Dick's Workshop
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The New Shop

Well it’s taken a bit of time, effort, and money, but I finally have a shop set up here in Germany. No shop is ever complete, and this one is still far short of what I want it to be, but at least I can forge, grind, drill, and heat treat, and for that I am happy.

The forge is a two-burner venturi style forge I bought from a small outfit in Lithuania, and though it’s not quite the same as my home-built forced-air unit back in Vermont, it seems to do the job OK. I added a bit of refractory to improve efficiency and it gets hot pretty quickly, so I’m fairly pleased. The anvil is a massive old German steel faced anvil that I bought on eBay Germany and had shipped to my address. It’s a full meter (over three feet) from horn to heel, and if the “260” stamped on the side means Kilograms, its weight in pounds is well over 500. The grinder is a Radiusmaster 2×48 which I’m actually very pleased with. It tracks very smoothly and can be configured for flat or hollow grinding with a very clever and easy to operate rotating contact wheel system. Like most everything here in Germany the grinder was expensive, but it’s a quality product and I’m happy to have it in my shop.

Aside from that I’ve been able to assemble a few hammers, tongs, files, vises, and a drill press, leaving me fairly well equipped and ready to start catching up on orders. Now all I need to really get back in business is a metal-cutting bandsaw, a chop-saw, a wood-cutting bandsaw, a disc-grinder, a post vise, a few hardies and other anvil accessories, a MIG-welder, an air-hammer, a milling machine, a metal lathe, a bead-blasting cabinet, a digitally-controlled electric heat treating furnace, and maybe a decent radio.

One tool at a time…

The next major order of business is getting fully acquainted with the European alloys, which will require a bit of testing on my end to get the heat treat regimen dialed in. The steel I’m working with right now is called 1.1545 in Europe, and is sometimes also referred to as C105. It’s actually quite similar to W2 in the U.S. but is generally held to much tighter tolerances, making it a much more consistent and reliable alloy. I’ve heard great things about C105 from some of the other bladesmiths around here and look forward to reporting back with my own impressions of this steel once I’ve had a chance to do some testing.

I hope to have a few knives completed within the next few weeks and will post updates as I can. In the meantime, I can always be reached by email, and can also be contacted via facebook or Skype if you prefer. Finally, I want to wish you all the best from my new mountain home, and will leave you with a photo I took from the pasture behind my house after a little snowstorm a few weeks ago…