Well folks, this is our first newsletter. 2009 has come and gone and was really an interesting year. First, we had a major change to the website. Weíre still learning some of the features of the software, but it seems like a pretty good program, and the website is much easier for us to maintain and update.
The blade blanks line has expanded a great deal. Doing all those blades has made me a much better grinder and makes life a little easier for when I do one of my own knives. It seems like I spend more time making blade blanks than I do knives anymore, but thatís OK.
Sallyís line of mosaic pins and lanyard tubes has really taken off. She has a good eye for design and loves experimenting with new patterns, so expect to see more. She has decided to do a special on a different pin each month. Look for some new sizes to be introduced soon.
We finally had to raise blade prices due to price increases of steel over the last couple of years. I can remember complaining about the price of ATS 34 going up to $6 per foot. Now that same piece of steel costs me $18.
Overall, 2009 was a good year.
Iíve been taking jewelry and metal working classes at the local community college so I can learn to better embellish my knives and get more creative with them. The teacher really wanted to learn how to make mokume, so we had a mokume party. There were six of us altogether. We spent a day at the smithy and came out with six billets of mokume. That was a lot of fun.
So far, Iíve learned lost wax casting and enameling in the art classes, as well as several techniques that I hadnít been familiar with. The class has put more tools in my tool box, particularly as regards precious metals.
I also spent a day with the 5160 Club from Eugene learning how to use sand for casting.
Had fun doing a replica of Michaelís knife from Rob Zombieís Halloween II, which is a giant chefís knife. Youíll find a pic posted in our gallery on the website.
We had a good show at the December mini show, although the weather all but cancelled it.
Physically, it was a challenging year. Sally had to have her back fixed. I had to have a rotator cuff fixed, still have to have the other one fixed.
Looking to the future for 2010, expect a wider range of blade blanks yet, with more being offered in CPM 154 and CPM S30V. In doing more carbon steel blades, I may have to go to a molten salt bath setup for heat treating so I can avoid problems with scale. I also plan on doing more forged knives. The doctor told me I canít hang drywall overhead anymore, but I can continue working at the forge. I want to do a series of bowie knives called the Railroad Scout Series with the blades being made from railroad rail, which is 1084.
Weíre looking forward to the April show in Eugene and may work in another out of the area show besides. Weíll keep the website posted on that one. You can find our show calendar in the Events section on our website.
Safety tip: Each newsletter, Iím going to try to put in a safety tip to make your knife making experience more fun and less painful. Todayís tip has to do with a blade in a vise. When I first started knife making, Jim Ferguson told me that anytime I had a knife in a vise and was not working on the blade, to put a piece of split hose over the edge and tip to avoid injury. I didnít listen well enough, and 30 days later I ended up with 9 stitches after putting a blade two inches deep into my forearm. It was vertical in a vise and I reached over it for a file. Getting stabbed with your own blades takes a lot of the enjoyment and profit out of knife making. So our safety tip is, if you have a blade in a vise and you are not working on the blade itself, either put a piece of split hose over the edge and tip or wrap it with electrical tape. I personally prefer electrical tape because itís one size fits all, and itís cheap.
Our FAQ section has been expanded to include excerpts from Bob Engnathís website.