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Japanese Blade Thickness


C.Anderson

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Hey guys,

 

I just ordered some steel from Admiral. 1075/1080 in 1/4"x1 1/2"x60". My intent was to upset the blank down to 1" wide by about 5/16"-3/8" thick if possible.

 

So far, this has not been possible =/. I've ended up deciding to beat only one side (the mune side), tuning it up so it isn't a mushroom, and keeping the edge side tuned to 1/4". This may work, as I prefer a quite high shinogi, and the majority of the thickness is in the top 1/4" of the mostly 1" sunobe width. I guess I'll have to see after I finish the sunobe and start to forge the bevels out. I have a sneaking suspicion that there's a better way though...

 

So now I've got two questions:

 

First, can anyone outline any reliable method of upsetting 1/4" blade stock in a more reliable manner? Or, is this something I'm just going to have to learn the hard way lol.

 

Second, what form (and where do you get it?!?!) do you guys without power hammers or presses begin with when you go to forge a nice, thick (5/16" or better finished thickness) Japanese blade? Admiral will sell me 3/8" stock at 1 1/2" wide...for a SUBSTANTIAL price ($85 cut fee plus a minimum order =/)...somehow I think you guys are doing it different than that lol.

 

Anyhow, thanks for all the help. Without this board there's no way I could even consider doing Japanese blades at the level I've succeeded with so far. It's a testament to the helpfullness and willingness to share that is inherent in ALL of the members of this board.

 

Cris

Slow is smooth, smooth is steady, steady is fast, fast is deadly... Erik R.

http://www.facebook.com/scorpionforge
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Admiral will sell me 3/8" stock at 1 1/2" wide...for a SUBSTANTIAL price ($85 cut fee plus a minimum order =/)...

That's why most of the guys here who do Japanese style stuff work from round bars or drill rod. Most people who do katana, and make a living at it, own power hammers. Without a press, or power hammer, you will find it very difficult to upset bar stock on edge. The joke for blacksmiths is that upsetting is... Upsetting! As a general rule, it is easier to make stock smaller than it is to make it larger. For it to work, the force from forging must penetrate deeply enough into the bar to move the metal in the middle instead of just the surface. That is why your edge is mushrooming on you. You can solve the problem by: using a heavier hammer, heating and selectively cooling so that the area you want to upset is hot and other areas are not (not too practical with hardenable steels), using a higher heat, combinations of the above. Unless you have a friend/victim willing to swing an 8 or 10 pound sledgehammer for a while, you are probably better off just getting some larger stock. Aldo Bruno from the forum here had some 3/8" 1095 he was selling a while back, it might be worth contacting him to see if he has any left. You could also contact Don Hanson, he might have some stock the right size for you, that will produce hamon. Another option, but an expensive one, is to contact Ray Kirk. He has a rolling mill and can re-roll stock for you to whatever size you desire.

 

~Bruce~

“All work is empty save when there is love, for work is love made visible.” Kahlil Gibran

"It is easier to fight for one's principles than to live up to them." - Alfred Adler

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That's why most of the guys here who do Japanese style stuff work from round bars or drill rod. Most people who do katana, and make a living at it, own power hammers. Without a press, or power hammer, you will find it very difficult to upset bar stock on edge. The joke for blacksmiths is that upsetting is... Upsetting! As a general rule, it is easier to make stock smaller than it is to make it larger. For it to work, the force from forging must penetrate deeply enough into the bar to move the metal in the middle instead of just the surface. That is why your edge is mushrooming on you. You can solve the problem by: using a heavier hammer, heating and selectively cooling so that the area you want to upset is hot and other areas are not (not too practical with hardenable steels), using a higher heat, combinations of the above. Unless you have a friend/victim willing to swing an 8 or 10 pound sledgehammer for a while, you are probably better off just getting some larger stock. Aldo Bruno from the forum here had some 3/8" 1095 he was selling a while back, it might be worth contacting him to see if he has any left. You could also contact Don Hanson, he might have some stock the right size for you, that will produce hamon. Another option, but an expensive one, is to contact Ray Kirk. He has a rolling mill and can re-roll stock for you to whatever size you desire.

 

~Bruce~

 

Thanks Bruce!

 

I think I'm just going to give it a go with how it's working this time around. Like I said, the top 1/4" is pretty consistent in thickness and just a hair under 3/8". With the high shinogi (ridge line) I prefer, I actually have to forge four bevels...it's just the top ones are pretty narrow (being only 1/4" to 3/8" tops). That should still give me the 1 1/4" blade width I want, with around a 1" edge bevel, and a 1/4" to 3/8" shinogi ji (upper bevel) , while hopefully maintaining full thickness at the ridge. It also will get a bit easier as it goes...considering that the blade will have about 1/8" distal taper, being 1/4" at the yokote.

 

Anyhow, thanks again. I'd guessed I was doing it the best way with the stock I had...but that didn't keep me from hoping there was a better one lol.

 

Cris

Slow is smooth, smooth is steady, steady is fast, fast is deadly... Erik R.

http://www.facebook.com/scorpionforge
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Thanks Bruce!

 

I think I'm just going to give it a go with how it's working this time around. Like I said, the top 1/4" is pretty consistent in thickness and just a hair under 3/8". With the high shinogi (ridge line) I prefer, I actually have to forge four bevels...it's just the top ones are pretty narrow (being only 1/4" to 3/8" tops). That should still give me the 1 1/4" blade width I want, with around a 1" edge bevel, and a 1/4" to 3/8" shinogi ji (upper bevel) , while hopefully maintaining full thickness at the ridge. It also will get a bit easier as it goes...considering that the blade will have about 1/8" distal taper, being 1/4" at the yokote.

 

Anyhow, thanks again. I'd guessed I was doing it the best way with the stock I had...but that didn't keep me from hoping there was a better one lol.

 

Cris

 

 

Dude!

Don't get upset over this. Sorry, couldn't help myself. Stack two pieces and forge weld them together. Now you have half inch stock and can draw it out to the thickness you want.

 

Tony G

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You could get 3/8ths by 1 inch wide and pay half the price of 2 inch wide, since you would be forging it anyway.

Let not the swords of good and free men be reforged into plowshares, but may they rest in a place of honor; ready, well oiled and God willing unused. For if the price of peace becomes licking the boots of tyrants, then "To Arms!" I say, and may the fortunes of war smile upon patriots

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You could get 3/8ths by 1 inch wide and pay half the price of 2 inch wide, since you would be forging it anyway.

 

They won't sell me 3/8"x1" =/. The narrowest width they'll shear steel into bar stock is 4x the thickness. So, the narrowest I could get is 1 1/2". I figured if I was going to do that, I could order it in 2" widths, then either trim off what I need, or pay someone a small fee to run it through a bandsaw to bring it down to 1" widths. But even so...$200 would buy me 24'. Granted it would go a much longer way than 1/4" steel...but that's still pricey.

 

Never know...I may just do it down the road...but if I do, I'll be ordering $500 worth plus...which brings the price/lb down, from what the woman said, substantially.

 

Cris

Slow is smooth, smooth is steady, steady is fast, fast is deadly... Erik R.

http://www.facebook.com/scorpionforge
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