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J.S. Hill

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  1. Have you tried this pinned thread? I don't use this process, myself, but it works for MANY folks: http://www.bladesmithsforum.com/index.php?showtopic=17602 Hope that helps, Shannon
  2. Photos of Handle and Sheath. Handle is 6 3/4" length. Jyo-saya is 11 5/8". Total length sheathed is right at 19". They are both made from a nice piece of dense red oak. Thanks, Shannon
  3. Price is now $575.00. in Binsuido or $750.00 in fulll (mid-level) polish. There seems to be a lot of folks on the fence about this one, so please let me know if you are seriously interested. I am especially pleased with the shaping on this piece and I think it would be a nice addition to any collection. Thanks, Shannon
  4. This one is now $400.00 with mid-level polish included. For those that have inquired, this is a good time to get this one with a very expensive polish included. Thanks, Shannon
  5. This one is now $200.00 with mid-level polish included. Thanks, Shannon
  6. This one is now $300.00 with nice wooden handle and jyo-saya. Thanks, Shannon
  7. Bump! This one is for only $100.00, now. Thanks, Shannon
  8. Here I have available a very robust and powerfully-shaped wakizashi influenced heavily by the ichimonji-style during the nambokucho period: Here are the stats: nagasa: 21 3/4"" nakago: 5 1/2" motohaba: 1 7/16" kasane: 5/16" mune: iori-mune boshi: tsukiage w/ long kaeri sori: 9/16"--tori-sori (generous sori) hamon: midare with ashi in the Ichimonji style finish: binsuido Material is W2 differentially heat-treated with hamon. Tempered fully (medium hardness) as working blade/sword. Very nice and robust sugata with generous fumbari and nice shaping of the nakago and kissaki. Photos of blade are in rough-grind, however the blade is priced in full foundation polish up to binsuido. More photos here: http://s202.photobucket.com/albums/aa182/jshannonhill/hira-zukuri%20wakizashi%20--%20ichimonji-style%20--%202012/ I would like $650.00 plus actual shipping for this blade AS IS or best REASONABLE offer. I can ship world-wide and already have swords in several countries. Additional options for this blade can be polish, habaki, reasonable-cost shirasaya, up to full-koshirae. Modest additional charges and all done by a very good professional I am now working with exclusively. Just depends how much you want to spend. This will be a very interesting blade for study in good polish or even cutting. Please contact me with any questions and/or offers either via pm here or at jshannonhill@hotmail.com. Thanks for looking, Shannon
  9. Here I have available a very well-proportioned osoraku-zukuri in a longer tanto-length (smaller wakizashi length) with an impressive and robust presence: Here are the stats: nagasa: 14"" nakago: 4 3/8" motohaba: 1 5/16" kasane: just over 1/4" kissaki length: 9 5/16" mune: iori-mune boshi: tsukiage w/ long kaeri sori: right at 1/8", but appears greater hamon: choji-midare featuring billowy nioi-guchi and proficient ashi finish: binsuido Material is 1050 differentially heat-treated with hamon. Tempered fully (medium hardness) as working blade/sword. This is an aggressive sugata with a strong presence. 1050 tends to show a lot of very nice activities additional to just the nioiguchi and ashi we usually see in monosteel. More photos here: http://s202.photobucket.com/albums/aa182/jshannonhill/osoraku-zukuri%20tanto%202012/ I would like $400.00 plus actual shipping for this blade AS IS or best REASONABLE offer. I can ship world-wide and already have swords in several countries. Additional options for this blade can be polish, habaki, reasonable-cost shirasaya, up to full-koshirae. Modest additional charges and all done by a very good professional I am now working with exclusively. Just depends how much you want to spend. This will be a very interesting blade for study in good polish or even cutting. Please contact me with any questions and/or offers either via pm here or at jshannonhill@hotmail.com. Thanks for looking, Shannon
  10. I have a few blades laying around that I have just finished heat-treating and would like to sell at good prices. Here is a nice small tanto with really interesting activities: Here are the stats: nagasa: 7 1/8"" nakago: 3 7/16" motohaba: 1 1/8" kasane: 7/32" mune: iori-mune boshi: tsukiage w/ long kaeri sori: mu-zori hamon: choji-midare featuring billowy nioi-guchi and proficient ashi finish: binsuido Material is 1075 differentially heat-treated with hamon. Tempered fully (medium hardness) as working blade/sword. Blade is short but has a nice, strong presence. Additional options for this blade can be polish, habaki, reasonable-cost shirasaya, up to full-koshirae. Just depends how much you want to spend. More photos here--you can probably see more details of the hamon in various photos, but I chose the above photo to show the overall shape: http://s202.photobucket.com/albums/aa182/jshannonhill/Small%20Tanto/ I would like $200.00 plus actual shipping for this blade AS IS or best REASONABLE offer. I can ship world-wide and already have swords in several countries. Additional options for this blade can be polish, habaki, reasonable-cost shirasaya, up to full-koshirae. Modest additional charges and all done by a very good professional I am now working with exclusively. Just depends how much you want to spend. This could even be a nice edc with the right mount. Please contact me with any questions and/or offers either via pm here or at jshannonhill@hotmail.com. Thanks for looking, Shannon
  11. I have a few blades laying around that I have just finished heat-treating and would like to sell at good prices. Here is a nice chef's knife that is in binsuido stone-finish. Here are the stats: cutting edge: 10 1/2"" width (widest spot): 1 3/8"" thickness: 1/8" tang length: 3 1/2" boshi: tsukiage w/ long kaeri hamon: choji-midare featuring billowy nioi-guchi and proficient ashi finish: binsuido Material is 1095, differentially heat-treated with hamon--tempered on the harder side to keep it keen for kitchen work. This would make a nice project blade. I can make a nice Japanese-style handle for additional cost, but would rather sell it as-as since I am limited on time with another child due to be born in late January / early February. More photos here: http://s202.photobucket.com/albums/aa182/jshannonhill/chef%20knife%202012/ I would like $250.00 plus actual shipping for this blade AS IS or best REASONABLE offer. I can ship world-wide and already have swords in several countries. I would not mind bringing up the polish on this to a good kitchen-grade polish at no additional cost. Adding a nice handle and/or scabbard is options at additional costs. Please contact me with any questions and/or offers either via pm here or at jshannonhill@hotmail.com. Thanks for looking, Shannon
  12. I recently had a very strange incident of a katana breaking during the quench right below the machi. Odd windy day and the forge needing more "tuning". I took the nakago and made this kiridashi. Here are the stats: cutting edge: 1 3/8" OAL: 5 1/2" thickness (at greatest point): 1/4" Material: W2--differentially hardened and tempered for fairly high RC Edge is shaped with stones and has binsuido finish appropriate for a working knife. Would be excellent for an edc or woodworking. Steel is colors of temper, but I can remove that at customer's request. This is just a nice little user upcycled from a broken sword. Kinda fun to use. More photos here: http://s202.photobucket.com/albums/aa182/jshannonhill/kiridashi/ I would like $125.00 plus actual shipping or best REASONABLE offer. I can ship world-wide and already have swords in several countries. Please contact me with any questions and/or offers either via PM here or at jshannonhill@gmail.com. Thanks for looking, Shannon
  13. JJ, Do you have the specs for this batch? Just curious, as I am kinda tracking how much the lower-manganese changes the results. Good looking knife. Looks like you grew some nie and possibly even some ara-nie in there. A ten minute soak on a hypo-eutectoid will do that. I think the hamon is technically "hotsure" in suguha, nie-deki. Funny, kinda looks like it has ayasugi-hada ala Gassan-school. As far as sheath, I would go with something practical with this hybrid style. Leather pocket it fits down into with a belt-loop. Just my humble opinion. Thanks for showing! Shannon
  14. No traditionally-trained togishi will admit he/she is using any acid or etching compound. It is considered shady and bad-form--a way to cheat the time it takes to do a really good stone polish. The black powder is kanahada or jitekko--suspended in oil with filtered leavings from uchigumori and they become nugui (kesho if kanahada is used, sashikomi if jitekko is used). It helps bring out the jihada and darken the hue of the steel. Looking up and learning nomenclature is integral to learning about Japanese style blades and nihonto. The terms are specific and make discussion about nihonto easier when they have been learned and understood. You learn Japanese style polishing from a trained togishi. A good written source is The Art of Japanese Sword Polishing by Takaiwa/Yoshihara/Kapp. It is fairly in-depth and gives a good technical overview. Of course, there is nothing like experience to teach us....but polishing your own work is the only ethical way to do this until you are able to produce excellent results. Yes, stone-polishing gives different results. Although acceptable results can be had via paper/buffing/etching on modern steels, there is nothing like a good stone polish on traditionally made steel. Of course, the differences will have to be studied--with good examples from each side to compare and see the difference. And you would have to have an "apples to apples" comparison, since all hand-made steel is different. The results of each polish-type are definitely different. The difference comes form one micro-abrading the surface to show off the activities (stones), while the other micro-etches the steel to show off the activities (paper/buffing/etching). While both are just removal of (tenths of) microns of steel, the action that causes it is different enough to produce different visual results. If you want to create traditional-looking Japanese-style blades, you really need to look at obtaining some electrolytic iron to smelt via orishigane process and use that to make your sunobe. Then learn to polish via whatever method you are able to learn to enhance that. Once you are able to do those complimentary processes, you will be able to improve each one to suit your aesthetic. I am not sure whether manganese will carry over through the aristotle process. Using a cleaner (less-alloyed) parent metal will definitely give you fewer alloys in the steel via this process. Guess you will just have to try it and see. Shannon
  15. Q-1: What causes the lines in any pattern-welded blade? Carbon migration certainly occurs, which one would think would create a less-intense pattern in high-layer count blades (which DOES occur, to some extent). But there must be some amount of difference in the steel where it has de-carb'ed then been folded into higher-carbon steel. Possibly heating inside the charcoal forge creates a type of "case-hardening" effect that gets folded into the mix as well. Take into account that there is little if ANY soaking done in traditional Japanese forging and you negate at least a portion of the carbon-migration between all the layers. Regardless, MANY of the traditional kitae patterns are extremely high-layer, very complicated, and result in a very smooth hada that is difficult to see if the blade is not properly polished and doesn't get the appropriate polishing work for the particular hada. A close-knit itame hada, and especially nishiji are both examples of this. The answer to this question is extremely complicated, but is simply the folding together of different materials. Q-2: Does the old japanese steel really have lines/layers? Yes. To my knowledge ALL traditionally made Japanese steel and iron was purified through folding. Even nanbantetsu blades were adjusted via the orishigane method and then stacked, welded, and folded. ALL TRADITIONALLY MADE JAPANESE BLADES WILL SHOW HADA. At least to some degree. Sometimes it is described as "muji" hada, but there is still something there to discern it as folded, or it would be disregarded as non-traditional. "Muji hada" is actually an antiquated term because their polishing techniques did not allow them to fully "express" the hada from the blade. Modern polishers can do it more easily now and enjoy the fruit of their labor in allowing people to appreciate such fine hada as nishiji and ko-itame, usually highlighting ji-nie and other beautiful activities that previously weren't always discernible. "Nanbantetsu" means "(southern)barbarian iron". It was considered a novelty and a status symbol for the wealthy Japanese. It was incorporated into sword-making as a fashion, not to improve the swords. When a customer requested its use, the smiths just looked at it as another source of iron, one of the raw-materials, and adjusted it through orishigane as necessary to produce steel viable to making swords. There are extant examples marked on the nakago that they were made from nanbantetsu--it added to the value during that particular period of time because of the fashion of the time. From what I can gather, it was rarely used alone for a sword (it was precious, expensive, and rare), so it was usually mixed to some degree with the smith's own orishigane or tamahagane. I have a feeling your blacksmith friend either has a sword made from monosteel--possibly Japanese made gunto or a reproduction. Or, if his sword is authentic and traditionally made, it is probably just in need of polish. A GOOD polish will only last about 100 years of really good, careful preservation before it naturally matte's out and obscures the finer details. If his sword is authentic, it needs professional attention by a Japanese-trained togishi. DO NOT PUT ACID ON IT until someone with proper credentials has confirmed it is NOT traditionally made nihonto. There are other tell-tale signs of a sword's age--especially if it is supposed to be from the 1600's--but those can be faked, too. Best to let a professional look at it. To add--etching won't necessarily bring up hada--it takes "mechanical" enhancement of stones and usually has to begin with koma-nagura if the hada is fine enough. The iron nails in the fire is making of "orishigane", not tamahagane. Tamahagane is made strictly in a tatara. Orishigane is made many ways, but usually in the smiths own forge. I remember a thread here where Skip Williams was making puddled steel with an aristotle-type furnace out of rebar and it worked well for him. Might look that up. Buffing/etching may or may not bring up the hada. Depends on the difference in the steel. If it is close to the same consistency (homogenous), then it will not show as prominently. In Japan (or here if you are working traditionally), stones are used. Bringing up the hada begins EARLY if the hada is really fine. Usually starts at koma- or chu-nugura with careful stone work and then enhanced with the tsuya near the final stages of the polish using increasingly harder segments of narutakido to make the hada more and more prominent. This is exhaustive work and takes a lot of experience to get right. Like Zeb and Al said--the sulfur in coal will kill the steel and impart properties that will make it unusable for a sword. Doug and Al--tosho have ALWAYS recycled iron/steel. It was too precious not to. Tools, swords, armor, anything iron. And yes, most new blades by higher ranking smiths ARE made from NBTHK tamahagane--but that IS definitely a modern thing. Lower-ranked smiths are actually making swords more like swords were made before the NBTHK. From anything they can. I wonder that getting their tamahagane from NBTHK doesn't at least make a paper-trail that will keep Japanese tosho looking legit, even if they are throwing the odd thing in the mix sometimes. Not sure if they use the NBTHK tamahagane because of law, politics, or convenience. NBTHK definition of their trade regarding the making of steel say they have to use NBTHK supplied tamahagane, make their own tamahagane, or make their own orishigane (which assumes a portion of tamahagane will be used with the orishigane). It gets fuzzy on not really defining what can be used as iron for the orishigane process. I am sure some of it is political, but I am also sure that it is a matter of convenience for the higher-ranked swordsmiths--they get their pick of the annually-made tamahagane FIRST, the leavings get filtered down to the lesser-ranked. The lowest-ranked smiths MUST be using tamahagane that is almost all iron and impurities (NBTHK leftovers) and adding their own orishigane to make up the difference. Yes, the government is very strict on licensing and tosho obeying the rules. Of course, they are all competitive and would likely cry foul if someone in their ranks were cheating so much that it was obvious.... Clear as mud? Shannon
  16. Just got an email from Tuttle saying the book has shipped today. Not bad--ordered it on Wednesday, shipped Friday. Can't wait! Shannon
  17. Niels, There are at least two different versions of this book. If you got the Italian print, it should have thicker pages, nicer paper stock (finer grain?), and a slightly larger proportion than the 9 X 12 from Tuttle. The Italian version IS available NOW, but has to ship from Italy (nobody that I know of in the US is stocking it) and the cost is $75.00 (plus shipping, I think). But I am sure the caliber/quality of the Italian made book is well worth it. Just depends on how much money the wife is willing to allow you to spend on ANOTHER book about swords. Anyone that hasn't pre-ordered the American version (which is STILL very nice, btw) should really consider the Italian version, if they can afford it. However, after leafing through the text of the sample-book I was able to hold, I could not justify the cost of the Italian version because the text has very little information that is not in some or all of my other Yoshihara/Kapp books or my Nobuhara, etc. Of course, this may be information that someone else has not read. But to me, there is little information for which I don't already have references, so $75.00 was too much, even with the nice photos. And $30.00 is pretty much a steal for such a nice book as the American version.... Dan, The guy at BLADE didn't really say the (new) expected-release date. He just said they had planned for him to bring actual books to sell, but the publisher didn't get them printed in time. Hopefully that means earlier than September. I have emailed Tuttle, but have not gotten a reply from them, yet. I might call to try to find out when they expect to be able to ship the books. Shannon
  18. I got to handle a "pre-release" copy of this book at the Atlanta BLADE Show last weekend. Very impressive book. Large, high-detail photos with nice magazine-quality photos/paper. Very clear, very nice. I was able to pre-order this book on www.tuttlepublishing.com. BLADE show attendees were offered an ad/pamphlet for the book that allows us (or anyone that reads this) to go to the publishers website (above) and order the book--by using the promo code "BLADE", it gives us a 35% discount, which made the book go from $45.00 down to $29.22. I only pre-ordered the one book, but they have a TON of good books available (many about the Japanese sword), and the discount looks to apply to most all them. Anyway, just thought I'd throw that out there to all the BLADE Show people that might have put the pamphlet away and forgot (or those seeking a good discount and willing to wait for the book). Shannon
  19. You could always seal one end of the pipe and throw a handful of charcoal into the pipe to smoulder to reduce scaling. In the case of having a separate chamber for the sword, the only reason you might need to get in is to change or repair the lining. Holes in the pipe would negate some of the effect of it evening out the ambient heat. However, it could also allow you to control hot-spots, etc. I have thought about all these different variables. I even have a huge piece of thick-walled iron pipe. In the end, I went with a design that was easy and simple. And it works, so I don't plan to fix what ain't broken. At least not in the middle of production-cycles. However, it never hurts to attempt to innovate. I just wish I had more time and money to experiment. Let us know if you try any of these and how they work out. Good Luck! Shannon
  20. Everybody likes photos. Here's a photo of my latest WIP done in my new HT forge: Bizen-style Juka-Choji in nioi-deki w/ some nie on W2 from aldo. Temporary, polished-in "window", so you can't really see anything but the "hints" at what all depth is there. Shannon
  21. Todd and Alan--here is my experience, hopefully some helpful insight on things I would change or do to begin with, and a warning to keep you alert using one of these wonderful cannons: I made a new horizontal HT forge just a few months ago to deal with some larger swords I have on commission. It was based on the Fogg model on his website. I wanted to make sure I could exploit W2 to its maximum potential, so I needed something fairly consistent and controllable. The only advice I can give you will be my opinion and based on my experience with just this ONE HT forge--previously I ran the blade through the fire until I got it as even as possible, then quenched. So, your mileage may vary. I began with a 60 gallon open-head drum (one opening w/ a flanged lid and ring), which would eventually be set on its side. I cut two openings in the door, one for a flanged-nipple to insert my burner and one port to put in the blade. My work-space kinda dictated my port and burner be on the same side. I made a very small hole on the bottom of the drum to insert the tip of my swords for them to "hang"--please note I ONLY do Japanese-style blades, so sagging was/is not an issue. I lined the drum with whatever (it was 1" thick 8# density fiber). I say "whatever" because it could be any "minimum", or just what you have available, and work fine for the temps. we're talking about here. I lined the bottom, sides, and lid and coated it all with a medium-thick coating of satanite (best use for this material). With the construction of the drum, I lined the bottom and lid, then lined the circumference of the walls of the drum--the fiber lining the walls mechanically supported the fiber on the bottom and lid. I cut the holes in the fiber for the lid before putting it into place. Keep in mind everything needs to be supportive when it is turned horizontally. With this arrangement, the forge was difficult to light (powered/blown burner), stalled until it came to heat, and was sluggish. Nothing I did with the burner made it work better. The back wall opposite the burner(keep in mind the burner port was beneath the tang of the sword) was MUCH hotter and the smaller-density of the tip-end of the sword made that part of the sword come to temp FAR before the denser machi-area. I was stumped, but continued to play with the forge to attempt to work things out. I tried baffles, bag-walls, etc. to no avail. I decided it was not getting better, so I figured the only way to get the machi-area up to temp. was to cut a hole in the back (bottom) of the forge so I could extend part of the sword (the tip) out and heat the machi-area more effectively. What happened should have happened at the beginning: the extra draft/oxygen/exhaust of the new/additional hole made the biggest difference in the performance of the forge. It would now run more consistently, run at a lower setting (not burning full-blast), and was MUCH more even in temperature. Not to mention MUCH quieter because the bottom of the drum was not whole and couldn't vibrate and pulse like before from the draft of the burner. So, to summarize my rambling on what I settled that worked--two ports for exhaust purposes, large interior space, no baffles, etc. The way I use the forge now does not require a hanger. The kissaki of Japanese-style swords is much less dense than the rest of the monouchi. So I suspend the sword between the two ports with JUST the kissaki out the back port and about 2"-3" past the machi of the nakago inside the forge. When all this comes to critical, I pull in the kissaki except for the very tip (3/4"). In just a minute the temps even out and the kissaki comes to temp--the very tip from radiant heat. I then pull the rest of the sword into the forge for the last bit of soak (W2 needs a little soak, but not much), then pull for the quench. I set the forge to burn at 1 1/2 PSI, let the interior get even in temp, put in the sword, watch for non-magnetic/recalescence, allow for a small soak, then quench. I rarely have to adjust the forge during the process, but DO adjust for weather, etc. I have had good results twice from this forge on VERY large, VERY massive swords (3/8" thick at the shinogi-ji). It is actually really easy to use and has removed a lot of variables for me with my previous process. IF you can be responsible and safe, I recommend this style forge HIGHLY vs. running through the fire. Salts would, of course, be superior, if you can afford the start-up costs and maintenance. But for the investment cost, this is a very effective means to an end. What would I do differently? MAYBE put the burner opposite the nakago-end (the wall opposite the burner STILL seems a bit hotter), definitely build a smaller burner (I honestly think a small venturi burner would be perfectly adequate), and a nice spark-ignition/pilot-light would definitely be safer for a forge like this. I drilled holes to put in a 1/4" iron rod half-way down the forge, but didn't work out how far to hang it, since with Japanese-swords sometimes have a pre-curve, but are always different. So, I don't know if a "hanger" would really be of help or get in the way with the variety of curvatures of different swords. I have left it alone, since the way it is now is working fine. Certainly with European-style blades, some sort of support would be necessary. NOW, please keep in mind that what you have actually built is a giant cannon: Large gas-inlet. Small exit, even if there is one on each side. 60 gallons of vaporized propane. The blast from one of these can shoot a fire-ball about 9-12 feet, maybe more. Nice 2-3 feet in diameter. Would be cool effect on July 4th. I didn't keep my eyes open the entire time--I was busy ducking and burning, so excuse me if I didn't get an exact number. I did remember to roll. And crawl 30 yards to the water-hose to douse myself. I even turned the darn gas off before crawling away. My advice is to take a flashlight and small iron rod and check for blockages on all the inlets/outlets. What lead to the incident: After I thought I had the bugs worked out and successfully HT'd a sword, I came back a month later to HT another sword. I looked in all the ports and thought it was safe to light. I turned on the air and lit the burner. It sounded normal for a cold-start--not burning really well, which is usual for a forge with an over-powered burner or one with too-small of a retainer nozzle--they don't burn well until combustion temp. inside the forge. What I didn't know is that, in the interim of forging cycles, something built a nest in my burner-nozzle. I am guessing dirt-dabbers, but can't be sure. The burner was struggling to burn INSIDE the nozzle tube, but much of the gas was leaking into the forge and getting past the combustion. After 4-5 min. of the forge filling with propane at 3 PSI, the fire in the nozzle tube finally burned through whatever was blocking it, igniting all that propane at once. Of course, it couldn't burn without air, so the ignition pushed most of the gas out the ports on either side, where it could ignite in a dramatic fireball. I was staring at the forge, thankfully about 10 feet away, but directly in the line-of-site of one of the ports. My injuries were strange. The burns were only mild, like a sunburn. But there was bruising from the concussion of the blast. Thankfully I was left with only minor injuries that healed. But I will never trust the Cannon, again. I now check EVERYTHING--every port, every nozzle, every orifice--both visually and with a small rod I poke all-the-way through to be sure. When I light it, I drop a lit-rag into the port--if ignition is not immediate, I stop, turn everything off, wait for the gas to clear, then try again. I am OVERLY cautious and will be from now on. As far as using a closed-top drum, I would definitely TRY to find an open-top drum to ease construction. I work in the chemical industry. However, ANYONE could call around to the local chemical-supply houses and ask for an open-top metal drum. They will usually GIVE you one. 60 gallons is better because there is more room for complete combustion and evening-out of temperatures, IMHO. Cleaning them is the least of your worries, because they are so much easier to deal with than a closed-top drum, especially with the construction of ports, etc. If all you can get is a closed-top I would recommend cutting it on the barrel-wall about 3-4 inches from each end, cut your ports, lay your fiber in the ends and then rolling into the barrel-circumference, then welding the ends back on. Tack-welds would do. I would test-fire it before welding back together, since you need to get in there for adjustments, sometimes. For a way to slide it on and off without welds, you could roll up a section of expanded steel just the right ID inside the barrel portion to give you a flange to push the ends back onto. Then you wouldn't have to weld AND you could remove them when you want to make adjustments (which you will). You don't need much support/structural strength for the fiber--you could use expanded metal for the shell of these, as long as it is out of the elements and you coat the fiber to protect your lungs. As a matter of fact, I WOULD use expanded-metal before I dealt with a closed-top drum. But that is just me and my lack of time and patience with a reciprocating saw. And Alan, with European blades (or anything straight), I think a baffle would be great. I thought about building essentially the Fogg HT drum forge with the addition of a thick-walled 4"-5" diameter pipe the full-length of the forge. You would DEFINITELY have to have an exhaust port or two above or possibly below the pipe. The idea would be to have the pipe come to temperature, which would even out the temp and the sword to be HT'd would come to heat via contact with the pipe and/or radiant heat. But this won't work with Japanese swords unless they are always made the contour of the pipe, or you have a huge pipe to account for any pre-curve and "holders" to suspend the blade so it comes to heat evenly, so I abandoned the idea for now. A really small burner would be best for these type forges, regardless the method of heating. Hope that helps and was worth reading! Sorry it was so long. Some of it was before my first cup of coffee, so let me know if I didn't make sense or if you have questions / need clarification. I struggled for a while with this, so I am just hoping to help save someone some of the headaches and troubles I had. Maybe if they build on this experience, they will share so others can improve what they already do. Thanks, Shannon
  22. Sorry to the OP if this is off his topic. Mike, you are correct--magnetite is jitekko, kanahada is burnt scale (or calcined magnetite). When you purchase Black Iron Oxide, it should be Fe3O4, which is magnetite, which is suitable to make sashikomi nugui from as-is. You will always have to make sure what you are purchasing is Fe3O4, because both red iron oxide and similarly broken-down variants will be available as pigments and from ceramics suppliers. If you don't want to grind down scale for kanahada, as Mark Green suggests, you can calcine Black Iron Oxide (Fe3O4) at 1000 F or slightly higher to get the equivalent of kanahada. Just put it in a crucible or iron cup, put it in your forging fire (but not your welding fire), and leave it a bit, stir it, put it back in a little longer. This should produce kanahada, but you will have to grind it a bit in a mortar and pestle to get good yield because it will oxidize and stick to itself a bit. OF course, be sure to always filter appropriately for your particular project. It is very scratchy stuff and won't work unless appropriate means have been made to set-up the steel to see any effects from it, i.e. proper tsuya-work. Shannon
  23. Mike, I could be wrong, but I believe that the biggest difference between Kanahada (black iron oxide)and magnetite (used for sahikomi polishing) is that the kanahada is calcined and the magnetite is only crushed and ground (not heated after that or during its processing). From what I understand in regards to the use of nugui, Kanahada permeates and "stains" a bit more. Whereas the magnetite, not being calcined, stains less and has more subtle abrasive action (oxides are harder, thus, more abrasive). Just my humble understanding of the difference. Shannon
  24. Kin pun=gold dust. It is literally powdered elemental gold. It has its place in nugui for certain schools of the Koto period. However, it is used the most mixed with lacquer for decorative work on saya. That is probably the application for which Namikawa sells the most kinpun, even if it is listed under nugui. You have to remember, they sell to a lot of traditional polishers in Japan, as well. Mike gives some good advice. You can tell he has tried some stuff. It is really difficult to grind down scale unless you have a ball mill. Ceramic oxides offer a good selection. The secret to nugui is not what it is made of, but how it is treated, filtered, and applied. You do have to realize what you are truly looking to achieve, if it is a traditional-looking polish. Go to a token-kai, participate, look at some good swords in good polish. See what it is you are trying to recreate. Hamon don't "pop"--I hate that phrase, btw. They are brought out and hold a subtlety. It takes proper lighting and manipulating the light over the sword to see everything in them. You wouldn't want a polish that made everything stand out--it would "fry" the hamon and wither the nioi-guchi. It would be more akin to a deeper topographical etch at that point. The only way to get a garish contrast is an overdone kesho-polish, which will fail two-fold on monosteel. Why? Because nugui doesn't work all that well on monosteel AND uchigumori (hadori/hatsuya)won't give the same effect of a whitened yakiba. Rather, hadori on monosteel usually just makes it really scratchy looking (unless you have amassed quite a collection and are willing to hunt down the perfect match, rub forever and then settle for a very subtle effect). When people ask me when I know a polish is "finished", I usually relate it to this experience: When you go to the optometrist for new glasses and he swaps the lenses over and over, he will say, "This one, or this one." He wants you to choose which lens you see better through. You choose and he sets that lens then asks again, "This one, or this one." Eventually you can't see that one is better than the other one. He knows he's done. When you follow the steps to appropriately polish a piece and everything is done, and your efforts no longer improve the piece, you are done. Al, the simplest answer regarding iron oxide would be a local pottery supply. Kanahada is equivalent to "black iron oxide". You want the finest mesh they have. However, what you really want to know, nobody is likely to just give it to you. The truth is, nobody really can. You have to put in some trial and effort to figure out how YOU polish and what you can do with your work. Nobody can tell you that. And if you put in some real effort and show it with thoughtful questions, real polishers are likely to "push" you in the right direction. Shannon
  25. Jim, Unfortunately I don't know anything about the specific unit you are discussing. I do know a bit about electric kiln, which is what this looks like. If it is not reaching temperature in a timely fashion, the usual cause is that the electrical into the kiln is insufficient, the elements are obstructed, or the elements are worn out, or, least usual, there is a bad switch/controller. It is usually easy to diagnose the first problem: there is always a stamped tag on equipment like this. The tag will tell the electrical requirements in volts and amperage. If you have sufficient electrical to the kiln, next inspect the switches. If you see any black, oxidization, etc., replace the potentiometer or switch and see if that fixes the problem. If not, check the elements. They should all be intact (to complete the circuit--yeah, I've overlooked that one before) look like oxidized aluminum (flat, dull appearance--not shiny, never black), should be sitting loosely in their slots and have no debris touching them. If there appears to be debris, use a shop-vac to remove it (unplug the kiln first), using a tool to loosen the debris if necessary. If all else fails, then replace the elements. The EASIEST way, by FAR to do this and get GOOD HIGH QUALITY ELEMENTS is to contact Euclids: http://www.euclids.com/ They won't sell you an "off-the-shelf" set of elements. Rather, they will require you give them specs or even exact measurements of what you want to replace and make them for your particular piece of equipment and application. They can alter the number of windings, type of wire, gauge, etc. to give you the best element for your application. Order the heavy-duty option--it is worth it in the long run. You might pay less at a pottery-outlet, but they might not be exactly right or what you need. I hope this helps. I wouldn't invest too much more money, but if you are doing knives, this particular set-up should give you the control you are wanting. Also, maybe someone will chime in about what this unit SHOULD do. 150 F / Hour seems really slow in a smaller electrical powered unit. I would think it would be up to 1300 F in about 30-40 min. max. But we may be expecting too much too quick from this particular unit. If you find the stamped plate, please share the volts/amps/watts so we can better surmise how quickly this kiln SHOULD heat up. BTW, the plate should have the maximum rated temperature stamped on it, as well. Shannon
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