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Everything posted by MacKINNON

  1. You are not alone in chasing nuance. I made six or seven just trying to get a form that suited a new kashira die I had made. I arrive at a example I find pleasing only to reject it a week later. I don't think this little game ends any time soon. I think your work is pretty impressive. I especially like your inlay techniques. Inlaying and producing a clean ground without surface texturing is no mean feat.
  2. Shibuishi is an awful alloy for splitting seams. I'm not surprised you had some issues. One of the handy things about forming them in the round is that you can then work one edge over a standard ring mandrel to form a slight cone. When you shape this up it forms ' funbari', ( Stradle) , that is, the fuchi takes on some flaring at the seppa. It makes for a more subtle form than a simple parallel ferrule.
  3. Thanks for the explanation. I do the same thing, but in the round, with soft materials, knocking them into shape after soldering. It doesn't work very well with iron or harder alloys as even a reinforced joint generally can't handle the stresses of hard shape changing. Me too. I get very sheepish talking about koshirae as invariably my friends in Japan waive their fingers at me and ' tut,tut'.
  4. It is my understanding that using panels of Samegawa was a reaction to material shortages after the closing of Japan by the Tokugawa shogunate in the 1600's. 'Belly meet' and 'overlap' wraps were still used, but only by the wealthy Samurai. Using panels is also technically a lot easier to do than either of the full wrap versions. Late Edo tsuka are often seen with multiple small panels of Samegawa cobble together.
  5. Beautiful work. I'm wondering why you joined the fuchi in the middle rather than than traditional join on the mune ?
  6. It does have it's moments in the North Island. View from my old factory.
  7. Right now, the view is less inviting. Just waiting for the start of a week of rain.
  8. Are you pitching for a job at Tourism New Zealand ?
  9. Mr. Schneider, I have shown you the little I know. I have given my opinion of the use of modern coatings on crucibles. I'm sure you will develop your own recipes from research and experiments. I am a tradesman, not a teacher. Good luck with your endeavors.
  10. Just a couple of broad strokes. In high temp wares, clay is often your enemy. Yes. I know, it sounds stupid, but if you think of clay as a 'green strength' binder that holds together the more durable materials until they solidify at higher temperatures, you're getting my point. Try to keep the clay content as low as practicable. All they clays I used , whether Fire Clay , ball clay or Kaolin are all high Alumina clays. In some trials I tried high iron, terracotta type clays. In low %'s , some made reasonable non-ferrous pots but most just melted at stoneware temps. And
  11. Pots are serious business, and I don't even like clay ;-)
  12. Giving you a simple recipe isn't that easy. I was not making wootz but was trying to make large, first stage direct reduction pots, similar to the process described by Needham as in use in Shanxia, China in the 19th century. First, I talked with potters. After numerous clay trials I gave up on potters as being particularly useless and began reading patents. I followed them back through 'patents reference by' until I arrived at formulas I understood. Then I moved forward in the patent search trying out new formulas and recipes. Once I had a reasonable handle on the technology. I was able t
  13. I did similarly with little good effect. Most often the wash simply puts more of the pot into solution at high temps. I tried ITC Turdish liner in the early days and found that it handled slags OK but impacted thermal transfer to he charge so badly as to make the whole exercise pointless. These lining are used on pots used to transfer molten iron and steel, not for melting in a standard crucible fire. As I said previously, there are many things that will handle molten steel slags but they tend to be highly insulatory, making melting in a small crucible furnace very difficult.
  14. I'll have to find my notes from 15 years ago. Half the issue is that pots need to be thermally transparent as well as slag resistant. If they simply insulate well, then you don't end up melting anything unless you are running induction. I've tied all sorts of glazes, washes etc. and I have found that a simple kaolin/alumina wash will increase the life of pots if used on the inside.
  15. I made a few Silicon carbide pots using a molasses and flour , carbonising binder. Could never get the things to bisque without turning into piles a asphalt in the kiln.
  16. Graphite ( plumbago) is the main 'ant-wetting' agent in standard pots. In industry, the graphite in aligned using electomagnetism before isostatic forming. With the adition of some quite 'techy' anti-oxidents , these are then fired in atmoshpere controlled kilns. I've made 'Berlin' type traditional clay graphite pots but without using a sagger you lose about 1/2 your surface graphite before the body seals. I've tried low temp, self glassing variants and they made fine non-ferrous pots but degenerated quickly at steel temps. I did make a graphite free, mullite/kyanite ( shrinkage correction) po
  17. I experimented with crucible for over three years. I made many a crucible that was tough, could handle thermal shock and was fine for non-ferrous materials and even cast iron. But, steel is a different ball game. Yes, I did make crucibles that could handle a wootz puck, but making a pot that can perform like a commercial clay graphite is very, very tricky. Commercial pots are very sophisticated ceramic engineering. The materials are expensive and manufacture is difficult. Most require firing is Saggers, large cover pots to stop oxidation of the graphite. This means you need access to large, hi
  18. This one is close to the historic original. The prototype scabbard was a bit more gaudy. This one has a blade and will have to be finished sometime this year. t
  19. Still waiting to find a freight company that can get it to the customer in the States. Well, one that doesn't want to charge a small fortune. These pics were just from the first full fit up. Tweaking and extra polish was done after this.
  20. Copy of Chinese Qianlong period sabre. Blade is from hand smelted titano-magnetite. Japanese construction and hamon with Sankrit and Manchurian script carving. Scabbard is sectional veneer overlay in three woods with lacquer finish. Mounts are gold plated brass, hand pierced and carved. Hilt is New Zealand nephrite jade. Sole authorship work. Wouldn't make another one ;-) (Don't laugh at the stand. It's just my workshop, jury-rigged go-to )
  21. What do you suggest for people tired of Japanese Blacksmithing ? ;-)
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