The Essential Tools of the Bladesmith & How to Get Them Cheap…

Hello Fellow Smiths!!

If you’re reading this, hopefully you’ve got a feeling within you that lights up at the sight of a blade, if so…greetings, you’re as crazy as I am! The art of making a tool that cuts is deeply apart of our history and is rightfully an awesome path to explore. Craftsmen, hunters, and warriors for millenia have saught to perfect their cutting tools of bone, obsidian, stone, metal, and steel, and yet still to this day the blade is a popular as ever!

If you have an interest in knife making, understanding the tools of the trade is basic training in our world as bladesmiths. Every tool has a purpose, if you understand what purpose a tool serves, finding alternatives to the expensive hardware becomes much much easier.

Lets begin…

The Anvil

The anvil has one sole function in bladesmithing, and that is to be harder than your heated stock. The hardness of the anvil allows for its form to remain constant, thus directing the energy the hammer blows to your softer heated stock, allowing you to manipulate the form of your material. Our forefathers would use large stones as anvils, which is one of the cheapest and most abundent source of anvils out there. However, along with hardness, anvils need to be tough! Meaning they need to withstand force without cracking or breaking.

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The Hammer

Finding a hammer for knife making is much easier than finding the anvil. However, I would make the point that your hammer should be a little bit softer than your anvil. Why? Because it is much easier to fix a hammer than it is an anvil! Ideally a good hammer for knife making will have both a round face and flat face, one for stretching material and the other for flattning. A professional blacksmithing hammer can be expensive, but very worth it. I currently use a 3lb Lilie hammer, and it has made my life much easier. However, if you don’t want to break your bank, a cheap functional hammer is extremely easy to find; Yard sales, thrift stores, antique shops, Home Depot… etc.

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The Forge

Moving material is possible when the metal is cold, this is called cold forging, and is primarily only used for smaller material. However, if you want to work with bigger material and maintain the strength of the steel, you’ll need a forge. A forge is simply a tool to get your material up to a temperature in which the metal becomes malible. The most common types of forges are; charcoal, coal/coke, gas, and electrical (convection).  The simplest and cheapest forges to make are charcoal forges. Like coal/coke forges, charcoal needs an air source to add oxygen to your fire, which generates lots and lots of heat. This air source is useally in the form of a bellows or blower. The first forge I ever made, was just me blowing through a pipe into a pile of hot charcoals with my breath! There are many plans online on how to make your own forge. Charcoal forges are easiest to make, Coal forges are best for forge-welding, and gas forges are best for large materials. I’ve never used a convection forge so I have no comment on them yet.

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The Anvil, Hammer, and Forge are the three fundamental tools that a bladesmith will use in making a knife! Smiths have been using these tools and variations of them for thousands of years. Making knives is an awesome way to learn blacksmithing and the language of steel. Now go have fun!

The life changing thing you will never understand until you do it

When it comes to deciding to be open to possibilities and new destinies for your life, you will without fail come across and be completely eaten alive by the challenges of this path. There are many books, blog posts, and videos that give advice on how to think and establish routines for success. However, being along this path myself, I’ve tasted much of these things that imitate a successful lifestyle and found one thing true among all of the information you can receive.

Something changes, you get a taste of your ability and potential when you start to recognize one thing; improvement. Improvement is a skill. Its crazy right, you have to practice improving. Practice with simple things like learning to type with all your fingers or learning a better way to play an instrument you already are familiar with, small improvements that don’t require a lot of discipline and investment. You can find any number of small things in your day that you can improve upon and practice with that.

After some time, you have a new understanding of your ability to become better at something that taking on something completely new does not seem so impossible anymore. Now you can start focusing on main changes you want to make and invest your time on gaining the skills to make the changes HAPPEN, whether it be losing weight, making more money, overcoming a fear, or simply getting up earlier… you got it.

 

Change what isn’t working … it’ll take everything you got and more

We need a big, relevant change in sight in order to stay on path. Change is what captures attention and then keeps it intrigued. However, to change, you’ll need to constantly be on top of habits and mediocrity.

Story is the unfolding of events from change occurring, without this moment of change your story will never begin, always stuck in the beginning stage. Without that initial leap into the world, you will never uncover your own medicines for the world and even scarier you will experience only a small piece of your destiny.

“Every great life has had in it a great renunciation. You have to renounce what isn’t working. You have to renounce the things, the people you are with. It will take everything you got and more.”

– Zan Perrion

 

video credit – PrinceEa

Cool packing and hacking tips for traveling

One of the best things about traveling is also the worst thing. You can never really know what will happen!

True, this is the very aspect that appeals to the wonderers and wayfarers who travel with very little, but for the average trip you can find yourself lugging along quite a bit of stuff. Suitcases, instruments, cool souvenirs, etc., and with a world of opportunity opening up for you, you can feel enslaved to your possessions. Maybe it be a festival you just became aware of happening in the next city over or a new interest you discovered on your trip and want to explore it in depth, whatever it may be, your belongings are now along for the ride as well … which can sometimes get expensive.

With that in mind and to keep you in the best possible position for your confrontation with opportunity, here are a few packing and hacking tips for the trips you have lined up!

  1. Pack with necessity in mind. If you can live without it… leave it. About half of the time it takes to pack your bags is spent on arguing with yourself wether you should take it or not, you know its true. Be decisive, cut the scenarios and pack whats obviously needed not hypothetically needed.
  2. Clothes. A good rule for minimal packing is to pack everything in threes. Wear one, wash one, dry one. If you do find yourself needing more once you’re there, most stuff can be bought for under $5 if you look.
  3. Hotel luggage rooms. If you do find yourself out in the world wanting to go somewhere without lugging along your stuff, you can turn to the hotels. Hotels will commonly allow you to store your stuff in their luggage room for a day, just tell them your going to explore and will be back later to check in.
  4. Pawnshops. Pawnshops are great if you have an instrument or something of value that you don’t want to carry. Pawnshops have superb storages spaces and will give you storage at a very low cost… however don’t forget that you will have to pay what owe or else you may loose your stuff. You will need an ID and an address.

Once you get a taste of whats comfortable for you, you can adjust your belongings. I myself really enjoy being able to explore crazy opportunities and take risks on a whim and having just a bag or two makes it that much easier to be myself.

Hope this helps and invokes some crazy adventures;)

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Oslo, Norway.

Travel

It may hurt a bit, you might suffer … but it will by all means not be boring. The experience of saying yes and doing something far exceeds the little comforts in holding back a moment’s choice.

Face the idea head on and be scared, be confused, be lost, if you’re not then you’re not doing something right. Try it

video credit to Rough Guides