A Mocotaugan

Making things, reuse tips and tricks of all sorts.

A Mocotaugan

New postby Taky on Tue 11 Sep 2007 06:16

(never know where stick those dual threads: we should be able to create headers on two forums at once James)

Life was flat and sad...

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But as always Jimbo proved to be an inspiration (from his excellent article on crooked knifes)

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While buying provisions I scored two files for 1$US at a local market. One got annealed on the fire camp, and spend the next rainy day filing away the bevel with the second file. A credit card sized piece of 600 W&D to smooth things out, and 1000/2000 to sharpen de edge. Bend tang and tip, and ready for the next camp fire and a plunge in to water (not enough oil).

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No much fancy pictures piles of shavings as I didn't get enough sun during this last trek to recharge the batteries (conditions where incredibly wet and muddy).

It took 3 attempt to get the steel hardened... it was my first time doing that! You don't see it, but the blade is getting hot just in front of the opinel, between the tea and the the pan facing the embers (one of our daily corncakes roasting). All around the Himalayan mountains watch carefully how a north American tradition is reborn locally, whilke the locals themselves proved highly interested over the next week (they have never seen a "bend" knife).

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Then the tempering, and with out a torch or a steel block is terribly difficult to control the way the colours shift. As a result I got a marbled blue/yellow instead a blue spine and a straw edge. Who cares! is shaving sharp and keeps an edge for long enough. On hard woods, and if I'm not careful, the edge deforms a bit: probably because the tempering is approximative at best, burn too much carbon while heating the steel (no pliers to manipulate the steel) and a to thin profile for a cheap steel.
I'll apreciatte any tips on the mater... remember I have no tools at all, a camp fire and an extra file. Nothing to hold hot steel, no hammers, no torch... nothing at all!

I love the way those knifes operate: the guys using those tools knew what they where doing. The flat side and perfect grip really helps to shave wood away with a high degree of control. The curved part hollows fast and efficiently. Spoons become soooo easy to do, and even out out adze (need the axe, specially if is the once Cegga send me :wink2: ) a bowl or cup is finish in about 4h ( I know is a mini cup, it was my first: the bowls, even if practical, are to ugly to show :blind: )
As an added bonus, the next morning you have perfect wood shavings to revive the fire...

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Done 2 handles so far. The first one from a forked branch was to thin, this second one from a fire roasted root is thicker and perfect. For the first one I didn't set enough angle, this second as too much (I couldn't give enough bend tot he tang). Is a learning curve, and the handles are expandable anyway: you only carry the blade until you need to carve something.
The tang of those files was too short, so I use some glue (hardened pine pitch, beewax and charcoal) to help the binding. Rope on the picture, but split pine roots are much more comfortable on the hand: the rope become painful pretty fast.

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Only one advise, if at any time you have tried, or wanted to do a spoon or carve anything out of wood, get one of those blades... they deserve much more attention than they do: they have a deep soul and a high degree of usefulness.

will get 2 more files tomorrow, I have a couple of shapes in mind!

I'd love to see more people interested on those knifes... I'd love to see a sticky thread with blades and carvings done with the Mocotaugan: If thwere is enought interest I may create one [-o<
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Re: A Mocotaugan

New postby LD on Tue 11 Sep 2007 15:39

The O-1 and 0-2 steel in files needs OIL for temper. That is what the 0 stands for, oil hardened. Water cools the steel too fast and will cause micro cracks and ultimate failure. Go to a garage or farmer and ask for some used oil.

After tempering you wil need to cook the blade in the oven at 500 degrees f for about 3 hours to stress relieve the blade. You do not do the color differentiation on the temper quench.
that is done in the stress relief process when the forge fire is used for stress relief rather than an oven. Skilled smiths in ideal conditions can not guarentee exact results using the forge for stress relief. Use the oven method.

The legend is that the arab smiths used to temper their blades by plunging them through the body of a Nubian slave. If you have a very dificult camping buddy you might consider a variation of that theme.

You did not burn any large amount of carbon out of the blade on a campfire. You can not get a normal campfire that hot.

Come on Tacky, if you can tour the world you can afford a set of $1 pliers to fish steel out of the fire!

Buy some charcoal and scrounge a few bricks to contain and control the heat of the fire. Use a bicycle tire pump with a bit of copper tube attached to force air into the fire. You can do some good work with simplw tools but you have to be able to control the heat consistantly.
:burning:
LD
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Re: A Mocotaugan

New postby Taky on Tue 11 Sep 2007 18:47

I'm treking with my donkey... no oven, so it must be another way to temper the blade. Didn't see an oven in months, chinese don't use ovens like westerners do, and bread is steamed. Ducks are roasted on a big ceramic jar fitted with an electric elements, but hardly reach 180ºc

I'll have more oil with me now, plus a magnet and maybe another couple of godies: so the next one may end up better. But I don't want to overload the donkey with my forging experiments, he has enought work with my french attraction for food!

I'm not sure what sort of steel those files are made of... I can't imagine chinese ussign a western description steel!

Is hard to explain how little there is to find arround here, there is nothing like a DYI superstore to be seen. Once a week on some villages there is a local market on the floor, with some food (vegies, beans, flour, and pork normally), instant noodle soups and with luck a few very basic godies for farmers where I got the files. To guive an idea, the guy from this guest house is leaving tomorrow for a 3 day trip on buses to reach the main city on the area and fix his computer... a week to change the power suply :yikes: I tried to help, but I can't find nothing like solder (not to say a soldering iron, I'm more than happy with a nail), electric tape, or even a set of small screw drivers... No angle grinder at miles either :sad:

Tomorrow I take a 4h ride to the local town to restore basic supplies, get a much needed new piece of tarpaulin and see what else interesting I can score.
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Re: A Mocotaugan

New postby kolekojot on Tue 11 Sep 2007 22:06

Great post, makes me wish to do something like that, a tribal blacksmithing.

Generaly almost any steel can be hardened in oil, water hardened ones will be a little softer, and air hardend could crack, but it will be smalest mistake.. For temepring, I am thinking about grill..

I realy need to get outdoors again..
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Re: A Mocotaugan

New postby omniviking on Thu 13 Sep 2007 03:09

nice looking cup and spoons Taky. How long did it take to file down the blade file to shape with the other file? Atleast it gives you something to do on your evenings.

Safe Journey, Pat :viking:
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Re: A Mocotaugan

New postby Taky on Thu 13 Sep 2007 05:19

5-6h... and the file bites nicelly! I still have hopes to find a place where they have a small grinder to speed up things.

Rains like crazy, so plenty of time to take care about gear.

I'll aneal 2 more files tonight... to carve bowls I really need a double edge along the curved area, as there are two corners where the wood grain is dificult to cut with the curent geometry.
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Re: A Mocotaugan

New postby bushguy on Thu 13 Sep 2007 17:45

Hey there Takman, Very interesting thread you've started here dude! :wink2: Very kool results from almost No materials or tools. I love all of your work and the very fine pics you've shared with us all, here in O-Mland my friend Taky! I'd gladly tour with ya sometime anywhere and feel, you had my back bud. Yer a good man Takman. Keep encouraging the rest of us, like you do, too. We're all diggin' it, cept maybe buddy ld maybe? :???:

later

bg

Cdn Writer etc...
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