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The Outpost This forum is dedicated to all who share a love for, and a desire to make good knives, and have fun doing it. We represent a diverse group of smiths and knifemakers who bring numerous methods to their craft.

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Old 08-26-2020, 07:46 PM
Dana Acker Dana Acker is offline
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An Old Haunt Returns....

Had to sweep away some cobwebs, and jimmy the door, but it's nice to visit again. Sorry that no one seems to be participating on The Outpost any more.

Dana Acker back for a visit. I departed the forum (and knifemaking in general in the early 2000's) due to my wife having a long bout of catastrophic health issues. With life saving treatments come life altering bills. It soon became apparent that I was destined for ruinous litigation if I didn't get a job that paid more consistently than knife making, which I always said, "...was a good living if one doesn't have to eat."

I returned to school on a NAFTA grant and learned how to grow grapes and make wine. Upon graduation, I became a full-time lead commercial wine maker and head distiller. That said, I never got rid of my knife shop.

This past May I retired, and, consequently, returned to knifesmithing. The first day back in the shop was like I never left, with the exception that I found some muscles I had forgotten I had. But one has to suffer if one desires to sing the blues.

If any of the old gang ever drop by the Outpost just for old time's sake, do say hello. If any of you would care to drop me a line, my email is still: ackerforge@yahoo.com

Here's to all the good times! I hope all my old Neo-Tribal and post Neo-Tribal brothers and friends (and friends I haven't met yet) are doing well. Hats off to Chuck Burrows and Jeff Sanders, who have left us too soon.

So long, and thanks for letting me visit on this once hallowed ground again. Maybe I'll drop by and fix the door, unstick the window, give the place a good dusting and hopefully meet up with some of y'all again. Dana

P.S. My old website is still listed on my post? FYI it is no longer live.


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Last edited by Dana Acker; 08-26-2020 at 07:53 PM.
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Old 08-28-2020, 10:47 PM
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TexasJack TexasJack is offline
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People come and go on here and sometimes you have to wonder if they're on vacation or pushing up daisies. For grins I checked and your last post was in 2005.

Chuck Burrows was a buddy and sad to see him go. I would send him a message to ask about something and the next thing I knew, the phone would ring and he would say, "Well, I can spend a couple of hours telling what you've done wrong, or I can spend a few minutes and tell you how to do it right."

Good to see you back on TKN! Don't mind the dust and spiders and such - there's plenty of room here for you to sit a spell.


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Old 08-30-2020, 12:50 AM
Dana Acker Dana Acker is offline
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Thanks, Texas Jack, I'd like to get back here. What's odd is that several times I just wanted to drop by and say "hey" but searches on several search engines showed no trace of TKN, with the exceptions of some single ancient posts, but there was never a way to get to TKN. There were a dozen different knife forums listed, but no TKN. I just figured it bit the dust. Todd Hill from the old NT tribe out in Arizona where Tai is , gave me a link to the site, and wow"!!! Here it was. It doesn't explain why it is not on any search engines. But I was sure glad to see it was still up.

I think I'm going to start posting again fairly regularly and see if anyone wants to join in. The Neo-Tribal movement was an interesting one. In a lot of ways it changed the way of knifesmithing in the country. That's not to say that it didn't have its faults, but it opened the door for a lot of people to get excited about the craft and with a much less restrictive approach than the ABS. And, I'm not knocking the ABS; I'm proud of many of my friends who have demonstrated great talent in becoming Journeymen and Master Smiths. My hats off to them. I think both groups had high quality as the end goal, it's that the NT folks were more fun and less business. Unfortunately the NT movement with all its new smiths and the fact that we mostly used more primitive (muscle powered) techniques, and scavenged raw materials, we became synonymous with low quality. And that's a real shame, because some incredible work came from NT smiths and makers, and there's some quite artistic and functional pieces coming from some of those newbies of yesteryear today.

But thanks again for the welcome. Much appreciated. If there are any of you out there reading this, the Outpost still works, and all are welcome, because after all, a good knife is a good knife, no matter how it got here. Amen!


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Old 08-30-2020, 05:56 AM
pcpc201 pcpc201 is offline
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Well I'm kind of new to the forums and knife making. I don't have any of the "equipment" that makes things easier to do; but then why would you want to eliminate the fun of beating on a piece of hot steel with a hammer eh...
By the way welcome back!
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Old 08-30-2020, 12:13 PM
Dana Acker Dana Acker is offline
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Well hey there pcpc201, how's things in Alabama? Did y'all get hurt much by Hurricane Laura?

So you're new to blade smithing? Well we all started somewhere.

I've had a love affair with knives since I was a youngster and my Dad took me to see John Wayne's "The Alamo" at the movie theater, ( I'm dating myself). Remember movie theaters? Once I saw Jim Bowie (Richard Widmark) pull out his famous knife, I was hooked.

It wasn't until many years later that I got into knife smithing. Took a few classes up in the mountains of NC. and actually got struck by lightning at my first lesson, during a wicked thunderstorm. But that didn't deter me.

My first forge was made from a tractor trailer brake drum. I had an old hand crank blower, and an anvil made from a chunk of railroad rail. There was a coal source not far away, and that's how I started.

The Neo-Tribal Metalsmiths who I joined a couple of years later were big on using only muscle powered tools to make knives, proving that one didn't have to have a large, well equipped shop filled with expensive machinery in order to make some diverse, nice looking, and quite serviceable knives.

So, what are you using and what are you making? If I can be of any help, give a shout out.There ARE ways to do more with less. Thanks for introducing yourself.


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Last edited by Dana Acker; 08-30-2020 at 01:15 PM.
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Old 09-02-2020, 05:18 AM
pcpc201 pcpc201 is offline
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Thanks for the welcome. We didn't experience any thing of consequence with the hurricane, thank goodness. I have a piece of rail for an anvil, I bought a mini-forge (Atlas) and I have been given a number of hammers to use for the forging. I have morphed into stock removal for the time being (I still like beating on a piece of metal) because of the arthritis and some joint injuries I obtained as a young and reckless fellow. Making something with your hands has a certain satisfaction that some people never get to experience, I kind of feel sorry for them...Thanks again for the nice welcome.
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Old 09-02-2020, 08:13 AM
Dana Acker Dana Acker is offline
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OH yes, Pcpc201, I got you on the bodily payback for youthful recklessness. It's like the old saying, "If I knew I was going to live this long, I'd have taken better care of myself."

Are you doing stock removal by hand with files, sand paper, stones, or with either an electric grinder or sander? In Mexico I've seen lots of guys who have converted old bicycles into grinders. They just sit on the seat, and pedal to turn the stone wheel. They are making money sharpening knives. Pretty cool.

So what kind of tools or equipment do you have? Also what kind of knives do you make? Anything we can be an assistance in? Back in the day, many of the regulars were of the do more with less mentality. Also on the Knife Philosophy post, Texas Jack recommended Wayne Goddard's "$50.00 Knife Shop." The revised edition is available on Amazon for about $25.00. It's certainly worth checking out.

Give us a shoutout if we can be of help.


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Last edited by Dana Acker; 09-02-2020 at 08:43 AM.
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Old 09-14-2020, 03:54 PM
Tai Google Tai Google is offline
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Hi bro.

Good to hear from you and I'm glad to hear you are getting back into bladesmithing.

May the forge be with you...


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Old 09-14-2020, 08:38 PM
Dana Acker Dana Acker is offline
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Hey Tai, long time. Hope you're doing well. I've kind of kept up with things out your way via Todd, and have seen a couple of videos with you.

Yeah, I couldn't bear to part with my shop and tools, because I knew one day I'd be back. It felt good to feel the fire once again.


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Old 09-20-2020, 10:56 AM
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Crex Crex is offline
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Gheezeeee ....... this is turning into the Old Poots club. Thanks for the wake up nudge Dana. Things have gotten a little slow around here. I cruise through from time to time but wasn't seeing any new postings pop up so kept moving. Seems most have gone the fB way - sort of a mix between email and forum. Will try to be more attentive with what's going on here from now on.


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Old 09-22-2020, 11:17 AM
Dana Acker Dana Acker is offline
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Hey Carl, good to hear from you once again. It's been a long time. I hope things are wel with you and yours. I still have a knife I got from you in one of the old IITH's many (full) moons ago. If you have contact info from any of the old clans, give them a shoutout and invite them to stop by and say howdy. I sure have missed all you NTM"s. If the craziness over health ends, I'd be honored to bet to visit one of your Trackrock Hammer-ins. Maybe next summer?

I don't do Facebook. Too political and too controlled. Here we could fuss and fight on the forum all we wanted about all grades of subjects, and at the end of the day, go home friends. I'm not advocating political irresponsibility, but quite frankly I neither think about Trump nor Biden when I'm beating on a piece of hot steel. The world around us has lost its collective mind; I think it's up to bladesmiths to help restore sanity. And, if someone doesn't see things our way...well we'll just cut them.😉

Don't be a stranger, Bro.


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Old 09-23-2020, 07:47 AM
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Crex Crex is offline
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I remember that knife I think. Osage handles ought to have a really nice deep rootbeer color by now. Think I forged that out of O1.
Would love to see you at one of the Trackrocks, maybe I can learn how to do it right. After running 38 events, I got smart enough to turn it over to a younger fella. He's doing a great job at keeping it moving forward. Was hard to let go the reins, but I wasn't getting much forging time in. Spent most my time chasing the weasel - keeping things moving, making sure folks played safe, etc. Last event I actually got to use my forge and equipment to make a few blades and teach a few youngsters - felt really good not to be in charge.
The fall event is happening this weekend 25th/26th and will be the first I will miss (hope it's the only one).

Only reason I get on fB is for keeping up with grandkids and for the contacts/customers I have that use it exclusively - not sure why they do. A lot of them are from here and Bladeforums.
Don't much care for most of what goes on there.
And....totally agree the world has gone nuts. Not seen so many bitter people in my life. I live way to close to Atlanta (used to be considered the sticks). So I break loose as often as possible to go to my Lafin Place in Hanging Dog where folks is just folks. How's Mnt Airy these days?

"And, if someone doesn't see things our way...well we'll just cut them.😉" .... then cauterize the wound!

Plus, I'll never be any stranger than you.


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Old 09-23-2020, 09:21 AM
Dana Acker Dana Acker is offline
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"Cauterize the wound..." Yes. That one goes in my "Wish I Had Written That One" file. And I'll have to give you (and my wife would heartily agree) there's not many stranger than me.😜

Mr. Airy is somewhat normal compared to larger cities around us. They kinda sorta obeyed the shutdown orders and mask mandates. The rank and file down around these parts are still a bunch who doesn't like to be told what to do. Any given day I go to the grocery store maybe 50% of the folks are wearing masks. The "experts" from the President's advisors on down have flip-flopped so much on everything they've said about the virus, social distancing, and masks, that I do not know who to believe. I'm to the point in my observations, that I think this whole mess is much more about control that it is about public health. And, being a NTMS, I've never liked rules much myself. My wife has serious heart and lung problems, so I play ball for her sake, but I do it only for her. And not because they tell me to.

It's cooling down a bit here, which makes it nice for forging. During the summer I was having to get in the forge about 6:00AM because by 11:00 AM it was at about 130 degrees in the shop. When I came in after a session, it looked like I had jumped in a swimming pool with my clothes on. Be that as it may, it didn't stop me.

Lately my emphasis has been on smaller knives, neck knives, and multi-tool type knives that I can sell for $100.00 or less. Also I began making Kydes sheaths, as they take less time, hence I have to charge lessfor them. When everything shut down and the economy with it, I figured it just wasn't the right time to be making $600.00 Bowies. A person might buy a hand forged neck knife for $100.00 or less and not have their wife start divorce proceedings against them. However should the same fellow come in one evening with a $500.00+ giant zombie chopper, then I'd have to put "Knifesmith and Home Wrecker" on my business card, which is never good for business.

My neck knife multi-tools have been popular. I've been using either 1/8" or 3/16" X 1" flat stock in 1080-1095. I forge a small, maybe 1.5" - 2" blade, and somewhere on the piece I also carve out a bottle opener, and hammer in a pry bar on the back end. On some I put small handles (usually my micarta, copper, or wood scraps). I'm ever trying to make them smaller, so I can get them down into the $50.00 range, as so many people cannot even afford $100.00. Since I'm retired now and Uncle Sam sends me a check each month, it pleases me to be able to put well made hand forged items in people's hands for something they can afford without having to dip into the food budget. And, I've pretty much given up on the idea of ever getting rich in the knife market, so I'm doing this more out of love of what I do, than out a profit motive. And if I sell one, then woohoo, I've got some walking around money!

What are you making these days?


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Old 09-24-2020, 08:51 AM
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Crex Crex is offline
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I do a lot of small users, bird/trout, hunters, capers, and skinners always have. Same as you, I like for people to be able to buy and use my knives without mortgaging the outhouse. Guess if I was in it for the money I'd be making only high $ stuff, but never figured to get rich. Life is rich enough for me. Most of the smaller, general users are from recycled steels because I have so much of it available and enjoy the challenge. I'd probably give them away if I didn't need fuel and materials from time to time.
Still making a lot of miniatures - got a niche market for them so they don't sit long.
I do make the larger knives on request - bowies, dirks, daggers, etc., but with the slow down in shows and events right now, they are backburner stuff.

Forging in the heat never bothered me much. Once I'm hot I'm hot, just keep hydrated as much as possible. Like forging during a good rain the most. Traded for a 430#PW a few years back (bit of a beast) and when I get her warmed up the metal moves like butter most the time. And....there's something about going out late in the evening to make sure everything is secure for the night, leaning up against her and still feeling the heat - kinda like a good dog.

Yeah, practicing all the safety things, Moma's in the same boat so got to be careful. Me, just want to be left alone. Didn't realize I was so antisocial until all this came along and I didn't see any appreciable change.

Until all this flared up, I was working with single parent kids from the church that had interest in tools and making things. FIF - gets a lot of them fired up to try, one out of every three or four actually takes to it pretty well and learns a little. I start them off reconditioning old tools - you know dirty, rusty hands on work. Then learn to rehandle hammers and face them. Found that if they have to work at getting a tool back to useful they take better care of them when being used. The promise/deal is if they follow my instructions and do well they get to forge some metal. If that goes well then they get to forge a blade and learn some simple heat treating. If that goes well, they learn handle work. Upon completion of the "course" (very loose term with these kids) they get to keep the tools they fixed plus their knife(s). It's a pretty fun thing most the time and I've had a few make it to the forge welding stage (1 girl and 2 boys). These three show up often to help with the new recruits, mobetta! Really miss getting to do this right now, but got to stay safe.


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Old 09-24-2020, 08:42 PM
Dana Acker Dana Acker is offline
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Good on you Carl, for your work with the kids. You never know the impressions made, but considering all the nonsense and useless tripe kids are fed by their masters in school these daze, learning something that is real and has purpose is absolutely vital. It might keep them people rather than programmed automatons.

I started a fire program with my grandchildren. They've got every device created by man that begins with "i" and has a picture of an apple on the back. My son grew up learning to build fires, since we heated with wood (still do). He lives in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands (he got the brains in the family; I'm still up here splitting wood each winter). One of the big past times in St Thomas is having bonfires on the beach. He told me that he'll sit back and watch all the Gen-X'ers and Millennials exhaust themselves trying to get the fire going. And when they've all given up, he goes over and builds the fire...party on!

So that got me thinking, should my granddaughter be driving home from school some late, snowy night in an area with no cell service and little traffic, and got stuck, what would she do? Wrap up in an iPad? Rub two wireless earbuds together? So I been teaching them how to build a fire. My plan is to make each of them a knife for Christmas, with an accompanying fire bag containing, everything needed to build a fire in any condition. If the worst never happens, then thank the Lord; maybe she'll move to the islands and be the life of the party on bonfire night.


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