Rick: I just counted the books on the science of metals in my main library the count came to 39. There are three more places of storage. Some of the books cost $100's, some much less, but I have read them all. They have resulted in more questions than answers when it comes to knives. What Rex and I and my companions have learned is not always in the texts. You ask about why the blade I ground from a file broke over time, I now have many possible answers. There are entire texts on polishing metal, you can find them if you wish, I am sure some of your knowledgeable friends have them in their libraries. If you want ready and quick answers, just to to a junk yard, pick out some old rusty bolts and carefully examine the fractures, you will know!
All I do is report what I learn from personal experience, I don't expect everyone to immediately except what I write as gospel truth, but encourage all who are interested to give it a try, test some blades and share their results with the rest of us.
I will coach anyone who wants to know, I don't feel it is my responsibility to spoon feed folks who can't find immediate answers on the internet. You have a choice to either go to the library and do your own research or hire a metallurgist who is interested in knives and spend some of your own funds developing answers to your questions. Naturally you are invited to spend about 40% of the next 20 years experimenting on your own.
When I look at the form I don't see many of the old names on it, Tai is probably the last of the breed who learned on their own and has first hand knowledge to share. He should be cherished and I hope he sticks with blade smiths questions and answers.
I don't know when the research will be done and the information published, it is not in my control. I am pleased that some have found it worthy of study.
When you get the next issue of Blade you will see a letter to the editor from Rex Walter, he explains results that can be achieved from the house hold freezer and more.
During my 19+ years of formal education I had three exceptional teachers. One I questioned, he referred me to the Psych. Abstracts in the college library, I spent many hours researching where his lecture material came from. I found him to be extremely well read and our discussions became one of the highlights of my education. Where to find information, and most importantly how to judge what was worth reading. I only report what we have found valid, should I go into the theory about what I feel will one day become common knowledge it would be very highly controversial. So far I have stuck to the simple stuff that will make this theory more understandable in the future.
As far as threats, I have known my share also. When I was a Cop I kept count of the threats on my life, 117 in 12 years, somehow I am still alive, six gave me a good run. Since I started writing for blade only one that I took seriously. Threats by some those in supposed authority are to be expected and usually laughable but they are a part of it, get used to them and judge them on their individual merit, but don't blame me for I assure you I have nothing to do with them.
If you want to know what I have learned about the file breaking since I wrote about it I am willing to discuss it with you, just ask me, preferably on the form where others can judge and maybe learn at the same time.