It's about time to finish up this project. The rains have stopped, the rainbows are out, and I've got some saws that are in need of some sharpening. It's time to finish the vise!
I'm great at starting projects, lousy at the finishing stages.. I'm too enthusiastic for my own good.
From the previous post, the two halves of the vise have been shaped, now it's time to attach them. This being my first attempt at a Japanese style saw vise, combined with my choice to run the wood grain the "wrong" way, it would be wiser to attach the halves using some means that would let me adjust or separate them when I undoubtedly need to. So, of course I choose the permanent (but much cooler) means of attachment....riveting them.
My rivet stock will be some old bent nails that are never in short supply. For the roves, I drill the centers on another thing that is seldom in short supply, pennies.
I bore shallow recesses to get everything below the surface. When I do this next time, I will bore less deep or skip the recessed thing entirely. Although it gives a neater finish, when I inevitably need to grind these off later, access will be a bitch.
The nails are lightly galvanized, but a little phosphoric acid removes that quickly. Jasco Prep&Prime to the rescue!
The zinc galvanizing causes the acid to get all foamy, but the nails are under there. I give it 15 minutes.
The reason for removing the galvanized coating is that I want the nails in as soft a state as possible before peening, so I need to anneal the metal first. Burning off the galvanizing works great, but also causes the formation of nasty gasses that can cause brain damage/kill you/etc. I'm challenged enough as it is, so prudence prevails. I don't get to say that very often.
A propane torch, get 'em red hot, then let things cool, the slower the better.
I thought that the lava rock worked well as a fireproof surface. Talk about an appropriate material.
If you happen to find yourself moving out into the boondocks and haven't yet built your forge (everyone needs a forge, right?), a good propane torch and a decent sized piece of ceramic blanket insulation makes a sort of workable emergency, half-assed forge. The ceramic insulation is key though. I wish that I brought some. 20/20 hindsight.
You can make a small propane forge from a tin can, and using sheet rock mud/sand mix as a refractory lining. It is handy to have around for making small tools and blades, but the key word here is small. A charcoal forge is SOOO much better. Quiet, too.
Peen the nails to lock everything together.
I cut the wedge from more of than mystery ham-wood stuff that I suspect is something like Brazilian cherry.
Whatever it is, it's hard, finishes smooth as glass, and it's more than my crappy kanna blade can handle. Rather than re-sharpening every 10 minutes, I decide that it's finally time to open up my treasure chest of tools. It's time to pull out the big guns!
"Rashomon" kanna, by wholesaler company Cubs torosaburo. Our favorite luthier, Tanaka Kiyoto has a couple of these kanna and was surprised at the blade quality and toughness. He puts the steel toughness just shy of HSS and some of the "super" steels. He doesn't know how actually forged the blades, but he was impressed.
I bought this kanna from my Japanese tools pusher, Junji. It had a huge crack in the main blade and generally looked like hell. I showed some of the blade repair here, but haven't gotten around to fitting the blade into the dai....until now. It feels at least 4x more durable than the plain-Jane kanna that I have been using, yet the blade is still fairly easy to sharpen. Laminated blades are awesome!
The wood that I used for the wedge is probably too hard and slippery. The vise works wonderfully, 'cept the wedge likes to pop out at inopportune moments. I'll try roughing up the surface, see if that helps.
Next step....sharpening my old kataba saws. I plan on converting this old guy into a madonoko tooth pattern but first I will see how well it works as is, with the original modified rip tooth it has now. I've been thinking real hard about the mechanics of saw tooth design, and now is my opportunity to do a fun compare/contrast project.
Ellie is using the ugly saw, but doing great work. She's making a rabbit hutch.....more pets. Ellie, the rabbit farmer.
She did her layout using the bamboo sumisashi.
Focus and intent!
If you look closely, she's spot on the line.
That's my girl!