Lake Superior Sand, Smelted, Michi-gane Razor

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Tim Zowada
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Lake Superior Sand, Smelted, Michi-gane Razor

Post by Tim Zowada » Mon Dec 13, 2010 2:28 pm

Those of you familiar with my work know I don't post here often. Life is just too busy. But, I have done something recently that some of you may find interesting. Since there will be very few of these razors, I decided to post a few photos here.

This is my very first razor made from Lake Superior beach sand. The sand was smelted in a bloomery style smelter. The resulting bloom was folded and welded until I had a good piece of steel to work with. This is essentially the same as Japanese Tamahagane. But, it wasn't smelted from Japanese sand, in a Tatara smelter located in Japan. So, I just call it Michi-gane".

The whole story has been written-up and will be in "Knives 2012", due out sometime in the Spring.

The photos below are of the Lake Superior collection site, my smelter, and the finished razor. In keeping with the "made in Michigan" theme, the scales are from a Whitetail deer shot by my father-in-law.

I do plan on doing more "Michi-gane" in the future. Making razors and knives from "dirt" is pretty addicting. I hope you enjoy the photos.

Tim Z.


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merkri
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Post by merkri » Mon Dec 13, 2010 3:37 pm

That's completely, totally awesome.

I consider Lake Superior home; I love things like this.

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druphus
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Post by druphus » Mon Dec 13, 2010 4:04 pm

Impressive indeed!!!
Regards,
Andy

brothers
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Post by brothers » Mon Dec 13, 2010 5:22 pm

Fascinating. Can't wait to read about it.
Gary

SOTD 99%: soaps & creams, synthetic & badger brushes, General V2 by Colonial, Kai & Schick blades, Superior 70 aftershave splash + menthol + 444

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Nitrox
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Post by Nitrox » Mon Dec 13, 2010 5:23 pm

Nice razor for sure. :D
Bruno

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shave every day and you'll always look keen."

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2clfrwrds
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Post by 2clfrwrds » Mon Dec 13, 2010 9:29 pm

I've never had any interest in trying a straight, until today.

--Glenn

CMur12
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Post by CMur12 » Mon Dec 13, 2010 11:49 pm

Wow, that is amazing and beautiful!

How many of these are you making?

- Murray
Give me Soap or give me death!

Tim Zowada
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Post by Tim Zowada » Tue Dec 14, 2010 4:54 am

CMur12 wrote:Wow, that is amazing and beautiful!

How many of these are you making?

- Murray
murray,

They will be a regular part of my production. With all the work involved, my best guess is that I will make between 10 and 15 per year. The next thing I want to try is to laminate it with some meteorite...

Tim Z.

CMur12
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Post by CMur12 » Tue Dec 14, 2010 9:37 pm

Tim Zowada wrote:
CMur12 wrote:Wow, that is amazing and beautiful!

How many of these are you making?

- Murray
murray,

They will be a regular part of my production. With all the work involved, my best guess is that I will make between 10 and 15 per year. The next thing I want to try is to laminate it with some meteorite...Tim Z.
Now that would be exotic! :)

- Murray
Give me Soap or give me death!

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KAV
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Post by KAV » Tue Dec 14, 2010 9:49 pm

I tried translating fencing into sword collecting. The prices quenched that fire, but I covered some fascinating material. A smith processes his own ore and on the other end produces viking swords for $5000 each. An acquainance thought that silly and paid a few hundred for a indian made replica. It bent on the first blow. His berzerker scream changed pitch mid cry.
Meteorites were the first source for iron/steel blades.
For those of us who must;how much?

Tim Zowada
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Post by Tim Zowada » Wed Dec 15, 2010 6:37 am

KAV wrote:I tried translating fencing into sword collecting. The prices quenched that fire, but I covered some fascinating material. A smith processes his own ore and on the other end produces viking swords for $5000 each. An acquainance thought that silly and paid a few hundred for a indian made replica. It bent on the first blow. His berzerker scream changed pitch mid cry.
Meteorites were the first source for iron/steel blades.
For those of us who must;how much?
KAV, I have a friend who makes swords like that. I think $5000 is the low end of the price range! He's really good though, and can't make them fast enough.

I have some meteorite, and will be laminating it with the "sand steel", for a razor later this winter.

I honestly can't quote the retail price. I don't set it. Classicshaving does. We have this agreement ... The blade in the photo is my "very first". It will also be featured in "Knives 2012". I'm sure it will be quite pricey.

I work on a time plus materials basis. Making this steel takes a lot longer than my regular Damascus. This has taken a long time to say that my best guess would be two to three times my regular prices.

I hope this helps.

Tim Z.

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wenestvedt
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Post by wenestvedt » Thu Dec 16, 2010 6:31 pm

Ah, Lake Superior! Do you make other stuff from that metal? I would love to carry a bit of the North Shore in my pocket. *sigh*

- Will (who has backpacked Isle Royale and climbed the rocks of Gooseberry Falls)

Tim Zowada
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Post by Tim Zowada » Sat Dec 18, 2010 10:24 am

wenestvedt wrote:Ah, Lake Superior! Do you make other stuff from that metal? I would love to carry a bit of the North Shore in my pocket. *sigh*

- Will (who has backpacked Isle Royale and climbed the rocks of Gooseberry Falls)
Will, I hadn't thought of that. I'll give it some thought. Maybe a watch fob, or something like that. Thanks for the idea.

Tim Z.

a-cut-above
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Post by a-cut-above » Sat Dec 18, 2010 10:46 am

For those of us unfamiliar with metal working, is the sand used as a source of the iron (is it a form of iron ore?) or is it used to give certain properties to iron you are working with?
Dave

"Sanity is a madness put to good use." - George Santayana (…like a wet shaver with an acquisition disorder.)

marsos52
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Post by marsos52 » Sat Dec 18, 2010 4:45 pm

or make us some double edge razor blades..

we need them

marc

any idea how much these razors will sell for?

marc

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KAV
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Post by KAV » Sat Dec 18, 2010 6:08 pm

Dave,
The sand is very rich in iron ore and by it's form excellent for smelting.
Put Gordon Lightfoot on. The Edmund Fitzgerald was carrying iron ore when she foundered.

Chris- who was TAD on the USCGC Mackinaw

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wenestvedt
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Post by wenestvedt » Sat Dec 18, 2010 8:27 pm

My uncle works in a taconite mine up there. There's iron in EVERYTHING.

- Will

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wenestvedt
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Post by wenestvedt » Sun Dec 19, 2010 9:07 pm

Watch fob, or something with broader appeal (since so few of us have watch chains anymore): a keychain ornament of some kind might be more popular. Think: cross/crucifix? flag? outline of your favorite state? tiny prybar?

Yeah, knowing what the metal was could arguably outweigh the beauty or utility of the item it's fashioned into. *shrug*

I would be happy with a slug of it enclosing a Lake Superior Agate, or rolled and drilled into a whistle. Wow, that would be neat, now that Is see it typed out. :7)

- Will

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