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Thread: Ah, the glorious life of a swordmaker...

  1. #1
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    Ah, the glorious life of a swordmaker...

    Some days are just more fun than others. I thought that I'd start the day by sticking my finger into the belt grinder. I've had better ideas but at least it was the 'slow' grinder running at only 2650 surface feet per minute. It barely removed 1/2 a square inch of skin- no big deal.

    Some friends of Linda's stopped by at lunch-time. One of them wanted a favor- could I engrave her new gun? Nothing much- just to indicate that it was a gift from her Dad. She's in a 'pirate' group that does black powder stuff. Very nice repro- seemed to defeat the purpose that it was made in stainless steel... No worries, anyway- quick and easy job.

    After lunch it was back to the sword at-hand. One of my grinders was a bit out of whack which I didn't realize until I was grinding a sensitive area and just couldn't seem to get it right. After about the fourth attempt the frustration was building. I made a noise of some sort that I am pretty sure wasn't language, but if translated I am pretty sure would not be suitable to a 'family' forum. I must not throw blades across the shop anymore. That's one of Linda's rules- don't ask why she had to make a rule about this. So I gave the workbench a good smack. Made a big noise but it wasn't really very satisfying. It also hurt; even as I was noting the pleasant lack of vibration (meaning that I had at least done something right) I also noted that the unfinished edges of the tang had peeled a noticable amount of skin off the inside of my fingers.

    At this point I exclaimed "Expletive deleted!" Only I didn't say "explative deleted." Casting a gimlet eye aroungd the shop seeking a more suitable target I saw the quench bucket by the buffer. I use 5 gallon buckets that our cat litter comes in and they have a nice thick rim. The monkey part of my hind-brain recognized this as a more suitable target. Whack!

    Oh right- sword. Even with a dull sword it's pretty easy to split a plastic bucket in half, thick rim not withstanding. Five gallons of suddenly liberated water immediately made good it's escape. Almost; whoever poured the slab for my shop had thoughtfully not included a drain, and just for fun had made sure that the surface was randomly uneven- but not so random as to allow the water to actually drain off anywhere.

    Somwhere around this time Linda came to the door of the shop. "I heard too many bad noises so I figured that you should shut things down and come inside..." I washed up and was plied with coffee and Reese's Peanut Butter cups. God, I love this woman.

    After a suitable interval I returned to the shop, swept out the water and fixed the grinder and finished the sword blade which came out just fine, thank you. I took pics and posted them for the customer's approval. The good news is that he approved. the bad news is that this sword is one of a pair and I have to do it again.

    I think that this time I'll skip some of the process. It might be a sacrifice of artistic integrity but eventually I'd run out of fingers and quench buckets.
    Last edited by Michael Tinker Pearce; 09-13-2007 at 11:45 PM.
    Tinkerswords.com Fine knives, swords and daggers in the style of the European Middle Ages and Viking Era

    "Then, one night as my car was going backwards through a cornfield an ninety miles per hour, I had an epiphany..."

    Luke 22:36 Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.

  2. #2
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    ... you know they say "things can only get better"

    I say "bollocks to that!"

    Thanks for the read, I thought I was having a crappy day, but you win!

  3. #3
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    Lol.... I just throw a hammer or break something valuable and things are much better after it is over, all but the recrimination about costing yourself time and money, that is.... If you ever switch to that method, just remember... shrapnel is dangerous and stuff can bounce back around in unpredictable ways and usually that stuff is a lot harder and denser than flesh is... bwahahaaa

    Doing things a second time over is bad enough, just avoid trying to do it more than that. It goes from frustrating and slow to mind numbing and maddening at the same time. Or at least it does for me. Ofcourse, I may be less patient than some.

  4. #4
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    Thumbs up swordsmiths are human too

    Its good to hear ( in a odd sort of way ) that craftsman go through the same artistic process as the rest of us mere mortals -

    I am sure some people think swordsmiths run off finished blades with a calm serene look on the face with minimal effort expended -
    or pluck them from up their sleeve like a vaudville magician

    The golden advice of take a breather , come back at the job refreshed with renewed focus - not always feasible , I have to explain to my wife that guys sometimes like to let off a bit of steam , when ive cut the pad of my thumb on a blade I tend to
    question the parentage of the entire neighbourhood by yelling
    Ba'@#a?d at full volume - this is also good for when you strike your thumb with a ball peen hammer

    been some good threads from people in the craft lately - and tinks is by far the most human that we can all relate to IMO


    cheers

    Mick
    " Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."



    Ephesians 6:11

  5. #5
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    He he, thanks for the fun read . I guess sometimes it's simply not "your day" and have to accept that.

    It happens in other jobs too, in computers just replace "grinder" with processor cooler running at 5000 rotations per minute. You would be surprised of the damage it can do with the small aluminium fins if you stick your fingers where you're not supposed to. Plus, you can't even whach the damn thing, it can't take it and it's expensive
    Against ignorance, gods themselves struggle in vain.

  6. #6
    and here i thought that punishing the workpiece was a swordmaker's secret... well, that's a relief. i thought i was only one working on my own ballistic sword program.
    on a related note, laptop computers DO NOT work faster after being slapped around like 3 dollar whores, despite intuitive thinking otherwise...
    www.hellfireforge.com

  7. #7
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    Ah... still making pagan sacrifices of flesh to the belt grinder god... awesome...

  8. #8
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    Tinker,You know after having a couple of my own projects go to crap...not with standing....you actually have talent.....I think we have something besides a love of swords in common!

    Its nice to see people post about throwing things, cursing and slapping computers....been there

    Frith,
    ~Asatru is not what we believe...its what we are~

  9. #9
    Angus Trim is offline Moderator
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    The condition of the floor brought back great memories..... of the day back at the end of March when the neighbor's water pipe broke, and before discovering what the problem was, and shutting off the building's water, my shop was flooded........*g*

    Yeah, no drain in the floor, and just uneven enough to make the cleanup interesting.......
    For Good or Ill......

    What Comes Around Goes Around.....
    and

    You Reap What You Sow...

  10. #10
    Angus Trim is offline Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ty N. View Post
    Ah... still making pagan sacrifices of flesh to the belt grinder god... awesome...
    Rough grind 33 handles into shape, then finish 20 of them on a belt grinder, 8000sfpm, the skin goes pretty quick........
    For Good or Ill......

    What Comes Around Goes Around.....
    and

    You Reap What You Sow...

  11. #11
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    It's great that you can see the humour in such a day!

    Not that I'm advocating anyone picking up some bad habits, but when my work in the shop isn't going well, I find a pipe and a pint goes a long way to smoothing over the rough spots...
    - Tim

    Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angus Trim View Post
    The condition of the floor ... just uneven enough to make the cleanup interesting
    Which reminds me.....
    I had 50 gals of 'spare' peanut oil in 5 plastic containers. Bought them years ago real cheap (free) and yes, peanut oil is a wonderful quenchant.

    I go downstairs, what the hell is this! crap all over my floor? It didnt' rain --the old "coal hole" does leak, but that's clear on the other side of the basement....

    You know it. Not 1, 2 or 3 leaked, all 5 of the damn things did.
    Floor's not at all even, oil flows, I became extremely upset. Might even say angry.

    Although what I said did not merit me any Reese Cups.
    *g*

  13. #13
    Who needs Reeses at that point? Just eat chocolate and stand amongst the peanut oil fumes...
    Freelance hack... and slash... and thrust...

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Tinker Pearce View Post
    ... the quench bucket by the buffer. I use 5 gallon buckets that our cat litter comes in and they have a nice thick rim. ...
    So, that's the secret to your success: swords quenched in the residual essence of Johnny Cat...

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by T.L. Johnson View Post
    So, that's the secret to your success: swords quenched in the residual essence of Johnny Cat...
    Sorry; I should have said 'cooling buckets.' The actual quench tank is filled with Extra Virgin Olive Oil. I would honestly hope that all olives would be, well, virgins- but what the heck is 'extra' virgin?
    Tinkerswords.com Fine knives, swords and daggers in the style of the European Middle Ages and Viking Era

    "Then, one night as my car was going backwards through a cornfield an ninety miles per hour, I had an epiphany..."

    Luke 22:36 Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Tinker Pearce View Post
    The actual quench tank is filled with Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
    I would "hate" to clean that up...............
    I'm lost---- I've gone to look for myself. If I should return before I get back, please ask me to wait.

    If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.

    I work for Keyser Söze.

  17. #17
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    Hahahahahaha!

    My God, Tinker, that was a great post.

    It's rather encouraging to see that highly-respected craftsmen go through the same brain-boiling frustration as the rest of us.

    Reminds me of times in my studio when a piece just goes completely awry, but you have to replace belt grinders and plastic buckets with tubes of oil paint and giant rolls of cotton duck canvas. I swear, the walls in my studio look like Jackson Pollock snuck in during the middle of the night and ransacked the place.

    BTW, never hurl a tube of Cerrulian Blue oil paint at the wall. The caps tend to fly off and come back at your head a lot more accurately than you'd tend to think.
    Pittsburgh: City of Champions... and the Pirates.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnLBeaumont View Post
    BTW, never hurl a tube of Cerrulian Blue oil paint at the wall. The caps tend to fly off and come back at your head a lot more accurately than you'd tend to think.
    Hmmm.

    This gives me an idea . I bet you experienced swordmakers could come up with a nice set of "swordmaking Murphy laws" .
    Against ignorance, gods themselves struggle in vain.

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