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Brian Vanspeybroeck

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Everything posted by Brian Vanspeybroeck

  1. Always the dropper tube. Not that any other type is "bad" just that I started using this stuff many years ago, found what works for me, and never experimented after that. I have been inactive as a crafter for some time and unable to connect with my artist inside but that seems to be falling aside and ideas are again flowing. I use the super thin CA glue and after a bit of experimentation in application I find that the effect rivals anything else I have ever used. I'm fondling a tanto made in 2007 potted with super thin CA on the paracord at this minute. It's as good as I left it 5 years ago - tight and beautiful and weatherproof. I have several swords and such done over tha last 15 years or so that use various things. The CA potted ones have held up the best and are functional, durable, beautiful and really appeal. So, as I contemplate re entering the crafting of Japanese style cutlery I have settled on using super thin CA as my potting solution of choice. It works for me. Brian
  2. Having tried lots of different things like epoxy on my handles and ended up sticking with super thin CA (super glue) as my final solution. Try it but remember to use the super thin stuff as it is thinner than water and soaks in instantly and is invisible. It will degrade in the presence of strong solvents like acetone but it works very, very well with paracord and water/blood etc. Used properly it is invisible and the wrap maintains a very natural look - it doesn't get glossy or "wet" looking. This is CA potted paracord with the guts pulled out of the cord to make a flat nylon tape. It looks very natural but it is tough as nails. You might get frosting (A white frost like substance) if you aplly it in high humidity so experiment a bit before using it on an expensive piece that has to go out the door in 3 hours. There is a learning curve to using CA for potting paracord handles but it is worth the effort. Good luck! Brian
  3. I have a little leather case that holds a variety of ceramic rods...triangular, round, square, etc and they are all about 5 inches long or so. I always used them to dress the edges on my swords and they work exceptionally well. The key is to not alter the shape of the cutting edge or establish a bevel trying to make the blade "razor sharp". I always found the diamond sharpeners to be a little coarse for me. Wish I could remember where I got the ceramic rod set...probably at The Woodcraft Shop. Anyway, I recommend the white ceramic rods for edge dressing. Brian
  4. I finished a tachi style blade by Randal Graham back in 2006 that had way over an inch of sori in like a 28" or 29" blade...it looked a little different and was very odd in the swing but cut like a bandit. At first I really thought of it as a kind of cartoon blade but when mounted and finishd it was quite full of character and very effective (albeit extreme) as a weapon or training tool. A lot of how the final product will look depends on the mount and the tsuka length/curvature. This one was not the kind of weapon I would choose to train with but it was very attractive and functional despite a very deep koshi sori that made it look very much like a Koto style tachi. I have books with pictures of tachi and the specs show several blades with sori in excess of 1 1/4" (30+mm) so it is uncommon but not in the realm of disbelief. Brian
  5. I think we are all mostly on the same page. The only additional point I'd like to make is that different steels need different etches to bring up the possibilities. W1 that has been differentially heat treated using clay will give the best view of the various ctrystailine structures using a different final finish/etch than the same steel that has been soaked at a very low austenitizing temperature and then quenched and letting the steel harden only in the areas where it is thin enough to harden...making a hamon without clay. Same steel - different type of hardening routine with different types of structure present in the hard areas. So, they will need to be etched and final finished differently to get the most bang for the buck. This is very subjective and can require years of experimenting to get what we want. I use 5160 and some O1 yet I still want to see as much contrast and "goodies" as I possibly can in the finished blade. To treat it like clay hardened 1050 is silly - it will not work. So, my point is to become open to "jiggling the handle" and maybe doing the etch a couple of times with different acids over higher/lower grit finishes to maximize the results. I have found that my etch over a 400 grit final finish gives a subtle but different effect (on the same blade) than doing the same etch over a 2000 grit final finish. Both are nice but they are different and can be appreciated almost as two completely different blades. I am always cautious of recipes with etching routines. The steel type and alloy, the heat treat, the activities present, and the final finish before the etch (as well as other things/factors) can drastically affect the outcome. Brian
  6. On etching acids...I'll add that there is no doubt that ferric can etch a blade quickly but I have found that different acids bring up different activities differently. On the W1 blades Randal Graham used to make you would ruin the appearance by using ferric...it would eat out some of the more beautiful aspects and leave some of the coolest stuff unseen. On etching, there is no "one size fits all" and I have found even on blades only finished to 220 grit (blades to be used hard or as EDC)and etched more cool stuff comes up with weaker acids than comes out with a very strong etch. Of course, everyone has a vision and if ferric gives you that "look" then you should by all means use ferric. I finally settled on a dilute mixture of acetic, phosphoric, and citric acids in roughly equal proportions and heated to near boiling. The acid is cut with dish soap to increase its wetting ability and reduced in strength with distilled water. On the lines issue I think Don has hit it right on the head - I learned a long time ago to harden after a decent finish was put on the blade with all the scratches going the long way. I finished to 220 grit before hardening as a general practice. Brian
  7. I have had blades shipped to me pierce the shipping boxes no matter how well wrapped or secured with bubble pack or how stout the shipping containers. I have had more than one of the blades I shipped off end up arriving with their points sticking out thru the end of the box. My solution has always been to get a 1/4" board and run a screw thru the mekugi ana with a rubber washer on it into the board and then box the board in a shipping container. If they are polished then they need to be wrapped to protect the finish. This is the only way I have been able to consistently ship long blades without damage to the carrier or the blade. I did sucessfully ship some long blades that had been wrapped in that tool box liners super rubber stuff that they use for pads to open jar lids. It really sticks to the blade and is rubbery enough that if you wrap the blade and then secure it with a tight couple of cable ties it can't slide when the box is dropped on it's nose. Finished swords are always shipped in the saya/scabbard and wrapped in shock absorbent material and then locked in a plastic gun case Secured with cable ties. At one point I was actually including a top of the line Pelican case with every blade I sold and shipped as it was a classy way to protect an expensive investment and provided a lifetime home for it. Brian
  8. Awesome video...thanks for sharing that link as it makes my whole day. Makes me wanna get in the shop and make something. I have seen handmade bonsai shears and scissors that are truely heirloom quality/handforged. It is something we don't see much in the West anymore..people buying handmade specialized tools designed to be used for a lifetime and be precision investments that are passed along for the next generation. Somehow this appeals so much more to me than the stamped out/throw away scissors and tools we commonly see. It's kinda like when I studied swordsmanhip and true, well made/handmade Shinken were so expensive and hard to justify owning when you could buy a cheap factory made blade. Cool stuff. Brian
  9. I use an 18 quart roaster oven as a quench/temper tank. It is about 3/4 full of NitreBlue and it took me about 2 full 20 pound pails of salt to get it filled to this level. Very heavy to move as the salt is fairly dense. The good thing is that 35 - 40 lbs of molten salt has enough mass that once it settles in at temp. it *stays* at temp. Usually less than a 5 degree drift as it cycles over a long hold for austempering. Expensive to fill but it lasts a long time. The lid of the oven has a hole near the middle and I slide a high temp thermometer in there and can monitor my temp. with the whole thing closed up. With new NitreBlue it has a pink color to it in the pail and you have to melt it and then skim the pink scum off the top...so you lose a little volume this way. Also you should have a little extra as there is always drag out and over a period of years you will need to top it off every so often. And like everything else that is granular it seem to shrink in volume as it melts down...I was surprised it took 40 pounds of salt to make the tank 3/4 full but a single 20 lb pail only gave me a like 4 or 5 inches of salt in the tank. You might consider filling the bottom of the tank with something dense (Rocks? Glass Beads?) to get thermal mass and then using less salt. Seems I tried that once for a while and it works just fine...used to temper in hot sand in the roaster oven and that works really well for 10XX as well. Brian
  10. I use Brownell's Nitre Blue as a quenchant and have bought the plastic pails from Brownells to fill my tank. Can't say enough good stuff about it. It is expensive (it was expensive years ago) but it has lasted for many years now so it was really cheap. We are going on 11 years with the same salts in the quench tank. What job are you trying to do? Brian
  11. Sad to hear this. I only met him once but he was so personable and sincere I could not help but like him. I told him my swordsmanship Sensei was Obata Toshishiro and he and I were instant friends. He gave me (as in gratis...free) a video tape of Obata Sensei test cutting with one of his swords. I still have it. Obata Sensei has owned and owns swords of the highest caliber. True Nihonto treasures. But when visiting Sensei's house he always showed us his Hartsfield blade and told us it was the sharpest sword he ever held or used. It was the only sword I ever heard Sensei describe as "Scary Sharp" and I was always impressed. Rest in Peace, Phill. Brian
  12. Sweet stuff, Howard. Folders?? Brian
  13. Try saving the remains of cutting oil and fine polishing paper. I always scoop up the dark oil left over after using 1500 - 2000 grit paper and cutting oil and use it as color/nugui. I save it in a glass vial and use it as a final polish after etching and all that...works as an ultra fine polishing compound and gives some color. For some reson I saved some dark black oil ued to polish some wrought iron and in steels where there is pattern or openish grain it adds a lot of color/contrast if applied to a cotton ball and rubbed like hell on the blade. Brian
  14. So Sweet...awesome. Thanks for sharing the pictures! Brian
  15. Man...that one will look cool black. Nice design for this concept. I used the added vinegar and spray routine very early in my attempts and learned that the vinegar really didn't add a whole lot to the equation. Also, the immersion method gets a lot more even coating of oxide a lot faster than spraying. It's quite the violent reaction and if you soak/rust and the polish and then boil (I'd use the distilled water 'cause that is what I have always used) about 20 minutes you should get black rust. I have found that with some steels it helps to boil more frequently and very early in the process as layers of black rust beneath tend to make the next and othr subsequent layers darker/blacker. If I were you, I'd polish this attempt off and start again fresh with a polished surface and try immersion in the peroxide/salt and *really* get a good layer of red rust the first soak. Then boil it and soak again and get some black under the next layers. This process is very labor and time consuming done correctly...it actually takes me more fussing the get the color than it does for me to make fittings. Also, little changes in proceedure make big changes in the quality of the blacking process. So get yourself a steel plate/blank of the same steel you are going to use and experiment and get your process down pat on a scrap piece of steel before you do the knife. I usually do the finish in one sitting even if that takes 5-8 hours to complete...which it frequently does. Get into a swing and do the rust/polish/boil routine over and over in rapid sucession. Like 3 cycles per hour. I have backtracked online over this issue and simply can't find any reason your not getting the rust to go black. I have had it go very dark red/brown and settle into black after a few cycles but it always turns black for me. I have a small movie I found on my hard drive but I'm having a problem uploading it to my webspace. I'll try and get that setup as it kind of explains things better. Brian
  16. Yeah..O1 wants to go jet black like a MoFo. I like O1 a lot for this "making black blades"... But I have done the black thing mostly on low carbon and A36 and iron fittings. If I think about it I can find a picture of some electrolytic iron fittings done this way. It was a hoot...so wonderful and natural. Pure iron does this very well. Low alloys? Well, we'll solve it if we can. Brian
  17. I have no idea but I suspect that Skip may be on to something...perhaps the chromium in the 5160 is preventing it from going black. I dunno. With low carbon steels or iron it works very well but takes several (translation: *A LOT*) of rust/card/boil cycles to build up a credible amount of rust coating. This is the technique used many years ago to "rust blue" a firearm. You coat the metal with a solution that causes rust (lot of things like acids and salts will work) and hang it where is has lots of moisture and heat. The old firearm guys used a closet with warm wet sponges/cloths and let it rust for hours/days. Then they "carded" the rust. Essentially rubbing off the loose rust and polishing. Then you boil in water (I always used distilled water) until it turns black. Then you do it again...rust/polish/boil until you get a solid black surface which you then oil or wax while warm. I have done some mild steel fittings out of 1018 that were waxed with Renaissance Wax (a very fine microcrystaline wax) right out of the last boil and they had the most beautiful glossy deep black color I have ever seen on steel. But why you are not getting black after boiling I have no idea. Come to think of it I did do a couple knives a few years ago and rust blacked them and they came out looking very nice but I don't remember if they were 5160 or O1. Most likely 5160. Can you relay your exact proceedure and maybe we can collectively find a solution or cause? I'm a very firm believer in finding something that works for me and then bangin' the crap out of it...like a recipe. I always am a big stickler for proceedure and for consistency and only changing one variable at a time if I don't get the desired results. I use hydrogen peroxide and table salt and make a super saturated solution of peroxide and salt by heating the peroxide to boiling and adding salt (in a glass cup in the microwave) until it will dissolve no more salt. Then I put the steel in a plastic (that can take the heat...like a soup bowl) cup and pour boiling (or very hot) solution on the steel until covered. I let it bubble and boil and get all rusted and then remove the piece and scrub it down with a toothbrush (use someone elses toothbrush as the stuff tasts terrible and turns everything orange ) using Barkeepers Friend or some Comet as a scouring powder on the brush. clean it up under running water and then rust it again with fresh, hot peroxide /salt solution. I'll rust and polish it maybe 5 or 6 times and then boil it till black. Then it's back to the peroxide and scrub routine for *a lot* of cycles. You'll know when it's done cause it'll have so much black stuff coating the steel that it'll stop reacting when you pour solution over it. By the way, choji oil mixed with BreakFree CLP makes a great finish and you need a good oiling or the final black will continue to eat the steel for days until it neutralizes itself. But all the rust I ever boiled turned black on me after about 10 minutes. Brian
  18. I have had clients ask me if I could clean off that "ugly stain" on the edges of my differentially hardened 5160 blades. You know...the one with the hamon I have spent 20 years getting to look the way I like them? I have a friend and swordsmanship student who has bought several blades from me as well as had me refinish 2 swords for him. And every time I have handed him one of my pieces he studies it closely, picks it apart, and then tells me "Well, it's not my cup of tea" or maybe "Is this finished?" He has never told me in 20 years that I have done a good job or that he is satisfied and always makes it plain to me that he is doing me a favor buying my "junk" Still, he has given me thousands of dollars over the years and has two of my pieces on display in his living room. Critique is not worth anything if it is unsolicited and from an unqualified source. Listen but don't take it to heart is my advice. Brian
  19. Have you used rice glue and still recommend it? I use rice glue for things that I want to be able to take apart again as it is not very strong at all. I use it in my handles and such when i want to stick two halves together and shape the unit as a whole. Then after final fitting I split the pieces apart again (which is very easy to do) and glue it with "real" glue that is permanent. I like rice glue as a temporary adhesive and it has some permanent uses when the wooden object that has been glued with it will be lacquered/wrapped or reinforced. But all the handles and saya I make for working swordsmen use modern adhesives since rice glue is notorious for giving way under even moderate stress. I have seen older shira saya simply fall apart and most older saya I have seen are usually cracked along their lengths if they have been used to any appreciable degree. Rice glue, IMO/YMMV, is awesome for decorative things but a real working tool needs something stronger and more permanent. It is easy to make and doesn't cause problems with reactions in my use of it. Brian
  20. I'd love to see him buy them both... Just think. When the economy is flush again and Jason is famous those knives will be worth like $1200 apiece! Brian
  21. Yes, in my work I always temper because of the Martensitic component. Any untempered Martensite that forms will be brittle as hell in O1. Even Bainite can be tempered so there is no reason not to temper it at least once, IMO. I think you are right at the hairy edge (at 450f) in your quench of falling over the line and forming all Martensite. As an experiement, raise your quench temp. to like 500f and hold for X amount of time. That should be well above Ms and you should get some conversion to Bainite. I missed your initial post of quench temps...Howard is right on. I now feel that you are quenching too cool and actually Marquenching as your bath is below Ms. The difference of 12-25 degrees in quench bath can make the difference between forming Martensite and Bainite. And as I already observed, making O1 *way* too hard is a lot easier than anything else. Try 500f or even 600f and hold for 1/2 an hour (you get a lot of conversion to Bainite in a small amount of time....total conversion takes a lot of time but it reaches a significant conversion to Bainite in a very short amount of time) and then air cool and temper and see what you have in terms of mechanical properties and hardness. I think you are quenching too cool to get Bainite. If this 500 - 600 quench works out on some test pieces and you get the mechanical properties you seek then you can lower the quench temp/extend the hold times to get more conversion to Bainite and the extended shock resistance and toughness that Bainite brings. But I think first you have to find a higher ballpark figure of quench temp and work down from there. There are a lot of "recipes" for O1 and minor changes in alloy have a drastic effect on Ms as well as conversion times. You won't lose much by raising your quench temp by even 100 degrees...this will assure staying above Ms and the resultant Bainite won't be all *that* much softer in O1. A couple or 4 points tops. I did a number of small knives in thin cross section a few years ago (OK...a lot of years ago now) in O1 and 5160 and destruction tested them. O1 Bainite at 500+ is pretty awesome stuff. I don't remember the exact numbers but I think 500f quench and hold for 4 hours is plenty. Even untempered they were very shock resistant and hard!! I have a love for O1 and recently began making a few knives out of it to do as "staged phase"...which is a phrase Randal Graham coined to describe blades that have been quenched above Ms and allowed to partially convert to Bainite and then cooled below Ms and tempered. A hybrid structure results which is Bainite/Martensite together. I rarely do pure Bainite anymore. But to end my diatribe you can not go far wrong by raising your quench/hold temp even if that means going as high as 600f. Even 600f Bainite held for 2 - 4 hours will be awesome and plenty good for a knife blade of O1 in my experience. Always temper. Austempering can leave a lot of unconverted/retained Austenite. If it converts via time to Martensite it will be untempered and that's bad as you know. I always air cool and then temper at least once to make sure any unconverted Austenite that converts to Martensite after cooling below Ms gets tempered. My personal belief is that even if you hold it for days, not all of the metastable Austenite will convert to Bainite...there will always be some retained Austenite or some conversion to Martensite unless you hold for like 2000 years. IMO Please stay in touch with this. I'd love to see you get what you want in terms of working properties. Brian
  22. Somethings definitely wrong somewhere. I austenitize O1 at 1550 and quench into 475 salt. Hold it for 1/2 an hour (partial conversion to Bainite...) and remove and air cool. Temper at 475 2X for an hour. They end up hard enough to skate a file easily and will bend like the dickens in thin sections like a freakin' spring. They hold an edge beyond reasonable expectations. Are you sure your temperatures are correct? O1 is virtually stupid proof for me. I suspect you are austenitizing way hot and growing grain or something. Or maybe it's not O1. Weird. But it is way possible to get O1 too hard to make a good knife blade. Usually marquenching for me is easy with O1. So long as the quench stays above Ms you should be able to quench it to the quench bath temp and hold for a few minutes (15 - 20) and then air cool to ambient and temper and get really good results. I suspect you are going into your quench too hot or your quecnh is way too cool. My opinions. Brian
  23. Mmmmm....Fat Boy. I love the textured area with the hamon underneath. Very nice! Brian
  24. Hi or low temp salt? I use stainless pots and hot plates for low temp salt as well as roaster ovens combined with reliable/calibrated thermometers. Works good. Hi temp salt for austenitizing is a whole different animal and I don't use hi temp salt. Brian
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