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#1 David M

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 11:48 PM

I just finished the HT on a kunai (mythical ninja weapon thingy) and its beginning to look like it might have an extremely active hamon. I'd really like to bring out as much of the activity as possible. The only polishing implements I have available are sandpaper and oil.

Ideas....suggestions?


On an aside....this is not only my first good double edged knife, but also the first water quench I've attempted. I'm all excited that it didn't rip itself apart. I even normalized five times.
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#2 Shadow smith

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 03:07 AM

I just finished the HT on a kunai (mythical ninja weapon thingy) and its beginning to look like it might have an extremely active hamon. I'd really like to bring out as much of the activity as possible. The only polishing implements I have available are sandpaper and oil.

Ideas....suggestions?


On an aside....this is not only my first good double edged knife, but also the first water quench I've attempted. I'm all excited that it didn't rip itself apart. I even normalized five times.

i dont know anything about this but mabey an etch could bring it out more
Patients is the key to sucsess

#3 Brian Madigan

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 03:08 AM

Well you must have some water available, right? There's an old story about a hungry traveler who comes upon an old shack inhabited by an even older woman. He asks "do you have anything to eat?"
No. My cupboards are emtpy but you're welcome to rest a while.
Do you have a pot to cook in and some water?
She produces these.
I will show you an old secret recipe for how to make soup from nothing but water and this ordinary nail.
From his coat he takes a worn old nail and holds it up in the light.
He begins to cook the nail. They sit and wait while the water boils.
He takes a taste and says "Eh its pretty good, but it needs salt."
I might have a pinch of salt, the old lady says. She produces this and he adds it the soup and stirs.
He takes another taste. "Still a little bland. If only we had some pepper"
I might have a bit of pepper. She produces this.
"Better. Much improved. But what it really needs is a bit of oats. Too bad"
I think there are some oats here in this tin. She produces a handful of oats and he stirs them in.
"Oats are good. They will do nicely. But too bad there are no potatoes. That would be something."
He closes his eyes for a moment, and she rustles about the cupboard and produces a pair of potatoes.
Now she takes the lid from the pot and cuts the potatoes into the soup.
"Ah thats fine" he says. "Potatoes do nicely. Better with meat, but pretty good all the same."
"The meat really adds the flavor."
"Oh I just remembered, there is some meat in the larder." She produces this and adds it to the pot.
"Soon the soup will be done! I think I've never been so hungry"
Now the shack is filled with warmth and the smells of dinner. The old lady brings some bowls and spoons
along with a pitcher of milk.
"Ah it looks like we are ready to dine! Oh pity we have no bread and butter. Soup is just fine, but with
bread and butter its a fine meal."
She hustles off to the larder again and returns with butter, cheese and a loaf of bread
"Imagine that!"
The hungry traveler and the old lady eat all of the soup, bread and butter, cheese and finish off a pitcher of milk.
At the bottom of the pot the old lady finds the nail.
"My dear old lady, for helping a hungry traveler out of the cold, I leave you my nail."
"Oh but how will you make soup with out the nail?"

#4 David M

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 03:17 AM

Well you must have some water available, right? There's an old story about a hungry traveler who comes upon an old shack inhabited by an even older woman. He asks "do you have anything to eat?"
No. My cupboards are emtpy but you're welcome to rest a while.
Do you have a pot to cook in and some water?
She produces these.
I will show you an old secret recipe for how to make soup from nothing but water and this ordinary nail.
From his coat he takes a worn old nail and holds it up in the light.
He begins to cook the nail. They sit and wait while the water boils.
He takes a taste and says "Eh its pretty good, but it needs salt."
I might have a pinch of salt, the old lady says. She produces this and he adds it the soup and stirs.
He takes another taste. "Still a little bland. If only we had some pepper"
I might have a bit of pepper. She produces this.
"Better. Much improved. But what it really needs is a bit of oats. Too bad"
I think there are some oats here in this tin. She produces a handful of oats and he stirs them in.
"Oats are good. They will do nicely. But too bad there are no potatoes. That would be something."
He closes his eyes for a moment, and she rustles about the cupboard and produces a pair of potatoes.
Now she takes the lid from the pot and cuts the potatoes into the soup.
"Ah thats fine" he says. "Potatoes do nicely. Better with meat, but pretty good all the same."
"The meat really adds the flavor."
"Oh I just remembered, there is some meat in the larder." She produces this and adds it to the pot.
"Soon the soup will be done! I think I've never been so hungry"
Now the shack is filled with warmth and the smells of dinner. The old lady brings some bowls and spoons
along with a pitcher of milk.
"Ah it looks like we are ready to dine! Oh pity we have no bread and butter. Soup is just fine, but with
bread and butter its a fine meal."
She hustles off to the larder again and returns with butter, cheese and a loaf of bread
"Imagine that!"
The hungry traveler and the old lady eat all of the soup, bread and butter, cheese and finish off a pitcher of milk.
At the bottom of the pot the old lady finds the nail.
"My dear old lady, for helping a hungry traveler out of the cold, I leave you my nail."
"Oh but how will you make soup with out the nail?"



There is a wonderful rendition of that story on "The Storyteller". Although it was the version with a stone instead of a nail.

Anyway, yes....I have water. I neglected to mention it as I figured it was a given. I have aluminium oxide paper up to 1500grit. And I have a couple different etchants. I was just wondering if there are any techniques you guys might know of to draw out all the figure in a particularly active hamon. I know I can get a very definate line, and good contrast between hard and soft....but this has alot of the little "in-between" and shadows and all sorts of good stuff. I want to try and bring that out....but I don't know how.
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#5 JimC

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 09:42 AM

David,
Mind you, this is the blind leading the blind, so be gentle with me. What I have learned so far is that ferric chloride etching works really well. Jesus Hernandez and Walter Sorrels have a lot to say about this process.

Try this:
Sand the flats to at least 1500 grit. Etch the blade in a 1 part ferric to 5 parts water solution. When the blade is turning blackish-gray, pull it out and rinse it off in a solution of baking soda and water to stop the acid. Dry it off, and polish off the black oxides with metal polish (Pikal, Turtle Wax polish, Meguiars, Eagle One Chrome & Metal polish). Take a look and see if you like what you've got.

If not, wash the polish off the blade with soap and water (Simple Green is even better), and repeat the etching/stop bath/polish/wash process until you have something you like.

Here's where life gets a little funky. You can enhance some of the shadows using hazuya, 2500-3000 grit silicon carbide wet sand paper, or 3-M micron jewelry polishing papers. What you end up doing is lightly roughing up the polish created by the etch/etc. process. Use small pieces of sand paper or hazuya with water GENTLY. Keep washing the blade off to see what is happening and if you like what you're getting.

If not, go back to the etching process.

I hope this helps you some, and that you don't want to kill me later.

-J

#6 Brian Vanspeybroeck

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 11:25 AM

Polishing to do what you want is largely a matter of skill. elbow grease, and time. Depending on the steel type and heat treat and what you have you want to bring out in the hardening line you may have to "jiggle the handle" and experiment a bit. There is no "one size fits all" type of polishing.

Tamahagane that has been water quenched makes different demands than a low alloy tool steel that has been quenched in oil in terms of bringing out the most via polishing.

I put some ideas in a couple essays on my site: http://home.mchsi.co...olishEssay.html and this is a long read and much of the information is redundant. But really all you need is various sandpapers, lubricant like oil or water, and suitable etchant. You might try any number of things to optimize the results and accent the hardening line to it's utmost but these "things" will only reveal themselves as you progress and try a few ideas and see what works best.

This blade and it's polish:

Posted Image

Made completely different demands during finishing as it is W1 and hardened in water than this blade:

Posted Image

...which was made of 5160 and hardened in ways that are difficult to explain and dulpicate.

Polishing is a highly individualized and subjective task unless you are a polisher working only in a specific school of Japanese style polishing. Use what works for you and what is available thru the tools and materials that you have at hand. Experiment heavily and take a lot of pictures and write notes about what works best or gives you the "look" that you want.

And ask questions from lots of folks who have polished various things..sometimes non traditional tools and materials help and sometimes it's better to use what others have found to work. But the learning in polishing comes from the doing. The final polish/etch is what will give the final appearance and removes very little metal. Once the geometry is established (this is the hardest part) the final finish can be adjusted as you see the results of your efforts or lack thereof.

Brian

Edited by Brian Vanspeybroeck, 08 December 2009 - 11:29 AM.

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#7 David M

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 08:39 PM

Thanks alot Brian. I'm working on it right now. I picked up a bottle of Mother's chrome polish. Etch, polish, repeat.
Not too happy just yet....but it seems to be working a bit better each time.
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#8 David M

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 11:01 PM

Arrrrgh!! Its just not doing what I want it to. I have a really nice dark line....but its just a line. I know there is more!
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#9 Kenon Rain

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 11:24 PM

try a coarser polish, I use car coarse cut stuff and it removes all of the oxides pretty nicely, I get a cool milky pattern along the non hardened part of the blade occasionally where my clay was thin and it gets a very thin layer of hardening.
point is it brings alot more of it out than fine stuff will. At least in my experience.
Blam!

#10 David M

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 01:51 AM

Ok, Ive rubbed on this thing enough. I'm really not happy with it, but its probably not worth fiddling with much more since its being given to someone who will most likely take it out back and throw it at the fence, or trees, or anything else he thinks it will stick in.

although i didn't get the hamon looking exactly like I wanted.....I did manage to over etch the blade and reveal a really nifty grain pattern. almost like wootz. kinda pretty.
I'll post pics int eh show and tell forum in just a minute.
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#11 Brian Vanspeybroeck

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 04:10 PM

I'd love to see a picture of this piece. Generally I have found that extreme etches like you are describing fail miserably to bring up the subtle and really cool activities....depending on the steel and heat treat. My experience is that multiple, very weak etches generally bring up a lot more of the cool stuff than a couple of smoking etches. I remember being very frusterated when polishing the RH Graham sword I posted a pix of above. I couldn;t get any cool stuff to show up with ferric chloride. Randal finally told me it would never happen with his particular heat treat on W1. He had learned long ago that ferric or other harsh etches tended to eat "all the soft chewy spots" in the hardening line/hamon and ruin the flow without giving any contrast to the subtle changes in hardness.

It was only when I began to experiment with diluted acetic acid and temperature that I managed to bring up all kinds of cool stuff including muneyaki (hard spots on the back of the blade) and subtle activities. I have found similar problems with the 5160 I use and, to be truthful, a lot of the coolness I am getting out of 5160 would be lost if not for the unconventional approach (read this as *tedious* anal retentive stubborness) I use in polish and etch.

What kind of steel did you use if you don't mind my asking?

Brian
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#12 David M

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 04:49 PM

I'd love to see a picture of this piece. Generally I have found that extreme etches like you are describing fail miserably to bring up the subtle and really cool activities....depending on the steel and heat treat. My experience is that multiple, very weak etches generally bring up a lot more of the cool stuff than a couple of smoking etches. I remember being very frusterated when polishing the RH Graham sword I posted a pix of above. I couldn;t get any cool stuff to show up with ferric chloride. Randal finally told me it would never happen with his particular heat treat on W1. He had learned long ago that ferric or other harsh etches tended to eat "all the soft chewy spots" in the hardening line/hamon and ruin the flow without giving any contrast to the subtle changes in hardness.

It was only when I began to experiment with diluted acetic acid and temperature that I managed to bring up all kinds of cool stuff including muneyaki (hard spots on the back of the blade) and subtle activities. I have found similar problems with the 5160 I use and, to be truthful, a lot of the coolness I am getting out of 5160 would be lost if not for the unconventional approach (read this as *tedious* anal retentive stubborness) I use in polish and etch.

What kind of steel did you use if you don't mind my asking?

Brian



I think I'll try a diluted etch next time, or maybe some mostly dead acid. the steel is from an old pry-bar. It acts like a simple steel somewhere in the .60 .70 range. the bar was huge, something around 1.25" dia.
There are pictures of the finished product in the show and tell forum: here
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#13 Brian Madigan

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 06:30 PM

I agree with Brian there. Ferric is pretty extreme. Its difficult to get what I'm looking for with acid that strong. Using the right combination of stones and paper can bring out most of the details. After that, nugui and jizuya/hazuya type finger polishing does the rest. The hamon isn't super visible in ALL light! It's kind of hiding under the mirror most of the time.

#14 Brian Vanspeybroeck

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 06:46 PM

Nice knife! I do like the alloy banding effect. B)

My opinion is that it needs more polishing after the etch as there is a lot of "frost" still limiting the contrast between soft and hard. I'd probably hit that blade with 2000 grit and oil until the area above the hamon/habuchi was clear and darker. Then maybe etch again using lemon juice or dilute nitric and clean up the frost above the hamon.

But then there would be a bunch more time in the polish. Maybe deliver the blade and experiment on the next one. I'm never able to let them go until I drive myself *CrAzY* trying to get exactly the look I want out of the polish. Unfotunately that means I never really make any money at it... <_<

I think it looks pretty dang good as it is. Very unique. Thanks for the pix.

Brian

Edited by Brian Vanspeybroeck, 09 December 2009 - 09:25 PM.

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- Lyle E. Schaller

http://home.mchsi.co..._Edged_Art.html

#15 David M

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 07:20 PM

Yeah, Ive had to literally FORCE myself not to work on it anymore. There is just that urge..."One more etch, just polish it a bit more"
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#16 NESM

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Posted 30 January 2010 - 03:43 PM

I might suggest an a-typial approach with which I have had some suprisingly good results. A slight paste of what ever strength ferric you are using 2F to 4F pumice,try different backings and work the hamon region. Nuetralize and rinse then use just the dry pumice and some cotton swabs to pull the oxide residue left over from the polish/etch. The dry pumice will work into the crystals that make up the hamon and make them brighter.




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