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New heat treat forge

Here’s one of my little side projects finally coming to fruition. A new heat treat forge that I designed and built in order to gain better control over temperature and atmosphere during the critical heat treatment stage. 

See, the thing about heat treating is that if you do it well, then good for you, you’ve done your job, but if you do it poorly, you render your product inferior at best, or downright dangerous at worst. Heaven forbid someone have a blade fail them in a critical situation.

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So I built this thing. The burner assembly has eight separate burners so that I can produce a more even heat distribution within the chamber. Just above the chamber is a baffle that a made out of some insulative ceramic fiber board, upon which I can place the knife while I wait for it to get up to austenizing temperature. The baffle also helps deflect the flames away from the knife, once again to more evenly distribute the heat throughout the chamber. Insulation is just some basic 8# density ceramic fiber blanket. The working depth of this heat treating forge is about 30″, so it will be able to handle some bigger blades. 

Here’s a shot of the burner assebly before I installed it in the forge body

htforge_burner

Pretty cool, right? Next steps are to assemble a front door for this thing, and then wire up and install a thermocouple so I can get accurate temperature readings. My ability to judge heat by color is only accurate to +/- 6 degrees fahrenheit and I need single degree accuracy dammit!

Anyway, I gave it its first test run the other day and it performed great. I will post pics of the test subject when it’s completed in the next few days.

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Going into the field

My latest military knife is now officially en route to its new owner, who plans to carry it on his next deployment. He currently serves with the 173D Airborne Brigade which, according to military experts, is fucking BADASS (please excuse the technical term).

I rigged up a leather sheath that will be compatible with MOLLE gear so he can wear it on his chest rig. Here’s a shot of the front –

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And here’s the backside, which shows the MOLLE compatible button strap.

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Hopefully the knife will arrive at its destination in a few short days, at which point its service shall officially commence. Although my man Nick doesn’t know it yet, he has been selected as my official field tester and will hopefully report back with his impressions postehaste.

Godspeed, brother.

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Little grunt

A few days ago a friend of mine came over to visit and I took him out to the workshop to show him a little of what I do out there. Well, before long the forge was glowing and the anvil was ringing with the sound of hammers forging hot steel. We worked in the shop for many hours, each of us making a knife from start to finish as I demonstrated basic forging, grinding, and heat treating techniques and gave him some guidance along the way. When Keith walked out of there that afternoon he had a cool new knife in his hand and a big smile on his face. The knife I made didn’t come out too shabby either. 

Anyway, Keith is an Army veteran who proudly served in the 10th Mountain Division, an elite light infantry unit that has been deployed in just about every major conflict the U.S. has been involved in over the last few decades. When I finished the knife I made while he was here I decided that I wanted a soldier to have it. Seemed fitting…

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So here’s it is. I forged it out of some 1/4″ thick 1084 carbon steel and fully hardened the blade. Its overall length is just a bit under 9″ with about a 4″ cutting edge. The flats were left with a forge finish and the bevels have a simple 800-grit cork-belt finish. The full tang handle is wrapped in cord to keep it nice and slim. The wrap also provides solid purchase in the hand and can be removed if you happen to find yourself in need of some cord.

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It’s not pretty, it’s not fancy, but it’s strong, it’s tough, it’s sharp, and it will serve its owner faithfully for many many years.  As far as its new owner is concerned, I may have actually just found him

Meanwhile, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of the brave soldiers and veterans out there for their service. Your courage, honor, loyalty and sacrifice keeps this nation safe and free. I wish I could make a knife for every one of you…

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