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HSC /// Knives

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good day all,
hope everyone is enjoying this time of the year in good health and with loved ones.

Yesterday a KKF post came up that made me a realize I had not updated everyone properly.
WTB - Hsc3 Knives

I use primarily Instagram to communicate but I know not everyone uses IG.
Anyway, in short, I have moved to France to live permanently.

I made this decision to do so earlier this year around summer time, I was here in France for 6 months.
I sold my house In Arizona in October, moved in December and purchased a suitably sized village house in the south of France in Rivesaltes.
At this time I have no shop setup there, I'm waiting for equipment and supplies to arrive and I need electricity and lighting and workbenches etc etc.

I have a shop near Paris at my partner's house. I will maintain this shop as there are often people interested in taking a 1-2 day lessons in knifemaking so I want to continue to offer these classes near Paris. I suspect I will need all of January to get setup in the Rivesaltes shop, this will be my main operation.

Then I will work on a limited basis for a few months as I will be immersing into French language lessons, and there's alot of French administrative things required to b done.
I moved for several reasons, the relevant one here is that I want to improve my work, but I need to do it in a relaxed manner and I believe this move will facilitate this.

Right now I'm in limbo waiting for things and trying to get the new house setup. I'm a bit bored and itching to get into the shop and work on a knife. This confirms to me that I like what I do, and I want to do it better.

So while I'm not US based anymore, think of me as an American bladesmith in France.
I'm happy to answer any questions...

and here’s some pics so this post isn’t boring

regards
Harbeer
 

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Corradobrit1

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Congrats Harbeer. I made a similar life decision in September moving from Dallas TX to Hannover Germany. Brexit precipitated the move and a job offer made it possible by providing me with the EU Blue Card (equiv to the US Green Card). My ultimate dream is to settle in France where I plan to build a house and retire. The pace and quality of European life, especially towards the South are big attractions. I can fully understand and agree with your motivations. What was the attraction of Perpignan? The central location geographically to several other countries makes sense, and the climate hard to beat.
 
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HSC /// Knives

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Congrats Harbeer. I made a similar life decision in September moving from Dallas TX to Hannover Germany. Brexit precipitated the move and a job offer made it possible by providing me with the EU Blue Card (equiv to the US Green Card). My ultimate dream is to settle in France where I plan to build a house and retire. The pace and quality of European life, especially towards to the South are big attractions. I can fully understand and agree with your motivations. What was the attraction of Perpignan? The central location geographically to several other countries makes sense, and the climate hard to beat.

I had several "requirements" in my search, not in any order of importance.

1) moderate weather climate as close to Los Angeles as possible (sun and blue skies)
2) affordability in my budget
3) close to a golf course (there aren't many in the Languedoc region)
4) close to a TGV train station
5) small town with close distance accessibility to larger services

The most difficult part was to find something with suitable garage workshop space. (within my budget)
 

Jim Beam

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Good luck in your transition. I moved to southern France from New Mexico 4 years ago and have no plans to return. I enjoy the relaxed pace of life here and the absence of blatant commercialism. I have bought a house in Portugal and will retire there next year. Better weather, lower cost of living, near the ocean, and direct flights from Lisbon to San Francisco and Denver. I will add that I do not like the cuisine here one bit - the French love their herbs, but they are terrified of spices.

A bit of advice on learning the French language: don't waste your time or money on formal classroom training. They will try to teach you the perfect French grammar that even the locals don't use, but after 6 months you still won't even be able to ask for a haircut. Find a group that practices French conversation and practical things.
 

Rainman890

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Welcome also from another American in Europe! Not in France, but close by.

The above advice about language is very very good. Classes can make a foundation, but the only way to learn is to practice. Find a tandem partner or a practice group, or just try speaking french to everyone and be ok making mistakes. It sucks for a while, but then you'll get it.

As for the rest, good luck with getting integrated here, and let us know when we can start ordering knives from you! Now your local, and it's good to support local makers! 😁
 

Delat

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Congratulations on the big move! I’m both happy for you and a little bummed - I live in Phoenix and always had it in the back of my mind that I’d get the chance to meet you in your AZ shop and commission a knife in person. Southern France is beautiful and a completely different culture that I’m sure you’ll love.
 

gregfisk

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Congratulations Harbeer, I didn’t know that you had moved since we hadn’t chatted for a while. I know moving there was a dream of yours so I’m very happy that you made it happen. Best of luck to you in your new life adventures.
 

M1k3

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Welcome also from another American in Europe! Not in France, but close by.

The above advice about language is very very good. Classes can make a foundation, but the only way to learn is to practice. Find a tandem partner or a practice group, or just try speaking french to everyone and be ok making mistakes. It sucks for a while, but then you'll get it.

As for the rest, good luck with getting integrated here, and let us know when we can start ordering knives from you! Now your local, and it's good to support local makers! 😁
Befriend some Chef's/Line Cooks. Exchange knives/sharpening for French lessons and food 😉
 

big_adventure

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Good for you, et bienvenue en France !

My advice from moving here nearly 20 years ago: speak only French with anyone who speaks French. I made that call on arriving. Some locals, who wanted to communicate in-depth or to practice their English were frustrated, but I wasn't going to fall into the ex-pat trap of leaning too hard on English. It worked for me. You'll spend some evenings with groups where you are just nodding along, and it will be months before you are capable of decent conversation in a group of friends, but it's worth it.

Enjoy ! Feel free to PM me if you need advice on anything here, but given that your partner is French, I imagine that you've got most of that sort of stuff covered.
 

McMan

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Congrats on the move, Harbeer! Sounds wonderful!

As to learning French... here's one tip: keep your TV on as much as possible with closed captioning. For the first few months at least, never turn it off :) This accomplishes one very valuable goal--it helps get your ear used to hearing words in French. "Hearing" a language is as much--if not more--of a challenge than learning grammar and vocabulary (which can be done easily enough through book-study everyday and then conversation partners). One thing about conversation partners--try to structure it so you only use one language per session. In other words, do one session with your partner in exclusively French and then later in the week in exclusively English--it's a mess if you mix two languages each session, plus this is not a natural way to converse.
 

HSC /// Knives

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while I wait for electricity and lighting to get installed, I’m working on flooring...

Finally have these 5 crates coming to me from Phoenix. These contain a forge, belt grinder, heat treat furnace and related equipment. Beau’s crates in Phoenix was a huge help. Still working on getting the heavy hardness tester shipped. In the meantime I’ll make a separate post for a recent restaurant experience @le_fanal_restaurant my 2nd #michelinstar experience

Workbenches and anvil coming tomorrow....
 

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HSC /// Knives

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Grinder arrived. Got knocked around a bit. The fan shroud is bent so the Cooling fan is scraping. Need to fix that

Furnace didn’t go so well
I’ll have to get a new one....

got some benches going and lighting
 

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Congrats on the move!

Pitty Australia could not tempt you with our idyllic coast lines, sun, blue skies and mild winters ;)😋

You made a great choice! I think you will find a fulfilling home and pace of life in the south of France. Looking forward to seeing updates on your new life!
 

Bolek

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while I wait for electricity and lighting to get installed, I’m working on flooring...

Finally have these 5 crates coming to me from Phoenix. These contain a forge, belt grinder, heat treat furnace and related equipment. Beau’s crates in Phoenix was a huge help. Still working on getting the heavy hardness tester shipped. In the meantime I’ll make a separate post for a recent restaurant experience @le_fanal_restaurant my 2nd #michelinstar experience

Workbenches and anvil coming tomorrow....
Welcome in France.
electricity :220V 50Hz
 

HSC /// Knives

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Congrats on the move!

Pitty Australia could not tempt you with our idyllic coast lines, sun, blue skies and mild winters ;)😋

You made a great choice! I think you will find a fulfilling home and pace of life in the south of France. Looking forward to seeing updates on your new life!
My partner is French so I moved for love and a different life. I’ve never been to Australia ...
 
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Wow. I'm somewhat jealous. Or maybe not jealous but feeling the urge to do something similar.

I'm no stranger to intercontinental moves myself. Originally from Germany my wife and I lived in South Africa for a year and only a few years later moved to Australia. I never really liked Germany that much (sorry, @Corradobrit1) - at least when I grew up there lots of that 'no humour, little friendliness' stereotype was still very much reality. I understand that has changed quite a bit in the meantime but I'm certainly no longer up to date on what's really happening in Germany. My goals were working in the US or Canada. This didn't really gel with my wife but I was able to convince her for us to go to Australia for 12 months. Well - that was 20 years ago. Haven't counted but our stay may have exceeded those 12 month by now. No kids then, many more now. Little (and not so little) Aussies who look suspiciously at the strange behaviour of their European parents.

I always dreamed of living in Italy or France - maybe more non-urban than city life, though I'm not really the rural type at all. I love both countries' language, style and food. Going to a country market, having a cup of coffee and just watching things happening at the village square... Now, I don't speak either language. But, yes, very much willing to learn. Truth be told: I've had this wish to speak either language for well over 25 years and am no further ahead than I was back then so there's that...

I agree with above sentiments that immersion can't be beat to learn a language. Particularly French grammar can be a beast to master (not to speak of trying to pronounce things). French seems to be spoken far more in the front of the mouth/lips than English, particularly American English (if that makes any sense). I think it's relatively easy to acquire if you're young. Not only because of brain plasticity but also because of the different context. For a school kid the majority of the day will be spent in the new language. In a similar fashion for someone coming into the country in their 'earlier' years of working life, all (or most) of the communication will happen in the new country's language and this should quickly fire up those neurons. This may well not be the case for someone who moves into a new country without this 'tether'. Joining some form of regular social activity, as also mentioned, sounds like a terrific idea - at least in pre-Covid times...

There's a lot to be said about inter-country moves. Let's not forget about different 'personalities' or cultural expectations. They may seem subtle but can be quite difficult to get right. I'm still frequently on the wrong foot regarding my style of interaction (quite direct) vs the at times more British leaning Australian way of finding softer terms for something or addressing it from a side angle. Yeah, I know, there's this stereotype of the straight-talking Aussie dude but they've got nothing on a more Northern European approach to bluntness. ;)
 
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My partner is French so I moved for love and a different life. I’ve never been to Australia ...

Im just kidding... ☺... We're so far away from all the culture and important people! We tend to feel left out 🥺

Moving for love is a great reason. Im mostly envious! Super envious actually! And you're also so close to Spain - I have such fond memories of that country. Maybe you'll have to learn Spanish/Catalan as well.
 

Corradobrit1

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I never really liked Germany that much (sorry, @Corradobrit1) -
Don't worry you're preaching to the choir. I'm no fan either but it was the easiest route back into Europe after Brexit. I received the EU Blue Card earlier this week and that allows me to work anywhere in the EU. I just need to work another 3-4 years and I'll be entitled to permanent EU residency. I'm planning to take early retirement, hopefully at 62/63, and enjoy exploring Europe in my soon-to-be-delivered Campervan. Living the dream.
 
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There's a lot to be said about inter-country moves. Let's not forget about different 'personalities' or cultural expectations. They may seem subtle but can be quite difficult to get right. I'm still frequently on the wrong foot regarding my style of interaction (quite direct) vs the at times more British leaning Australian way of finding softer terms for something or addressing it from a side angle. Yeah, I know, there's this stereotype of the straight-talking Aussie dude but they've got nothing on a more Northern European approach to bluntness. ;)

As an American who has lived in Britain for a fair bit of his life and has some german family I can definitely relate to this. I've been in the UK going on 15 years now and still make these mistakes. I'll never forget when I was over here when I was quite young and was changing back into my uniform after PE class and couldn't find my what I would now refer to as trousers and went to my teacher asking if someone could have accidentally taken my "pants" much to her horror. Now they're just mostly awkward situations where I've missed some subtext to what is said or I have been too blunt or enthusiastic about something.
 

Delat

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I agree with above sentiments that immersion can't be beat to learn a language. Particularly French grammar can be a beast to master (not to speak of trying to pronounce things). French seems to be spoken far more in the front of the mouth/lips than English, particularly American English (if that makes any sense). I think it's relatively easy to acquire if you're young. Not only because of brain plasticity but also because of the different context. For a school kid the majority of the day will be spent in the new language. In a similar fashion for someone coming into the country in their 'earlier' years of working life, all (or most) of the communication will happen in the new country's language and this should quickly fire up those neurons. This may well not be the case for someone who moves into a new country without this 'tether'. Joining some form of regular social activity, as also mentioned, sounds like a terrific idea - at least in pre-Covid times...

When I spent a summer in France during my high school years, I was initially really shy about trying to speak the language (I had a couple years of French in high school at that point). But I discovered if you have a vague idea of words in the general ballpark and you just throw them all out in a random mishmash, people will generally figure out what you’re trying to say.

I did sometimes get some puzzled looks. Like asking for a glass of airplane. But we usually figured it out. “Un Evian s’il vous plait” sounds a lot like “Un avion s’il vous plait”.

The French seemed just so pleased that an American was actually trying to speak French instead of speaking English in an increasingly loud manner that they made a lot of allowances for me. Or maybe they thought I had some kind of weird verbal dyslexia and were being kind.

Over time I picked up commonly used phrases and found memorizing and using those to be super helpful. Like listening to people next to you ordering water in restaurants ;)
 

HSC /// Knives

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another update, I'm almost setup with my shop, waiting on some flooring to come in from Germany.
I've been doing some knifemaking experience classes at the Paris house. Basically someone comes in for 2 days and gets to make their own knife under my guidance.

I forged some blades and I bought a car, Peugeot of course

@Rainman890 I've got some Magnacut in and started working.
I can take some orders
 

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big_adventure

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I was a lucky client of Harbeer's knifemaking workshop.

He and I chatted a couple of months ago about his move to France, and I offered to answer any questions he might have about administrivia of integrating oneself here. He had that pretty well wired. I asked him about making a knife for me, but at the time, he was busy running back and forth between the Paris region and his new place in the south. He mentioned that he's been running private knifemaking workshops. I jumped at the chance.

I participated in February. I caught the train out to the town where his partner lives. He met me at the station, and we headed back to the shop. Over coffee, we discussed how the course was going to run. We started by figuring out what kind of knife I would be making. Once it was late enough to begin hammering on things without panicking the neighbors, we got to work.

We fired up his forge, heated a bar of suminagashi-laminated white steel and cut it to length.

Despite being warned that everything is REALLY hot, I managed to burn my jacket on a pair of tongs. Nice job, me.

Back into the fire, then onto the anvil to shape the tang, then in and out of the fire to shape the blade, using the hammer and a roller press.

Eventually we forged out a 190mm long, 50mm high nakiri with a curved profile. Time on the 2x72 grinder to shape the surface.

Heat treatment, quenching and tempering followed as they must.

We picked out some wood from his selection, and he explained handle making. I drilled and bored the tang out, and we tested for fit. The handle wound up taking a while simply because we had a knot in the wood inside the tang. We eventually shaped and burned it in enough for the tang to sit neatly.

Day two involved transforming the block of wood into a fat octagon handle - I have truly massive paws and I prefer fat handles on knives - and continuing with the blade. We used the grinder for the rough strokes, then I put on a preliminary edge on stones. We tested hardness the old fashioned way, by abusing the blade on other metal objects.

Once tested, back to shaping and prettying the blade, and the handle. Then we assembled it, and I have my very own knife forged, ground and sharpened by me, under the watchful eye and expert tutelage of @HSC /// Knives .

Harbeer was a great teacher and just a generally nice guy throughout the process. If anyone has two days to kill near Paris or in the south of France, and wants to experience this kind of thing for themselves without investing in the required hardware (forge, grinder, anvil, tools, etc.), I cannot recommend this more highly.

Thanks, Harbeer.
 

riba

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I was a lucky client of Harbeer's knifemaking workshop.

He and I chatted a couple of months ago about his move to France, and I offered to answer any questions he might have about administrivia of integrating oneself here. He had that pretty well wired. I asked him about making a knife for me, but at the time, he was busy running back and forth between the Paris region and his new place in the south. He mentioned that he's been running private knifemaking workshops. I jumped at the chance.

I participated in February. I caught the train out to the town where his partner lives. He met me at the station, and we headed back to the shop. Over coffee, we discussed how the course was going to run. We started by figuring out what kind of knife I would be making. Once it was late enough to begin hammering on things without panicking the neighbors, we got to work.

We fired up his forge, heated a bar of suminagashi-laminated white steel and cut it to length.

Despite being warned that everything is REALLY hot, I managed to burn my jacket on a pair of tongs. Nice job, me.

Back into the fire, then onto the anvil to shape the tang, then in and out of the fire to shape the blade, using the hammer and a roller press.

Eventually we forged out a 190mm long, 50mm high nakiri with a curved profile. Time on the 2x72 grinder to shape the surface.

Heat treatment, quenching and tempering followed as they must.

We picked out some wood from his selection, and he explained handle making. I drilled and bored the tang out, and we tested for fit. The handle wound up taking a while simply because we had a knot in the wood inside the tang. We eventually shaped and burned it in enough for the tang to sit neatly.

Day two involved transforming the block of wood into a fat octagon handle - I have truly massive paws and I prefer fat handles on knives - and continuing with the blade. We used the grinder for the rough strokes, then I put on a preliminary edge on stones. We tested hardness the old fashioned way, by abusing the blade on other metal objects.

Once tested, back to shaping and prettying the blade, and the handle. Then we assembled it, and I have my very own knife forged, ground and sharpened by me, under the watchful eye and expert tutelage of @HSC /// Knives .

Harbeer was a great teacher and just a generally nice guy throughout the process. If anyone has two days to kill near Paris or in the south of France, and wants to experience this kind of thing for themselves without investing in the required hardware (forge, grinder, anvil, tools, etc.), I cannot recommend this more highly.

Thanks, Harbeer.
Come on .... You gotta show off the knife you made!

Sounds like a lot of fun. A big adventure
 
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