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In Search of Hamon, Experiments at the Forge #1

Sole Smithing in the BoneYard

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#21 Jan Ysselstein

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Posted 25 July 2016 - 11:54 PM

The fourth ingot is mostly solid but does have  gas under the top...I will cut off about 1/4 to 1/3 the ingot and hope the bubbles get removed that way. I will continue with this series for a few more melts but keep that away from this topic. We have enough metal to work with. That system will have to run for a long time so I better fix it now.

 

The ingot weighs 1445 grams, consumed about 16lbs of propane in 1.65 hrs ( of full heat )...I am not sure the crucible would have lasted much longer. I will try to use the 2/3 of the ingot as planned. Here are some pics,

The viewer should compare the microstructures of the fast vs slowly cooled ingots ( in the posts above ).

 

Edit,  This ingot is all porous and will be forged into plates..so I will have to repeat it, darn .

 

DSCN4664.jpg  fourth ingot

frame1.jpg  fourth ingot microstructure

frame5.jpg  same

frame6.jpg  same


Edited by Jan Ysselstein, 26 July 2016 - 02:38 PM.


#22 Jan Ysselstein

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Posted 26 July 2016 - 11:33 PM

Well, it looks like the forged from an ingot blades ( these are not going to be welded) will come from ingot #2 or ingot #3...#4 is a mess. Tomorrow I will do a run (with an already staged crucible) to get past the porosity problem, it should work.

 

For the next few weeks I will push away and catch up on some other priorities.

 

Jan


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#23 Jan Ysselstein

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Posted 27 July 2016 - 03:38 PM

THIS IS A SECOND #4, REPLACING WHAT IS SHOWN IN THE ABOVE POST

 

      OK , I think we are out of our funk...ingot 4 was made again ( from fresh raw materials ) and it looks very good. The solution seemed to be not running longer but running hotter. I will discard the original #4. The actual carbon content should be just about 1.4% Carbon. Here are some pics of the melt.. The ingot weighs about 1000 grams, 1 hour at high, high heat. The ingot was cooled at an intermediate cooling rate.

 

DSCN4676.jpg  top of ingot

DSCN4679.jpg  side of ingot

DSCN4680.jpg  bottom of ingot

frame1.jpg        micro structure

 

 

Jan

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Edited by Jan Ysselstein, 27 July 2016 - 06:56 PM.

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#24 Joshua States

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Posted 27 July 2016 - 11:52 PM

Now we are getting somewhere.

Where did you get the crucible?


“So I'm lightin' out for the territory, ahead of the scared and the weak and the mean spirited, because Aunt Sally is fixin’ to adopt me and civilize me, and I can't stand it. I've been there before.”

 

Once more into the fray. Into the last good fight I'll ever know. Live and die on this day. Live, and die, on this day.

 

Josh

http://www.dosgatosdesignsllc.com/#!

 


#25 Jan Ysselstein

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Posted 28 July 2016 - 12:17 AM

Joshua,

              The crucibles are homemade. The crucibles are a project onto themselves. Each crucible is only good for one ingot.

Jan



#26 Jan Ysselstein

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Posted 28 July 2016 - 07:57 PM

That extreme  heat has ruined my little welding forge . The forge contained a lot of iron rich slag/flux ...fragments just came loose. I have just purchased a paper tube used to pour concrete..I will use it as a form to make my next  crucible   furnace...A designated furnace and a designated welding forge are in the works.  As soon as the welding furnace is complete I will start flattening the various pieces of crucible  melted, carburized bloomery iron.

 

Jan


Edited by Jan Ysselstein, 28 July 2016 - 07:57 PM.


#27 Jan Ysselstein

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Posted 08 August 2016 - 01:18 AM

I thought I might give that ruined forge a coat of mud to see if it will hold together long enough to forge the ( failed ) crucible steel into plates....  and the 3 ingot fragments into bars ( ingot 2,3 and the new 4). The forge will be fired up in a day or two.

 

Here are some pictures showing the ruined forge after all the loose protruding stuff has ben chipped off and what remained was covered with mud.

DSCN4735.jpg  over heated forge being chipped of loose material

DSCN4736.jpg  during chipping some kaowool became exposed but looked OK.

DSCN4739.jpg  a fresh coat of mud waiting to dry



#28 Jan Ysselstein

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Posted 10 August 2016 - 11:03 PM

The forge was tested today at forging and at welding temps. Practiced a rice straw flux weld. The cold spot is gone and the flame now swirls around the wall ( there is a hot spot now). The next window of time I have, I will flatten the material shown in the picture below, all this material should be  the chemical equivalent of tamahagane,. The solid ingot ( the new #4 ) will be forged later.

 

Here are some pics 

DSCN4749.jpg  Now the furnace cold spot has been replaced by a hot spot

DSCN4754.jpg  This material "crucible mishaps", will be flattened and welded into a bar to make a knife not a sword.



#29 Jan Ysselstein

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Posted 15 August 2016 - 10:49 PM

The crucible steel fragments ( "tamahagane") have been flattened, quenched and broken . We have 10 lbs of very high carbon bits about to be welded.

 

Some common clay has been prepared for fluxing,  as well as some rice straw ash powder.     To get into the flow of welding, I will finish welding some Nicholson file bits started years ago ( if I can find a pic I will post it ) . Before using the crucible steel plates, we will get a chance to practice welding and to determine what will be a realistic amount to weld into a bar at one time.

 

The carbon content of the flattened steel plates is quite high,  my concern about carbon loss will go into play after the first 3 welds. Getting the welding right is    a big deal    as I do not want those white decarb stripes. I guess I will learn how to blast the scale off with water ( I better level my anvil). Should the carbon content be too high we can take the welded bar down into bits and start over ( losing carbon along the way).

We will stay with the welding process until we get it...future runs will be done by pouring the steel onto a cold steel surface and breaking it into bits when it cools.

IMG_1112.JPG flattened bits of high carbon crucible steel, ready for welding into a bar.

DSCN4768.jpg  Nicholson File bits at the start of the welding process ( silica fluxed )

DSCN4771.jpg  Side view ..


Edited by Jan Ysselstein, 16 August 2016 - 11:45 AM.

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#30 SteveShimanek

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Posted 18 August 2016 - 03:10 PM

I love what you are doing Jan; I do have some concern about using Japanese terminology without following their process which describes these terms however.



#31 Jan Ysselstein

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Posted 18 August 2016 - 07:32 PM

Steve,

   Thank you.  Do not be concerned, the proof is ( should be ) in the results...high risk and a bit irreverent , but a lot of exiting fun.

Jan


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#32 Jan Ysselstein

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Posted 20 August 2016 - 07:44 PM

Welding the old file bits was not  as much "exiting and fun" as I had expected..I would have done better as a glass blower. I finally did get a couple of pieces together and just for the hell of it, quenched it without any normalizing. I am posting two pictures of the same steel under very different circumstances . The steel is file steel   1095 , it shows a very nice hamon (quenched as a file) ..after folding who knows..but the grain size difference is dramatic.

file2mm.jpg         Nicholson File Stock Removal   ( normalized? )                              2mm screen

small 2mm.jpg    Forged and folded Nicholson File Bits ( not normalized ) 2mm screen

 

Jan


Edited by Jan Ysselstein, 20 August 2016 - 07:46 PM.


#33 Tim Mitchell

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Posted 21 August 2016 - 12:00 AM

You seem to be having more success with your ingots now Jan, well done.  Your experiments look interesting, I am curious to see your results.  Keep up the good work.

 


Tim Mitchell
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#34 Jan Ysselstein

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Posted 21 August 2016 - 12:41 AM

Tim,

        That ingot got left in the back of a very hot furnace and will be remelted..I had a furnace full of cut failed ingots and I did not see it. I am going to get  passed this welding trial before getting back to ingots. I may have enough samples to finish this thread or ate least enough to get a direction. The ingots should be easier when I build a furnace capable of getting hotter. I do not spend much time in my shop these days , life keeps taking cuts in the line.

 

I think I am stuck in the first few chapters C.S. Smith's " A History of Metallography..... "

 

Jan


Edited by Jan Ysselstein, 21 August 2016 - 12:45 AM.


#35 Jan Ysselstein

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Posted 23 August 2016 - 10:41 PM

Just to review what I am trying to do here.

 

I am adding carbon to a very clean, low carbon, bloomery iron....the method currently being tested is the addition of carbon in a crucible ( by the addition of bloomery cast iron or carbon as charcoal ).

 

There are two possible outcomes  1) a defective ( or  not) ingot which is made into wafers and welded into a bar, then a knife

                                                       2)  a good ingot forged into a bar and then into a knife 

 

Right now I am sticking with  number 1 , that requires some welding skills I am trying to acquire ..the welding should result in a steel easy to look at...here is the information I am using as a study guide

 

  

 

 I find this one of the most interesting videos around. As I do not use charcoal for welding ( not practical for me) I am attempting to come up with an equivalent method in a gas forge(s) . 

 

​I recently found a bar which may have been bloomery iron or a crucible iron fragment..initially the many defects seen under the microscope told me it was crucible material. After grinding a little more the etch revealed fragments of old dendrites .

The hope is the remnants of the dendritic fragments will have an influence on the hamon ( and the beauty of the polished steel). 

  1.  
Here is a picture of the found flattened rough bar and the visible dendrite remnants
frame2.jpg


#36 Jan Ysselstein

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 11:18 PM

The flattened bar ( microstructure shown in the post just above) was heated ,quenched and broken into bits. The bits were stacked on a medium carbon plate and all was welded. The welds seem to be holding...after a fold I would add more bits......one or two more folds and the mass (749 grams ) will start taking the shape of a bar....then we will start watching the decarburization and try to prevent it. Here are some pictures of the first attempt at welding very high carbon crucible steel . We have enough broken bits prepared to do a few more.

Some of the steel in this stack must have been very high carbon as ;those very large bright sparks were all over.

 

By the way this welding stint took several cues from the referenced video

 

DSCN4787.jpg  early stage of making a blade from crucible melted bloom plus carbon 

DSCN4788.jpg

DSCN4789.jpg

DSCN4791.jpg

DSCN4792.jpg


Edited by Jan Ysselstein, 25 August 2016 - 12:40 AM.


#37 Jan Ysselstein

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Posted 28 August 2016 - 04:12 PM

The above consolidated bar bits were mostly from the same bar and way too much of a homogeneous mix. The next step is to forge two or three more consolidated masses using bits taken from a tray of mixed ingots. Once each bar is clean looking, or once it looks like a bar, ( maybe two or three more folds ) it will be folded a few more times to a total of 8 folds.

Welding seems to be under control....now we need to start thinking about,

 

Pre Quench heat treating and surface preparation 

Pre Quench coating of the blade

Quenching/Tempering

Polishing ( I do not own any water stones  that I am aware of ) we will just have to dive in and see what the territory looks like.


Edited by Jan Ysselstein, 28 August 2016 - 10:39 PM.


#38 Jan Ysselstein

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Posted 16 October 2016 - 01:35 PM

The rain has come to California,  :),  this means charcoal fires are OK and some smelting can be done. The clay coating popping off of the blade may be solved, it took a while longer than I thought it would. We will test it this week using a metal wheel barrow as a portable quench tank . I will have to re-quench some of the junk yard steels as well, due to a microsructure found at the very edge of one of the quenched pieces (don't ask ).

 

I have a few blooms of very high carbon  iron I am saving  to process at the end of this thread, (a re-show of some bloom pics below) . When I tried to duplicate the run producing this high carbon iron...the result was not high in carbon. This season I will target the high carbon to "fix" that process..I will try to control the process by controlling the slag composition, location and temperature. 

 

The addition of carbon will be attempted in the solid state as well is as was done in the crucible shown above ( the crucible +carbon is actually a mix of adding carbon in the solid and liquid states, the crucible + cast iron is adding carbon in the liquid state ). When adding carbon in the solid state ...a big problem becomes blisters forming near the end of your process..these can be somewhat unsightly and unpredictable. To reduce this phenomenon I will have to lower the size and number of slag particles before  ( and during ) the addition carbon. So here are a couple of pics to satisfy those who prefer pictures over text.

 

frame1 copy.jpg  unwanted microstructure of a very thick quenched blade shape

frame2.jpg   wagon tire wrought iron ( I could not add carbon to this without melting it completely)  1 cm field

frame3.jpg    same not totally relevant but interesting

frame1.jpg    same ( the other half of this fragment was used to do a wootz run)

post-1617-0-56071800-1459138204.jpg  high carbon bloom 

post-1617-0-53588700-1459138244.jpg  same

Jan


Edited by Jan Ysselstein, 16 October 2016 - 01:38 PM.


#39 Jan Ysselstein

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Posted 22 October 2016 - 12:22 PM

The first quenched cast steel blade showed no hamon...it did show a strong dendritic pattern and it did not crack during a severe water quench. I have another one just like it and will check it to see if it is also dendritic, if it is, I will try to erase the pattern quickly by heating to a welding heat for a few minutes. Though I was a little disappointed in the lack of hamon, the overall experience was a major learning leap into the unknown ( unknown to me only  ). 

I would say this blade had a colorful normalizing experience...thermal cycling and normalizing are very close to each other. The temporary tempering was done right after the quench..quickly back over the fire , wipe with oil and reheat to the smoke point of the oil ( a couple of times ).

 

Imagine normalizing a commercial steel a few times and seeing dendrites..next thing you know you are in the company of an angelic sword,  who wootz have known.

 

The quench was interesting as one of the clays did not behave as anticipated...anyway, the clay blew off during the quench but in a very patterned way  , a sequence of small bits, which seemed to follow the temperature gradient.

In past trials I have had clay blow off in large pieces leaving  unwanted blotches  above the planned temper line.  As I did not get a hamon ( plenty of hardness) I cannot judge the effect of that clay mix.

This week end I hope to cut the above bloom in half and make another high carbon bloom hoping to enter the post bloomery era. Here are some pics.

 

DSCN4809.jpg  degreased blade ready for clay, that brick fragment is my pestle, some hard grit got into the clay and I tried to grind it into dust.

DSCN4810.jpg   clayed blade, grit is still there

DSCN4814.jpg   the result of adding a little detergent to the clay ( I could not get this foam to go away) black clay is also placed on blade

frame8.jpg          the dendritic pattern not expected with this piece of steel ( 7mm screen)

frame7.jpg          same  ( 2mm screen)


Edited by Jan Ysselstein, 22 October 2016 - 10:11 PM.


#40 Jan Ysselstein

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Posted 24 October 2016 - 05:32 PM

In Search of hamon and constantly reminded of it.....Suguha

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Edited by Jan Ysselstein, 24 October 2016 - 05:34 PM.

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