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Emiliano Carrillo

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Everything posted by Emiliano Carrillo

  1. Looking great Aiden! Excellent proportions and shape for the blade! And Gary! I use 4500 grit SC powder, basically 3 micron powder, the finer the better in my experience! I use a pretty strong mix of maybe 1 part ferric to 4 parts water. Maybe 5 second etches, and cleaning in between with the powder. I use it straight back and forth as in tip to tang, I haven't tried round motions, I have a feeling it would mess up the polish though! I think that this powder is an excellent way to clean the oxides and burnish the grains in the hamon. other metal polishes can work well but I prefer the powder!
  2. My hamon finishing method is basically finish to 2000 grit, etch for five seconds in strong ferric, and then use high grit silicon carbide powder to remove the oxides using a cotton pad dipped in powder on my thumb, as if it were a finger stone. This has worked pretty well for me with modern steels too. The higher polish is key for the coloration I've found, a deep etch and lower grit polish give me more grays than polished silver steel and a white hamon. This was 800 or 1000 grit with a deep etch and silicon carbide powder. I use 4500 grit powder. And this is similar material with a 2000 grit polish and a shorter etch. You can see the nie in the habuchi really clearly and the hamon is whitened a bit, though the lighting makes that hard to see. Sujihiki.mp4
  3. So it's about time for bi-yearly photo dump I mean to just post more often here and it never happens... so I apologize again for the flurry of photos that is to come, but hopefully you guys enjoy! I'll start with a smelt that Matt Berry and I did in January as a follow up to a previous smelt at Dragon's Breath that I ran for their yearly hammer-in. We used local iron sand from the beach a la Japanese and ended up with some really nice steel. I wanted to up the ante with the second smelt and built the furnace to provide a better yield (theoretically). It worked a charm! We charged 19.2 kg of ore and got 6.8 kg of steel out of it. A 35% yield! And not just any steel, it's as high quality as the tamahagane I have forged from Japan. At three folds it was already nearly flawless and forged like butter! So first is the bloom! We had to build the furnace in 16 degree weather and built a fire inside to mitigate freezing and cracking. The next day we fired it up and somehow managed to get the furnace through the whole smelt! That was a trial in and of itself. The aftermath of the furnace. This was how it ended up post extraction, the furnace fell during the night. Preliminary spark check! I didn't think the whole thing could be like this, but it certainly was. We had to heat it back up and cut it under the power hammer because it was too solid to cut by hand. Nice and solid inside! One half as is, and the other half forged out prior to any folding. First fold done! 3 folds... I forged a small replica of a knife Peter Johnsson had made and hardened it without clay to see what the steel would do. And success! Over 64 RC out of the water. This one is making its (overly complicated) trip to Peter now! IMG_5131.mov With success behind me, I decided next thing to do was forge a tango from the rest of the bar. I chose a Bizen school shape which I am drawn to and prepared the blade. This one still has a fair ways to go, it still needs a habaki and proper mountings. This is the first blade I'm happy enough with to give it the full treatment. There are a few things to change, like the spine it a little too tall, but that can be fixed! It has exceptional activities present in the blade and the hardening is actually pretty reminiscent of some Soshu work that must also have been done without clay! This one also reached over 64 RC out of the water and ended up nice and straight. For blades like this you introduce a downward curve during forging/normalizing so that the blade ends up straight out of the water, instead of curved, basically you're adding negative sori. IMG_5219.mov While we're still in forging territory, I played around with fire strikers while working on a sword blade for another project that will likely be posted soon! I made a top and bottom tool with some round 'teeth's forge the squiggly iron and then took some 1075 and folded it on itself. Afterwards a little flux! And presto! There was some grinding to clean up the ends afterwards, but not too much! I also cracked it during the hardening but it makes some nice sparks! I plan on making more of these soon, they're a greta shape to forge and will make a great addition to a viking kit! Jumping forward to the end of February I went down to NYC with some of the usual suspects and enjoyed the opening of Peter's amazing dedication to the goddesses! There was a lot of time spent at the Met enjoying some recent additions to the arms and armor gallery. From left to right the man of the hour Peter Johnsson, Owen Bush, Jordan LaMothe, Dakota Slack, and Rusty Griffin! And the group shot during the opening! Out of frame is Rusty but there's Jordan, Dakota, me, Sixt, Peter, Owen, Brett, Scott, Isabel, Michael, Zack and Rasmus. A rowdy group for sure! Jump forward a couple more weeks and I went to Maine to NESM for a seax class! Here you have Eric doing the initial forging of the edge billet we made. We folded to 480 layers of 15n20 and 1084. Man having access to a power hammer makes for fast work! We made a few different kinds of twist bars so students could choose what they liked! These twists are all based on historical Viking Age or earlier patterns. Cory doing some twisting! Most people assembled their billets from 4+ bars. Jay holding his monster seax! Once we had blades forged and cleaned up we hardened and tempered them overnight! From left to right is Jay, Matthew, Eric, Cory, and then two I made as different demos. I wanted to do bolster construction with these. I brought a moose antler that we divided up into small chunks for bolster making. Here I am fitting the bolster with a couple of drilled holes, a jewelers saw, and some needle rasps. This one was meant to be a through tang construction as a demo on making a seax with peened construction. And glued! Kind of... We bedded the tangs in the handle once things were fit up so that we could remove the blade during the shaping process to make sure everything was perfect. A shot of Cory doing the front detail on his bolster. A useful trick is to trace the blade shape with pencil before doing this so you can make sure things are staying even in case of a slightly uneven fit of the bolster to the blade. And finished! A class photo on the last day. From top to bottom, Cory, Eric, Matthew, me, and Jay! And some closeups! Cory's first Then Eric's! He used a sweet piece of steel made in a previous NESM course for the edge. Look at those nicely matched interrupted twists! And Matthews! And Jay's! What a crazy piece of work! Next up I was supposed to go to Germany in a few weeks time for the KNIFE show hosted by the Deutches Klingenmuseum. Of course, with recent world events that wasn't; going to happen! Though they did decide to keep the kitchen knife contest open! Basically the prompt was 'the perfect cooking knife', so here's what I came up with! I started with some oroshigane made with Pavel Bolf during Ashokan. I made a 7 inch Japanese style knife, a sujihiki. It was hardened with no clay into water using a technique called zubuyaki that I learned from Pavel. Once polished you can see all the fun stuff in the steel! Once the blade was finished it was time for the rest! I had a sudden thought while driving from the shop one day about how I should finish this up, but it seemed ridiculous. I haven't ever seen someone do something like this for a kitchen knife, so I figured it wouldn't hurt to try! Worst case scenario it doesn't work out! I decided to make a traditional style of handle, a D shaped grip, using iron, bog oak, and silver. First was making the tenon. The collar isn't round, it is forged oval, so I had to rough in the tenon and then clean up to match the ferrule by hand. Then file finished and inlaid using ten-zogan! Applying the patina, little by little. It is a forced rusting called sabitsuke. A little bit of fussing and assembling and you have a finished knife! Next is a slightly older project that recently found a new home. It was a collaboration with Jordan LaMothe. He made the blade and sent it my way for finishing. I choose some dark dreamlike themes based the blade, kind of light a 'starry night' with fewer stars! Seeing these two one after another actually makes me realize there's a lot of common motifs between these pieces I've made lately. Well to be honest you can't go wrong with bog oak and silver! Next we come to the most recent couple weeks, the quarantine! My job has me working from home 30 hours a week (my regular schedule) so I've been doing a lot of bladesmithing related work at home as well, just because I'm already there! So I have jumped headfirst into some sheath work and other various projects that needed finishing. First off, a hairpin for my girlfriend for her birthday based off an original from somewhere that's escaping my brain at the moment... Carved from cow bone with a garnet in a silver bezel. Next is a couple of sheaths made for some knives, the zoomorphic one for the seax made at NESM and the other two for some other pieces! The one on the left is for a seax Luke Shearer made and sent to me for finishing, and the rightmost is for a piece made from bloom I just finished recently. And now dyed! I finished out the black one with silver rings and silver fittings. The blade is made from bloomery steel for the edge, high and low carbon iron and steel for the twist, and an iron spine. The bolster is finished the same way the ferrule of the kitchen knife was. I am super happy with how this one turned out, and honestly may just keep it for myself! Next one is the sheath for the demo piece from the NESM class! Based on the sheath fittings of a broad seax I found in some archaeological PDF! The tooling is based on some zoomorphic art from the Viking Age. The two together. A pretty handsome pair I think! Next a little guy made from some unknown antique tool steel I found at my old shop. Hardened with no clay as is becoming my custom. The carving is rough but a good step towards making decent carvings! I got some really fantastic help from Jeff Helmes in regards to carving better. A garnet is inset in the handle in a silver bezel. I'll probably make a simple sheath for this one and use it as a letter opener Some cool cloudy activity in the blade. And last but not least the most recent one! I made this one yesterday. I'm getting pretty quick at this! Pretty proud of myself, the whole handle and assembly took me about 5 and a half hours! Made from the same billet as the zoomorphic one. It's based on a German seax from the 6-7th century. The fittings are mild steel with diver salvaged white oak for the handle. It has a very nice flat profile for the handle as is evinced by the shapes of the front and back plates on these seaxes! The peen on the back end is ground flat and polished again. The handle actually feels really good, the narrow section fits in the crooks of your hands really well! The blade is etched deep for really nice chatoyance, and shows a nice hamon in the right light. And a 'family' shot showing a bunch of them together! Anyway, as usual, my profuse apologies for the 100,000 photos and the book of text, but hopefully you guys enjoy! -Emiliano
  4. yeah that should be magnetic! I recognize the look of it, that purplish sort of color. If its dry and ready for sorting, you can magnetically sift it and separate all the excess regular sand, and then once you have a final weight of black sand, add back about 10% regular sand by weight. It can make some nice steel depending on how pure the magnetite is!
  5. I dealt with this when I was maybe 12-13 after I had made my first two chainmail shirts. Same culprit as with bladesmithing, repetitive motion with significant resistance is a great way to damage that little sleeve that holds the tendon. I used to try and push thought it a bit to finish projects that needed finishing, but learned the hard way that it is the worst way to deal with it. What I've done in the past is the stretch that Alan mentioned, which I still do sometimes, and just not doing any hand work for two weeks. Not ideal, especially when you want to work but it is the only way to make yourself feel better. That and flector patches helped.
  6. Very cool idea! I love the idea of the cherry blossoms and the tsuba! Nicely done
  7. Thanks for the love on my idea! Looking forward to seeing what happens with the KITH!
  8. Before you get into finishing I would suggest forging the nakago/tang further down to make it more in line with the curvature of the blade. Even tachi with extremely curved tangs have a step down where the mune meets the nakago mune, where the habaki sits. You can still have a funagata style nakago after that, but the step down from the mune is necessary for a working blade.
  9. I think the theme should be seasons. Pick a season you identify with or like the most, and create something that thrives in that element. For instance I am partial to Winter and would make something severe and cold. Perhaps a spring theme could be that of renewed life and warmth, and fall decay and darkening, and summer warmth and sun. I think it could be a great exercise to create something thematic that doesn't necessarily have to relate back to mythology or history, but can be influenced by them all the same.
  10. I'm sorry I missed this so far, but you are doing great work! The shape and pattern are right on. You can get some interesting results by changing the proportion of your bars in the billet. For instance making the edge bar closer to half of the full width of the blade and making the iron spine and twist the same width, or even making the iron spine less wide than the twist. It can make the pattern appear 'finer' and lets the edge bar make the blade appear wider. Not that you did anything wrong by a long shot! Just me musing on pattern layup. I have found a lot of smiths are very lazy with their twist patterns and have twisted bars drawn out to several to mess their length and no longer resemble twists at all! Looking at the original artifacts you can see all of the shapes and patterns are made with exactitude and purpose, which is something you showed here. again, great work and I can't wait to see the rest! Any plans for the grip?
  11. Thanks Charles! It was a pretty 'simple' forging, the layering is a result of how I usually forge this material, alternating the direction of folding every few folds. Basically like making ply wood out of steel! The hamon it took is quite beautiful though, that second video brings it out quite well! Nope not sewn, I usually glue this type of sheath! I've found the glue is stronger than the leather itself and doesn't let go, so no need to stitch other than aesthetics. Of course I'm not sure how historical this construction is, but hide glue was plentiful and does a wonderful job joining leather! And yes good call I forgot to post the link! Thanks Alan it was a surreal experience, and brought together several of my loves in this journey! Thanks Mike! Thanks Joshua! They're basically just fly-bys of the knife and sheath, the second one shows a bit of the activity in the blade! Thanks Zeb! Yes absolutely the trip was I think the best I've ever been on! Smelting and a beautiful country, what more could you need? Thanks Pieter! It was a hard decision to make because it's so easy to get into the modern mindset of making things perfect, but it really 'worked' for the project. It looks a little more organic to my eye this way! Thanks Karim! It was certainly on mine as well hopefully there is more to come from all of this! Thanks Wes the steel was a wonderful surprise! I've yet to polish any larger knives from the period, but having looked at some axes I have and photos online, it seems the steel is quite close to what you could expect from that period in history! The leather was a lot of fun, I'm getting faster and finding a bit more of a style in the knotwork I've been doing. I'm still a bit of a ways away from being able to design good knots all from scratch but there's time! Thanks for the kind words brother!
  12. Hey guys! Here is a knife I made as a gift for William Short, the leader of Hurstwic, as a thank you for inviting me to Iceland on an iron making expedition this summer. We went and created iron for the first time since the 1250's in Iceland, after Norway forced them to start importing iron instead of making it. There are however, about a bazillion (scientific term) iron rich streams and bogs in Iceland, and naturally occurring Kaolite, plus many archaeological sites where a lot of iron was produced, such as Eidar where ~1000 tons of iron were produced over about 300 years. Added to the fact that there are other sites where bloomery furnaces are found, on farms with an iron rich stream nearby, and where forest used to be, on a body of water connecting to or on the ocean, it seems iron production and export was very common in Iceland. Bill first got interested in all of this after seeing Eidar, and after some experimenting at home it was time to go. I'll probably post something more about that trip in the bloomers and buttons forum or something, but at any rate! He was kind enough to bring me in as a consultant during the experiments and learning at home, in preparation for the event in Iceland, and he invited me to go with them. As a thank you, I wanted to make him something in the style of what an imagined settler of Iceland could have carried. We had a feast in the reconstructed longhouse of Eirik the Red and gifts were given, which is when I presented this secret gift to him! Without further ado, here's the photo essay! One of the bloomery furnaces we ran at Bills house during the year of prep for the festival. The actual material for his knife came from maybe the second or third smelt I believe. A small collection of the bloom we had made over the year, sliced up into easily workable sections for forging. Most of it was steely bloom as opposed to iron, so this particular material needed a bit of extra careful folding and forging. I chose a piece I liked the look of and began to fold it. Two folds in! Looking surprisingly good considering the nature of this material. Some nice sparks from the bar 6 folds in. After 5 more folds (total of 11) it was ready for forging. I forged and ground the blade quickly and then hardened it in water. You can see the artifacts of hardening, which will be visible in the final product. Skip forward another 6 hours or so, and you have a finished knife! Sitting on a piece of bloom and a chunk of boxwood. I started designing some carvings based off a Norwegian church carving. I designed on the sheath in pencil and then began the carving, the entire process from starting the design to finished carving took maybe 2.5 hours which I am very pleased with! I am beginning to feel more comfortable with these styles of decoration Half way there. Here I am about to complicate the knots on the right side of the sheath nearest where the leather strings will sit, and I chose to make some unresolved lines as well. Most of the period art I have seen seems to have some lines that don't quite go anywhere. I think this is wonderful, and wanted to add some of that into this piece. A shot in more natural light showing how well the stippling brings out the definition in the carving. And done! Aside from dye that is. The runes say who it was made by and for whom. I also added the grace lines, to visually complicate the knots. Above the runes you can see the extra knots I added that aren't resolved. It was definitely odd making the carving 'imperfect' but I quite like the result! Dyed! After a few minutes when it is dry you can buff with a paper towel or some other soft rag to brighten the high spots and matte the lower ones. And some finished shots/video! The second video shows the blade moving in the light a bit, showing the hamon. IMG_2066.mov IMG_2048.mov Anyway, hope you guys enjoy the knife! -Emiliano
  13. I started welding wrought iron tangs onto my swords and seaxes for the reason that when I'm pattern welding it is easy to distort the pattern when forging the tang in and peening modern or even mild steel just sucks. In order to combat that I would forge a stub tang, weld a wrought iron one on for ease of peening, and then grind the shoulders up about 1/8-1/4 inch to deal with the distorted material. The softer material helps a lot with the peening, particularly on smaller blades. I'm gonna be doing a forge welding demo at Ashokan this weekend starting with a bar of wrought iron and a piece of pattern welded steel, and show a method for forge welding without wire or tack welds, then forge weld a wrought iron tang onto the blade, preserving the steel where it's needed. I'll also forge two blades from this material, hot cutting in the 45 degree angle to create the tip of the blades. My intent is to show an old school approach to forge welding and the additive nature of this technique which allowed historical smiths to create larger objects from bloom iron. I think the key feature here is the fact that all work back then was additive. It's hard to get in that mindset as a modern smith especially with how ease stock removal is for us. When you have a couple small bars of bloom and need to make a large sword, you get really good at thinking in puzzles and solving the problem of how to create a workable and useful bar of material, you need to maximize the steel in the edge and maximize the iron for the rest, including the tang. Having steel in your tang doesn't really net you anything besides maybe resistance to bending as far as I'm concerned. Seeing as so many war time Japanese swords also had iron tangs welded on, and not a lot of them have broken at the tang, I would posit that this is a really durable method, and isn't likely to fail. I have clients that abuse the work I do in the field, and none have ended up with a shorn tang. I think the video was well intentioned but he made a lot of claims that don't make sense. It's true, that was and still is an important way of making use of the various properties, but most people nowadays don't do this technique for the same reasons as it must have originality been done. I've held and documented several larger seax blades, all of which had the tell tale signs of a forge welded tang and sandwiched contribution. In making bloomery steel swords I have also welded a tang on, for ease of peening but because when you have a ~15 bar sword made from dirt you don't want to lose any more material than you have to. I don't know if that helps anyone, but I see this method as an extremely practical one. I have a hard time believing it was done originally for any other reason
  14. Hey guys! I played around with my camera and phone the other day and got some shots I quite liked of some recent and semi recent work. Hope you guys like it! IMG_1595.mov -Emiliano
  15. Hey Zeb! Check out this thread if you haven't already, it may have some helpful stuff in it! As far as forging the pattern around the tip I would recommend doing the 45 degree cut and forge, in order to make the pattern flow nicely with the lines of the edge. Cutting a more acute or obtuse triangle from the end will give you different effects as well. EDIT: I actually just realized you changed your mind and will likely be doing a double edged sword instead! and I had just gotten out my reference on some original single edged swords and everything! My advice for pattern flow is the following though: decide what you want to do bar wise first, and then whether you want to deal with a 6 foot or longer edge bar when you do a wrap around weld, or whether you want to use two bars you meet in the middle. Alan said everything that I was going to say above, damn that guy! In all seriousness though, you'll be fine, it's not so much that it is hard as you just have to do the steps in the right order. You clearly have forge welding down and all it entails is a few forge welds in a particular order, weld the core bars first, nice and flat and parallel and then prep the edge bar. I almost always do a full wrap around because I like the look better aesthetically, but it is a pain in the ass, you have to get a very long bar perfectly square all the way through, bend it around your core and then clean everything well enough that you can forge weld back together. I don't clamp or tie anything when I'm doing this operation, much like when the Japanese stuff is concerned I hate having foreign material in there, so I will try to avoid welding or adding wire that can get welded to the blade. I just hold it, pound the billet straight down to set the tip weld and then begin to chase the weld back towards the tang end. I think the best advice I can give is don't be afraid to tear apart your welds if you need to. I've had sword blades where I've developed a problem with the welding when the bars weren't squared, and I bent the offending bar outwards, let it all cool, took a file to the inside of the bar to make it parallel again, and then heated and forge welded again. Works like a charm every time! There is a lot you can salvage, but be prepared to build this sword in your mind before you go to do it in real life. Everything I make I plan ahead in my mind in order to make sure I won't be surprised by a technique or problem I'm not prepared for. The less surprises you make for yourself the better!
  16. I've done some experimenting with my oroshigane in this vein. This one is a failed katana blade that was cut up and re purposed, the tip section was used as practice to better my control over the color and my eye. It has a powerful habuchi with very tight choji/hitatsura hamon reminiscent of ichimonji work, as well as slanted ashi near the tip based on the angle that the blade was quenched into the water. If I remember right this was a very quick interrupted quench, as in a quenched for about a half second, took it out of the water for a split second, and then straight back in for the rest. This allows the hitatsura to form, islands of hardening all over the blade, that have an interesting shape based on the vapor jacket coming off the blade in the water. I have gotten double and triple layered hamon from doing a very quick succession of interrupted quenchings in this steel before as well. I have had limited success doing that particular technique in modern steel. At any rate you're absolutely right that these things just want to take hamon in ultra shallow hardening steels! I have photos of a seax blade I made from bloom and hearth material that took hamon. I can't find the photos but I'll attach a video I did find. And the seax. I've posted it here before but it has been repolished with the techniques I outlined above in this thread for polishing japanese blades. The two videos are out of order and I can't fix it, but at any rate the seax is first and the tanto second. IMG_9129.MOV IMG_9951.MOV
  17. Did you order the material recently from the NJSB? There's a recent batch of 1075 that has high manganese content which promotes through hardening and therefore is not good for hamon. I have had this stuff harden beautifully but take no hamon. What it sounds like is the water quench was fast enough to cool it differentially but the cracks are obviously a no go. I did some more experiments with water quenching a 1075 piece today and had three fold success, though this was the low manganese 1075. I would try to order some new material and make sure it is low in manganese. When water quenching I make sure to very carefully watch and keep mental note of what the colors in the steel are and what I am seeing in the shadow. You can make vibrant hamon from carefully controlling the heat at the edge, with propane as well as coal or charcoal. If you're using clay a lot of the difficulty is taken out. My advice is to know the steel and your temps. While non magnetic isn't something to go by on its own, it can be a useful tool to know you are in the range of 1420F (I believe) and you can adjust slightly hotter from there.
  18. That should help! Search Amazon and eBay, that's where I have had the best luck, never found any locally!
  19. My method for bringing out hamon is to bring it to 2000-2500 and etch lightly in diluted ferric, then under running water you can wet sand with 3000 grit paper or anything that will very gently remove the oxides. I use 3K silicon carbide powder now to do this instead. If you are going to do a lot of hamon I would say definitely get some of the fine powder and use it like finger stones with light oil and a cotton pad for backing. This helps to whiten the hamon and show any other activities in the steel in the case of bloom/pattern weld. IMG_9216.m4v
  20. So as I understand it the reason is indeed the same as kesho polish. A burnished shinoji looks more crisp even if the polishing lines are themselves not sharp. The actual meeting of lines between shinoji and ji is a very important point in the polish and can be rounded out and softened easily. The reasoning I have heard for kesho is that smiths were at that point making rather uninspired swords and they needed a way to spice up the 800 year old blades that had been polished down almost to nothing over the years as well as make the newer swords look stronger and more virile. I imagine burnishing would be the same, a way to gloss up the blade and add more interest visually. As I understand it, burnishing was not done in older periods, and blades themselves were probably not 'art polished' like they are nowadays. A tool for using ends up with damages, and having a very costly polish damaged every time you went into battle would just have the average samurai in the poorhouse trying to maintain their sword properly. I have done a fair bit of burnishing on my own work and also on nihonto, and it does not require much force, instead it is a gentle work. It would not help to harden the surface by any amount I think. The nihonto I have in my collection all have between 58-62 RC for the edges, with the spines being too soft for my chisels to get an accurate reading on them.
  21. Humility is the reason I think I've advanced quickly! I am always a student in any room I'm in, even if it's technically in the capacity of a teacher. There's so much inspiration to see in everyone's work, all you have to is be open to it and let that energy flow into new work! Thanks for the kind words I'm so happy to be able to give some inspiration!
  22. I wish! I started in January of 14! Otherwise I'm sure I would have been there. My only exposure to this world before then had been Jake Pownings website which I landed on by accident once in high school
  23. Thanks Gerhard! Thanks so much Pieter! Yes I certainly agree, they are both stuck in time as it were but I believe the way the Japanese pieces are finished may not have been far off from some of the higher end Medieval pieces! I have done my faux Japanese style polish on some of my Viking Age pattern welded pieces and they look fantastic with that treatment. The tachi was definitely stressful, but it worked well and nothing was damaged! It was a good sign to continue work in this tradition! As for water quenching, I water quench anything made from oroshigane, it just is the only way! Some of the pieces I have made get quite hard, and may possibly harden well in oil, but some of the hataraki (activities) in the hamon just don't look the same if hardened in water, so it is the only way! I am not scared of it, and have not had any cracked blades yet! Thank you for the kind words, they mean quite a lot and I am happy to be able to provide some inspiration! It is all practice after all! The last five years have taught me that only you stand in the way of your own progress! Jesus especially is a big reason why I am down this rabbit hole! Mark Green introduced me to the process of hearth melting almost five years ago now and while I didn't do it right away I knew that some day my path would lead me here! I'm 24 now! I feel like an old man, or at least my body does sometimes! And thank you, I really appreciate that! While I'm certainly not a master yet, it is humbling to progress at the rate I have because it shows me just how much further there is to go! The antique work is fun now! Not as stressful as the first time It is nice to care for something old and give it some new duds, be it habaki or the whole nine yards. As for the quenching is it low manganese 1075? I have had some very odd pieces recently that have reacted in all sorts of weird ways to oil and water quenches. I would try again and undershoot the temp while making sure the spine isn't as hot if possible! the 1075 blade up above is the one I was referring to last time btw Thank you Brian! I was just telling someone the other day about the indecent with the moonshine and the taser spear! That was a fantastic Ashokan, I can't wait for the next sword year, maybe I'll have to make something special for it That was a great one, I met Owen and Jake and Peter for the first time there! That was a whirlwind for sure, but I got great feedback and managed to meet a lot of the people I have wanted to for a long time, yourself included! Thanks Alan, I appreciate it! Thanks James! That one is special to me, gonna get mounted up some day when I am good enough for it! Thanks brother Thank you! I appreciate it! Thank you Doug! I was kind of nervous choosing the name at first, but as I keep working in this style it feels more and more like it fits! Thank you Lars! Thats exactly the term! Thanks Charles! The folding has been the most interesting part for me, I alternate the folding direction every three folds until the very end which is were some of the experimentation happens. Depends on the number of folds! I've done up to 18 folds so far and ended up with this fantastic super fine grain, and also done 11 folds and ended up with a very lazy wide woodgrain pattern, so it's nice to know I can more or less shoot for whatever complexity of pattern I want to achieve! Here's one of the pieces from this evenings polishing session: IMG_9181.MOV
  24. Thanks! Thanks Charles Thanks Owen! I'm glad it all came together like it did! Nice cohesive package! Thanks Pieter That was an inspired bit of lunacy at the end there, but as these things usually go, the last day was when all the craziness came to a head and then it was over! Thanks Joshua! Yes I did! I like to have the leather supported by the blade, and I'm not tooling too deep so I can't scratch the blade. I leave it to dry with the blade outside of the sheath for about two days after the tooling is done to make sure all the moisture is gone! Thanks John! Yeah you remember that place we went right before picking up Luke from the airport? I moved into that shop with my buddy Kamil! You are always welcome brother, the sooner the better This one had a loose plan! The handle is the only thing I really sketched up at the beginning for the client to give the go ahead, everything after was kind of a free form odyssey! I hit some serious creative blocks on the scabbard till I did some more looking historical pieces and was able to chart a course I liked! So I managed to get some pro shots of this piece done before it was time to ship it off! Here they are. Shot by a guy named Charley in New Hampshire! I really love the way he shoots knives and swords and he has taken some photos for Zack Jonas, Peter Johnsson, Dakota Slack and a few others that have a very noticeable style.
  25. Hey everyone! I was looking at a piece I had made a few months ago today and realized I don't think I've ever shared any of my Japanese style work on the forum before. My fascination with swords and smithing started when I was young just like most of us here. I started doing research on our ancient computer and learned about clay heat treating and 'natural hamon' and the proper ways to take care of a sword. I then convinced my parents to let me buy a $200 katana at some nearby martial arts/fantasy weapons sort of store, and cared for that thing for years before I even thought about the possibility of putting hammer to anvil. I began making almost exactly five years ago now and knew right away that the Japanese style work was too advanced for my skill level, and I should leave it for a later time if at all. I had a ww2 blade that I got from a friend that I had polished up and made a habaki for that gave me an idea of what this sort of work could entail. I made the mune/spine fit incorrectly and the habaki is too thick near the front, otherwise this was a good start! Meeting an extremely knowledgeable collector of Nihonto and starting to practice Iaido made me take another look, this time more seriously into the Japanese work. He was extremely generous in letting me bring home pieces from his collection to study every time I went over to see him, and little by little I began to seriously entertain the idea of moving into that style of work. He asked me to make a habaki for a 500 year old tachi he owns, which certainly made the stakes higher. After that project was under my belt I began to think seriously about using an antique blade for Iaido, instead of the aluminum bladed Iaito that I had been using previously. With some help on the saya from our own Matt Venier I made a mounting for a sword from the early 1500's to use in practice. This was the first real attempt at tsukamaki after my cursory practice with shoe string to re tie my old crappy katana when the wrap came apart when I was young. I used old tosogu to create the koshirae, using a rather wide tsuba and shishi dog menuki with grass and butterfly fuchi and kashira. I started getting a little more into the mounting work after that first success and did some collaborations with Matt which were a lot of fun (and less stressful than working on old blades!) Aikuchi style koshirae for an osoraku-zukuri tanto Matt forged. A mounting job I did for my collector friend who wanted a beautiful tanto he has mounted in these excellent mino-goto fittings. IMG_6815.m4v Later I took a more recent (maybe 250 year old) Sukesada that I took a real liking to and gave it the full treatment, with a really beautifully matched set of peony fittings. The tsukamaki work in this photo is still unfinished, it is in place but not adjusted and tightened yet. I played around with some modern steel here and there but didn't really see the point. The stuff I am captivated by was all made from tamahagane, so I knew one day the journey would lead me there. I think I have done two blades I am happy with in modern steel with hamon. This is the first! Some mystery high carbon steel forge welded to some iron that I quenched in water. Next I made a few more habaki for various projects, playing with styles and finish a little, but sticking to copper. IMG_0355.m4v I went and visited Mark Green and we made some oroshigane which became the starting stock for these two knives I sent to a gallery last year or the year before for an exhibition. Both are from the same bar, folded 11 times and quenched in water. IMG_0008.MOV It was around this time I decided to get off my ass and start using the hearth steel/oroshigane I had been making for my Viking work and use it for Japanese style work as well. In the past few months I have moved almost exclusively to using it for Japanese work. I chose the name Ame Mistu 天光, which translates roughly to Heaven's Light, which sounds awfully lofty, but is the closest I could get to Sun and Stars, which is my regular smithing handle. Swordmiths art names were generally not even directly related to their own names, but often taking a kanji from their teacher and adding one they liked. So I decided using the moniker I have been going under and porting over to the Japanese tradition made the most sense! I also did my due diligence and throughly researched, it appears no smith ever signed this particular way before. A yanone made from oroshigane as a test of the form and also to see how small I can do my signature! Here's where things start to get a little more interesting/complicated! I began to make blades from the oroshigane to see how far I could take it and how close I could get to traditional Japanese work. By rough estimation maybe 20% of the blades have been successes. The rest have been lacking in carbon, because of the high levels of phosphorous in the material I was using for the melts. That coupled with the repeated folding and decarb left me with very little usable material. There were several blades like this one, that had excellent hada but very low hamon, that took some diligence to bring out in the polish. IMG_2724.m4v I started experimenting with different ways of folding and refining the material to achieve different hada, mine is on the left, and an antique on the right. Some of the hamon were rather weak, indicative of perhaps .4% carbon or even lower, though still high enough to create a delineation between hard and soft steel. I experimented with making a two piece habaki, which is great because it is all of the work of a one piece habaki, that you then have to cut into and mess with, loads of fun! A few of them came out pretty well, in shape and in terms of the hamon. While I was frustrated when I found the root of the troubles, it was nice to build the practice folding and working the steel. Each blade was folded roughly between 11-18 times to achieve the final hada. I forged a particularly nice piece of steel and while it was cooling and the clay drying, I used some old 1075 from Aldo and water quenched it to see what it could do, and ended up with a beautiful extremely wispy hamon. This is the second modern steel piece I've been happy with to date! I then did another experiment, this time a little longer. I am aiming to one day make katana or even tachi, but that is a long way off! This tanto has a beautiful open hada with an active hamon. I did a slow motion shot of it going into the water. IMG_7798.TRIM.m4v A video as polished IMG_7955.mp4 And a still shot A tiny beautiful kogatana made from steel folded 18 times. The chunk next to it in the video is some of the raw oroshigane it came from. IMG_8679.m4v And the crowning achievement thus far for me is this next blade. While the look of the kogatana is almost indistinguishable from traditionally made blades I have seen, this tanto is my personal favorite. It also astonished me by reaching over 64 RC during hardening. The hada is a tight mokume mixed with itame with a powerful habuchi and wonderfully wispy hamon. Right at the kaeri there are sprays of nie, which are crystals of martensite you can see scattered throughout the hamon. IMG_5541.m4v IMG_8468.m4v Anyway! Hope you guys like what I've been up to for the last while! -Emiliano
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