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dan pfanenstiel

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Modesto, CA
  • Interests
    Bladesmithing in japanese style. Learning stone polishing. I make some western knives.

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  1. I asked a friend, who's dealt with nihonto for more than thirty years, and he thinks the functional benefit to burnishing is to minimize scuffing of the mune and shinogi-ji (if there is one) when entering and drawing from the saya. Otherwise, he mirrored what's been said about it being a later period "fashion" thing, like hadori style polish. I personally could take it or leave it. Looks good when done well, but I like to see the steel and it's flaws too.
  2. Mune-yaki, or hardening of the spine would be much more effective than burnishing for combat parrying, so I still don't think so. I could be wrong. I checked some of my books and still couldn't come up with a reason for burnishing. I'll ask around, as you've piqued my interest :-)
  3. I don't think so, Al. The burnishing would do little or nothing for blade to blade contact. Intreresting question though. In all my reading and research I don't recall a reason for the burnishing. I would guess that it was a visual thing that caught on, maybe in the later era, much like hadori polishing. It just seems like a technique to highlight the shinogi. I can't imagine burnishing on a blade meant for combat. Dan
  4. No, that would wipe out the effects of etching. I finish to final grit, 1200 is fine, then the etch process. Stopping polishing at various final grits give different surface looks. Stopping at 600 grit as opposed to all the way up to 2500 grit will look different. Why I'll etch between grits to see how things are looking. Doesn't hurt anything.
  5. The process I use is similar to the lemon juice one, only with dilute ferric chloride. I'll etch for a minute on the first one, rub out with finest paper. Second etch, ferric for 30-60 seconds, rub with paper. Third etch 30 seconds, rub with 600 grit loose abrasive. Last few etches are quick and move to 1200 grit loose. I might even leave the last one, without rubbing for a darkened effect above the hamon and rub the hardened section below the hamon to whiten it. You could finish with lemon juice to highlight activity. So many variables, but it is a progression. I just talked to a very knowledgeable fellow that said rubbing Simichrome on a finished blade, vigorously, would give a blueish color so desired in koto blades. Something new to try. Always something new to try. Just thought of something, make sure you're using lots of water when rubbing out with paper. Just dry paper smears the surface. The loose abrasives can be a paste to very watery depending.
  6. There ya go. Much better. If your're happy, stay there. For more detail you can sand out on your finest paper, not full sanding, just to remove oxides and etch again, paste rub. You can also just paste rub the hamon to the edge to highlight that. Use a small pad of blue jean material. Watch each step you do to see the effect. The bug becomes a fever.
  7. I like the tanks because I can do test etches really easy as I polish. Just dunk for a few seconds and see what's happening. My ferric is very dilute, maybe 10:1, faster than vinegar but not damascus etch. Also good for darkening the blade between grits to easily see where you're polishing. For finishing up, try an etch (few seconds to a minute) then rubbing out with finest paper. Maybe a couple of times. Then etch and rub out with loose powder (I use 600 grit, or 1200 depending), see if that looks good. Quick etch and finish with fine paper for a shinier look. Play with it (why I like the tanks) to see what gives good results. Seems like I spend more time playing with these things than actually finishing stuff :-)
  8. My etching rig for years. 2" ABS pipe with caps epoxied on the bottom and rubber caps on top.
  9. I second that. I've been struggling with a meager tong selection for years. I used my new JJ Simon tongs this last weekend and enjoyed them very much. Excellent for flat bar holding, but for me, when I get to finishing a Japanese style blade, they also hold the finished shape and allow for choking up on the blade. Not something a bolt or flat tong does. thanks again, JJ Dan
  10. Ya, my mailbox says error ex145 or something. Oops, just read that Alan is working on it.
  11. Sign me up for one JJ. At least I won't be able to blame my tong selection on my lack of work :-) Dan
  12. Pretty easy to make, some 3/8 or 1/2" aluminum saw cut to vice jaw dimensions. Faces are slightly radiused. Inlet some small round magnets. Works good 'cause easy to store near the vice, can put any orientation and slide closer together or further away as needed. Thanks Alan, I have gained a lot from this forum. When I grow up (I'm only 53 now) I want to be confident enough to be able to say I'm a decent maker Dan
  13. Zeb, blade straightening is one of those necessary evils. If getting into long blades, it becomes a necessary skill. I have used gabe's mention of the three penny thing for years and glad for it. My set up uses aluminum posts that fit over the jaws of my bench vice, basically giving me a three point pressure system, two on one side and one on the other to press the peak of the curve with as little or as much force as I need. (Used to have a picture, can't find now). I've used this on fully hardened blades (hamon, no tempering), tempered, and antiques. The key is to get familiar with what you can get away with and you can use this set up to apply very little force, walk away with it under pressure, and come back later to see if it was enough. It can take some time. I also prefer to do this at some temperature, right after tempering or might play a torch over the blade to get up to 300f and put in the straightening jig. Some blades are easy to move, some fight you. Depends on the alloy and amount of hardening. Same goes on with antiques. whew! Most I've written in a while! Dan
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