Monday, June 25, 2012

A New Forge for My Studio

I have been in the process of building two new furnaces for the last 3-4-months. All has been going well doing much of the work here and there, when I could, at a fellow knifemakers shop that has all the welders and that larger space for lay-out.
However, with my work-flow I just found it difficult to get them finished & I have two shows coming up this year G4 being the first of them, CaliforniaCuston Knife Show being the second.
SO I really had to stay focused on my orders and show schedule.
My custom forge & HT furnace would have to wait until a later date!
Since I generally put anywhere from 40-60-hours in each one of my chef or camp knives I need all the time I can get just creating! Yes I am crazy!

So >>>> I talked to Dave and Stacie Starr of Chile Forge and they did some custom work for me on one of their models.
I have to say that Stacie and Dave are among the best people I have ever worked with.
They are both highly skilled at communication and really delivered AAA+service and built an amazing forge that is performing really well so far!

I will have more images to follow,
but here is a shot of the forge being set up and another one with it with the burners in and waiting to be rolled out to the apron of my studio for firing;
you can see my old forge to the left that I still am using for sub-critical heat treatments.One last shot of the custom floor I had them do for me with a full tang chef knife blade in process.

Other than the custom floor, I had them add a Needle Valve just after the main psi valve.
....and I will most likely make an entirely new post about the performance characteristics possible with amazingly well designed burners (like they create at Chile Forge), and how to optimize performance using a simple valve like this!

So far I am stoked !!! and am now off to my studio to do some more work....
.....but I just had to share this with you all. It represents a pretty big $-investment in my bladesmithing practice and I am really happy with this beauty!
It is much longer than my old forge and has more capacity for creating camp knives and full size chef knives as well.

A BIG THANKS to all of you out there that bought knives & helped make this happen for me!
enjoy the images..more to come.



Second installment of how the forge is doing:

 I have been having fun with the New one though. Slowly working on the adjustments, but I am happy with the few pieces I have forged and heat treated out of it so far.

Below is a quick shot of the first two blades forged in it. You can see that I can get it running pretty clean with minimal scale happening.

 Like I said, I am working on two of my own furnace designs for my shop. one will be a muffle furnace for doing heat treatment, the other will be another main forge.

SO, the cool thing about this new Chilli Forge, is that it's size allows for a muffle-tube to be place into the chamber on stickers to let heat get all the way around it. The advantages are three-fold.
#1 It can isolate the work-piece from the primary flame-source thus diminishing the resulting decarb that is often associated with soaking & final escalation before quench.
#2 Creates a significantly more even heat; which is a must for myself in that I am making lots of chef knives that are forged to shape and are quite thin at time of hardening.
#3 A very rich atmosphere can be obtained by placing a piece of hardwood on the tube to get burning, then slide to the back of the tube. This really rich atmosphere just steps-up the anti-decarb-program to a level that is really amazing and works wonderfully.

A Shot of the tube just place into the forge to see how it fits.
And the very first test-run of the muffle tube to see what is what in terms of length of heat.
Below, running a bit HOT for HT, but I had this large Persian bowie I already had forged & decided to use it to see what was possible..... AND as a result, the blade just got one more normalizing cycle....just for kicks.

 And the first two blades I heat treated came out really clean with no dacarb and arrow-straight!
I Heat treated a few more blades this evening and they all came out amazingly well.
>> Straight and nice.
Thanks for letting me share my excitement with you all.

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