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Thread: Confessions of a bladesmith; secrets revealed! (Finished Pictures added)

  1. #51
    Wouldn't it be more practical to weld the core bars together first and then weld the edge on?
    "Now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall live and die at my post.
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  2. #52
    Stange ...

    Those last pic's wont come up using Netscape , but will with Internet Explorer ?

    Ah well, long as I can see 'em *g* Mac
    'Gott Bewahr Die Oprechte Schotten'
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  3. #53
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    kevin thanks a lot, this thread is so damn interesting keep them coming.

    Robert.B

  4. #54
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    Originally posted by Leif Svendsen
    Wouldn't it be more practical to weld the core bars together first and then weld the edge on?
    When it gets up to four or more core bars I think it might be advantagous to stick the core together first, but I have found that in two bar cores the reduction and distortion in the pattern can get out of control. Besides it is pretty efficient just to be able to do all the welds in one heat!

  5. #55
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    Just wondering

    I was wondering how you would do the swirl patterns like the one on the cover of one of the SF mags (I beleive it is one of your blades as well, so there would be no better source to ask!)



    That one, I was wondering how you make that pattern
    Would you just curl a section of the billet into a little swirl?
    "Whatever does not kill me, makes me stronger." -Friedrich Nietzsche

    "Nietzsche doesn't apply to steel!" -Kevin R. Cashen

  6. #56
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    Re: Just wondering

    Originally posted by Jeff Berger
    I was wondering how you would do the swirl patterns like the one on the cover of one of the SF mags (I beleive it is one of your blades as well, so there would be no better source to ask!)



    That one, I was wondering how you make that pattern
    Would you just curl a section of the billet into a little swirl?
    Hehehe that is easy enough It is the same pattern just let the wrench slip a little more when doing the twist . If you keep a nice tight grip on the bar and twist it sharply and tightly you will have an abrupt and sharp transition from twist to straight. If you let it go a little looser without tight control over the straight section it will take a slight bowing or a hint of a resverse twist in the straights and when you put them back to back it will give this (()) type of configuration.

    well there you go. This question has forced me to put up or shut up. How smiths get a particular look in their pattern welding is one of the areas that I have encountered the most people claiming to have "secrets". I would have liked that one to be one of those mysteries that Cashen does, but I said there would be no secrets

    The silly thing about it is that most often when the "secret" is let out of the bag, it is so simple that it had no business being a secret to begin with I don't see how somebody could expect to make a career out of a particular patterning secret anyhow. Within about 10 knives with the same pattern people are going to get bored and wonder what the big deal is. Besides that, there are a whole bunch of really sharp guys out there that will sit down with some modeling clay and figure out your secret in one afternoon.

    Better yet is when the "secret" was an accident, as most discoveries are, and somebody tries to claim it as their own So now they are trying to label a naturally occuring process as their invention "You see sir I make these little solid cubes of water by my special patented process which removes all of the thermal energy from the H2O and alters it atomic structure to make a very hard super water!" " so let me get this straight Mr. Cashen, you actually think that you have a patent on freezing water!!" "You got one hell of a possible lawsuit against mother nature!"

  7. #57
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    Re: Re: Just wondering

    Originally posted by Kevin R. Cashen


    Hehehe that is easy enough It is the same pattern just let the wrench slip a little more when doing the twist . If you keep a nice tight grip on the bar and twist it sharply and tightly you will have an abrupt and sharp transition from twist to straight. If you let it go a little looser without tight control over the straight section it will take a slight bowing or a hint of a resverse twist in the straights and when you put them back to back it will give this (()) type of configuration.
    Kevin: This is a real nice thread that you have going here. Took a lot of time and effort on your part, and I hope that all who benefit from it realize that.


    edited by Dennis Boas to clean up quote tags

  8. #58
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    Re: Re: Re: Just wondering

    Originally posted by Daryl Meier


    Kevin: This is a real nice thread that you have going here. Took a lot of time and effort on your part, and I hope that all who benefit from it realize that.


    edited by Dennis Boas to clean up quote tags
    I guess if this time next year there are a whole bunch pattern welded swords being made that look a lot like mine the best i can hope for is have some of them say "this is how Kevin Cashen showed me to do it".

    And this is something that is worth mentioning also, and I would like to address the following to everybody who sees this thread:

    You will never find a group of people like bladesmiths when it comes to sharing what they do with others who are interested. I have been pretty hard on "secret" keepers, but the truth be told, there are very few in our business. People from other feilds are shocked when they see how openly we share with what they would consider our potential competition. In one of the few last bastions of true sharing of knowledge there is no greater sin than absorbing all you can and not giving back or giving credit. The most miserable creature in our business is one who takes knowledge that is given in good faith and claims it as thier own! I think all any bladesmith would ask in return for sharing is to be given credit when the info is shared again.

    I seriously doubt that any of what I am sharing is anything new. It has been going on for millenia now. But since I have been isolated up here in MI for most of my career I have stumbled upon most of what I do by trial and error, but if I encounter a technique that was shown to me I will sincerely try to give the credit.

    But if I may I would like to give some general credits to those who have helped me along:

    Jim Porter- the Master Smith who guided me through my
    Journeyman and Master testing and inspired me to
    never "settle" on quality. The bladesmithing world
    misses him.

    Tim Zowada- For jerking my chain enough to make me question
    all the answers and crack the books. Plenty of my
    salt bath heat treating knowledge came from Tim
    who may have been the first in the custom knife
    bussiness to demsonstrate such techniques years
    ago at Ashokan. That is why we are fond of
    saying "It is all Tims fault".

    Mike Leach- A grinder not a forger, but he was a great in
    guidence and encouragement to a young kid who
    met him at the first local gun and knife show that
    young Cashen had the guts to set up at, and is still
    as good as gold to me today.

    Dan Maragni- For pointing out so many things about "real"
    swords, and still a good source for me to call upon
    when I need input from somebody that has
    handled more originals that I ever will. I have said
    that if I ever had the proverbial 3 wishes one of
    them would be to have Dans library.

    Lee Jones- If you haven't been to Mediaeval Sword
    you are not a real sword junky. I wouldn't even be
    making swords today if it was for Lee's generosity in
    expanding my knowledge.

    And of course all of you folks here on this forum, for making me think about this stuff all of the time. Especially those who have dissagreed with me. Those who know me will tell you that there is no quicker way to get me to expand my knowledge, through heavy research, than disagreeing with me

    I hate to bore folks with going on like this, but I wanted to make it perfectly clear that no bladesmith is an island and that we all have learned some of what we know through the generosity of others

  9. #59
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    i decided to make one in this method but welding billets of cable damascus...gonna start experimenting some more with different methods. this thread alone has given me thousands of ideas on possible varations of this method to get different patterns. i just have to finish making my propane forge for the welds, i think my coal forge will do for the shaping of it (propane tanks cost a bit where i am to refill).

    Thanks heaps, when i make one like this i'll give due credit to you for all you valuable info.
    Robert.B

  10. #60
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    Thank you Swordforum

    I would have to say that without swordforum I would be lost on all that is the world of swords. I have loved looking at swords whenever I get the chance, but that is only on the movies or in one of my RPG books. The first time I held a sword was this summer at medieval times dinner and tournement, and those were just expensive wallhangers (I got a cheap axe from them, the craftsmanship is so shotty that I am very much afraid to swing it, lest I have a projectile weapon).

    There is nothing in my area that I have found that would teach me anything I want to learn about making things, so I turned to the Internet. When someone at a Ren Festival (Like the ONLY ONE that has banned sword! C'mon!) told me about swordforum and I found all this knowledge on swords I couldn't stop reading it. Me and my freind poured through the articles and anything we could find on the site. Now that I think I got enough information to make a basic sword I can't wait for the snows to thaw so I can get to work (Not enough room indoors, and not to mention it is muy hazardos). Every time I think about swords three things pop into my mind:
    1) I wish I could start making some swords today
    2) I wish I had a decent sword, like an Atrim or something! This Axe isn't cutting it!!
    3) Thank you swordforum and everyone who makes it what it is!

    If anyone asks where I learned what I did about swords, I will direct them here and the fine people who spend there time here.
    "Whatever does not kill me, makes me stronger." -Friedrich Nietzsche

    "Nietzsche doesn't apply to steel!" -Kevin R. Cashen

  11. #61
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    Mac;

    Are the pictures OK now?



    Originally posted by Thomas McDonald
    Stange ...

    Those last pic's wont come up using Netscape , but will with Internet Explorer ?

    Ah well, long as I can see 'em *g* Mac

  12. #62
    Hi Dennis

    Nope still not working with Netscape !
    When I right click , and copy & paste the jpg url in the location bar I get this message ! Mac

    Bad Request
    Your browser sent a request that this server could not understand.
    The request line contained invalid characters following the protocol string.
    Apache/1.3.26 Server at silt.phpwebhosting.com Port 80


    Originally posted by Dennis Boas
    Mac;

    Are the pictures OK now?



    'Gott Bewahr Die Oprechte Schotten'
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  13. #63
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    Kevin,

    please add my thanks to the pile for this great thread and
    the others that I've jumped to from cross references...

    On your topic of how people share in your industry, a remembered quote came to me... from Francis Whitaker, the statement that "there's always room at the top". There are mighty few artists doing the caliber of work that you do, and within that small pool, it's probably relatively easy to share.

    I don't know if a businessman who mass produces and distributes a common product would be as willing to share the details of their thin profit machine, you know?

    thanks again for all the info and food for thought.


    -someotherkevin

  14. #64
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    Re: Re: Re: Just wondering

    Originally posted by Daryl Meier


    Kevin: This is a real nice thread that you have going here. Took a lot of time and effort on your part, and I hope that all who benefit from it realize that.


    edited by Dennis Boas to clean up quote tags
    Believe me, we realize it. This is great. Maybe someday we can talk you into giving a show and tell.

    Kevin, don't worry about me. I could never find the time to get anywhere near your skill level. But it does make me want to play with a homemade forge.
    Örn Doomslayer a.k.a. Þorfinn , the one we don't let steer, Commander of the Twin Tiers

  15. #65
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    Originally posted by Thomas McDonald

    Bad Request
    Your browser sent a request that this server could not understand.
    The request line contained invalid characters following the protocol string.
    Apache/1.3.26 Server at silt.phpwebhosting.com Port 80


    Hmmm silt.phpwebhosting.com is the web host for cashenblades.com it is probably something to do with the way I saved the graphic there. It is in a sub file that was created by Microsoft word as it converted a file over to HTML or HTM as it is fond of doing. I usually don't use Word for web pages and code the stuff myself but these images were already attache to a word file so I took the cheap way out. Apparently Netscape doesn't like the cheap way

  16. #66
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    Kevin, this is vey much appreciated.

    I was wondering if you had any thoughts on another gentleman who shared his knowledge: Jean Jacques Perret?
    Sikandur~~Aim Small, Miss Small

  17. #67
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    Originally posted by Kevin R. Cashen


    Hmmm silt.phpwebhosting.com is the web host for cashenblades.com it is probably something to do with the way I saved the graphic there. It is in a sub file that was created by Microsoft word as it converted a file over to HTML or HTM as it is fond of doing. I usually don't use Word for web pages and code the stuff myself but these images were already attache to a word file so I took the cheap way out. Apparently Netscape doesn't like the cheap way
    It's OK in Netscape 7.0

  18. #68
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    Originally posted by Kevin R. Cashen


    Hmmm silt.phpwebhosting.com is the web host for cashenblades.com it is probably something to do with the way I saved the graphic there. It is in a sub file that was created by Microsoft word as it converted a file over to HTML or HTM as it is fond of doing. I usually don't use Word for web pages and code the stuff myself but these images were already attache to a word file so I took the cheap way out. Apparently Netscape doesn't like the cheap way
    Some browsers do a lot of error correction for common mistakes, but I don't think this is the situation here, as every browser I have tried works.

    Mike
    Well, I hope Arthur Frommer will remember
    An Arizona man don't need him around anyhow

  19. #69
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    You will probably have noticed that there has been a delay in the continuation of this thread. There has been a regrettable development and I wanted to contact Dennis regarding the status of his sword before continuing publicly. Both Dennis and myself thought that this would be just as good to include in the thread for educational purposes. It is a great illustration as to why a custom order is different from a mass production. Delays can and will occur. This is a good example as to why that custom sword you ordered that was due that month may not get there for some time yet. Customers really need to understand that many of the delays are due to the smith insisting upon giving you the very best he can and his willingness to discard something that is not up to the highest standards. And with little things like this popping up from time to time you can see why the domino effect causes all the people on the waiting list to be delayed by some time.

    There is an unwritten rule that every smith who has worked in front of the public knows. When you a demonstrating in public Murphy’s Law will run rampant. I should have figured that the blade that I was doing in front of the entire Internet would be the most susceptible to this rule.

    A couple of days ago when I started forging the blade to shape I discovered a crack in the edge near the tip. This welded back shut rather easily, but there will always be a seam there where the pattern was interrupted. This is most disturbing and it is the second blade to suffer such problems from the last batch of steel that ordered from Crucible. I ordered my L6 and my O1 at the same time so I will need to narrow it down. I have strong suspicions that it is the O1. I have gotten some bad Ketos in the past and my preliminary investigations shows no problems with the Champalloy (L6). Although O1 can be a bit touchy at higher temperatures I have successfully welded up scores of billets with no problem. I have ordered some Carpenter O1 and some Admiral 1095 for alternatives.

    When the new steel arrives I will start all over ASAP and try to pick up where I left off. I the meantime I am going to start on the hilt design and layout. The pattern-welded steels that I use for hilts are often of different composition so it should be unaffected.

    I will be more than happy to continue to answer any questions about what has been shown so far. But for now all I can say is that I will pick up where I left off very soon and that this thread is - TO BE CONTINUED…

  20. #70
    Thanks for keeping us informed Kevin ...
    I feel like were all involved in this now , and we appricate you breaking it to us gently *g*

    S*%t happens , and that's life !

    We shall be looking forward to the continuation , and wish you best of luck getting it there !

    Drinks on me ! Mac
    'Gott Bewahr Die Oprechte Schotten'
    Mac's Picture Trail

  21. #71
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    Kevin: A picture is worth a 1000 words. We would like to see how small a "defect" can be to cause a rejection.

  22. #72
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    Originally posted by Daryl Meier
    Kevin: A picture is worth a 1000 words. We would like to see how small a "defect" can be to cause a rejection.
    I will see what I can do tomarrow. Right now we are going into a very brisk Michigan night and I am going to put a couple more logs in the fire and avoid the outdoors until tomarrow.

    You are right Daryl the defect is small enough that I will probably have to etch it and get fairly close to it with the camera to get an image. But you know how this business is, one guy might say "hey, thats nothing, it is still a good sword" but somebody, somewhere down the road will look at it and say "that is the best Cashen could do?" and that person will make a point of telling 10x as many people as the guy who thought it was no problem.

    I would rather have people think that Cashen is crazy because he will throw way a perfectly good sword for fly specks than to be known for the opposite

  23. #73
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    Kevin: Truely said, that's why I think it is important that everybody should have an opportunity to see how small what a professional calls a flaw is. There are plenty of makers that do "close enough for government work", but few that are control freaks. My closest friends and those who's work I admire are control freaks!!
    Last edited by Daryl Meier; 01-18-2003 at 04:08 PM.

  24. #74
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    Is there a chance you might either remove the bad section and reform it as you had planned to do with the remains and make something else for your available page or will you just scrap the whole billet and start over?

    Just curious,
    Alan K
    Some people are like slinky's. They have no real purpose, but you can't help but smile when you see them tumble down the stairs.

  25. #75
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    You are right Daryl the defect is small enough that I will probably have to etch it and get fairly close to it with the camera to get an image. But you know how this business is, one guy might say "hey, thats nothing, it is still a good sword" but somebody, somewhere down the road will look at it and say "that is the best Cashen could do?" and that person will make a point of telling 10x as many people as the guy who thought it was no problem.

    I would rather have people think that Cashen is crazy because he will throw way a perfectly good sword for fly specks than to be known for the opposite
    And that’s the real difference between top level custom work and all the rest. It’s also the answer to people who say things like

    “Those forging marks, hammer marks, not quite straight lines, etc. give the sword character and prove its hand forged.”

    Nonsense all those imperfections prove is that whoever produced the sword was willing to settle for just good enough as a standard.

    Thank you for reminding us that the true professional is never willing to settle anything less then his or her best.

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