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Bladesmithing and Knifemaking

Always wanted to make a knife but didn't know where to begin? This extensive weekend workshop will give you the Read More
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Japanese Knifemaking

Japanese kitchen knives have distinct elegance in both form and function. In this intensive weekend course you will build two Read More
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Tactical Knives

The tactical knife is the ultimate survival tool in extreme conditions. This extensive weekend workshop will give you the opportunity Read More
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Folding Knives

The black art of folding knives. Creating a folding knife adds a level of complexity and precision to knife making. Read More
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Damascus Steel

Damascus - the ancient art of folding iron to make steel, with delicate watermarks like woodgrain. This is a one day Read More
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Kamisori - Japanese razors

Traditional Japanese straight razors, Kamisori, have been used for centuries to provide an outstanding shave. Their off-set hollow ground blade Read More
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Longbow making

In this comprehensive weekend long workshop you will fashion a longbow of sustainable Australian hardwood and beautiful bamboo, custom crafted Read More
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Knife Sharpening

A sharp knife is much safer than a blunt one. It cuts cleanly and does not slip, causing fewer accidents. Read More
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Welcome to the Tharwa Valley Forge

We aim to be the best knifemaking school in Australia, offering a wide range of courses and opportunities to learn and share skills. Regular classes are scheduled in a variety of topics. Since we started running classes, hundreds of people have been introduced to the art of custom knife making and successfully made their first knives.

The Tharwa Valley Forge was established in 2003 by bladesmith Karim Haddad to create high quality knives and tools, and to teach the skills necessary to do this. Karim was trained by Australia's first Master Bladesmith, Thomas Gerner, in the early 1990's in Western Australia. The Forge is located in village of Tharwa,  just south of Canberra, Australia.

Our website encourages this continual learning through sharing resources, tutorials and articles. We are always interested in feedback on how to make this site better. We hope you learn something from your visit, and come back soon and see us again.

  

The second part of the Multiplaz 3500 review is about cutting.

The cutting torch is exactly the same as the welding torch. The only difference is the fuel you put in the torch - water, just water. There are two modes MODE I - indirect arc mode and MODE II - direct arc mode. Both modes use the water to create steam around the electric arc, compressing the arc and ionising the steam. This results in a huge amount of energy released in a very small space. Each mode has six different voltage levels that regulates the amount of energy released. It's worth having a bit of a play around with the different levels and see how it affects the cut.

 

 

 

Mode I

In this mode the arc is formed within the torch between the cathode and the nozzle. The energy is transferred along the plasma jet to the work piece. This mode allows you to cut anything that is non flammable (trying to cut flammable material will just burn it up with the 8000C arc!).

Mode I cuts up to about 10mm. Thicker than that the slag doesn't leave the cut before it solidifies stopping the cut going all the way through.

I've tried cutting steels of different thicknesses with varied results. Thin stuff is no problem in Mode I, but thicker steel >10mm needs Mode II. I have practiced cutting bricks and abrasive cut off wheels with surprisingly good results. I melted part of one brick as I tried to cut a hole in it, but the other seems ok. You are limited by the depth of cut. Tiles would be good to cut fiddly shapes into. The abrasive cut off wheel cut very cleanly. Not sure why I would need to cut one, but I had an old one around when I was practicing. The ability to cut non flammable could be really useful in a workshop. Just for that random problem, where other tools don't cut it (bad pun I know).

Mode II

Mode II - direct mode is more powerful because the arc forms between the cathode and the work piece.  But it does require the workpiece to be conductive of electricity i.e. metal. When the arc activates you notice a increase in the cutting power and depth of cut. This will cut steel, stainless, brass, copper and other metals. It's important with this mode to keep the piece dry as there is electricity around. Mode I can be used to cut wet material.

Refilling the "Fuel"

When the torch is switched off and the tip immersed in a container of water to cool, it sucks up water to refill the tank. Alternatively you can refill it when it runs out with the syringe provided. I get around 15 minutes from a 60ml refill of water. Which is pretty good. I can't remember how many hours I got out of the old Oxy-Acetylene bottles, but it was definately more expensive than 1/4 a cup of water.

Results

Part of the challenge in cutting is holding your hand steady so the cut is smooth. Using some form of guide does make it easier, and the Multiplaz come with a circle cutting attachment (for small circles) and a guide with a ball bearing on the end to help maintain a constant distance. I think I'll make an adaptor for my large circle cutter from my old plasma torch. Like any new tool, you quality of results improves with some practice and trial and error. The final cut is at least as good as my plasma torch (a nice little Cebora) and much better than my Henrob/Dillian III I used with my Oxy-Acetylene rig. The unit is only 9kg and draws 9.8A so can easily run of domestic power supplies (240V). I'm not sure how it runs on 110V for our overseas friends. It's an added bonus to cut non flammable non conductive material in Mode I. But the biggest advantage is the fuel costs - water.

Next in the review - welding and heating

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Knife shows

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Knifemaking Steel

We stock a small range of high carbon steel (1075 and sometimes 15N20) for bladesmithing or stock removal. The steel Read More
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Gift Vouchers

Gift vouchers are available for all our courses. The price is the same as the cost of the course and are Read More
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Custom Knife Orders

We do make knives to order. Blades are either high carbon or damascus steel, we don't work with stainless steel. Read More
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