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Thread: Welcome and guidelines. Please read before posting.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
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    Exclamation Welcome and guidelines. Please read before posting.

    Welcome to the Metallurgical Studies Question and Answer Forum. I think you will find it uniquely refreshing in its science based factual approach to the topic. For almost a year Adrian and I had been talking about how we could find a way to make it so that everybody at Sword Forum (both beginners and advanced) could easily discuss what happens in steel. The bane of most technical forums is the burnout that knowledgeable visitors get from answering the same basic questions repeatedly while, on the other hand, folks new to the field can get left out of the more stimulating advanced discussions.

    I had resisted the idea of being a moderator for some time (team managers don’t get to play) but in the end I realized that I should put my money where my mouth is and see if I could do any better. My plan is to offer an outlet for information that is unique in the blade enthusiast field, one that is based solely on hard scientific fact, proven metallurgical principals, where unfounded claims, wild speculation and hype simply cannot survive a healthy peer review. If something you read or heard really has you scratching your head, here is an excellent place to get to the bottom of it.

    One of the tools that I hope will make this forum useful is what I have titled “A metallurgical Rosetta Stone”, in that thread you will find and ever growing list of definitions, explanations and descriptions of metallurgical terms that will be used on this forum. If ever there is a term or concept that you would like to understand better you should find it there, if it is not here yet, please feel very free and welcome to request that it be added. As these terms and descriptions pop up in threads, the good and useful ones will be harvested and placed in the Rosetta Stone thread. This way, this forum will be a source of a continually self-generating knowledge base.

    Another tool that I hope to add to as we go is the Bibliography. Shortly after it was installed I noticed folks quoting great information from books listed there, both here and in other sites on the internet, this tells me that it is indeed a very usefull tool for disseminating metallurgical information. If you have a book that you found particularly informative please feel free to send me a note that includes the title, the authour, an ISBN number and a brief description.

    To help keep things on track, and in the spirit of this exciting new forum, in addition to the usual "Netiquette", I have included the following guidelines to make your participation as easy and enjoyable as possible for all concerned.

    1. There are no little tin gods here (this includes me, this is the Metallurgical Studies Question and Answer Forum, not the Kevin Cashen forum). Everybody is on equal ground. The greatest boost to one’s ego is to help build up the knowledge of others, not tear it down. Self-worth based on the intimidation of others is built on a house of cards.

    2. In order for #1 to work we need to respect each other. Please assume somebody knows what he/she is talking about, before you blast him/her. If they continue to remove all doubt that they do not know what they are talking about, gently correct the facts. We are blade makers on an Internet forum, not engineers in a lab at MIT, descriptions and terminology will often be at a level appropriate to the venue. Remember, if you want to split metallurgical hairs in every sentence, there are folks present who can easily step it up a notch and make everybody self conscious about dotting the “I’s” and crossing the “T’s,” but that will not be very conducive to a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere of learning.

    3. Claims presented, as opinion should be labeled as such; nobody can tell you what your opinion should be. Claims presented as facts should have sound evidence and data to back it up or they will be open game.

    For example, the following statement cannot be argued:
    “My favorite blade would be hand forged 5160 quenched in my special mix.”

    Overblown statements of opinion presented as facts:
    “A hand forged blade, made from 5160, quenched in goat urine is the greatest tool
    EVER made by man!” will almost always result in problems, so please avoid them.

    4. Questions are very much welcome, it is what this forum is all about. In order to make your questions easily answered, be certain to make it clear what it is that you are asking, and make sure you supply as much specific information as possible. “How do I make a sword?” is not a good question to get enthusiastic responses, and will most likely result in referrals to your public library, which could be entirely filled with the possible answers to such a question.

    5. Please avoid addressing threads to a single individual. For example, Thread title: “Question for Kevin Cashen?” Posts within the thread are expected to be addressed to individuals participating, and are fine, but the thread itself should include everybody. The power of this forum comes from input from as many sources as possible. Threads addressed to a single individual are exclusionary in nature and tend to limit free exchange. Besides, if you want a one-on-one conversation, an e-mail or private message is much easier.

    6. Touchy topics. Some topics have proved problematic for this forum, so in the interest of fostering dispassionate discussion they need to be addressed in specific ways:

    a. Due to a large absence of basic needed information, questions about “scrap” or “mystery” steel will be moved to the “Bladesmith Café, where there are many knowledgeable smiths with experience in “guessing the metal”. It is a fruitless endeveur to ask a metallurgical group to tell you how something will behave if we don’t even know what it is. "5160, L6, 1095" is information we can work with. Old leaf springs, used files or lawnmower blades, are meaningless descriptions for effective metallurgical evaluation.

    b. Quench mediums are as diverse as people making blades. Improvised quenchants are simply and unknown variable that are impossible to quantify, I may use a mix of automotive fluids just as you do, but I have no idea as to the properties and behaviors of your mix, but if we are both using ACME RapidQuench 30, we both have access to the same data from ACME, precise data on its cooling characteristics. Some home made quenches are pretty good, some are absurd, but is beyond the scope of this forum to sort them all out.





    I will no doubt add to this message as time goes on, but for now I would like to welcome all, who are interested in the mysterious and fascinating would of bladesmithing metallurgy, yet are tired of all the sensational misinformation out here, to come in and enjoy. I look forward to endless fascinating conversations.
    Last edited by Kevin R. Cashen; 01-24-2012 at 03:24 PM.

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