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Marko Tsourkan

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I was trying to do things differently and as a result, have had two handle failure in the past week. Needless to say, both were in top grade ironwood and were promising to be high quality handles. Time and money lost.

I used to get really discouraged by failure, but now I am taking a more pragmatic look. The bottom line is I need to get over it quickly and go back to work, though I need some time out to think it through and to think how to avoid it in the future.

I am kind of preparing myself for a string of failures ahead, as I am embarking on a more complex work.

So, I wonder how often you guys have failures and how you deal with it.

M
 

apicius9

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Sorry to hear about failures. Just wondering whether they are 'real' failures of just fail to meet your very high standards of quality?

As a teacher, I love when students make mistakes - learning from mistakes usually will be retained better and stick with you more, and you can built upon and improve your own skills. So, it's more an opportunity than anything else. Of course, if your mistakes start costing you real money, there should be a limit...

I'll look forward to seeing the 'more complex work' you are about to do. I have a few ideas myself but just don't find enough time to do much besides the usual and several deadlines at work, so I have to live vicariously through you and others on this board who attack new challenges.

Stefan
 

Marko Tsourkan

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The current two failures had to do with me trying to do things differently to get higher tolerance in handles symmetry, but as I go into more complex work like grinding knives, handles, bolsters, heat treat, I have to be realistic that there is plenty of failure ahead and that there will be cost in time and materials associated with it.

M
 

Dave Martell

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Boy does this hit home this week. I have a lot more luck than I do failures but I'm doing new stuff a lot lately and it's throwing me off my game. I too can get down on myself but I try not to by reminding myself of how much crap I've screwed up in the past and how much better I am as a result. Still though, it's no fun taking steps backwards, especially when there's bills to be paid.
 

tk59

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You've touched on something that few people realize is of central importance to a career in science. Perhaps more than any other ability, a scientist is marked by the ability to deal with failure by either:
1. treating a failure as merely another data point just like any other
2. turning the failure into a success in some way or another
My students always seem to be shocked by the fact that 99% of the time, a lab experiment is met with failure. I often bring the point home by asking them to compare how many people are trying to come up with the cure for (fill in high profile incurable disease) and how many people have succeeded. That's a lot of failure and some devote their entire lives to a cause and essentially never meet anything but failure.

On another note, it's hard not to think of a student's lack of success as a failure on my (the teacher's) part.
 

rockbox

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Its only failure if you don't learn from it. Sometimes i intentionally push the envelope until failure just to see what i can get away with.
 

SpikeC

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When I have a project go south I just study what happened and start again. Many years of making custom jewelry with very expensive components has made me pretty deliberate in my approach to most things, but it also has given me callouses of a sort. If I have to try a new technique to set an expensive stone and I chip it, the only thing I can do is study the situation and come up with a way out.
Good luck with your new process, and as they say, "don't panic"!
 

Michael Rader

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Hi Marko. Do you happen to have the ability to get the handles off and salvage some of the ironwood? I use little pieces of scrap for the endcaps on my knives :)
(I kinda feel like the tow-truck operator who sings, "I only gets the good cash after a great crash.")
-M
 

RRLOVER

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I here ya brother,I have ruined my last three.I finally got a handle mounted on the gyuto I made.
 

Marko Tsourkan

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Hi Marko. Do you happen to have the ability to get the handles off and salvage some of the ironwood? I use little pieces of scrap for the endcaps on my knives :)
(I kinda feel like the tow-truck operator who sings, "I only gets the good cash after a great crash.")
-M
Michael -
I usually make pins of those, but I will send them your way, if you like.

Mario -
it happens to me when I try new ways of doing things. Now that I have learned it hard way, I should have a period of relatively few failures. Painful nonetheless.



m
 

Pensacola Tiger

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Marko,

Sorry to hear of your frustrations, but as has been noted, you probably learn more from what didn't work that that which did. At least I find it so.

Rick
 

Delbert Ealy

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You've touched on something that few people realize is of central importance to a career in science. Perhaps more than any other ability, a scientist is marked by the ability to deal with failure by either:
1. treating a failure as merely another data point just like any other
2. turning the failure into a success in some way or another
My students always seem to be shocked by the fact that 99% of the time, a lab experiment is met with failure. I often bring the point home by asking them to compare how many people are trying to come up with the cure for (fill in high profile incurable disease) and how many people have succeeded. That's a lot of failure and some devote their entire lives to a cause and essentially never meet anything but failure.

On another note, it's hard not to think of a student's lack of success as a failure on my (the teacher's) part.

I totally agree! :viking:

This is the way I learned knife and damascus making. I had a bit of data to start with, and I just went for it.
It was very time consuming learning this way, but the experience helped me a lot when I started to teach.
I often tell people that I have screwed up in almost every way imaginable, and so if you have a problem, let me know.
I have had people come back to me after and give me the details of a specific problem, and its like, Oh yeah I remember doing that, now heres what you should do instead.
 

Eamon Burke

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I deal with failure well. And by that, I mean, it never makes me give up.

I have been a pro cook mostly, and failure is simply not an option. If you heat sugar for caramel sauce a SECOND too long, it will burn and taste life charcoal. If you do it too early, it'll taste like syrup. Screwed it up? Start over--cause nobody's paying to eat that.

I also have personality traits that make for a very exacting nature. I deliberate heavily, and prefer to tread overly cautiously than jump into things. That said, when they screw up,
I.
GET.
STEAMED.

I am so pissed off when I ruin something, even when I miss a turn on a highway that I become obsessed, Captain Ahab-style, with fixing it. I will destroy things, and go to the ends of the Earth, I will not eat or sleep until things are fixed. I seriously can't have it. It annoys my wife, but at least she's not married to a half-ass.

I just let it run it's course, focus, and get outta the woods--then I feel normal again. I deal with failures like that by refusing to let them continue to exist! Get more wood, I say! Do it again! It will work, and now you know where there is a weak spot in your technique or materials, you are already better prepared. Mistakes happen, but only once.
 

Bill Burke

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today was my third failure on a project that I am working on with Oivind. I have one more idea for this project and the I will totally have to rethink my aproach to this.
 

Marko Tsourkan

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Sorry to hear about it Bill. At the same time, it makes me feel a little bit happier about my failures. I guess 'no pain, no gain' applies to knife making (or knife related) too. Good luck with your fourth attempt.

M
 

Bill Burke

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I am pretty sure that the next attempt will work but it is going to be a real pain to setup and get ready to weld. My failures were because I wa sseeking an "easier" way to do it than the way that I am sure will work.
 

watercrawl

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Isn't that amazing how we do that? Try and take short cuts and they rarely work.
 

echerub

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But on the other hand, if we never try to find new ways of doing things, we'll never find new ways of doing things :)
 

oivind_dahle

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I'm feeling left out here somehow...
Mr Bill Burke will post info and pics when its done. I dont want to increase the expectations, but yes it will totally blow your mind :)
Hehe. Damn Im like a child on xmas eve :)
 

tk59

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Hopefully, Bill shows us the failures, too. That would be just as interesting...
 

Bill Burke

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Hopefully, Bill shows us the failures, too. That would be just as interesting...
That would have been a good Idea if I someone had thought of it before I turned them into something else.
 

oivind_dahle

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Bill: your knife will enter a test at Marko :)
Hopefully it will work out today! :) Damn I look forward to this one! :)
 

Marko Tsourkan

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@ Oivind
Actually, no. I will only test Shigefusa at this time. By the time I get to other knives, yours will be in Norway. :)
 

Bill Burke

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Sorry Oivind I didn't get to try today. Had to do some mechanicing and then had some friends show up from out of town and a nes JS hopeful turned up to do his performance test. So no time to set everthing up and do the weld. It is going to take most of a day and I don't want anyone around to distract me and possibly cause another failure.
 

Bill Burke

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@ Oivind
Actually, no. I will only test Shigefusa at this time. By the time I get to other knives, yours will be in Norway. :)
When are you testing Marko? I have a knife that you could test if you wanted.
 

Marko Tsourkan

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When are you testing Marko? I have a knife that you could test if you wanted.
Bill,
I have been reading up on Wayne Goddard and Phil Wilson cutting rope test. I believe (from what I have read) you do a similar testing for your knives.

I would like to test several steels in about same hardness range and similarly sharpened to 3-5K. I also would like to test how stropping (touching up between sharpening) improves cutting ability and how end-grain cutting surface compares to edge grain in terms of edge retention of a knife.

None of these tests will be laboratory precise, but I should get a good idea about wear resistance of several steels.

I might pick your brain a little bit, as I don't think this is as easy as it reads.

M
 
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