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Jim Keith - Mon 08 May 2017 14:39:55 #0


Alex, it was a great honor to have you and your two partners over here for a day. We appreciate all of your involvement with our little celebration and hope to see you back soon.
Abel Sanchez and his brother did some impressive work along with our other contestants. I could not have more pleased with the turnout and the quality of forgings we had.

Jim Keith - Mon 08 May 2017 14:42:24 #0

Rawhide again

Chuck, glad you made it down along with Freddie and Kevin. Hope they down well with their booths.

Joe Rollings - Tue 09 May 2017 23:00:54 #0


A few things about Ironwood;

It is so heavy it will not float

If you are cutting or sanding it and it starts smoking from dull saw teeth or clogged sandpaper, that will make you awfull sick for a day or two. Sometimes the dust will do that , too.

The best way I ever found to shape it was to keep trying stiffer wire wheels until you find one that will dig right into it and throw coarse dust, then you can shape it without heating it or fulling up the paper. It leaves a lovely finish like rough staghorn, and you can finish THAT with a cotton buff and compound. Looks like you can see into the grain for about 6 inches.

When you use it for pistol grips, etc, you can actually thread it with a tap and tighten the screws REAL tight without stripping them.

The more years you work with it, the sicker it makes you when you snort it.

I'll drive right past a dead ironwood tree nowadays and never look twice. Too many years using it.....Joe

Chuck - Wed 10 May 2017 00:19:09 #0

Rawhide Days and Ironwood.

JIM KEITH We enjoyed it, Thanks for putting it together.

JOE-- I once walked into a pawn shop in Pagosa Springs, CO. I stopped to look at the chunk of wood being use as a fake door stop.
The owner saw me nudge it with my leg, then pick it up. He Said "You have any idee what that chunk of wood is"? I told him it was probably ironwood. He grinned and said "You are the first that knew what it is".
I ended up trading for it. It had two good knots in it and some other grainy places on.
his Grampa had hauled it out of the Sonoran desert in the thirties. It had been cut a long time before that. I still have a few pieces of it.
Balsa, some Bo- Darc, Bocate, Cocabalo would kill me if I ground them with out protection.
The damn stuff builds up on a guy. Or the triggers stay close to the top.
Some Bo Darc is bad shit, some will not bother me.
At this point I just don't grind any Osage Orange except what I have and know it to be alright.
some of this stuff will cut your air off just as quick as Ammonia.
Helen buys masks(good ones) everytime she sees them. I use them now where I did not use to.
Storming. Hope eastern NM does not get hammered.
God bless

Chuck - Wed 10 May 2017 00:39:31 #0

Buck & LorenT.

LOREN T--I love exotic wood if I know what it is and how I am going react to it.
Love good, deep grained wood.
Exhibition(sp) grade Ironwood is beautiful. Some wood is more expensive than the knife it is put on.
BUCK- Thanks. Helen is still kicking, just not as high as she once did. We may have figured out the cause of her severe pain. We think it is Pancreas related.
The doctors are all agreed-It is not her Pancreas.
We will continue to help them fund their kids college funds. Have to do this till they stumble on to the correct diagnosis.
We are almost positive it is her Pancreas
One of our Grand-daughters has --GENECTIC PANCREAITOS. Severe pain and all the symptoms Helen has.
We go again tomorrow for another 'Sonar' test.
God Bless

Loren T - Wed 10 May 2017 11:59:11 #0


Not only does ironwood not float, it does not burn unless you have an abundance of other wood with it in the fire. Also, it will burn out a good chainsaw blade in nothing flat. In the woodworking club in Sun City and in the lapidary club are signs, "No Grinding or Polishing of Ironwood".

Joe Rollings - Thu 11 May 2017 10:47:14 #0

ironwood and O'sage

My friend used to go to where the Seri Indians did their ironwood carvings down in Mexico, and buy the ones tha t got ruined, them slab them up and sell the wood for knife scales.

They rough-carve those with 7 1/4" saw blades on 1/4 horse motors, no guards, hand-holding the wood. There was almost always more fingers missing from the carvers from one trip down there to the next, but they never quit until they didn't have enough left to hold the wood any more.

Chuck, when w lived up north, I used to buy mesquite logs from a guy in Clarendon, Texas, and he threw in some nice Osage Orange from time to time, but it was green and had to be cut up pronto or it would crack. Awful pretty stuff, but I never got the hang of working it.....Joe

Chuck - Thu 11 May 2017 14:40:51 #0

Osage Orange

Osage Orange wood I have and like is from corner posts that were put in the ground in 1880-4. The fence was pulled up and replaced about 1990,
They were in the ground for over a hundred years. Some of them were 8" thick. I sawed some of them up in 18" lengths. Thought how nice the end grains were threw a few aside to wait until it hit me to use it for this or that.
A while later(months)I noticed the ends had started cracking.
The next I opened up that I like I paraphened the ends. There has been a little cracking even with the paraphine(sp). The hundred years was not time to relieve the stress/moisture inside the post.
This Bois Darc is bright orange fresh-sawed or sanded but darkens with exposure.
I used it for hatchet handle, knife slab handles, hidden tang knife handles necklace crosses, mixed the saw dust with epoxy for a nice fine filler line.
It has not bothered me to use it. Some that I have got from other places have really got to me---Bout shut my chest down.
I think I have caused some of(maybe most)this by not protecting myself for too long.----


Joe Rollings - Thu 11 May 2017 22:11:34 #0

We had it in hedge rows in illinois and made a lot of posts from it, too. I tried to hang a gate from one and every time I tried to put wood screws into it I twisted them off. Dosn't like nails too much either.

Dad came along and told me that if I could get it to carry an electrical current, maybe I could weld the hinges on.... :) .....Joe

John Odom - Thu 11 May 2017 22:45:01 #0


I love it! For screws, I drill and tap and use machine screws. It does not seem to grow much around here. I glom on to any I come across.

Joe Rollings - Fri 12 May 2017 10:46:42 #0

guy selling ironwood

Chuck - Fri 12 May 2017 10:51:20 #0

Bo Darc

Bo Darc----is a hard wood--understatement.
It is like Mesquite each time it is cut, the suckers that sprout out of the root mass are HARDER than the ones cut just before them.
I have seen Bo Darc trees you could not cut, if you did not have a good set of dogs on your sharp chain saw. Just bounce off after skinning the bark up.

Bo Darc fibers are super fine. Working up a hatchet handle with a shoeing rasp will raise splinters worse than any other wood. People that don't know any better will want feel the unfinished wood. It will get them some little bitty splinters, that will break off when you try to pull them out.
Most folks shy away from old Bo Darc. It is beautiful after it is finished but some times on real flat surfaces the thin fibers will get you.
When I was a kid we carried a brace & good bit to make holes in the Bo Darc posts and some of the tight ringed, dark red, juniper corner posts.

I am like Joe's Dad anything that hard should be welded.

Chuck - Sat 20 May 2017 00:36:39 #0

Storm celler---root cellar

We are thinking of a storm /root cellar.
I have some between the rails wooden railroad crossing pads(for a better name). We are thinking maybe to dig two six inch side ditches and one end ditch. These steel re-enforced walls will be poured, then skidster dig the dirt out.
Wanting seven foot side walls. If we can't ditch this deep we will form it.
We will have a center steel I-Beam with a 4"X4" steel heavy wall tubing brace on both ends and one the in middle.
The crossing pads will set on top the 5" or 6" I-Beam and walls. Thinking we will have 12'X12' inside.
Heavy plastic and horse trailer matting on top of the crossing pads, then three foot or so of dirt.
Some kind of ventilation. We will figure the other end, door/steps when we get to it.
The reason for not poring a cement top. Ten miles from town--Might have to chain-saw, dig our way out.
I am thinking the walls, I-Beam, brace posts and 6" thick crossing pads will hold the 3' dirt on the top.
The reason for 3' of dirt on top--Radiation --if I figure out the steel door then wood at the bottom of the steps. Root cellar and food storage.
What does anybody think
Info is needed.

Joe Rollings - Sat 20 May 2017 22:38:41 #0

Quick assessment, more detail later

If your dirt is solid, you can dig a hole, pour the bottom of it with concrete, push in some rebar around the edges, Build a box 1 foot smaller than the hole, with LOTS of cribbing and sturdy reenforcements to keep it from sagging against the weight of the concrete, center it, then pour concrete around the edges, strike the top off flat, install whatever lid suits you.

I have done this a time or two for a septic tank and it worked great. Also very possible to use block to build the walls and fill the holes with more concrete. If you need to economise on the blocks, I have a block mold I'd be happy to loan you. Made it myself, and it DOES need a vibrator to get a good fill every time.

For ventilation, providing there is going to be more than one healthy arm in residence, I'd install a hand-crank forge blower of the Buffallo sort. Wouldn't need to run full-time anyhow, just change the air from time to time. Plenty of drawings of particulate traps on the web. Needs to be an exit pipe for worn-out air somewhere in the plan.

I still find sheet lead from time to time to make ML bullets, so you might find some for a radiation shield, OR you could melt it into sheets and eliminate some depth of hole.

Late in the day for me to think this all the way through, but I'll give it some more thought tomorrow or Tuesday, and re-post.....Got a full day Monday....Joe

Joe Rollings - Sat 20 May 2017 22:48:02 #0

One additional comment

I beams are REALLY expensive, and rebar is really cheap. You can pour most supporting beams and collumns FAR cheaper than you can buy them in steel. PLUS, poured walls will adhere to them MUCH better.....Joe

Chuck - Sun 21 May 2017 00:54:51 #0


JOE--I have some old five inch I-Beams(heavy). Twenty something feet of heavy wall 2"X6" tubing
I have a big coal forge, hand cranked blower. Can't think of the name right now. It is about ten or twelve inches in diameter. It would ex-change air pretty well.
Ditcher has a hoe on it. Around the walls will be shelving.
I was thinking about the extra labor to pour and stand the walls.
I have enough T posts and re-bar fence rods to tie it all together.
Have the new(un-used) sheet of 12 gauge metal and pipe for the outside door. Have some 4" heavy PVC pipe, plastic sheeting and trailer mats.
We have a home built wood or coal burning fan blown--SMALL-- stove. Could pull fresh air for its self.
All this stuff would bring very little in a sale.

Concrete, man power and more know-how is what I really need.
Still thinking about all this.

Joe Rollings - Sun 21 May 2017 20:11:14 #0

cellar and steel supplier

I'd dang sure never pour a wall and stand it up if it was going to be underground, because it is much easier to pour it in place around an existing bax form. The first one we poured we had a a couple of youn'ns scooping gravel into the mixer and we got the floor done in a couple of hours on something like a 7x10. I got down there and kinder rough finished it with a trowell. Can't recall if I used a ladder to get back out or if they tossed me a rope, but we let that set a coupld of days while I built the box form. Next time down, I kicked the form off into the hole and centered it, kids started scooping into the mixer again, job was done right after lunch. Had to tear up the box form to get it out because I hadn't made it sturdy enough and it went hour-glass shape and was trapped by the hard concrete.

One funny part was that because it was a septic tank, had to have a hole in each end of the form for the pipes to go in and out of, No jig say to cut a 6 inch hole in plywood, so I backed off a few feet with the double barrel shotgun and blew the holes out. They were close to perfect with a little knife work.

Sometimes, local concrete companies are looking for a place to dump the tag ends of loads when the customer orders more than his forms will hold. My grandaddy actually poured a full basement for the house he built by having them dump surplus loads into the forms, but he should have blown the dust off of the surface between loads, because it made little seperations and lines in the basement walls.

Now, on to business. For once in my life, I want to make some knives with no time pressure on me, because when we were still in business it was always a race with me, and I am confident I never once did my best. Pressure is off now that we sold out, and I am slowly putting the equipment back together and ordering some supplies and materials, but I cannot recall where we used to get those bars of 1095 and 5160 that were 6 feet long. Any help recalling it would be appreciated.

I DO have a LOT of leaf springs, front and rear, from an old dump truck that spent it's last days here, but trthey are so thick I'll either have to get my hammering arm back in shape or build another power hammer....Joe

Joe Rollings - Sun 21 May 2017 20:14:38 #0

Name of the steel outfit

popped into my head. It's admiral....Joe

bruce godlesky - Fri 26 May 2017 09:49:04 #0

Admiral has the best prices out there Joe. Gonna send an order in soon myself.
I have a new (to me)52 inch Simonds sawblade to whittle into pieces to mix with the 1095 for Damascus. Make sfor great contrast.
Another project I'm working on is an all Pennsylvania Damascus blade. have O1 and L6 from a local mill and looking for a Pa. made gun barrel to add to the mix.
It's spring turkey season here in Pa. and I'm prit near wore from hunting 5 days a week. More fun than squarshin' tadpoles!!!!

Joe Rollings - Fri 26 May 2017 22:51:14 #0

Why would you squarsh a tadpole?

Supposed to be specail health benifits for eating them alive!, but what do I know?.....Joe

bruce godlesky - Sat 27 May 2017 06:27:04 #0

when you was a kid ... or last week... walkin' down them 'ol 2 tracks after a rain the ruts is full of tiny tadpoles. A running leap and KER-Splash!!!
Ya mean to tell me you never did that??? Or taught yer grandkids to do it! hehehehe

God Bless all the brave servicemen and women who sacrificed all for our country.

bruce godlesky - Wed 31 May 2017 06:49:27 #0

bead blast abrasives

Whats good for cleaning up light scale/rust? I broke down and bought a cabinet box. Wanted to avoid rewgiular old playbox sand. Too abrasive imo. Walnut hulls anygood?? Enquiring minds........

Joe Rollings - Wed 31 May 2017 10:46:45 #0


You can buy ground up walnut hulls at petsmart and that is a pretty good abrasive. They use it for bedding for lizards, if you can believe it.

Take your blood pressure meds before using that blaster much. Lots of them around full of 45 caliber holes, including mine. They burn up vacuums realy fast or if you don't use the vacuum you can't see into them. A bit of moisture in the air supply makes the abrasive too wet to feed, etc. etc.

I now and for years past have taken care of rust scale, forge scale, pretty much whatever comes along with muratic acid, diluted, then into a baking soda and water bath to kill the remaining acid, then water. Use a bit of elbow grease to get off the remaining black stuff and it will be as clean as it will ever get....Joe

bruce godlesky - Wed 31 May 2017 17:58:59 #0


I'll check out the walnut hulls Joe. Happened to be in Tractor Supply this morning and lo and behold , they had 5 gal. buckets of glass bead and garnet so I brought home a bucket of beads. :-)

Joe Rollings - Thu 01 Jun 2017 16:20:05 #0

Carefull about getting it on the floor. It's dry but REALLY slippery!....Joe

bruce godlesky - Thu 01 Jun 2017 17:10:17 #0

thanks I'll keep that in mind.
I'm tryin to make room for this cabinet somewhat near the compressor. In the middle of renovations and space is limited. I just hate to throw stuff away!
On another note, finally found some large trap springs to make blades from . Should be a good seller at the trapper shows this summer.
Always thinkin' of other stuff to build .

Chuck - Wed 07 Jun 2017 22:51:12 #0

Checking in.

Been hitting the site everyday.
Everybody is mum.
God Bless all of you.

Buck Brown - Thu 08 Jun 2017 10:46:25 #0

Me too Chuck

Hi Bruce. I'm thinking of making some blades from trap springs. Do you know what the steel is so I can figure out how to heat treat?
Thanks, BB.

bruce godlesky - Thu 08 Jun 2017 22:13:51 #0

trap spring steel

Buck, I just sent off a piece to get it spectrographed. I'll let ya know whewn I gwet the results. It's a slow process going thru several people but the price is right.
I did run a piece thru my friend's x-ray machine and it come back .38 mn, .23 chrome and 98.8 iron. Ballpark .5 or .6 carbon. Quenched a piece in water and it shattered like glass. I bought these ones from PCS in Michigan. large double springs for wolf traps, I believe.

Joe Rollings - Fri 09 Jun 2017 10:59:15 #0

Got hung up on

When I told the woman on the phone I needed a "lovejoy coupling"....can't imagine why they didn't name those things almost ANYTHING else. Even the knockoffs carry that name....Joe

bruce godlesky - Fri 09 Jun 2017 14:43:58 #0

hung up on.....

Joe did you emphasize any particular word or phrase....?? haha

Joe Rollings - Fri 09 Jun 2017 23:00:19 #0

Tried my best to be deadpan and talk like a robot, but when I order from ladies, they always seem to either giggle or turn frosty. I hate one as much as the other....Joe

Tom C - Sat 10 Jun 2017 07:35:50 #0

Checking in

I check the posts most days, but I haven't been doing much smithing lately because of my '57 Chevy car project. I'm close to putting the body back on the frame; just a few more details to take care of, like wiring under the dash while I can still rotate the body.

Joe, I wondered about that name, too. I guess Mr. Lovejoy was proud of his invention. If the lady knew her inventory, she wouldn't have blinked an eye & asked you what size shafts you were cnnecting.

Today I'm helping my guild get ready for our annual big get together, Hammerstock. It's next Saturday at the Greyhaven Winery in Goochland County, VA. & has been pretty well attended in the past.I'm donating a forged trellis for the auction.

That's it from Central Virginia.

Tom C

Chuck - Sat 10 Jun 2017 23:40:54 #0


I have two pieces left and they don't fit each other. I even forget what I was hooking up.
But I have some odds and ends that were necessary when I got them
Quarter inch black union that will end up in a light fixture along with elbows and nipples.
Have just found out I have Macular Degeneration---Not bad right now but will need more light to finish the knives that are going to pay for the storm/root cellar. Carport is on the agenda.
Traded some knives tonight for some of the back hoe work. A fellow does what he can.

bruce godlesky - Sun 11 Jun 2017 18:29:14 #0

Chuck, go with the 4 ft LED shoplights lights. They sure help those tired old eyes. BTDT
Barter is the way to go. I did so on a new custom recurve bow today. Barter will cover half the cost.

Joe Rollings - Tue 13 Jun 2017 10:53:44 #0


Is always good, providing that the deal is settled completely before anything changes hands. Otherwise, you wind up doing stuff for barter that you would not DREAM of doing for cold, hard cash....Joe

Buck Brown - Tue 13 Jun 2017 13:54:04 #0


Thanks for the help. I did a spark test on a Victor brand trap. It shows very high carbon. I've got to think it will make a fine knife

Buck Brown - Tue 13 Jun 2017 13:58:53 #0


Bruce is right on with the led lights. We're switching everything over to them. They are a much brighter and whiter light than incandescent bulbs. Our electric company repays us for the first $100.00 worth. You might want to see if yours does too.

bruce godlesky - Tue 13 Jun 2017 17:47:07 #0


one of the big things with them lights is the absence of that annoying HUMMMMMM and flicker in cold weather......

Mike B - Wed 14 Jun 2017 20:17:21 #0


I like the LEDs too. The only problem I've had is that my welding rods don't seem as dry since I switched.

Seriously, though, is there a particular brand of the four-footers you're using?

Joe Rollings - Wed 14 Jun 2017 21:01:26 #0


I dunno if they are three or four footers, but I bought the ones from Sams club maybe a year ago, and they were the cheapest around at the time, and work GREAT !

They are still working perfectly, and if I had bought more flouresent ones, I'd be replacing bulbs by now, pro'by some for the second time....Joe

bruce godlesky - Wed 14 Jun 2017 21:34:44 #0


I'd have to look at a box I still have. They come from Rural King store.
There is another option. You can buy the led strips and mount them into existing 4 footers. By-passes the ballasts. The company I looked at was Greenway or sumpin like that.

bruce godlesky - Thu 15 Jun 2017 20:45:00 #0

Brian, did you ever find yer 15n20?

bruce godlesky - Sun 18 Jun 2017 09:19:30 #0


MikeB, the leds I have are made by Lights of America. 4500ens

Mike B - Mon 19 Jun 2017 20:39:41 #0

Thanks, Bruce! That gives me an idea what to look for.

plain ol Bill - Tue 20 Jun 2017 17:44:57 #0

HOT in the SW

Chuck you and others that live in the southwest take care in all the heat. WOW, makes me really thankful for the pacific northwest and our scorching day that hit 72. We had a young couple from Amarillo visit last weekend and were driving back through Phoenix - glad I'm not with them.

bruce godlesky - Wed 21 Jun 2017 08:46:11 #0


as they say... hotter than nine kinds of hades.
I been in the forge shop mearly last 2 mornings welding Damascus. low 60's then up from there. Finish up before it goes to 80.
Ben having all sorts of problems gettin' things to stick. Kinda think I may not be quite hot enuff.
Annoyed enuff I just may buy a made by someone else forge.

Chuck - Wed 21 Jun 2017 21:14:36 #0


JOE--If you can get on Facebook. One of my Granddaughters took some pictures of a few of my knives.
Three different knives have the wood scales from the board you gave me. She photo shopped them but you tell how nice the wood came out.
BRUCE I saw three gas fired forges in one shop of a beginning knife maker, along with a coke forge.
He has been a farrier for a long time, but has gathered everything to be a blacksmith/blademaker.
He had a couple of "Whisper" forges and another that looked impressive. Most of the top part was cast. He mentioned that it would go right up to 2100 and on up to 2300 with just an adjustment. Somehow the forge was able to be set at heat where you wanted.
My gas forge has to be pushed to make forge welding heat. I could burn up a lot of steel in Kevin's propane forges. Grin
You will see him on my Facebook. His name is Kevin Stephens. Nice young man about 60. You will like him. Menefee has went fishing in Florida. He took his oldest daughter fishing for Sharks and Tarpon. Great for them.

I would like to know what his good propane forge was, just to look it up.

JOE been having any of the desert sand storms like they have south of you?

Got to do chores.
God Bless

Chuck - Wed 21 Jun 2017 22:15:06 #0


BRUCE--Mine & Kevin's--- All the forges are propane except the coke forge.
I don't have any natural gas in my shop.

bruce godlesky - Thu 22 Jun 2017 06:09:50 #0


Gonna rig up a blower on mine today.
I think my problem is an underpowered burner.

Joe Rollings - Thu 22 Jun 2017 21:07:46 #0

No sand storms, BUT

It's been real nice and toasty here, 108 one afternoon. So far Arizona has lost about 45000 acres to wildfires and they ain't out yet, and lots fires in New Mexico, too.

My grandson used up his time on the lne and was cussing because he got "stuck" back at base filling up brush trucks, but about that time the guys that were on the fire line picked up about 50 cases of strep throat, so I'm guessing he is pretty happy to be at base filling up trucks for a while.

Gottta wonder if somebody didn't bleach canteens when they filled them or maybe didn't hand them back to the same guy.

Janet is on facebook, and I'll see if she can find your knives, but we may need some coaching.

Have a good'n......Joe




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