The Forge Guest Report

I didn’t get much in the way of pictures, because things got busy and a bit hectic.

We headed over in the morning and paused to dumpsterize a few piles of junk that had accumulated near the new forge/shed, then Q got busy grinding.

Photo by Q

I certainly didn’t intentionally throw him a curve-ball but I forgot to emphasize that when you have a blade that’s layered out of high carbon and wrought iron, you wind up with a blade that grinds easily on the sides, and not so easily near the edge. He had trouble keeping the edge well-defined and it started to wobble a bit from side to side, so I corrected it back, and we went back and forth a couple of times. At some point when I was in the other room not paying attention, he appears to have cleaned up the surface on the flats without realizing that that also created a thin spot in the blade (side-to-side) which radically changes the geometry of the edge-bevel. It’s not impossible to repair but it means “knife makers don’t make mistakes, they make thinner, shorter knives.” Eventually we got it to a pretty good shape and then did a few belt-changes to get the big scratches out and switched to Scotch Brite belts. (Which are not really Scotch Brite, they are indoor/outdoor carpet soaked in glue and carbide abrasive grit) it came out looking pretty good.

But we were both getting tired, I think. That’s why I forgot to take pictures.

As a non-sufferer from migraines I don’t understand them, though I know about the prodrome and how devastatingly painful they can be. Around mid-afternoon, Q was looking greenish and we decided it was time to call it quits. We had just polished the blade up and cut some wood for a bolster and handle (Q brought an amazing long plank of purpleheart to make a handle out of, and kindly left me the rest) we’re going to finish it someday but not today. He took a nap in the van and headed out down the road. Safe travels!

Layout of handle blocks

It’s a great joy to see someone’s face when they pull a damascus blade out of the etch-tank and it no longer looks like a polished piece of steel, and you can see all the crazy activity in the metal. When you “stretch” wrought iron by a factor of 4, it always puts on a great show, and the edge, which was W-2 that turned a nice deep-space black, was well-positioned and dramatically wavy.


  1. kestrel says

    Well done, Q… that will be a lovely and useful blade. Also please be safe; I can not drive when I have a migraine as I get auras and can’t see a thing except the aura.

  2. Jazzlet says

    Good learning Q, I hope you got home safe, I couldn’t drive with a migraine either.

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