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kristopher skelton

basic basic basic chisel making

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It's a start for those of you who want to try your hand at making your own chisels. It's for my second steel carving chisel, but the theory applies to wood carving and stone carving tools as well. My caution for thin wood carving tools it to not let the edge get too hot. It's easy to do and you'll find you always get an edge that won't stay sharp.

 

Enough ado....

 

The following link is no longer avialable: www.alchemyforge.net/chiseltutorial.html

 

I'm completely open to suggestions, additions and "What the hell were you thinking?!" type comments :huh:

Edited by Janel
The link no longer works.

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That's a great tutorial, Kris! Thanks! Even a non metal basher might try her hand at it with narrower stock for littler tools for little non metal carvings!

 

----------

 

The book "The Complete Modern Blacksmith" by Alexander G. Weyger, is now available through The Carving Path Bookstore. Click this link to go to the bookstore, then click the title of the book and go directly its Amazon.com page.

 

Purchasing and clicking through the bookstore to buy your books is a great way to support this forum. It doesn't cost you any more for the book and the forum receives a small commission from Amazon.com. Thanks for your support.

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It's a start for those of you who want to try your hand at making your own chisels.  It's for my second steel carving chisel, but the theory applies to wood carving and stone carving tools as well.  My caution for thin wood carving tools it to not let the edge get too hot.  It's easy to do and you'll find you always get an edge that won't stay sharp.

 

Enough ado....

 

http://www.alchemyforge.net/chiseltutorial.html

 

I'm completely open to suggestions, additions and "What the hell were you thinking?!" type comments :)

 

 

Nice Tutorial Kristopher. You went to allot of effort to lay that out. If I may offer some metallurgical advice on one segment of your process.

The part where you’re heating to 800F and quenching will not refine the grain. What you want to do for grain refinement and prep for heat-treat is called normalizing. You bring the piece slightly above the upper critical temp and air cool to a black heat. Repeat if you like, but most of the benefits come from the first cycle. You heat the steel to basically the same level of heat it takes when you go to harden the steel. At this temperature all of the steel recrytalizes. This is the mechanism for refining the grain. The Steel recrystalizes in the form of new smaller crystals clusters. These New cluster sizes can be locked in if you cool the steel below critical (black heat is good here) If you cool too fast it hardens, but will still be fine grained. If you cool too slow you lose some of the refinement do to new grain growth. Depends on the steel type, but an air cool is usually your best bet. if you are not hot enough to be in the critical range no refinement of grain will occur. If you don’t get into the same range that you harden with there will be no recrystalization and therefore no new smaller clusters (grain).

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Nice tutorial, Kris. Even though you might be a novice at carving, you did have a major contribution to make! Thanks - I keep thinking about carving metals, so this looks quite useful.

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I air-normalize my blades but for the chisels I've been trying the "thermal cycling" as described in the video linked to here: http://forums.dfoggknives.com/index.php?showtopic=3512

 

 

I just took another look and I think that I -did- normailze it, more or less, without realizing it and adding the step to the tutorial. The chisel was heated and worked very slightly, for picture purposes, before being clamped in the vice to be filed. Setup for the pictures took long enough that my wife actually touched the tip and it wasn't at all hot. Then I went to the thermal shocking and hardening.....

 

So yes, everyone, please do heat to non-mag and then air cool. It will only help :)

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I air-normalize my blades but for the chisels I've been trying the "thermal cycling" as described in the video linked to here:  http://forums.dfoggknives.com/index.php?showtopic=3512

I just took another look and I think that I -did- normailze it, more or less, without realizing it and adding the step to the tutorial.  The chisel was heated and worked very slightly, for picture purposes, before being clamped in the vice to be filed.  Setup for the pictures took long enough that my wife actually touched the tip and it wasn't at all hot.  Then I went to the thermal shocking and hardening..... 

 

So yes, everyone, please do heat to non-mag and then air cool.  It will only help :)

 

I am dubious about the Thermal "shocking" having any positive effects, but the temp is so low it wont hurt anything either. At worst it is a waste of time and feul. Should not cause any problems and that is probably the most important part. Most smiths I know refer to muliple Normalizations as "thermal cycling". I would treat the chisels just like blades.

At 800F with such a short time at heat there would be an insignificant amount of growth, but technically any time spent at temps approaching critical but not reaching it will coursen the grain. the hotter you get the worse the effect right up to recystalization temp where grains disolve and regrow.

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Guest ford hallam

Gentlemen,

 

please! :angry: , yet again we see the tendancy to get lost in technology. All this talk of thermal shock and grain realignment etc etc, is not really of much use to anyone. If your readers have has the slightest comprehension what you are talking about then is's highly probable that your diatribe is superflous. If on the other hand you intend to advise anyone who has no or little experience of the finer points of metal treatment you've chosen to explain the process in Klingon <_<

 

Remember the KISS principle," keep it simple, stupid" ;)

 

If this response appears somewhat harsh it's probably because that's the nature of steel B)

 

right , I'm off, more sake to eliminate :)

 

minasamma wo oyasumi nasai B)

 

Ford ( tsubaman )

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I see no reason use angry smileys about anything in this thread ;) . The information provides was intended for those who can understand in an attempt to prevent extraneous steps from being disseminated to those trying to learn from the thread. Remove extraneous steps and you have made it simpler, No? There are many myths about heat-treatment of metals. Understanding what steps will benefit the steel and what steps won't is not useless technological banter, it is communication about the nature of the material. I don't think a better understanding of the material is a waste of anyone’s time, especially those that would teach. Mr. Skelton invited exactly such comments at the bottom of his post. If they were not invited I would not have said anything:)

Having fun in Japan ? :)

 

Gentlemen,

 

please! :angry: , yet again we see the tendancy to get lost in technology. All this talk of thermal shock and grain realignment etc etc, is not really of much use to anyone. If your readers have has the slightest comprehension what you are talking about then is's highly probable that your diatribe is superflous. If on the other hand you intend to advise anyone who has no or little experience of the finer points of metal treatment you've chosen to explain the process in Klingon <_<

 

Remember the KISS principle," keep it simple, stupid" B)

 

If this response appears somewhat harsh it's probably because that's the nature of steel B)

 

right , I'm off, more sake to eliminate :)

 

minasamma wo oyasumi nasai B)

 

Ford ( tsubaman )

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I just thought of something.... the guy in the video is some brand of European... think he meant 800C? That would certainly change the effect, I would think.

 

Either way, I've been "getting away" with not doing it for my blades and it's apparent that there's something missing in my application. So, I'll just remove that from the tutorial and we can all be done with it :)

 

Gambatte!!

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I just thought of something.... the guy in the video is some brand of European...  think he meant 800C?  That would certainly change the effect, I would think.

 

Either way, I've been "getting away" with not doing it for my blades and it's apparent that there's something missing in my application.  So, I'll just remove that from the tutorial and we can all be done with it :)

 

Gambatte!!

 

That makes much more sense to me. Its very common to do multiple cycles of Normalizing which would be right around 800C for simple steels. You can certainly do good work without any preperatory heating/cooling cycles. For basic chisels you can simply grind Heat and quench and the tool will work just fine.

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Guest ford hallam

Patrick, Hi.

 

the smiley I applied was't meant to express anger ( it's not that important ) simply mild irritation or a frown :) ,

 

I believe I've been fairly consistant in my stance viz a viz craftsmanship. I don't believe any highly technical awareness of the inner workings of metal are any more likely to produce a workable tool when ultimately the job is being done by eye and hand. The essence of good craftsmanship is indeed that fine balance of hand, eye and intuition ( some would say heart ). My concern is that an over- emphasis on detailed technical data will deaden the develpement of precicely those more subtle and tacit skills. I was under the impression that this forum was for artist / craftspeople ( don't want to offend the Ladies B) ) and as such I was expressing my opinion on the infomation presented.

 

After more than 25 years of intense study and working at the highest levels in my craft I feel the right to be forthright in my opinions. I too am concerned with the spread of inaccurate infomation and while Mr Skelton went to a lot of trouble to inform, I am of the opinion that "too much knowledge can be a dangerous thing" <_< I thought the refernce to the colour of the steel being like a bloody mary quite amusing though.

 

If I may, I'd like to suggest that tutorials of this nature are deliberately kept simple and practical, so as to better serve the needs of those who are most in need of help. Personally, I quite enjoy these nuanced explorations of metal treatment but perhaps this kind of detail is more at home on the bladesmiths forum. Those fellas really impress me :)

 

I sincerely hope Mr Skelton is not offended by my rather brash response but as this forum is a functioning democracy I am merely expressing my vote ( Socratic smiley )

 

Funny enough I spent last Sunday with one of the top swordsmiths over here. This is a man ( Hiroki Hirokuni ) who produces the most refined and practical tools ( swords ) from iron ore. We discussed at length exactly the value of such technical knowledge, but as He said " none of the "experts he'd met could use this knowledge in any practical way " it all comes down to intuition or to use the Japenese, " kan " ( insight, and not merely metaphorical ;) )

 

well that's my 10 yens worth. I'm off to the old part of town, Shitamachi, where all the old style craftsmen live and work. All the people on the site Janel found a while back are there. When I get back home I'll post lots of photo's for your enjoyment. Strangely, it feels as though there is a giant catfish ( nemazu ) in my head.

:angry: Kampai! Dick, I'll drink to your health and all of you, that's a lot of sake B)

 

Nemazu is the "earthquake fish" that these islands were thought to lie on B)

 

regards.

 

Ford

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Ford I knew not the crimes I have commited :)

I hope I havn't turned too many people into Talentless technical Zombies:)

Seriously speaking, I understand what your saying and in the very specific context you have specified I totally agree. I still think that helping to refine the Tutorial making it more accurate and simplified was a good thing. The idea was to impove the Tutorial. The tutorial becomes the source of information not my posts directly. I thought Mr. Skelton would benifet on multiple fronts being a Knife maker. I would love to talk more of the philosophy of this with you, but I am so pressed for time right now. I look forward to meeting with you. I am sure we will have some great conversations.

Take care,

Patrick

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Guest ford hallam

Hey Patrick,

 

no worries mate ;) , I'm sure we'll have an intense time <_<

I've got your tools and such. B)

got to run too, I hear a sake singing far off somewhere, it's lonely :angry:

 

Clive, how are you doing bro? any response on our little thingey? :)

see you when we both get back. Say hi to San Fran for me B)

 

later Dudes

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Seems like two distinct viewpoints at work here. Hewing to the egalitarian nature of the forum, there should be room for all. Some will be interested in metallurgy and some not(to varying degrees). I do have to say that it's not necessary to understand the molecular processes to get a kick-a** functional tool, but if you're intrigued by that knowledge, more power to you. It's a mysterious and fascinating world. However, I wouldn't want a neophyte to get discouraged thinking they had to grasp all the theory just to get out of the tool-hardening gate.

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I am so mechanically inept I can barely use a drill press so I do everything simple, by hand and eye. Some times people tend to turn art into rocket science....however, if there was no rocket science there would be no rockets. Hmmmmm.

Dick

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wow.... ;) and I though voicing an opinion on fixed blades versus folders was a contentious subject.... :)

 

Well, as I said I would, I removed the whole issue of heating to whatever temp, quenching briefly and repeating. I'm really not that interested in making austentite or martensite or whateverisite.... unless there's AstonMartin-site in which case I really would enjoy a new British sports car :angry: I just want knives that cut without chipping or rolling an edge and chisels that chisel away metal, wood or whatever.

 

B)<_<

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Kristopher,

.... unless there's AstonMartin-site in which case I really would enjoy a new British sports car :)

Can I put my order in for a 1966 DB-5? Hmmm.. That would make a great kagamibuta netsuke... <_<

Thank You,

Dick

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What's more classic than a '77 Vantage? By many counts the first British SuperCar.... It looks like a Mustang swallowed a brick and sounds like said Mustang had been smoking Lucky Strikes for thirty years :)

 

Tell you what- I'll get the old Vantage, you get the DB5 and we'll do some bracketed road course laps. Call me when you're ready :angry: ('cause I won't be for a looooooong time <_< )

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