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reaching out for critiques

Mark Lambert
Active Member Apprentice Bladesmith

First post (other than the new member post) since i've joined two years ago. To prefacem, up to this point I have not gone to any classes, but have spent hours upon hours watching different youtube makers, read books published by ABS members, and studying pictures of completed works on instagram. I have been strongly considering attending the symposium at the end of the month (if money allows), but wanted to start looking for critiques with the purpose of Journeyman testing in mind. Specifically for this post, the fit and finish.

Attached is a picture of my latest knife, obviously damascus is not allowed for the test, but what I'm asking for is critiques related to fit and finish and how i can better improve to reach that journeyman level.

process:

Forging

   The blade was forged for 1084/15n20. I started with a stack of 14, then quartered and restacked twice to get to 224. instead of flux, the billet was soaked in WD-40 and place in the forge once it was heated to forge welding temps. Most work was done on my Appalachian power hammer.

  With the billet, I forged the blank starting with the point and making my way back until I drew out the tang. Before forging the bevels, I let it cool and used an angle grinder to cut the grooves to get the pattern.

Grinding/heat treating

  Before grinding, I cycled the blank in a jenken vertical airbath with 2 grain reduction cycles and an annealing cycle. Afterwards, the blank was surface ground. The shoulders on the back of the ricasso were filed square. Using marking tools and layout dye, I marked the center line for the edge and clip.  The  false edge on the clip was ground out while the blank was still flat, and then the primary bevel was done. Before hardening and tempering, I finished all facets at 120grit.

Finishing

  Post hardening and tempering, I hand sanded in alternating direction up to 800 grit. At 800 grit, I electro etched my maker mark(using templates from TUS tech), however whether it was from poor contact or being slightly dirty it did not come out so well. Afterwards, I finished the blade at 1000 grit and covered it with several layers of masking tape.

  I made the guard with 1/4"x1" brass. Using a guide I drilled several holes in the center to get the length of the tang, and connected then with a dremel. I finished the hole with diamond files and trial fitting until it fit 2/3 of the way down the tang. Using a jig and some leather in the vice, i hammered the guard down until there was a small imprint from the shoulders, which I then recessed out a little with the dremel tool. I finished the face at 600 grit and set it aside.

  I etched the blade with a 4-1 ratio of ferric chloride and distilled water 3 times at 10 minutes each time. Each time i cleaned with soap and water before etching. After each ten minute cycle, I wiped it off and put it in baking soda water to neutralize. Then, I sanded until everything was shiny again with 1500-2000-2500 grit sand paper (one step in grit per round of etching). Following the last round of sanding i soaked in instant coffee for 4 hours, sealed with axe wax, and buffed with a microfiber cloth before covering in masking tape. I then did the final attachment of the guard that had been rough shaped and the front finished.

  The handle material was first flattened on the end to be able to fit up against the guard. I marked out the tang length and drilled the tang hole with a little wiggle room just in case. With the knife inserted and held tightly with a large clamp, i drilled the pin hole until i hit the tang, removed the knife, and finished the block. The hole in the tang was drilled slightly larger than the pin hole for the block to give a little wiggle room. I then rough shaped the handle before gluing and pinning it together. starting at 80 grit, I sanded both the handle and unfinished parts or the guard up to 600 grit. I finished it(the handle and guard) off with some black buffing compound then white.

  Using my 2x72 i ran it in reverse to sharpen starting at 120 and moving up to 600. Before sharpening the edge has a thickness of .030". I'll attach more picture of different angles for review and critique.

 

This topic was modified 1 month ago by Mark Lambert
Quote
Topic starter Posted : 15/08/2022 1:54 pm
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Mark Lambert
Active Member Apprentice Bladesmith

closeup of the guard

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Topic starter Posted : 15/08/2022 2:01 pm
Mark Lambert
Active Member Apprentice Bladesmith

view from the top

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Topic starter Posted : 15/08/2022 2:02 pm
Dean Pavia
Estimable Member Apprentice Bladesmith

Beautiful knife Mark!

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Posted : 15/08/2022 4:27 pm
Karl B Andersen
Journeyman Bladesmith

That is a very good looking knife and very nice steel.

Point - there is no reason to wash the steel with soap and water between etching cycles.

There is also no reason to neutralize the steel between cycles.

In fact, I would avoid any of that.

Between cycles all that is needed is to simply rinse under running water and  - I use a soft plastic tooth scrub brush - clean off the black oxide build up and then right back in the etchant.

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Posted : 16/08/2022 8:13 am
RAY PIEPER III
Active Member Journeyman Bladesmith (5yr)

Very nice looking knife! when etching I use a wore out pice of 2000 grit paper and only wash with water then back in etch. 

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Posted : 16/08/2022 4:14 pm
Mark Lambert
Active Member Apprentice Bladesmith

thanks Karl and Ray for the damascus tips.

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Topic starter Posted : 17/08/2022 6:20 am
Joshua C States
Estimable Member Journeyman Bladesmith (5yr)

You asked for critique on fit and finish. It's difficult at best to critique from photos, but I will offer what I can.

The  false edge on the clip was ground out while the blank was still flat, and then the primary bevel was done. Before hardening and tempering,

I do this the other way around, and I don't grind the clip or false edge until after hardening/tempering and my primary bevel is fully established. This accomplishes two things: 1. The clip/false edge is better defined and cleaner. 2. I use the smotth and mostly flat primary bevel on a modified work rest as the platform for grinding the clip. This helps a lot with getting the clip straight and clean. I am a workrest grinder, not a freehand grinder, so my method may not match yours. Somewhere around here is a thread on how folks grind clipped points, with an emphasis on curved clips. Several makers show their techniques. Here is a video of how I do it: https://youtu.be/UwCootAwsO0.

The guard fit to the blade and the fit to the handle look very good in the photo. No gaps and a smooth transition fom the brass to the wood. The only thing I would offer is purely a matter of personal taste and not a technical point. I like to narrow the guard tongue side to side and front to back more. Make it less "chunky" and more "sexy", if that makes any sense.

The only things I see in the photos that might be serious, are in in the top view photo. It may be the camera angle or a trick of the light, but the blade does not look centered on the handle. the handle sculpting does not look symmetrical from side to side, and the heel of the handle does not look squared to the handle center line. I usually establish the handle profile first. Then I transfer the centerline of the blade aound the entire profile of the handle and set a series of grauated lines on either side, also around the entire profile befoe grinding the handle sides. This helps keep the symmetry of the handle with visual references. I can post some pics (If I haven't already done that) of this technique, if you want.

“So I'm lightin' out for the territory, ahead of the scared and the weak and the mean spirited, because Aunt Sally is fixin’ to adopt me and civilize me, and I can't stand it. I've been there before.”

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Posted : 17/08/2022 10:06 am
Mark Lambert
Active Member Apprentice Bladesmith

That's the sort of stuff im looking to hear Joshua. I've been working to do everything free handed pretty close to as soon as i started. The only exception to that would be when I first grind out the profile of the knife and handle so i know that im starting with as close to square as possible using a work rest. In this particular case i had watched Tyrell Knifeworks on youtube to get the idea to do the clip with the angled rest while the blank was still flat.

 

Now that you pointed it out, I can see the handle could have been done better. 

I usually establish the handle profile first. Then I transfer the centerline of the blade around the entire profile of the handle and set a series of grauated lines on either side, also around the entire profile before grinding the handle sides. This helps keep the symmetry of the handle with visual references.

This i'll try on the next go around to see if i can get a better symmetry.

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Topic starter Posted : 18/08/2022 6:40 am
Nicholas_Killmeier
Estimable Member Apprentice Bladesmith (5yr)

It's a beautiful knife. Be very proud.

I'm having a difficult time seeing a plunge line or a primary bevel. Are those difficult to see from the photos, or were they washed out in your finishing process?

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Posted : 18/08/2022 2:14 pm
Joshua C States
Estimable Member Journeyman Bladesmith (5yr)

This i'll try on the next go around to see if i can get a better symmetry.

So let me ask you a question. Did you shape this handle on the blade after glue-up, or off the blade before glue up?

to get the idea to do the clip with the angled rest while the blank was still flat.

So think about this for a minute. The clip is at a set angle to the surface on which it rests. If that surface is a flat blank with parallel sides, the distance to the center is shorter than it would be if the surface is the finished bevels. Grinding the clip after the bevels are finished produces a wider clip as the grind has to travel further to get to the center line. This gives the clip bevels a more robust size, a thinner wedge, and a generally more appealing look. It's also easier to put an edge on, if that is wanted.

“So I'm lightin' out for the territory, ahead of the scared and the weak and the mean spirited, because Aunt Sally is fixin’ to adopt me and civilize me, and I can't stand it. I've been there before.”

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Posted : 18/08/2022 10:38 pm
Matthew Parkinson
Honorable Member Journeyman Bladesmith (5yr)

In this photo I see several issues the first to jump out at me is the but of the handle is not square to the blade.  The second this when I opened the photo up it appears that there are tool marks on the guard and courser scratches on the handle around the guard.  This I would correct with a fine cut swiss file (4cut is a favorite) followed by sand paper with a Hard backing (I have wrapped the file in paper many times) I normally follow  the 4 cut  file  with 400 or 600 grit followed by 800 and then steel wool.  

on looking closer I see that the clip is centered but not even,  the thickness of the edge is changing, the end points also see to be slightly off from each other. these are a pain, I get then pretty close after doing my main grind by eye (lots of practice) problem is I have never found a way to lay it out that I can see when I am grinding.. I will again clean up and aligning every thing with a file the yellow tang Groberts are 72 HRC and will cut well up to 60 Hrc, I have also cleaned and aligned this with diamond files  or EDM stones. depends on the steel and the knife. 

MP

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Posted : 20/08/2022 10:38 am
Matthew Parkinson
Honorable Member Journeyman Bladesmith (5yr)

in this phot the fit looks good, I do see some of the same courser marks on the side (less that in  the top view)  looks like they may have been buffed over. 

there doesn't appear to be any plunges on the blade. This isn't exactly wrong, but it is certainly not the "ABS" style. and is something that would likely be rejected by most collectors. For my self I question the point of the largeish ricosso with out any change in cross section, on knives with out a ricosso (tonto Seax etc) then the not having plunges makes sense and doesn't distract from the design, this knife it seems out of place and odd. 

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Posted : 20/08/2022 10:46 am
Matthew Parkinson
Honorable Member Journeyman Bladesmith (5yr)
Posted by: @mark-lambert

First post (other than the new member post) since i've joined two years ago. To prefacem, up to this point I have not gone to any classes, but have spent hours upon hours watching different youtube makers, read books published by ABS members, and studying pictures of completed works on instagram. I have been strongly considering attending the symposium at the end of the month (if money allows), but wanted to start looking for critiques with the purpose of Journeyman testing in mind. Specifically for this post, the fit and finish.

Attached is a picture of my latest knife, obviously damascus is not allowed for the test, but what I'm asking for is critiques related to fit and finish and how i can better improve to reach that journeyman level.

process:

Forging

   The blade was forged for 1084/15n20. I started with a stack of 14, then quartered and restacked twice to get to 224. instead of flux, the billet was soaked in WD-40 and place in the forge once it was heated to forge welding temps. Most work was done on my Appalachian power hammer.

  With the billet, I forged the blank starting with the point and making my way back until I drew out the tang. Before forging the bevels, I let it cool and used an angle grinder to cut the grooves to get the pattern.

Grinding/heat treating

  Before grinding, I cycled the blank in a jenken vertical airbath with 2 grain reduction cycles and an annealing cycle. Afterwards, the blank was surface ground. The shoulders on the back of the ricasso were filed square. Using marking tools and layout dye, I marked the center line for the edge and clip.  The  false edge on the clip was ground out while the blank was still flat, and then the primary bevel was done. Before hardening and tempering, I finished all facets at 120grit.

Finishing

  Post hardening and tempering, I hand sanded in alternating direction up to 800 grit. At 800 grit, I electro etched my maker mark(using templates from TUS tech), however whether it was from poor contact or being slightly dirty it did not come out so well. Afterwards, I finished the blade at 1000 grit and covered it with several layers of masking tape.

  I made the guard with 1/4"x1" brass. Using a guide I drilled several holes in the center to get the length of the tang, and connected then with a dremel. I finished the hole with diamond files and trial fitting until it fit 2/3 of the way down the tang. Using a jig and some leather in the vice, i hammered the guard down until there was a small imprint from the shoulders, which I then recessed out a little with the dremel tool. I finished the face at 600 grit and set it aside.

  I etched the blade with a 4-1 ratio of ferric chloride and distilled water 3 times at 10 minutes each time. Each time i cleaned with soap and water before etching. After each ten minute cycle, I wiped it off and put it in baking soda water to neutralize. Then, I sanded until everything was shiny again with 1500-2000-2500 grit sand paper (one step in grit per round of etching). Following the last round of sanding i soaked in instant coffee for 4 hours, sealed with axe wax, and buffed with a microfiber cloth before covering in masking tape. I then did the final attachment of the guard that had been rough shaped and the front finished.

  The handle material was first flattened on the end to be able to fit up against the guard. I marked out the tang length and drilled the tang hole with a little wiggle room just in case. With the knife inserted and held tightly with a large clamp, i drilled the pin hole until i hit the tang, removed the knife, and finished the block. The hole in the tang was drilled slightly larger than the pin hole for the block to give a little wiggle room. I then rough shaped the handle before gluing and pinning it together. starting at 80 grit, I sanded both the handle and unfinished parts or the guard up to 600 grit. I finished it(the handle and guard) off with some black buffing compound then white.

  Using my 2x72 i ran it in reverse to sharpen starting at 120 and moving up to 600. Before sharpening the edge has a thickness of .030". I'll attach more picture of different angles for review and critique.

 

in this photo I don't really see much to critique, over all the shape is pleasing and looks quite functional. fit and finish in this photo looks pretty good, the only thing I see is the proportions seem a tiny bit off the handle seems very narrow and long with a very wide butt. I thin narrowing the butt and trimming off an inch from the length would bring the proportions back in line. 

for a knife this size i would keep the handle to 4.5-4.75" from the front of the guard. This looks closer to 6" to my eye. 

hope all that helps!

MP

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Posted : 20/08/2022 10:52 am
Mark Lambert
Active Member Apprentice Bladesmith

well I asked for it and you guys certainly delivered.

Nicholas, the plunge line, primary bevel angle got washed out. Depending on the light angle you can see traces of where it is, but it's definitely difficult to see.

Joshua, great argument on grinding later down the road than at the start. I'll give that a try on the next one i make with a clip.

Matthew, you left me with a lot to unpack. there is some uneveness to the finish on the guard there that i can see. I think in the future instead of plowing through, when i feel i have finished a part, such as the guard, i should walk away for a little bit, come back and look it back over. Hopefully i'll be more apt to catch that sort of thing if i do that. The handle is a bit smaller than i usually preffer, but turned out rather comfortable (and im not talking about just in a white knuckle style of grip). I think because it's on the thinner side it appeared longer than it actually is. From guard to butt, it measured at ~4.5" (4.5" is normally what i have been shooting for).

 

With all of the responses addressed, I think moving forward, i wont be trying any more fancy stuff, and just got back to the basics for a refresher. No crazy contouring of the handle, no damascus. Just a really simple but focused on every detail knife which i hope to share afterwards for a new round of critiques.

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Topic starter Posted : 20/08/2022 8:26 pm
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