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Carlos Lara

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Carlos Lara last won the day on December 6 2023

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  1. The pattern came out very nice. Going to look good!
  2. Sorry to super zombify this post, but I've been doing some research on this topic. I think there still is a fair bit of confusion, and I think I've sorted it out! First of all, if it's black iron oxide powder, it can either be FeO, or Fe3O4. The Fe3O4 is a known crystal conformation of exactly equal amounts of FeO and Fe2O3, and it is known to be black. So just getting some black "Iron oxide" powder, you don't know which of these two it is. However, none of these substances are reactive in oil, neither is the steel it's being put on, so it doesn't really matter. If it looks black, you can put it on. Doesn't matter if it's "jitekko" or "kanahada." Given this, you can use either for Sashikomi Nugui or Hadori Hamon. On Namikawa Heibei, both "jitekko" and "kanahada" are the same colour, and look identical. Either way, they just darken the jihada. Either of these can be called mill scale, magnetite, hematite, black iron oxide, or what have you. Both magnetite and hematite are black ores. Here's what they actually mean in Japanese: 磁鉄鉱 or Jitekko means "magnet iron ore" (magnetite) 仮名肌 or Kanahada means "letter skin" (pigment used for ink) If it's plain Fe2O3, then it's going to be dark red, they call this akako (赤行, an old word for red). The other red pigment they use for this is Shinsa (辰砂 cinnabar, or mercury sulfide), which is bright red. Wüstite is its own thing, Fe0.95O (usutaito in Japanese, no kanji for it). It crystallizes in the isometric hexoctahedral crystal conformation, so it appears grey. Doesn't appear they use this for Nugui. Of course, you can get mixtures of any and all of the above that will appear different colours, from brown to grey to black. But it doesn't look like they use any brown iron oxide for these kind of things (mixed red and black iron oxide of some kind). It's also worth mentioning that chemically, they aren't the same, but for the purposes of Nugui, I don't think it matters! Update: I thought I should mention, nugui made with kanahada is a finer grade meant for ink, so a bit more expensive. It can be used directly on the blade without scratching, whereas the jitekko should only be used with yoshinogami.
  3. Thanks, mother of pearl is a mterial I'd like to work with some day too, including inlays, so knowing this is helpful. Looking good!
  4. Francis is right. What you can also do is buy standard knife sharpening stones and cut pieces off them with a tile saw. Probably a bit cheaper that way, as Gesswein stones are pretty pricey (I have both!). Gesswein does a low grit progression, but most polishing stones are used to produce a high grit progression. Either way you get a very fine polish, but a progression of low grit stones tends to produce a faceted sort of effect, whereas high grit stones produce an effect that looks smooth. If you look on Jim Kelso's site, you'll see the faceted look, he uses Gesswein stones and a low grit progression. Most traditional Japanese tsuba and such used a high grit progression, which looks smoother. Both can be very nice, and both are a lot of work to pull off! There's no affordable way to get tiny little high grit stones, so you have to cut them off polishing stones yourself. Ford Hallam does the same thing with tagane (they do it a bit faster, but you have to make the tagane!). The most important though if you want it to look right is to not push too hard. Any metal will burnish if you push hard, and that ruins the open grain "japanese" look.
  5. Looks ok to me! Haha, now you just need to spend 100 hours perfecting it with tiny little tagane, and then the rokusho!
  6. That's pretty cool, thanks for sharing!
  7. When you polish with sandpaper, even a rough grit very softly, with enough polishing the soft steel gets a sort of light grey colour/satin texture, whereas the hardened steel is always smoother and brighter. The interface between these two is your true "hamon line." It's not that easy to get it though, so if you're not sure, then I think normalizing and trying again is the way to go. Once you burnish though, as you have a bit, you need to go back to coarse grits again to open up the grain pattern.
  8. Nice forging! I'm not an expert in this, but I do a lot of traditional Japanese polishing, so I'll go from that perspective. You can see some faint traces like a wavy hamon on the tip, and it looks like there are two lines at the base, the line at the bottom of the edge, and a second line which is sort of wavy below that. I would say at least at the base, you probably have a straight or suguha hamon there, the waves being a secondary sort of pattern of softer steel (this happens with a wavy clay pattern, as you used). The hamon dissappears as you approach the tip, so I'd say more polishing there is necessary to see what you've really got. Using really light pressure with sandpaper helps bring out the hamon better, as does longer time with the etch. Again, not an expert, but I think the blade got too hot before the quench. It's a delicate balance, you have to get it through decalescence/recalescence, but you don't want to leave it heating up too long either, or the heat will migrate into the clay. I'll let the real experts comment a bit more though!
  9. Looking good! They say you should file or sand down the bottom of the same with the emperor's node so you don't get a bump there. I did that on mine and it worked great. Maybe yours doesn't but in that one picture it looks like there's a bit of a bump! Otherwise looks great! Polishing 7 coats of urushi isn't a weekend project!
  10. All I can say is wow. Great work! And I thought 70 hours to polish a sword is a long time!
  11. I don't use anything coarser than about 220 on metals, coarser than this I grind with a water stone, or a disc grinder. If you're going through a lot of coarse sandpaper, I'd say you're using the wrong strategy. Even when I use 220, it's for surface treatment, not for shaping. If you have to shape a metal such as a steel knife, you should be using a file. Otherwise, you're wasting time and sandpaper. So if I have to do rough shaping; a grinder, fine shaping; a file, and sandpaper or stones; for surface treatment/polish. If I'm using sandpaper and it's taking forever or I'm wasting a lot of paper, I'll move to a file. If I'm using a file and it's taking forever to remove stock, I'll switch to a grinder, and vice versa if I'm taking too much metal off. Sometimes it takes a while to get used to using a file, and sometimes you have to normalize the piece before filing, but when you get used to it, it works great. Also, it's hard to know what's the best tool at first, grinder, file, or sandpaper, and each have their own skill, but you save time using all three once you get used to them. I feel like that's machining 101.
  12. Both these answers are very helpful, thanks!
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