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Donnerstag, 18. Februar 2016

Martin Troy is forging damascus;-)

Last weekend Martin from Ireland came visiting to do some forging and general horsing around;-), and yeah, here´s the story;-).

Martin arrived on Thursday night, well, actually well into the night, because flight was all messed up. We had a  chat, and were off to sleep, for we wanted to be at the smithy early - for a TV film team had announced their venue. I´ll spare you the entire story, just in case, you know;-) and might do a post about all that happened if they mess up;-). On the other hand, all was good, the weather was being fine, and we were doing a lovely hike to a great place to meet some friends and forge weird stuff. Martin was planning on making a straight razor for a good friend of his, who is a hairdresser, and a San Mai Damascus for another friend and customer of his, with crucible steel we found in the local woods around my place as a cutting edge. I showed him a bit around the place, and our senior blacksmith introduced him to the tools. For the Damascus he cut up an old sawblade and we had prepared some file steel to go along with the crucible steel. In the meantime I took care of the folks and showed the TV crew around.

Michael was there and did some forging of some very ambitious projects... and I am quite astonished at his progress at the moment. He does some sophisticated projects and while sometimes he gets frustrated and is a bit eager, he does some amazing stuff!
Currently he is finishing off a Damascus boot knife and working on a project that is secret still, but knowing what he´s about, I can say I am pretty fond of it... I hope to be able to keep you posted!

Kai was there, too, and demonstrated his amazing skill of putting g his hands into his pockets;-) and Nick showed everyone how to burn your project properly;-), just kidding of course;-P. We exchanged some weird jokes and wicked humour as usual...

While I was showing Martin around, I found this carpenter´s axe lying around in the shed that I really wanted to share with my trusty readers;-).

You can see the offset and the forged socket-way cool, if you ask me, and one day I hope to do something like this!

Martin prepared the billet for tacking together and was off for the welding.

...while I was doing spark analysis on some steel I found in the woods. Apologies for the lousy picture, but I was doing this freehand with lousy lighting. If you look closely you can see some dark red sparks on an old chisel I found in the woods, which hint on it being alloyed with cobalt or tungsten... we´ll see how the forging will go. This is what I find exciting and challenging-making do with what you find and working the story into it!
When I do spark analysis I always use spring and file steel for comparison to evaluate the carbon content as precisely as possible. It´s not that precise, to be precise, but actually works for me... and I am not being particularily nice to my blades, so to say, ahem;-D.

Then Martin was ready for the welding and drawing out and he apparently liked our power hammer;-).

Henning dropped by and did some forging himself. Apart from being  one of the nicest guys I have met, he quite certainly has a lot of talent. He did a hardy tool from an old railroad screw and did a very great job at it. Nick lent a helping hand. While Nick might not be the best blacksmith there can possibly be and often simply refuses to listen when he is being tutored by Kai or myself, he is a very important guy to keep things running smoothly. He keeps everything together with good humour and patience, always has a big deal of empathy for everyone´s problems and does a great job with kids. And of course, he is one of my best friends.

Then Friedhelm and Bernd came by with a friend of theirs, Gunther the boar. Gunther was not feeling that well that day and had a laydown while Friedhelm did some first aid to dress him up for dinner;-). fact, Gunther was bleeding all over the place...

...and suffered from a severe hangover;-). Kidding aside, Friedhelm, who is a hunting instructor and game warden, gave us valuable insight into the bureaucratics of hunting in Germany and dressing techniques. We learned a lot by simply watching, and toasted to the dead animal. For even if we did some wicked jokes on that, that´s not to say we had no respect. I can´t explain that to a veganist, but I daresay my trusty readers know what I mean when I say so.

There´s a difference between hunters and shooters, so to say, and Friedhelm quite certainly is one of the former variety. He simply loves his hunting ground and cares for it because he´s been growing up there and understands each and every rock in the forest. He knows and loves and therefore cares about his hunting area.

Here he explains skinning techniques. In general itr´s about the balance between cutting and working the skin loose .
Like this...
After processing this was left for Bernd, the red baron;-) to take with him.

Martin suffered several mishaps, unfortunately, but in general, we made do and had a ball with it. The crucible he originally brought was too brittle, but I had some left that was processed already. Then the billet burned off, but I had some Damascus billet left that he could use. Unfortunately, Bernd had ordered a hunting knife, and we were kind of eager to get all that stuff together... but when you get eager, you get problems. So the San Mai did not quite weld in. Martin, however, is not one to do it the easy way and tried a traditional Japanese technique instead of just tacking the billets together and then welding it all together. When all runs good, everything is good, but with this technique everything must be perfect and there´s no room for errors... turned out the edge steel fell out constantly, so he called it a day and made the straight razor instead from a piece of Damascus he had brought. 

It was well into the evening, when we set the BBQ and did some feasting and had a beer. It had been a great day in great company with a lot of positive energy around. It was a very intense atmosphere and I should say we all have prospered from it.

I look forward to the next sessions! It is just perfect that while having fun you can do a good job keeping something alive. I also learned a lot from Ernst, our senior blacksmith. who gave me a good tutoring on the power hammer. I always find it amazing that he can do that delicate a work with the machine, and slowly begin to realize that it might be possible. I like this last picture, by the way. It tells the story of how I see this stuff. At the moment, everything seems to be very dark everywhere. But there is a smithy lit, and the flames of the forge are roaring violently. That which cannot be mended is welded in the forge; and by doing so we slowly start learning from each other to agnize the name of steel. There are people from 8 to 77 years old at the smithy, girls and guys, Germans, Irishmen, Saami and Swedish people, and we all learn from each other and cover the ground we stand on. It makes me proud to have a part in that. It is a beginning. Not an end. 

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