of this process. After tempering the blade yesterday, I immediately soldered on the brass blade guard. This marks the halfway through point. The next part of this process will be the woodworking of the handle and measuring for and drilling the rivet holes. Hopefully, by Friday, I will have it carved out and shaped. I admit, I miss the library on these days, but I need to keep up my momentum as this needs to be finished by Christmas.
The Newark Earthworks is very involved. This is not even scratching the surface of what used to be here. I am beginning to understand that most of the mounds have been covered or removed, as with the local petroglyphs. I will be in Columbus Sunday, so this blog has been pre-posted. I hope to be back here early Monday morning with some recent pictures and new adventures to report.
I am waiting for some #5 saw blades and anticipating a visit from Grandmother Crandell, Cherokee elder who will be visiting my home soon. I purchased a piece of back-up steel, have a freecycle lead on some used engine oil, and am getting ready to temper Brian's blade. So much to do in preparation for Grandmothers visit, and tempering the blade.
I make mistakes when I hurry, so I am trying to pause and get all my ducks lined up before acting. Who knows maybe someone handy with a camera will show up and photograph the birth of the new blade.
The photo of this blog is from the University Of Cincinatti. It is a simulation of the astrological aspects of our local mounds. I look forward to questioning Grandmother as to what she believes the mounds represent....I have had my fill of aroagant archaelogist's explanations. Perhaps they should have formulated their opinions before robbing the graves of my ancestors. They probably removed the most valuable of the clues! Someone should be keeping track of how often they have been proven to be wrong...the whole Bering Strait theory for example, would be probable...if they had ever found one bone or artifact there LOL! Anyone can form a theory. Whole cultures were named after the anglosaxon who owned the property. So we have the Hopewell, named after Mr. Hopewell who happened to own the land where they found the Hopewell symbol. Somehow they named the aligator mound because a few aligator teeth were uncovered at the site.....but the mound looks nothing like an aligator....it does look like a possum though! If it were not so sad, it would be comical!
I learned this morning that Grandmother Crandell is anxious to meet me. I have been a fan of hers since her arrest June 26th 2002 when she was heckled and harrassed, then removed from the Octagon Mound. It is my understanding that it was the 10th hole on the golf course where Grandmother was praying and resting when she was expelled from the area. I may have even heard that she threw her cane at the arresting officers.
Hopefully Grandmother will like my new artifacts that I have been creating for over 30 years....much longer than I have known of my own Native American linage.
These mounds are sacred, and only open to the public 4 days a year as the Historical Society has leased the property to the country club golf course.
I want to know all about her. Stay tuned dear readership. I will have much to report.
If all goes well Thursday and Friday, I should have these two pieces soldered together and the blade heat treated and tempered. This has been a long time coming and I am very excited to complete this project. I am taking a woman to the food pantry Thursday. She doesn't have a car, and I am glad to be able to do this errand. Unfortunately, I may not make it back to the library in time to post a blog. Hopefully, by Friday, I will be able to show you the rewards for my efforts.
I got a piece of 01 steel in the mail Tuesday. It is my back-up steel. Since I don't know the blade steel type on the blade that I "inherited" then I don't know whether to quench it in oil, water, or sand. Believe it or not, it makes a huge difference. If I choose the wrong quench, I will end up with a warped blade. I don't like to take chances on someone elses project. Hell.....I don't like to take chances on my own projects. The only thing that I haven't backed up is the #5 saw blades that are used to cut steel with the jewelers saw. I am going to trace the profile of this blade onto the new piece of steel, order 12 saw blades and hope I don't have to use them.
So close. The slot on the brass guard has to be filed ever so carefully now, till it is flush with the blade. I would say inch by inch.....but it is lots smaller and more "easy does it" than that. I predict that this will all be put together in place by the end of this coming weekend. Library is closed on Monday. I expect to be in to blog on Sunday, and then again on Tuesday. I am so close to being able to plan out my wood handles that I am tempted to go ahead with that. It is hard sometimes to just be slow and methodical. I ordered another piece of steel on eBay Thursday, in case this knife warps when I temper it. The problem since the beginning has been not knowing the type of steel. Some folks say "don't ever look a gift horse in the mouth". This steel was a gift, but the problems associated with the gift is what I am getting into now. If all goes well, this knife will heat treat and then temper without a hitch. If something goes wrong though, I want Brian to have his blade in time for Christmas. I should have the back up steel sometime next week. I will then trace the blade onto the 01 steel before I quench this blade. That way, I can replace the ruined blade with a steel that I know how to quench. I know that is probably confusing....These things take time. My local hardware and lumber stores do not stock the stuff I have needed for this project. I have had to purchase online. Online takes time. I don't have a computer at home, so I am limited to an hour a day at the library for this sort of thing.....in addition to blogging.....in addition to answering email. Sometimes I get to go to Facebook for a few minutes.
Mostly, I have had much waiting a down time because I have had to get the parts, and materials online.
Our local hardware store no longer carries brass nuts and bolts. My client wanted brass. Our local lumber supply store (Home Depot) did not have any black walnut, so I had to purchase these knife scales off eBay. I have everything I need to finish this project. If all goes well this weekend, I may be able to start cutting the wood for my handles. Keep your fingers crossed for me dear readership. There is very little wiggle room for error in knife making.
Yesterday, I posted a more recent picture of this knife in progress. The advantage of photography is we can go back in time when we need to. This photo is a of the pilot holes I started drilling Tuesday. Also in the photo is the brass blade guard that wasn't cut out yet. The brass for the blade guard is at least 14 gauge metal, and I broke at least 5 saw blades cutting it. I am working on a low budget, with old equipment, and the supplies that go into a project like this are hidden. You won't see the glue, or the broken saw blades, or all the sand paper. It has been frustrating to say the least. Every step of the way, I need something I don't have. Most of the time it is crucial. $21 for the acetylene, $5 for the glue, $11 for the soft solder, and lord only knows how much the drill bits, and replacement drill bits have cost me. I was lucky that I didn't have to replace my grinder. By the time this project is finished, I am estimating $100 in materials and supplies. I have about 6 hours time involved so far in just profiling the blade. Knife making is truly a labor of love.
I made some serious progress on Brian's knife Tuesday. It still doesn't look like much, but those four holes that match the cutlers rivets required 4 different size drill bits and 12 total drill attempts to get them sized to just a little smaller than the rivets. The rivets will expand a little when I hammer them in. All this has to be done before I cut the handles from the Black Walnut. I am working without safety glasses so I cautiously drill each hole, and turn my face away.....which is just crazy! Being partially blind though, I am not taking any chances. The rest of the week will be heat treating, tempering the blade. Then I have to solder on the blade guard. Almost all the pieces are in this photo. The Black Walnut knife scales were purchase on eBay. The brass acorn nut which will be the pommel was purchased on eBay. You can't buy brass nuts at the local hardware store anymore. You can buy brass coated nuts, but that won't work for me as I am reshaping them, and taking off the hard edges. The fun is about to begin.
While at the police station yesterday morning, I noticed their logo in the center of the lobby. Way Kool! Arrow Head, and a diagram of the circle mound. I was impressed with the professionalism yesterday. I have great hopes for recovering my garden cart, and I am happy to be part of my neighborhood block watch.
A few days ago I offered a reward for the recovery of my garden cart which was taken from my porch area on the 28th. I observed this vehicle the next day. It is the same van that was parked there the day of the theft. This is one of several vehicles that were parked on our street when the two maple trees were taken down. As you can see by this photo, this van had access to the ramp which is where I generally park. I spent the morning filling out a police report, as I believe it was the tree trimmers ( tree murderer's) that took my little yellow garden cart. In speaking with my neighbor who hired them, I found out she was not happy with their work and will not be recommending them for future jobs. The owner didn't want to take a check as he had no bank account! Not only that, but the police woman who took my report couldn't find an address for the company. As all these stories come together, it is looking more and more like this company is theft in disguise of a legitimate business. I have no idea whether or not I will get my little wagon back, but I do know that if I did nothing, I would never know for sure whether or not I could have gotten it back. Without a report, there is no crime...so now there is a report. Because, this van was parked where it was, it made it impossible for any of my neighbors to see the theft. My maintenance man pointed out, that they probably needed it for their work! That was what I had thought as well....perfect little cart for men who trim trees. I doubt whether they scrapped it, so imagine their surprise when the police show up at their place and find my wagon. There were many oddities that I won't disclose here because we all believe they took it, and I don't want to blow my chances of busting them with the goods. It is doubtful that they follow this blog, and I have not revealed the name of the company. Stay tuned dearest readers. Be glad I did not take matters into my own hands as I almost did. It is important to follow through with little annoying things like official police reports. This time I was the victim. But the next time, it might be one of my neighbors who are the victim. It is all about giving a damn. I do give a damn, whether it is me, or whether it is my neighbor. I can not do anything about the thefts that occurred when I moved from Paul drive. There were tree trimmers involved in that whole raw deal too. One of them came to court with Nesley and pretended to be Mark (the maintenance man). Mark didn't want to come to court as he is probably working much like this local tree company (under the table). Doug showed up in court because he knew he was in the picture with the two teenagers that busted my kiln. So Nesley had him pretend to be her main maintenance guy because Mark wanted no part of it! It is OK though, I got credit for the kiln, the unpaid water bill, the month of May! Had I not gone or showed up for court, she would have gotten away with all this. These guys (thieves) must think they are doing something unique. Hey lets trim trees and scope out peoples properties. By the time the item is noticed missing, they are onto the next neighborhood. No one would suspect an "arborist" right?
It is probably not coincidental that All Saints Day and Samhan are within a day of each other. I will be conversing with my ancestors on both days when the veil between this world and the spirit rhelm is the thinnest.