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    • Alan Longmire

      IMPORTANT Registration rules   02/12/2017

      Use your real name or you will NOT get in.  No aliases or nicknames, no numerals in your name. Do not use the words knives, blades, swords, forge, smith (unless that is your name of course) etc. We are all bladesmiths and knifemakers here.  If you feel you need an exception or are having difficulty registering, send a personal email to the forum registrar here.  

Gareth Barry

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  1. First ever edged weapon, finished

    Well, today the sword went to its new owner, which gave me mixed feelings of elation to see how ecstatic the new owner was, but on the other hand sadness to see it go! Anyway, I'm the end I really did reach the limit of my endurance with sanding, I guess if it were for myself k would've gone further than 400 grit. There are many things that I will do a whole bunch better the next time around, particularly, -flatter more even bevels -a more consistent shape to the saya -proper menuki -a better job with the Ito wrap. I used Buffalo horn for the kurikata, and African blackwood (dalbergia melanoxylon) for the koiguchi and kojiri, which seemed to work well, at least it smells better than Buffalo horn when cutting it!! Well, here are the pictures. Once again, thank you so much to all for the kind words as well as wealth of information passed on.
  2. First ever edged weapon, finished

    Guys once again, thank you so much! Grant, you have confirmed what I was thinking regarding saya dimensions. This means that I definitely will have to redo the habaki, otherwise the saya will have to be overly large and won't look right. Although it doesn't look like it in the pictures, this "habaki looking thing" on my sword does actually hold everything together incredibly tightly, hence my initial reluctance to abandon it. However, it simply won't work because of the issues when making a saya. Thanks for pointing out the habaki as a problem guys, I am looking forward to trying to do a better job on that. Zeb, thanks for your comment, and you are 100% right; one of my self critiques is that the bevels are too soft. I will take your advice re hard sanding blocks, hopefully that will help make sharper lines. And you are also spot on the money regarding not rushing the final steps, that is a big problem of mine, especially when excitement kicks in to see the finished product. Having a weekend away from home and looking at the pictures has certainly helped to calm me down, so I will take my time and get it as right as I can when I get back. Another question, do you guys wet sand to make it go faster? I started by wet sanding, but got a fright when I saw just how quickly this steel corrodes. I know it probably really isn't a big deal, but having come this far i was loathe to make any fatal errors.
  3. First ever edged weapon, finished

    Thanks Alan, I have learnt so much from reading your posts, I am so grateful for your encouragement! You are right about the habaki, upon looking at the pictures (I am away from home at the moment) I can see that it really is letting down the whole package. I guess that's why it's so useful to get honest feedback from experienced others. My other concern is that if I leave the habaki as wide as it is, the saya will have to be overly wide at the throat. I see from looking at pictures (I have never handled a proper katana, this is all going off research) that the edges of the habaki seem to be pretty much flush with the blade. So I guess I am going to have to learn to solder! The way I look at it, every skill learned on this sword for my friend will be useful for when I make one for myself one day. Now I have a question which I hope you guys can answer, what are the typical cross sectional dimensions of a saya? From what I see on pictures, it doesn't seem to be much wider than the tsuka in profile( if that makes sense?) Also, what thickness should I plane the planks to before joining them? Is there any standard on this or is just eyeballed? In other words, do the outer dimensions of the saya match the dimemsions of the fuchi, more or less? Thanks again Gareth from South Africa
  4. First ever edged weapon, finished

    I like your idea of staining the wood black; I think that would satisfy the recipient as well as me the builder! Would still show the grain and look good, I see why you suggest alder as opposed to basswood, has nicer grain. Thanks for the suggestion
  5. First ever edged weapon, finished

    Alder and basswood are my first choices, I know them well from guitars, tight grain, easy to work. Unfortunately, they are quite expensive here (South Africa). The flip side is that other "exotic" timbers such as African blackwood, afromosia and tamboti are relatively easy to get hold of. I actually considered substituting Buffalo horn with African blackwood. In the end, my step dad runs a game hunting lodge, so Buffalo horn was also fairly easy to get.
  6. First ever edged weapon, finished

    I think laquer, as I would guess that a black laquered saya would be what the recipient of this would imagine to be correct. One of my other hobbies is guitar building so I have a bit of experience with wood working. Personally, I absolutely hate painting over nice looking wood, but as I say, I think the recipient would prefer it that way as being more of what is common. I think I am already going a bit away from what the "standard" by using an Ito that isn't black?
  7. First ever edged weapon, finished

    Today I am going to be getting some timber, probably cypress or basswood, to begin the saya.
  8. First ever edged weapon, finished

    So here are some (pretty poor) close ups, photography is NOT my strength!! The thing that I am the least happy with is the "menuki" which are just cheap necklace pendants from a jewelry store. Well, since this is at best a characature katana, I guess it's acceptable lol! The part that I am the most pleased with is the geometry of the yokote, that I was able to get it to be an actual bevel, as I was quite concerned about this area. It turned out to be simpler than I thought. The tsuba I also got laser cut from a CAD drawing I did. I then dipped it in oil, and left in the oven on max for an hour, much to the annoyance of the SWMBO!
  9. First ever edged weapon, finished

    Thanks guys, so appreciated!
  10. First ever edged weapon, finished

    Guys, thank you so much for your comments, I have found this forum so incredibly helpful! Vern, I hear you re starting smaller, ideally that's what I should have done. I have another friend who has since asked me to make some knives for him, so I think that will be the next step for me. Getting the blanks laser cut certainly makes the job easier. Grant, I will bite the bullet and try some hard soldering. I am a physics teacher by profession, so I guess I could use a Bunsen burner in the lab to heat up the copper? Is brass an acceptable alternative? I will try to take some better pics, at the moment all I have is my phone. The areas that I think needs the most improvement is the Ito wrap (didn't use hashigami) and the slight waviness of the bevels.
  11. First ever edged weapon, finished

    Some things I learned, which will hopefully improve if I do this again, will be to try to minimize forging scale somehow, as I think that grinding it out kind of left the bevels a bit uneven, whereas they were quite flat I think after drawfiling. The other issue is trying to hand sand hardened steel to get out all the scratches; man what a pain!! I am going to have to think of something more efficient! The sori is also a bit off in shape. The reason for that is because in doing my research, I had read about negative sori toward the kissaki with an oil quench. Hence, I brought the tip up somewhat in my CAD drawing to compensate. Well, the sori didn't change at all, maybe because it wasn't differentially hardened, dunno? I used Buffalo horn for the fuchi and kashira, as I wasn't confident in my brazing skills. The habaki is a piece of plumbing copper pipe, bashed and filed into shape. Thankfully it was about the right size, so I didn't have to join the copper at the seam at the ha side of the habaki. Well, the real reason I am posting all of this is to get good feedback and useful criticism for the next one. Thanks for looking, and any and all comments are very much welcome.
  12. First ever edged weapon, finished

    So firstly, let me say that I in no way claim this to be comparable to an actual katana made by some of you guys that I see here. Nevertheless, for a first effort, having never made so much a knife before, I am well pleased how it turned out. It is made from 6mm en45 steel, which I had laser cut to a profile I drew out on CAD. I then did some rough grinding with a 115mm angle grinder, followed by draw filling. I found the tutorial by Jeffrey Robinson aka Brotherbanzai to be very helpful. If he ever sees this, thanks Jeff!! I did a few normalisation cycles myself, mostly to straighten the steel as it came a bit bent from the supplier. I tried to harden it myself, but I think I may have had insufficient volume of oil, too low temperature or both. Anyway, I sent it to a professional heat treater, and they did a really great job, came back straight as an arrow! I didn't use real ray skin, I just couldn't bear the thought of killing a ray only for its pelt. In the end I used white anti skid tape, and a nice yellow material from a local material shop for the Ito. This sword is actually for a work colleague, who nearly killed himself with a stainless 'wallhangar' which he bought cheap, and went against my advice, tried to chop things with it. The inevitable happened, it snapped and luckily no one was badly injured. So, I thought I would try the challenge of making something acceptable, and at least functional. He hasn't seen it yet, so I hope the new owner will be happy with it!!