Friday, August 05, 2005

It's been a fun few days...

Besides the normal running 'round in circles, had the following joy:

I mentioned a few months ago being the best man at a wedding. Well, the happy trio(the bride had a 7yoa boy) have been looking for, and finding, a bigger house. Their offer was accepted, but between the time they had to move out of where they were and could move into the new place was almost two weeks. So everything was in storage and they lived in a travel trailer. Helped them move some big stuff the day they signed papers, and a couple of days ago went over to help get some more.

Friend had rented a trailer so we piled into his truck and headed for the storage. About 3/4 of the way there his truck died. Pushed it out of the street and noticed smoke coming from under the hood. Pop hood and find coil wire burning merrily. Put out fire. borrow phone to call his wife. Luckily, I had left the keys to my truck in it, and she could drive a standard, so she came over to get us. In the meantime, a guy who stopped to help turned out to be a mechanic and cobbled things together enough to get him home. Wife and I hooked trailer to my truck and took it back to U-Haul(did I mention it was past 9pm by now?), then followed hubby home. What made this even more fun is wife is pregnant, and hubby had job interview the next morning. They got her to work and him to the interview in her car, which meant all getting up at 0530, when they got home just past 10.

Enough for now. The Carnival needs looking at, and I'm just the one to do it.

Carnival of Cordite #25!

Up at Gullyborg. Much goodness to be read and looked upon, so go see.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

More followup on the OKC Bombing news

"The District attorney and the judge who were involved in putting bomber Terry Nichols away for life on state murder charges appear to be running as fast as they can from newly released FBI documents showing there was an apparent link between the white separatist compound Elohim City and the Oklahoma City bombing."

And this is really important why?

" ...retired FBI agent Jon Hersley.
"There is no connection between the people of Elohim City and the bombing," he testified on the evening of April 19th, 2004. "We were satisfied there was no connection." "
" ...lead prosecutor Sandy Elliott argued against any ties to Elohim City and the bombing.
"You can't make a huge leap from Tim McVeigh's call to Elohim City to the bombing. There is absolutely no way they were connected," she told the judge."

The whole article is here. Combine it with earlier reports coming out, and this is really bad on a variety of levels.
Lawyers apparently lying to judges, stuff that was supposed to be turned over to the defense that wasn't, and so on. And who was right in the middle of this? Janet Reno and company. And please don't try to tell me that all this could happen without the head of the Justice Department knowing something about it.

God, I hate this.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Something that a lot of gun-banners don't know,

or don't care about, is that a firearms company cannot be supported solely by government contracts; at least not for long. Then the companies close, and sooner or later you get this.

And that doesn't take into effect the fact that many- probably most- firearms development does not take place at some government facility, it takes place at a private company looking for a better product for their customers. The Barret and McMillan .50-caliber rifles the armed forces use to such great effect were not developed by some government armory or designer; private companies made them for people who wanted to shoot at really extreme ranges, and later on the military took notice and said "You know, we could really use those". The M16, no matter what you think of it, was designed by Armalite as the AR15 for civilian markets. And how many arms ideas the military goes with came through a competition between private companies? One good example being the old 1911 .45 pistol; the government wanted to new sidearm for the military, and John Browning(one of the best and most prolific firearms designers in history) won the contract. And so on.

And ammunition. New propellants, new bullet designs, from what I've read they almost always come from private companies. Who also produce most of the ammo our troops use.

I suspect that a lot of the GFWs think it would be a good idea for all these companies to go out of business and for us to have to contract all our government arms design/building to some other country; it would make us more 'sensitive' to other countries needs, and give the U.N. a big handle on us. Screw that.

And what happened to Britain in WWII won't count, because after all, if we're more sensitive to the needs and desires of other peoples, there won't be any more wars, will there? Only wonderful cooperation, overseen/controlled by the saintly U.N. I repeat, screw that.

Found over at Kim's place.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Part 3, grinding the blade

I covered equipment and such on grinding here and buffing here. I will repeat a warning: you CAN get hurt doing this. If you slip and stick a finger or knuckle into a grinding wheel or belt, you will lose skin at the least; if you've got a lot of pressure on, it can cut deep enough to do real damage. The edge of a grinding belt can cut like a knife(no pun intended) if you slip into it. Sometimes a belt or wheel, along with the tearing, can generate enough friction to give you a combined tear and burn. A buffing wheel can grab a piece out of your hand and throw it. And they all throw off a lot of material; metal bits, abrasive bits, lint, and in the case of buffing the glue or grease used to hold the abrasive. So do please be careful.

On to the actual work. If you are in any doubt as to keeping the shape of the blade in your mind as you grind the profile, get a Sharpie or something like it and draw it in. Once you start, at this stage it really doesn't matter how hot it gets, other than if it's too hot you can't hold on. I keep a bucket of water with a few drops of dish soap added in to cool the piece off(the soap breaks the surface tension and helps bits washed off to sink instead of floating). Grind the blade to just a touch outside the final line you want over the entire profile, from point to end of tang.

If you're doing a narrow tang and have trouble getting the tang/ricasso junction even, clamp it in a vise and use a file. What I'll often do here is clamp the blade in the vise point down, with the part that needs to be cut away even with the jaws, clamp it tight, and file it down. If your vise has really coarse jaws, you might want to use a piece of leather to pad them. What I've seen some bladesmiths do is get two pieces of spring steel long as the vise jaws, weld or bolt them together at one end with a spacer in between, grind one side dead even, round the corners a bit, then harden them; you clamp the blade in this, and can only file down to the hardened steel; if you temper it only enough to not be brittle, the file won't want to cut them.

In the next step you are actually grinding the angles in. Some prefer to flatten and true the ricasso and tang first- sometimes with a slight thinning toward the end of the tang- and then move onto the edge bevels, some rough the bevels and then the ricasso-tang; you'll have to try different ways over time and see which works best. I generally use the first method.
What makes this tricky- flats and bevels both- is you have to hold onto the piece as it's angled across the belt without burning yourself as it gets hot and without it slipping and running your hand into the belt. Three main points: first, a sharp belt cuts faster and runs cooler than a dull one; second, use a push-stick or something to help hold the blade; and third, take your time. Hurrying here either gets the piece ruined, or gets you hurt, or both. Light pressure only and let the belt do the cutting. There are belt lubricants made for this, they keep the belt running a bit cooler and keep it from getting clogged as badly by metal dust; they also make what amounts to a big eraser for cleaning belts, I recommend both. If you're flat-grinding, you can hold the piece flat on the platen- the surface supporting the belt- , if you're hollow-grinding you'll have to use the surface of the wheel the belt runs over. Note: you can hollow-grind with a grinding wheel; you have to keep the surface trued up to get a smooth cut, and you'll have to start out with fairly coarse buffing compound to clean it up.

Work one side a bit, then turn it over and work the other side. Keep an eye on the edge to make sure you keep it centered. Remember to leave the blade thicker than you want the finished piece to be. The part of this that can be a pain is when you get back to where the bevels meet the ricasso; getting the angles even and matching on both sides takes time and care. First time you try it you may wind up saying things that make the dogs hide, but keep at it and you'll get the method. Here's another place where some people leave the power equipment and go to the vise and files. Some have made jigs that hold the blade and allow them to cut the junction cleanly and precisely every time; if you wind up doing this stuff a lot, it'd be worth it to put something together.

I usually start with a 80-grit belt if there's much to cut down, a 120-grit if less. And the nice thing about a belt grinder is you can cut it clean with the coarse belt, then switch to a finer belt to clean away those marks, and so on. At this stage I wouldn't take it any finer than a 240-grit belt. If you're doing your own heat-treating with the forge, you'll have to regrind to clean up the surface( you DID leave it a bit oversize, DIDN'T YOU?); if you send it to a pro, or have/have access to an electric furnace for that part, you can go to a finer finish if you choose.

Assuming you want a flat finish, no signs of hammering left, grind deeply enough with the first belt to get rid of the marks and no further. When you switch to the next finer belt, try to work the piece at an angle to the previous grind, it makes it easier to see if you've got all the prior marks cleaned up. And so on, until you're done.

When you think it's done, cool it off so you can examine it closely without burning yourself or having heat waves blurring any spots. Make sure the whole thing is straight; that the edge is centered and not wavy; that the changes between blade parts are smooth and even. You can regrind to correct these after heat-treating, but it both takes longer and you have the risk of messing up the temper if you overheat it. So get it right now.

Everything is even? All is to your liking? Next step is hardening and tempering.

Forging, part 1
Forging, part 2

Busy days, and Microlon

Between work, house, yard and- the last couple of days- helping some friends move, there's just no time. For shooting, internet or whatever. Hopefully, most of that will be done soon.

Tanked up the bike, 123 miles and 2.4 gallons, 51 mpg. Mostly city and some highway, 60-65 mph. I'd never kept really close track of mileage before, it's amazing the drop when you take speeds over 65-70, especially if there's a head or flanking wind. It looks like city and highway, 65 and below, it's now getting around 50 or a touch above, above that about 47. It's a definate increase from before the treatment. In the near future it should have the miles to go ahead and change the oil, will see if the increase continues. So far it seems that, long-term, the Microlon will be worth it. I think it would be best in a motor well broken in, but not too many miles(I realize that's rather vague, but if you ride you'll know what I mean). I get some things under control in the future, I think I'll get the kit and run it through my truck.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

More new information ref the Oklahoma City Bombing

Again, from the McCurtain Daily Gazette, and again it shows that the federal authorities had lots of information that they denied having. And had information that should have been made available to the defense in the trial, and which they covered up. Which tends to lend credence to the earlier article I posted on.

This current piece touches on a LOT of things. On how a man named Kenny Trentadue wound up dead in a cell in a federal facility in El Reno. On McVeigh making a call to Elohim City to speak to a neo-nazi, a call the federal agencies denied knowing anything about.

Three of the important lines from the article:
After months of legal maneuvering by the DOJ and the FBI, U.S. District Court Judge Dale Kimball ruled on May 5, 2005, that the Oklahoma City FBI office had to search for documents linking the SPLC to Elohim City and/or specific individuals connected to the April 19, 1995, bombing.

With national attention on the case provided by several news agencies, the FBI released a small portion of what may prove to be a large reservoir of hidden documents that could reveal more sensational details about a widespread cover-up."
Many of those new unclassified documents also establish that the OKBOMB task force was unable to interview subjects connected with Elohim City, because of conditions set forth by FBI director Louis Freeh and possibly other high ranking DOJ officials."
and, near the end,
"If the Southern Poverty Law Center was providing information about Elohim City after the bombing to the FBI, they must have been providing it before April 19th, Trentadue noted. Asking further: "So where are those reports?"

Every bit of this is stuff that was hinted at before, or someone found information on, and the feds denied everything. With this coming out, what else that was denied or laughed at is going to turn out to be accurate? A reporter named Jayna Davis did a lot of digging at the time of the bombing, and found evidence that McVeigh had met with Iraqi intelligence officers, among other things. Denied, laughed at, derided as 'conspiracy theory lunacy', and so forth. And if she was, indeed, correct in what she found?

Just like the last time, it's hard to write very well about this mess, it's too damn upsetting. Read the article, and see what you think.