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  2. How do people figure out how long to quench their sword blades so that it just crosses the martensite start point (to straighten blades right after quench)? I have heard that people do it about 7 seconds or so, but I'm planning on quenching something on the thinner side. I know I might break the blade in the process if I get it wrong, but I'm willing to sacrifice a blade or two in order to learn.

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  4. Ribbon burner

    A couple months ago i sold my propane forge and have been using my coal forge and really havent done much forging in the last couple months and now that winter has officially arrived. And im kinda concerned about the cast iron pan in my coal forge and the 20°f. temps if it was to warm up to fast or cool down too fast it might crack. So i have been wanting to build another gas forge but i have been looking into building a ribbon burner. I have done my research and like the idea. I just want some opinions of benefit and disadvantages this burner might have from someone who has personally used one.
  5. Etching problems

    Ok, what I can't see is the tang after quenching. In the clayed pic at the forge it looks like the tang didn't get clay. If it indeed didn't and it didn't orange peel and the edge wasn't clayed and it didn't orange peel.... Either the thickness of the clay or some oddball thing in the clay.
  6. Definitions and history of "Wootz" and such

    Thanks for pinning this Alan, I remember the old thread, it was good but we have learned quite a bit more since then and this is a little more complete I think. Coupled with the "Wootz Makers and Methods" thread, we have some good coverage on the subject. Although the makers and methods post could well be updated as it is almost exactly 3 years old a lot happens in three years...
  7. Sometimes it works

    Really nice work Klaas! Congratulations, you have been paying attention! Those are some really nice tiny spheroids and lovely watering. Did you log the forging process that you used on a forging table? It helps you to be able to repeat the main elements of the process that got you that pattern. Keep up the good work mate.
  8. Definitions and history of "Wootz" and such

    Ok, you are reading a little more into my comment than was intended. Steel itself is an alloy of iron and carbon, and a high carbon steel is from 1% to 2% carbon. That being said, the majority of the crucible steel examples out there fall between the 1.4% to 1.8% carbon range. Changing the carbon content makes harder blades, and it makes more carbon available for carbide patterning, so the higher carbon blades tend to have better patterning, no surprise there. Most steel contains trace elements as a result of it's production and ore source, but these trace elements are kept to a minimum as we can see from the analysis of the old blades. Some blades had higher manganese or copper or phosphorous etc, but there were not large amounts of alloying elements other than carbon added to the majority of the old blades. There are a couple of notable exceptions, but that is not what I am talking about. The different processes do add some to the trace elements, but the amounts of the trace elements haven't given us any major surprises, and the same sort of patterns have been made from steel with more or with less of specific trace elements and from different ingot creation processes. The goal of most smiths who make crucible steel today is to replicate the old steel to some degree, and to be able to match the performance of the best old blades through proper forging and heat treating technique. Proper technique ends up making specific patterns and so some patterns make blades with better characteristics than some other blades speaking generally. If we begin adding large alloying elements to crucible steel other than carbon which we have no historical foundation for, then we are venturing out into the field of standard steel production. Alloying began in the west with people trying to replicate crucible steel, and so if the purpose is to replicate what the ancients did, by adding large amounts of alloying elements we are possibly going astray. Not a bad direction, but just not a replication direction. We are seeking to get both better old patterns and better quality in the steel treatment, but most of the physical characteristics of the steel come from what you do to the ingot after it is made and not so much during production. Everything in the process affects the final outcome, but some things affect the final product, pattern or quality more than others. It is the forging technique that contributes more to the patterning and to the final qualities of the blade than anything else and it is this area of forging where we are trying to focus the most. Changing forging temperatures and technique and then examining the microstructural changes in the steel as a result. This is where most of the research is at the moment. We may find out later than some common trace element or some other addition to the ingot during the melt, such as tannin rich ingredients, contributes some very significant part to the final blade, and we know that little things can make big differences, but as for now there are no big surprises from the analysis of the steel. The current leaps in research are from forging temperature and ranges / technique.
  9. Etching problems

    Well, I'm perty well bumfuzzled by the whole canundrum. You got any immediate post quench pics? Did you notice any blistering? If you held it for 60-90 seconds after non mag, that's plenty of time to overheat a blade. As I said before, I think you have large grains, accompanied by alloy banding. Now, what would cause that to be visible after such a light etch? There is something else at work here I think. I can't say for sure, but whatever you did was obviously wrong. The best I can do is aid in any information you might need on how to do it correctly. Look up terms such as "normalization", and "decalescense", try and get an understanding of those two and the rest fall within. As jerrod suggested, get your heat treatment nailed down before you go for a hamon. Hope this helps!
  10. Definitions and history of "Wootz" and such

    "Adding anything extra to their steel" interesting, in that there is no standard for "their" steel and by its nature steel is iron with something extra added and it is fairly well known that "slight" differences in composition can change the characteristics of a steel quite notably. This also brings in the variables we have today that may have effects on different attempts from iron source, and use of local indigenous materials as clay and wood varieties. In which case the process IS adding to the materials. Given that "we" can be even more precise with measuring and qualifying most of what we know we are adding have we gotten to the point where there are no more improvements to be made with crucible steel in terms of performance and is the goal, now, more the replication of old patterns for their visual aesthetics ?
  11. Etching problems

    Yeah im assuming
  12. Etching problems

    Ok. Did the steel come CRA (cold rolled annealed)?
  13. Etching problems

  14. Definitions and history of "Wootz" and such

    That is a good starter thread Alan, with some fine discussion by some notable Smiths, but it is short and somewhat dated. I'm fairly sure this subject should be revisited every so often (3-5 years?). If for no other reason, just to see what has changed in our collective knowledge base.
  15. Etching problems

    But, did you normalize, or anneal, or anything prior to quench?
  16. propane forge issues

    Have you checked your nozzles? Sometimes they just need a good cleaning. Using .035 I guess? I bought a really nice chilé forge and It came with a clogged nozzle, so anything is possible.
  17. Etching problems

    For HT i just put it in the forge once it started to turn orange i just checked with magnet cpl times once it stopped sticking put it back in for maybe 60/90 seconds then into canola oil that i had warmed to aprox 150°
  18. Etching problems

    Just washed with warm water w lil bit of dawn to clean & get rid of any oils etc. After that i made sure to not touch it..after last dip i washed blade in water/baking soda. Thats when it looked like crackle paint finish .Next day i just lightly wetsanded 1500 and seen that every where that looked crackled was actually pitted
  19. Etching problems

    So, I was correct that you attempted to normalize? We wanna know step by step everything you did to heat treat it please.
  20. Etching problems

    I think what he's asking is: did you use any chemical cleaner, or soaps, or at any point apply any oils, waxes, polishing compound?
  21. Etching problems

    Yeah for sure gonna just concentrate on getting HT down ..i knew it was a bit ambitious just got ahead of myself ..really appreciate all the info/advice
  22. Etching problems

    The image where the knife looks gold is what the blade looked like before i put it in the vinegar nice polished finish ....And the very first image of the post that shows the pitting is what i got after etching in the vinegar & hitting it very lightly with 1500 wetsand paper
  23. Starting a New WIP

    Great stuff, Gary!
  24. My 1st and a half knife

    A little easier to round it without the blade attached
  25. Etching problems

    1080/1084 is the easiest to HT on your own, but generally you won't get a hamon. I would recommend doing a few knives without trying for a hamon, just to get that part down a bit more before trying to add something a little trickier. Definitely learn to watch for decalescence and recalescence (and toss the magnet). Also, what did you do to clean the blade prior to etching?
  26. Starting a New WIP

    Since there seems to be some good interest in how I do things, here's the start of my latest. This will be a mosaic pattern fighter with a blackwood handle & 416 fittings. I started with 21 layers of 1080 & 15N20 of different thicknesses and then started the "W" squeezes. I did two four piece cut & stacks giving me a 21 x 16 "W": To this I squared the billet on the bias: Before doing the first of two 4-way welds, I ground off the inside corner of the first four pieces and filled them with some 4% nickel powder: I MIG welded all the seams: After doing two 4-way welds, I tile cut the billet and welded everything solid: Here's the fighter blade rough forged: Once I got it rough ground, I had my first look at the pattern. A double row of stars for the Christmas season. (I'm thinking that I will add a Spanish notch to this fighter blade.) Today I spent most of the day designing and turning out a pommel out of some 416 for the hilt of this fighter . Tomorrow I will turn what's now round into a modified oval. Once I have that shaped, I will file some flutes into the back of this pommel. My plan now is to give it a handle of blackwood with either an inlayed escutcheon, some checkering, or possibly both. I try to keep you updated as I go with this one. Gary
  27. Etching problems

    I can believe that, some clays puff up. But the clay needs only be on the back 1/3rd of the blade. 1075 works good usually, but It shows every flaw (and desired trait) after etching. That's why it's so popular in hamons. It's a good steel especially for a beginner.
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