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C.Anderson

First Full Length Katana

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OK, Cris, I don't know where I missed this one at , but this is the first time I have seen this. DAMN IT BOY!!! Man this is turning out freaking great!!!

 

Thanks man!! I'm working my butt off on it lol.

 

See what I meant about the draw filing now?

 

=D

 

Cris

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Well, heat treat was a success (sort of). It quenched fine. Heated to non magnetic, then into 100* water for 3-4 seconds, out and into oil for 15 seconds, out and adjust for straightness...then cool. Once it cooled it went into 350* oil for an hour. Everything seems ok, no cracks or the like. The sori did a wierd thing though. I was positive that right before it went into the temper there was a buttload of sori...it seemed close to 1". Now that it's out...there's .540" =/. No clue why. One thing I'm also mildly concerned about is that the hamon, while visible to an extent, doesn't seem as prominent as my rail clip tanto was at this stage. Again, no idea why. I'm halfway tempted to normalize five more times or so and do the thing over again. This blade was meant to have deep sori, in the 1" range.

 

Anyhow, here's some pictures:

 

DSCF8343.jpg

DSCF8355.jpg

DSCF8357.jpg

DSCF8358.jpg

DSCF8365.jpg

 

So there we are. In the last picture you can see what I think is the rough outline of the hamon...but it's really tough to tell on this thing. It curved, so it must have done something right, but being so vague...I'm not sure I'm satisfied. If I break down the edge more...it won't be able to be heat treated again. That's why I may just go ahead and redo it. I feel like there's more in it than this.

 

Guess we'll see.

 

Cris

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Hey Cris

Looks Great! different steels deal with differentially hardening differently :P say that three time fast. All kidding a side sometimes you can see the hamon grinding at 80 sometimes you have no idea what you have until you etch, which is why I normally grind the scale/junk off and do a test etch just to get an idea what I have. through some ferric at it so you can see the shape of the hamon.

 

Matt

 

PS Remember, water quenching is like a box of chocolates.....except some of the chocolates are filled with C4!

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Very nice Cris! I'm glad it made it through the quench with no problems! Like Matt said above, your hamon may just be hiding, but I do think your sword looks like it needs a bit more sori--that could just be the angle of the sword in the pictures though, because the picture from the tip looks like it has about the right amount. Whatever you end up doing, it will look great, and I'm sure it will perform well, too!

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Thanks guys =).

 

It's just about exactly 1/2" sori. About like a chinese knock off I suppose lol.

 

Matt...I actually took an 80grit stone to the blade flat, and etched with ferric. Nothing. I was bent. So I decided before making up my mind about HTing it again tomorrow...to clean it really well, and soak it in vinegar for a few more hours to remove the scale and see if there was anything more to see. Turns out there was:

 

DSCF8366.jpg

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You can see a vague outline...and I'm positive any decarb is gone. It's just kind of wierd for me considering how 'in your face' the tanto hamon was. You can see particularly in the third picture down that it almost disappears. That was one of the precise spots I checked with the magnet (I checked the machi, just above mid blade, and the tip) for critical...so I know it was hot enough.

 

What I've decided to do is polish out that spot, and the kissaki where the turnback is. Shouldn't take long to get a few spots down to smooth and see if it took. If I have a complete hamon...I'll leave it, sori be damned. If the hamon is incomplete, I'll redo it.

 

Let fate decide eh? =D

 

Cris

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Hey chris, I ran into the exact thing, first real carbon steel blade I made. I think I gave in without investigating... and then started a new blade, gave away the old one. The next one, I didn't think I saw one , I went on and polished it and got to around a 1000 grit... then a magic thing started happening and my eyes opened wide. Once I etched it, I was thoroughly suprised. try to polish the one spot where you think you see and have some lemon juice ready... I'm sure you got it, if you went above non magnetic. I'm no expert, but I have gotten a hamon on the last four blades I have made after a few failures, but I feel confident you got it.

 

Scott

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Chris I would wait and polish some more. I have had several blades look like nothing was there and then when I got about 400 grit out she popped. another thing is out of water into oil. You know my stance on that. But me personally I think you should not temp fate and re heat treat the blade. I mean ifyou got sori then you have a hard edge.

 

Something else to think about, when you quenched did any clay come off right a way? If so the hardening might be higher on the blade. or maybe thru hardened? I have had this happen. So there are some variables in this issue and I think some more investigation would be in order.

 

Other wise I am lovin that blade. And as soon as I have my heat treat forge built and I am photographing it's progress. I am actually making two forges one is a dual, side air blast charcoal forge, yes I knw not western standards but rather japanese in design but with modifications. And the other is a Don Fogg drum forge for heat treating. I have 30 sq feet of insawool being delivered tomorrow. So we will see. I still have to build the hood for the charcoal forge and vent it out side.

 

 

Any how Chris good job and one of these days I will call you.

 

 

PS I do see a hamon on that blade and it is sweet.

Edited by John Smith

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Thanks you two =).

 

While you guys were in here talking about me not redoing it though...I was outside redoing it lol, at which point I found out precisely what I didn't do right before...

 

Heat.

 

I think that I had just enough heat on the edge to harden in those spots shown in the above picture (and trick my crappy magnet), and not enough in the spine. The rest was basically a form of utsuri, as guided by the clay. I could tell something was wrong by the varied hardness of the edge. I found that when doing it properly, and basically soaking the spine to get the edge hot...you generate a phenominal hamon, 1.1" sori, and 1 crack =/. That's right folks...one MEASELY freaking crack lol. To be honest, I think that if I had nailed the heat last night...it wouldn't have cracked. I just messed with it too much and it told me so. Sharply.

 

Anyhow...the crack is 1.5" from the intended machi of 27.5" (yeah, RIGHT at the 26" mark where I originally intended it lol). I'll probably have to shorten it to about 25" or so...maybe 24" in order to make it work, so I know the nakago misses the cracked area. It'll still have nearly an inch of sori though...which I think is pretty cool. Most of the sori was toward the monouchi. I may just chop this bugger down into a wak size, as a match for a future katana, and a daisho set for me =).

 

Anyway, here's the requisite pictures:

 

DSCF8400.jpg

DSCF8406.jpg

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DSCF8409.jpg

 

And the dreaded crack =/:

 

DSCF8414.jpg

 

All in all, I'm very happy. I learned a lesson or two, but they weren't as harsh as they could have been. I'll have something to salvage, and while it isn't a full length katana anymore...it's still very much worth the work I put in. I honestly can't wait to see the hamon on this. I spent a lot of time with the clay this time, making sure both sides were extremely even, as well as putting a small modification into it to make the pattern easier for me to apply. I also spent more time in the application so I could test and idea I have as to what caused the interesting activity in my tanto. Like I said...can't wait to see lol.

 

Overall, I think I'm lucky in that I'm very pleased with the results...but I'll tell you...while it was tempering I was cussing myself for redoing it lol. I felt that ping quite clearly, and the hour wait before I could check it (you know...when you're trying to convince yourself it was something else you felt?) REALLY sucked badly lol =D.

 

She sure is purty with all that sori =).

 

Cris

Edited by C.Anderson

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I am sorry to hear about the dreaded ping. That is some really nice sori. You know what to do differently next time and that in itself is worth the price. I am glad you will still be able to salvage the blade though. I bet it is gonna turn out really nice. I do hope that you post your progress on your next one. It is very informative and educational, not to mention interesting. We out here appreciate the extra time that you take to share your work with us. So are you going to keep working on this one or start on a new one for your customer now? Best of luck to you.

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I am sorry to hear about the dreaded ping. That is some really nice sori. You know what to do differently next time and that in itself is worth the price. I am glad you will still be able to salvage the blade though. I bet it is gonna turn out really nice. I do hope that you post your progress on your next one. It is very informative and educational, not to mention interesting. We out here appreciate the extra time that you take to share your work with us. So are you going to keep working on this one or start on a new one for your customer now? Best of luck to you.

 

Thanks Will, I appreciate it =). I'll probably finish this one out to have something to take to the tai kai in March, but I'll be starting the new one this week also. I've also got some really good short blade ideas...so we'll see what happens I suppose.

 

Anyhow...got some work done tonight. Good and bad results as always of course lol. The good is...it's going to clean up nicely I think. I took 4" total off of it (2" or so past the crack), and was able clear the crack in the process of making that area nakago. The hard parts are FREAKING HARD...but there's some parts of the hamon that concern me a bit...although, if it's screwy this time, it's done lol. I think I'd rather forge a whole other one than mess with this one any more. I do know that I'm building a 55gal drum propane HT forge ala our esteemed forum host before I do another one of these things. Wonder if two 50,000btu weed burners could pull it off? All it needs to reach is 1500* I suppose. I refuse...ABSOLUTELY freaking refuse to HT another long blade in charcoal.

 

Period.

 

Every problem I've had can be traced back to temperature.

 

Period.

 

Anyhow, here's some pictures:

 

DSCF8417a.jpg

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DSCF8423.jpg

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DSCF8432.jpg

 

Haha, if I was of a mind to make a double bladed fantasy katana, now would be the time eh? It'd be nothing to shape up the remainder of the nakago and heat treat it. My luck the %($)$ would probably crack lol. I also seem to have gotten a lot of scale pits on this thing...which was sort of wierd. Guess umpteen heat treat cycles will do that for you. You can also see the area where I'm concerned about the hamon. I believe it's fully there, but it's sure cutting it close. Drum forge..say it with me. D-R-U-M forge.

 

Anyhow that's that. Going to go toss it into the vinegar and see if it'll etch lol.

 

Cris

Edited by C.Anderson

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Very nice recovery on there Cris! That's a wakizashi I'd be glad to use in kata or tameshigiri. I can't wait to see it etched!

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Very nice recovery on there Cris! That's a wakizashi I'd be glad to use in kata or tameshigiri. I can't wait to see it etched!

 

 

Thanks Noah! It's grown on me too. Sort of a higher quality replacement for my poor wakizashi that didn't live through heat treat lol. It's got pretty decent sori for a wakizashi...at .640" (over 5/8") over 23.5". In trimming the mune for flow, that may grow a tiny bit as well. Motokasane (width at the machi) is 1.230", sakikasane (width at the yokote) is .980". Motohaba (thickness at the machi) is .250", and sakihaba is .220". All in all I couldn't ask for better numbers for a beefy yet agile wakizashi or chisa katana. If I can get the geometry I want right, and the edge polished properly it should be a beautiful cutter...performing as well as many katana.

 

Cris

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So, I've run into another problem. The blade didn't really seem to warp out of the quench. In the rush of making sure everything did as it was supposed to, and getting the blade in the temper to arrest the possibility of any more cracks...I was mostly checking for serious warps or kinks in the edge. What this blade did was take a long, even bend to the right across the length of the whole blade, but more centered towards the monouchi. There is a very slight twist as well (right at the apex of the bend), but I think that's a function of the bend and fixing that will take care of the twist. Anyway, the reason I bring this up...is that I've created a jig for my vise out of 2x4's and wedges (to apply pressure to the shinogi ji rather than the shinogi)...and in this jig I've bent the blade EASILY 110% the opposite direction of the existing bend. That's back to true, plus the same amount as the existing bend, plus 10%. No luck. I then let it rest there for two hours. No luck. This thing is literally a spring...which normally I'd think would be a good thing...but in this straightening aspect lol....it's being a real PITA. The edge is still quite thick, which I think is better for the straightening than the thin edge yes? Also, the work was performed at tempering temperatures. Still no dice.

 

Anyhow, any ideas would be appreciated. This is one area where I've little to no experience, as my 13" blade stayed mostly true, and any tweaks were simply carried out.

 

Cris

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The sori did a wierd thing though. I was positive that right before it went into the temper there was a buttload of sori...it seemed close to 1". Now that it's out...there's .540" =/. No clue why.

 

Hello,

has anybody out there an metalurgical explanation why this happens with blades when quenched in oil or water/oil?

I had the same experience with a tanto sized blade and no idea why!

(...I always thought, martensite has a bigger volume as the unhardened steel...)

 

bending.gif

Thanks!

Edited by Andi B.

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Hello,

has anybody out there an metalurgical explanation why this happens with blades when quenched in oil or water/oil?

I had the same experience with a tanto sized blade and no idea why!

(...I always thought, martensite has a bigger volume as the unhardened steel...)

 

bending.gif

Thanks!

 

That's a very nice illustration =). Mine actually relaxed in the temper though, rather than due to the quench. My blade gained substantial sori...almost 3/4" by quenching in water the second time around. The poor sori the first time was due to the edge not hardening fully.

 

As to the reason why sori reduces when quenched in oil (even Parks 50 and other fast oils), and increases in water...I don't think anyone has come up with a solid answer. There are MANY discussions on it though, with some very good information. Just to a search for 'sori', 'oil', and 'water' lol. The metallurgy section has a particularly large amount of information.

 

Cris

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So...I cut the nakago last night. I also thought I had the blade straight, but when I began grinding down the blade flats today...a suspicious curve reared its ugly head.

 

I'd finally had enough.

 

Sooo, I clamped the nakago down into my filing jig, propped the end of the bend up on a 1" wood block, and took a 2x4 and 20oz ball pein to the apex of the bend.

 

About 1 minute later...no more bends. Guess I was just taking it too easy on the thing eh??

 

Anyhow, I did get the blade flats near true before my hand sander motor burned up...leaving me in a really odd state of being somewhat annoyed, yet happy at the same time because the blade's shaping up well lol.

 

Fun stuff. Anyway, here's some pictures:

 

DSCF8439.jpg

DSCF8442.jpg

DSCF8447.jpg

Profile and the side that's mostly finished. Man...I've never been happier with a cracked blade in my life lol. I mean, I've only cracked the one lol...but still =D. Looking at these pictures though...I can't help but think what a great looking full sized blade this would have been!

 

DSCF8448.jpg

DSCF8449.jpg

Straight blade!! Can you believe that was the result of beating the hell out of the thing by placing a 2x4 against the bend, propping the blade...and beating it with a hammer. I still can't.

 

DSCF8450.jpg

DSCF8451.jpg

Edge side. There's a few wobbles...but they'll come out as the blade flats become true, at which point I'll set the niku at a minimal amount and cut in the edge.

 

DSCF8452.jpg

Ahh...sori! 7/16" on such a short blade...with the angled nakago...looks really substantial.

 

Anyway! Like I said, sori's about 7/16", over a 23.5" nagasa. The nakago is 8 7/8", and I'll probably mount it with a 10" tsuka, with a very small diameter tsuba...perhaps only 1/4" larger than the fuchi. I want the blade to look leaner and longer than it is. Hopefully it'll turn out as I'm envisioning. So far it's not too far off at all.

 

More tomorrow...or tonight if my grinder starts working again...or I get a chance to pick up another lol.

 

Cris

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Well, I've got much of one side smooth enough so that I felt an etch might give me a good indication of what I got in the hamon (needed to let the sander cool down anyhow).

 

Man oh man...am I pleased =D. Looks eerily similar to the hamon on a certain tanto I was messing with recently lol!

 

Here's some pictures:

 

DSCF8475.jpg

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And the tanto for comparison at the same stage roughly:

 

DSCF7243.jpg

 

 

Anyhow...I managed to get exactly what I wanted, that same hanging double line I got on the tanto...so I'm content. Next one I'll try something different just to see if I can pull it off. I'd love to be able to create a variation I've had in mind of Howard Clark's razor wire style =). Got a ways to go for that though I think lol.

 

Anyway, back out to it =D.

 

Cris

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Well, I got ALL the foundation grinding/filing in tonight!! All that's left is cutting in the last bit of the edge and smoothing it into the blade...then it's polish city!! The thing weighs exactly 1lb 8oz right now. I figure 10oz - 12oz for habaki, seppa, tsuba, wrapped tsuka, and fuchi/kashira. That puts this thing at 2lb - 2lb 2oz as an estimated finished weight. Right now the balance is right at 6 7/8", and I'm hoping for right at 4" when it's all said and done. It's going to be a REALLY light, fast, and fun litttle blade...and the best part is all the steps during which I could have seriously ruined it are over =D.

 

Anyhow, here's some pictures:

 

DSCF8486.jpg

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Kinda cool that the hamon is plainly visible in a 120 grit grinder polish. You can actually see a hint of it in the second to the last picture. There's still a few minute bobbles in the shinogi, and I'll probably touch them up tomorrow while cutting in the edge. I think I'm also going to chop a 2x4 tomorrow while the edge is still hair thick to make sure the temper's right...then as I said, it's polish/habaki time.

 

Really looking forward to seeing this one finished and mounted.

 

Cris

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dude!! looking good. I like the crispness and the Hamon is Awesome. Great Job. Can't wait to see it polished complete.

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Lookin' good, Cris! I can't wait to see it all polished up and mounted!

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That's a nice blade.

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dude!! looking good. I like the crispness and the Hamon is Awesome. Great Job. Can't wait to see it polished complete.

 

 

Thanks Scott =). The crispness of those lines is a tough thing for me to keep for some reason lol. They're ok now, but in the process of polishing they seem to want to go away.

 

Frustrating to say the least.

 

Lookin' good, Cris! I can't wait to see it all polished up and mounted!

 

Me either =D. I was originally going to mount this one myself...but a good friend of mine that just went full time as a sword mounter is going to do it up for me in trade (particularly since I'd never get it done and ready before March when I need it). We're going to do some fun stuff that's heavily influenced by Brian VanSpeybroeck. Like Brian I've always loved the modern meets traditional approach, so his paracord over dyed (rather than laquered) samegawa over a contemporarily designed yet traditional wood core tsuka, with ultra simple fittings that speak for themselves has always held a high place in my book.

 

Something like this:

 

KatanaHandle1.jpg

 

Only navy instead of purple, and silver instead of brass, with a more contoured tsuka (Brian's got a good bit bigger hands than I do lol, and sizes his mounts accordingly)...and with same somewhat similar to this:

 

FatBoyNecker_F.jpg

 

Going to be a lot of fun when it's done...with function dictating form.

 

 

That's a nice blade.

 

Thanks Mike =). I'm working my but off to keep it that way lol. I kind of look at it like...the blade was always there, it's just my job to bring it out of the steel where it was hiding =D. So apparently the piece of steel I chose was hiding a wakizashi/ko-katana rather than a full length katana lol.

 

Cris

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