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Athan Koumantos

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About Athan Koumantos

  • Birthday 11/24/1972

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  • Location
    Athens, Greece
  • Interests
    Japanese and Oriental blades, freediving, and generally playing with fire
  1. Hello again, here are some photos of the finished blade, after following the HT proposed by Niko. Quench was from 760 in a kiln, into 80 degrees olive oil. The watering refused to appear very clear, even after several attempts with different echants (FeCl, nitric, oxalic, metabisulphide), and the best appeared to be a 50/50 mix of 2% nitric, with 5% oxalic. Well, onto the next wootz blade now... Thinking I might have to bump the temp up to 780 maybe.
  2. Hello Niko, Thank you, that was much more than a few tips! I have a kiln, so I will do what you proposed and post the results. The blade is pretty thick so more grinding will be OK. I will definitely soften the steel before HT, learnt that lesson when a whole ax cracked on a second quench... I was a bit fearful making nital, is it safe? Do you use ethanol or methanol? What we learned in your and Klaas's masterclass last year has been of great value, especially how to forge down wootz ingot to bar, we even managed to break down 2Kg ingot using a 5Kg sledgehammer with slow, deep hits! I
  3. Thank you for taking the time to respond so fully. I will carry on with what you proposed and will post more info soon.
  4. This is a blade I forged (with the help of some great friends here in Greece) using some of the wootz produced during last year's masterclass in Belgium run with Klaas Remmen and Niko Hynninen. The composition is white cast, and armco pure iron. I normalized the blade three times, around non-magnetic, quenched it in olive oil from slightly over non-magnetic, tempered 2hours at 200C, and sanded up to 1000 grit with water so as not to burnish the surface. Then etched in 2% nitric acid for 10 min, and cleaned up with fine steel wool. I have run across two issues, and I will be grateful if an
  5. Getting a first right puck out is exhilarating, but don't succumb to the thrill, its even more thrilling try to forge it. Yours looks just fine, with plenty of straight dendrites, and a bubbly appearance which probably means you managed to get rid of the air in the melt. Dendrites are carbide needles, that are teh straight lines you see there. Actually looks like some good ones others have posted! I guess the advice would be to take it low and slow, i.e. keep it below about 960 C and move it real slow so it doesn't get stressed, but can't say more, as we have hit a wall at that point here in G
  6. Hello Steven, I apologize for the delayed answer but I have not had a proper internet connection for some weeks now. We usually run a 1.3Kg charge for about 20min preheat at 0.8 bar, then a full melt heat for about 60min at 1.2 bar, then ramp it down to 1.0 bar for 5min, 0.8bar for another 5min, and so on until 0.4bar. So it is not that long of a cooling process, maybe 30min... but I guess there are, as always, other factors at play, such as the thermal mass of the furnace. One thing I believe is important is that we cover the whole furnace with a 5cm thick heavy firebrick. I believe that h
  7. Thanks for the invitation to post, Jokke. Here is my setup, a bit crude but it does the job for a 1.3-1.5Kg charge in an A6 crucible. Here is the burner setup, it is a blown air burner with a 2 inch blower (I have no idea of the cfm), a simple gas feed with a 1mm tip, and a special flameholder. I usually operate it at a maximum of 1.2 bar, and it easily goes down to 0.2 bar for the final lowering of the temperature. The flameholder is a piece of 3/4" pipe inside the tip of the 1 1/4"burner pipe, which is needed to keep a steady flame outside the furnace. I believe it is not n
  8. Two more things. I used a heavy firebrick for the bottom as well. Also, a stand is absolutely imperative. The charge did not melt when I forgot to use it. Also that's when the crucible was almost wrecked by the direct flame (even though its tangential it is still at the same level)
  9. Thanks for sharing the info. I have built my wootz furnace out of an old 40cm diameter metal flowerpot using 5cm of ceramic blanket and about 2cm 1600C castable. It holds an A6 crucible with about 3cm space around it and melts 1.3 kg in about an hour with a 1 1/4 inch burner with 1mm gas orifice at 1.2 bar. Do you think your size would be able to hold an A4 crucible which is about 11.5cm in diameter? (I think my A6 is too much for 1.3 kg) Also how do you construct the cover? I just use some thick firebricks but it seems a bit crude. On the other hand maybe the thermal mass from the bricks keep
  10. Hope I'm not trying your patience, but here is out third button made of 52100 steel, grey cast iron, and some vanadium-steel (Uddeholm Vanadis 10). It should be close to 1.4% C. Sadly this is the fourth and last run we got out of this crucible due to cracking, though I will try to patch it up and do some cementation runs. We seem to have a knack for producing beautiful ingots, but sadly lack a proper forge where we can freely hammer away. So for the time being we are trying different compositions, and then will travel out of town to try our hand at hammering them out... I guess this should n
  11. Just read tha ferrovanadium is deemed as scarce as unicorn horn... We mormally use Uddeholm Vanadis 10 steel, which has about 10% vanadium. Check if you can find it otherwise pm me to send you a small amount. Don't need more than a few gr per melt anyway...
  12. An excellent and truly informative video! Thank you indeed for sharing the nitty-gritty but so valuable details! You are definitely on a good path, good luck again!
  13. Thanx! Let's see how it forges... We will post images of an etched cross-section ASAP.
  14. Well, just some eye candy from our second melt, if only to elicit some remarks and guidance... This time the charge was CK60(1060) steel, GGG 40 grey cast iron, and some Uddeholm Vanadis 10 for a little vanadium. This time we went for about 1.35% carbon. We used the same already twice fired crucible, stirred the charge several times, then turned down the heat slowly, and let it cool in the furnace overnight. Nice big dendrites, and some temper colors, I guess. One part of the underside seems porous while the other is not, and cannot really explain that, except if one of the two is the s
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