I think I’m gonna buy a Bader…..

I have been bladesmithing for a few years now, and I don’t have any big, crazy equipment. As time goes by and as my experience grows I have been gradually upgrading equipment. I started with a Harbor Freight cast iron anvil, home made brake drum forge, and an angle grinder. All functional, but not nearly effective enough to complete the amazing knives I can and want to make.

Eventually I got a propane forge from NC Tool Company, as well as a 112 pound steel anvil. These helped me to heat and move metal much more efficiently.

As far as a grinder for shaping and polishing….well…I converted a Harbor Freight wood lathe into a belt grinder. I made a two wheel arm with a small 4 inch flat platen. It only has a 3/4 horse power motor and I’m constantly overloading it. The biggest reach I could build was for 48 inch belts. Again, it works, but it is very limited in its capabilities.

That’s me with the lathe/ grinder in action.

When I went in Forged In Fire I had the opportunity to use a Travis Wuertz TW 90 2×72 belt grinder. And it was a BEAST! Maybe I got a little spoiled, or I was able to test drive that joker and was able to imagine the possibilities. Either way, I knew it was time to upgrade. Unfortunately, the TW 90 base model is REALLY expensive. None of the decent belt grinders are cheap, but dang.

I’ve been doing a lot of research and after spending time with the guys I competed against and found that the Bader BIII is about the best, all around grinder that will work for me. They’ve got an excellent track record and a ton of accessories.

So, for almost $1500 less than the TW 90 I am going to get a Based. This should be exciting, it only took me 2 years to decide. I’m going to give it one more day to sleep on it, and then I’m going to order one.

Let me know if you’ve used one, or both of these grinders and what your thoughts are.

Hope you have a great week.

Chad

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Fun and Joyous reunions…

Today was a good day. A day of fun and reunions on two fronts.

First off, my lovely Maria returned home after nearly a week of being gone to Maine. She and her sister travel upta camp so to speak to visit with their ages grandmother. I think it was a great trip for them, but I sure did miss Maria. I was very happy to see her home.

Before that could happen though, I took a day off of work to go out to the home of Tim, one of the guys I competed against on Forged In Fire. The champion of our episode, Andrew, had come down from Pennsylvania for vacation in the outer banks. The fourth member, Tom, couldn’t make it.

We spent the day showing off knives we made, swapping techniques, and tool and equipment building. We had some fun and learned some cool things. Being the rookie of this crew, I’m not sure how much I contributed to the learning, but it was a good time. The short time we all spent together was a great bonding experience, especially since we all have a common interest.

Maria made some gifts for the guys and their wives for me to take. She tie dyed some No Harm In Farmin tee shirts and tote bags. They were a big hit.

And as true bladesmiths we also swapped the gifts of steel. I gave each of them a huge bar of 4140 stainless steel, and Tim gave Andrew and I each a couple of bars of 1090 modified steel. These might seem like strange gifts, but it was like Christmas to us. Lol

Here are some photos from today:

That’s Tim on the left (second place), Andrew in the middle (champ), and me….umm first eliminated?!? Lol. Another thing we traded were tee shirts. Andrew is wearing Maria’s tie dye, Tim and I are wearing shirts from Andrew’s shop.

Spending some time pilfering through Tim’s tools in the forge, admiring his forge set up and formulating plans. We made some tentative plans to make this a yearly get together, next year will probably be in my shop.

We even took some time to play with the donkey and the goats…ahh good times.

I’m not sure if anybody is ever going to plan a big get together of all the contestants from all episodes, but I think it would be a whopping good time.

They are some really great guys and are super talented bladesmiths. I enjoyed spending time with them, but I also looked forward to getting home to see my lovely Maria.

We hope you all have a great week.

Chad

The next step and big projects..

Maria and I are working (as always, lol) on building and trying to expand our business.

She got up super early this morning to work on the giant tie dye project. She’s got to hem the edges of this massive piece of material prior to dying it. Today was pinning and ironing day.

There will be more photos when she starts slinging dye.

I had a friend come over and help us with some video of me testing some knives, we’ve now branched out to YouTube so that people can see the tests I do on the knives I forge. It shows the quality. I think JD did a great job with the video.

Let me know what you think, and any suggestions are always welcome.

Have a great week!

Chad

Always busy, but always loving it…

As usual, the lovely Maria and I are steadily working. There always seems to be something to do.

We have figured out that in early summer each year Maria gets a big, crazy order for tie dye. Last year she made a tie dye banner for the 50th anniversary of the Monterey Pop Festival. Very cool, and great exposure.

Well, this year she got an order for a tie dyed piece of material that measures 8 feet wide and 18 feet long! This one will be a canopy for a tram ( formerly of Disneyland) that will be used to haul people around at Burning Man. How crazy is that? We will definitely post some pictures of her wrestling with that behemoth when she ties it up.

I don’t have the big news as she does, but I’ve got plenty to do. I have the cabin at the farm all dried in and its ready for metal roofing and siding. I think that can wait until the weather cools down a bit. However, things have been growing like wildfire up there and that means it will be bushhog-a-palooza this coming weekend.

In the meantime, the competition chopper I made and a hoplite short sword I made sold after only a week and a half of being on Etsy. With the growing popularity of blade sports I’m working on more choppers.

I have been working on two different models based off of the same design and specs. One is just like the first one I made from 5160 spring steel with a differential heat treat. I added gray and black g10 for the handle. Its thick, heavy, and SHARP!

The other one is still in the same style, but I made it thinner and a little lighter. I’m trying to see if speed can overcome power. This one is made from 1095 high carbon steel with orange and black g10. After the next couple of days of the necessary day job, come on retirement, I will do some testing to compare the two blades. That should make for some decent videos.

Here are some photos of both of those choppers in process.

Very rough forged, and of course my nemesis from Forged In Fire, those hammer marks. Not a big issue today though.

One half done, the second forged.

Cleaning em up on my home made Harbor Freight wood lathe/ belt grinder. Anybody want to invest in our business and hook us up with a Travis Wuertz belt grinder? It’s only $3700. Lol

Initial epoxying of the handle material.

Handle material now rough profiled and pin holes drilled. No helicoptering this time.

And finally all finished up. They could stand a little more time on a scotchbrite belt for polishing, but I will wait until after the testing frenzy.

So, that’s about what we’ve got going on. Oh yeah, did I mention that we both still work full time day jobs? Sleep? What is this you speak of?

We hope you all have a great week!

Chad

Testing, testing, 1 2 3

So, lately Maria has been suggesting that I start filming my knife tests.

I think it’s a good idea, but I’m just not sure how it would go. We are trying a test of a test..she filmed me while I tested the sharpness of the competition chopper I just finished.

Hmm.. here goes nothing:

Im not real sure how this will look here. But like I said, it’s just a test.

I was impressed with how the knife cut the water bottles, although I did have to slim down the handle a bit. It cut the first two bottles well, and then the handle twisted some in my hand.

My knives tend to sell slowly this time of year only to pick up in the fall. This gives me time to make them and get them listed.

Meanwhile, Maria’s tie dye is doing well.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: If you are raising chickens and don’t have an egg collecting apron from No Harm In Farmin, then you are truly missing out. Whether it is tie dyed or otherwise.

Maria and I hope you have a great week. If this video thing starts to pan out I think I will upload them to YouTube as well as here on our blog.

All the best,

Chad

You just never know when you are going to get it right.

Hey everybody, hope your week is going well.

I spent a day today making a knife. I know, big shocker. Haha

When making a knife you’ve got to harden and heat treat the blade. For people like me this can be a hit or miss operation. If you have thousands of dollars for special equipment it can be quite easy. If you operate like I do (on a shoestring budget) then its always a gamble. The only way to really tell is to test it after you’ve put in hours of work.

I’m pretty confident with this process, especially when I’m familiar with the steel I’m using, but it can always go bad.

Today as I was finishing a competition chopper, I had a little mishap that tested the blade for me.

I was drilling the handle material for the pins and the drill bit got bound in the hole. This caused the blade to spin like a helicopter blade. I had already heat treated and sharpened the blade so this was super dangerous and I was not happy. Luckily, the blade was long enough that as it spun, the edge struck the steel upright on the drill press with a whole lot more force than I could have done by hand.

I was initially pissed, until I examined the edge. NOT 1 SINGLE MARK!!!!!

That let me know that my hardening and tempering was done correctly and that the blade I had made would stand up to huge amounts of abuse.

Here is that beauty:

So even if that human flaw of self doubt tries to creep in on you while you work, be confident. Have faith in what you do, do it well, and know at the end of the day that you are a pro.

All the best,

Chad

Fresh ideas and new favorites…

I absolutely LOVE making knives. I enjoy the process, from the raw steel to the final polishing. It amazes me to see what comes from that process. I make knives out of my own head as far as matching blade style to handle material, etc, but I also do custom orders. The custom orders are usually what gets me excited. People are very creative and can come up with some wonderful combinations that I would have never thought of.

It seems though, that after hours of thinking and planning, I do come up with a new design and once it comes to life it becomes my new favorite knife. I very rarely make two knives exactly alike. I like the individualism of each one.

Last week my favorite was this beast:

But, the one I just finished today now has become the new favorite.

Its got a 200 layer Damascus blade, stainless steel guard and bolster, and a dyed bone handle. I think it looks like a thunderstorm cloud, to include the silver lining.

I would add some of Maria’s projects, but the egg collecting aprons have been flying out of the door, and she’s been busy seeing those. I really don’t know how anyone has chickens without one of her aprons.

We hope you all have a great week.

Chad

Busy days of hand crafted bliss…

Maria and I have been busy, busy, busy with a lot of things. Having “day jobs” always sucks, but it’s necessary right now. Then we have been working on the farm a bit at a time. Here at the nexus of our Etsy shop we have been working as hard as we can go.

Maria is always tie dying. She keeps coming up with new patterns for he best selling serving apron on top, she also makes these cool banners from tie dye scape. The coolest ( in my opinion ) thing she makes are these cool egg collecting aprons. They have individual pockets so your eggs aren’t all in one basket and it keeps them from breaking.

And of course we have the dog bandanas she makes being modeled by our shop manager and resident model, Fletcher.

I’ve been getting some blades done. I had a couple of custom orders for knives to finish. I’ve also been working on a couple of swords.

The swords are for a friend of mine to test and beat up. There is a spin off of Forged In Fire called “knife or death” where the contestants either forge their own blade or buy one and then use them in a variety of challenges. My friend has applied for the show so we want to have a blade ready for him. The first one is this Roman Gladius.

It’s made from 5160 spring steel. It has a fuller groove the length of the blade, and the handle is made from Bethlehem olivewood on the ends and laurel for the grip. It’s a beast of a sword but surprisingly light.

So that’s where we are, we hope you all have a great week.

And remember, you can check out noharminfarmin on etsy, or http://www.noharminfarmin.com to see more of our work!

Chad

Family day at the farm…

Maria and I had the pleasure of having my Dad and Step mom come down from Indiana for the weekend. We spent a great day at the house in Wilmington on Saturday, and then today we drove up to the farm. They hadn’t seen it yet and we wanted to give them the grand tour.

We went for a stroll around the property and explained what the plans were for each area. Yes, I know that grass near the creek needs mowed…next trip. We all took home a couple of ticks each from that grass, they seem to be starting early this year.

Those photos above are Maria and I leading the way down to the creek, and me and my Dad (Mike) discussing the bottom land while my Step mom (Rose) just enjoyed the view.

I guess Maria likes to take pictures of two old farmers talking, lol.

I explained how the creek is formed by three natural springs within a mile of our property and how the water is always cold, even in the summer. I dipped out a little in a soda bottle so they could feel it.

Then, of course, we had to pose for the camera.

🙂

We then headed back up the hill to the homesite. The folks wanted help out a bit with construction so we hung the rest of the tar paper on the walls. I wanted to finish sheeting the roof and paper it, but it was VERY windy today and I really didn’t want to be on that roof holding a loose sheet of plywood and have it turn into a kite. That bit had to wait.

I did have to move Darla Deere (our tractor) so we could move the ladders around. Maria decided to take a little spin with me. I am continuously impressed with that 33 year old tractor. We shade started it in 2 months and it fired right up like a brand new model.

So, it was a great day. The weather was beautiful (other than the wind gusts) we got to bond with the parents by doing a little homestead construction. Then after a wonderful meal at a local buffet (that included fresh banana pudding that was still warm!), the folks went on up to Alta Vista to spend the night and head back to Indiana.

We were sad to see them go, and can’t wait for them to come back to see what we’ve built next.

We all hope that you have a wonderful week!

Chad

The love of my life..

I wanted to shift gears from my normal rambling on our blog. I normally go on and on about the farm, or knives, or our business and I want to tell you about someone very special.

I’m normally the one who writes the blog posts, so naturally it comes from my point of view. Tonight I want to share my point of view about my lovely Maria.

8 years ago I met the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. We were both living in a semi crappy apartment complex. I was standing out front of the building talking with my upstairs neighbor and along comes this gorgeous woman walking her meat head dog (who I really love now, lol) She knew my neighbor as well and stop to chat. Josh (the neighbor) introduced us, and I was smitten.

I went home and thought about it for a bit and decided that I really wanted to ask her out. But, being a bit shy, I didn’t want to go straight to her apartment to ask. I felt like this would come off as looking really creepy. So I did the next creepy thing. I left a business card with my number on it on her door. She did call, and I asked her out, thank God she agreed.

Our first date was a bit different. I took her to a nice Irish restaurant for dinner and as we were talking I told her just about every stupid and embarrassing thing I had done in my life. She was gracious and compassionate when I spilled my guts.

She told me later on that when a friend of hers asked about the date she said “I found either a lunatic, or a gem.” I am very thankful that she decided to give me a shot.

We began to spend more and more time together. I then realized that I was the one who found a gem.

Our relationship over the past 8 years hasn’t been all summer shine and unicorns. We’ve had fights as all couples do. Some were pretty big blowouts. But we worked through them.

We both realized that we like to do the same things. We both love to be outside, and to make things. We also seemed to have the same sense of humor.

We ended up starting our business together, buying some land, and just last year we were married.

I am now married to my best friend. I can’t imagine doing all that I do with anyone else. She is absolutely amazing!

She’s kind, gentle, caring, nurturing, and beautiful to boot. She can be a girly girl, but then get to work and clear about an acre of heavy brush with a heavy duty weed whacker in just under an hour, not kidding, I’ve seen her do it!

She is looking forward to the homestead plan as much as I am.

Sometimes, when work schedules have me going up to the farm alone, she is the one who runs everything around here. I couldn’t do anything that I do without her. She is the glue that holds this whole operation together.

She embraces my hair brained plans and experiments and allows me to work on projects without judgement or criticism. Did I tell you how amazing she is?

Recently when I had to have all of my wisdom teeth removed, I sang her praises while under the influence of the laughing gas. So much so that the dentist said that she was going to go out to the waiting room and tell Maria what I thought of her. I also told the dentist that I had a dream in which Maria and I were in the movie “Smokey and the Bandit II” not 1 or 3, but 2. In the dream I was Burt Reynolds and she was Sally Fields. Lol, but that’s a whole different story.

Anyway, I just wanted everybody to know a little more about the love of my life. The person that I can always rely on and the person I respect and appreciate more than anyone I’ve ever met.

My lovely Maria

I hope that you all have a wonderful week, and show the one you love how much you appreciate them.

All the best,

Chad