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Bobby

Steel Making

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Casey, think like case hardening. Not sure how much actually happens though.

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The straw is not to ad C but to prevent the loss of Carbon. I think!

Very nice Bobby!

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i have a question about the burnt straw method of adding carbon. how does that work? i assume the carbon it adds is pretty uneven, right? if i were to do that to mild steel, like angle iron, would that make it higher carbon after lots of folding to make it uniform? does anyone know other ways of adding carbon to mild steel?

 

edit: also, i see master chen has clay on his tongs. is there a specific reason for that, or is it for better grip?

 

 

the power company here in china decided to cut the power this morning and i was posting away and then no pc ( that is bad ) no lights ( not a problem in the day time ) fridge went off ( tuff but i am a man and can take it ) the ac went out ( whoa that is too tuff to accept. )

 

adding the straw add carbon in steel. i do not know really i am only telling what master chen told me. as to if it will work on normal steel i do not know. you could try it before test the sparks that come off of a rock wheel then add the straw and fold it and heat it. then test it again. Interesting. But remember that he will heat and fold this steel 13 times. Each time you lose carbon. If you heat and fold your steel 13 times without straw what do you have? If add the straw what will you get? I can not even guess. one other thing. the power hammer he uses is 200 kgs 3 times a second. its also a variable so he can adjust the power as it strikes the steel. the head on the hammer is also 5 x 7 so he gets an 5 x 7 billet that is flat. or the place the hammer was struck is 5 x 7. if you use a 50 lb hammer and you got a 1 x 1 square head on the hammer and you beat a piece of steel that is 5 x 7. you will get ups and downs in the billet. if this means anything i do not know. i have used a 50 lb power hammer and it takes a lot of time to fold steel when you compare it to this 200 kg monster master chen has. you can throw some work out with this thing. it hits so hard it shakes the floor 80 feet away. the hammer is also on a 4 inch oak wood pad to protect the floor. to cushion it.

 

i think the basic thing i wanted to say here is he can fold and hammer with this so fast its diffcult to understand. he heats the steel in the forge for 20 minutes lets say and then starts the power hammer and that is folded and hammered in 20 to 30 seconds. if you try to do the same with a small hammer the billet will go cold before you can fold it fast. but all this is just a quess as i have only personaly used a 50 lb hammer

 

as for the clay on the tongs that is an unknown. i think he just got it on the tongs and did not take it off. it has no factor on the steel making process.

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The straw is not to ad C but to prevent the loss of Carbon. I think!

Very nice Bobby!

 

 

maybe i will have to ask master chen. please understand that i am asking in chinese and writing this in american i don't speak english or that is what my cousin in england says. he says i only speak american.

 

i miss some things cause of the translation and some just because my chinese is not the best. but i will endeavor to find the answer and reply.

 

One example of thinking english and speaking chinese is: 'we say when I was a little boy' in chinese you must say: ' I was a little boy when'

 

 

we say : ' in a hour and a half ' we mean 90 minutes from now. But if you say that in chinese it means in 30 minutes from now. So I always just say in chinese: ' 90 minutes later '

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fantastic post

 

 

thanks

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now that the hot dog billet is made. ( note from poster do not try to eat said billet at this point. )

 

master chen will begin to lengthen the billet into the length of a sword about 1.1 meter long

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Edited by Bobby

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Hammer Time! i think that is a song?

 

now that the billet is the legnth that master chen wants he will then use a brass hammer to shape the long piece of steel in to the rough shape of a sword.

 

he will switch to a steel hammer later.

 

he will take brass hammer and heat the sword a little in different places and hammer and sing songs of love to the sword. :rolleyes:

 

i asked him why did he sing to the sword and he said it is singing to me listen to the ring of the hammer and the steel.

 

master chen is old fashioned and maybe he is joking maybe he wants the singing to be apart of the steel.

 

Could this be the reason that some swords will sing when used to strike a person or object?

 

maybe that is another thread story

 

:lol:

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point of interest:

 

notice the coal in the background of the photo. Each piece is selected one by one. he will buy a metric ton of coal at a time and they will choose each piece one by one.

 

master chen has a reason for this action but does not answer my questions on this subject. when i ask a question that he does not want to reply to he will tell me: ' the weather is good today '

 

then i know that is all i am going to get from him on that subject. tongue.gif

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the tip of the sword when the hot bun was formed master chen left a bit of the soft core from reching the end of the billet. this is to keep the soft core well within the center of the sword.

 

now in this photo master chen shapes the tip by eye and hand to cover the soft core with hard high carbon steel.

 

the tip will be hard to pierce the heart of the bad guys with black hats and doors or body armor.

 

the tip is very important and master chen will take a lot of time to form it.

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now comes the grinding of the blade on a handmade water wheel. this machine will turn at about 180 to 200 rpms a minute. it is slow it is so slow you can put your hand on the wheel at full speed and it will not hurt your hand. it will not get hot. it will not burn you.

 

this keeps the steel from being hot

 

master chen says this is very important.

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Great pictures and information. Thanks for sharing.

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these 2 young men will grind this blade in the rough form.

 

master chen is teaching them and they get to do simple tasks and simple work to begin.

 

in japan the students will work for 7 to 10 years and sometimes pay the master to teach them.

 

on a visit to japan master chen and i visited a well known sword maker there and his apprentices were allowed to make hammers in the shop. this lets them learn the manner of the steel. but that is japan and we are in china.

 

master chen still keeps the traditions alive by teaching the students.

 

they will work in rough stages and as they learn they will be appointed more tasks that require more skills.

 

the man on the left has worked for 4 years now and he gets to rough polish swords.

 

the man on the right is much younger. his duties are to sweep take the trash out and now he is learning to polish but he will only be allowed to polish knives that i make.

 

it is an honor to polish and work on swords. knives are not at the same level of prestige as swords.

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Great pictures and information. Thanks for sharing.

 

 

thank you very much. i see you are in GA. that is almost good I am from SC that is better :rolleyes:

 

we will go to the blade show next year i hope you can come and visit us there. master chen loves to go. its a vacation for him and work for me.

 

how did all these country boys get interested in swords and such?

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now that the sword is roughed out master chen will prepare the sword for heat treating.

 

he will begin with sand, clay and charcoal powder.

 

these elements combined will for the protection for the blade in the fire

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applying the clay and the charcoal to the blade.

 

master chen will apply different thicknesses to different parts of the blade.

 

when placed in the fire the clay will keep the steel from being too hot or too cold in the fire.

 

the charcoal will make the steel hotter and will burn in the heat treating process.

 

the next pictures will show this. it is a good picture

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i notice the young man on the right looks like he is about to fall asleep. haha

 

will this be a jian or a katana?

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Wow, thanks for posting. These pictures are amazing. Now I know I'm not the only one who wears sandals in the shop. I haven't figured out how to keep scale from falling on my toes yet.

The clay application and pattern is very interesting.

 

I found the Zu-Ben (zu-ben.com) site recently. Lots of nice work there.

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Excellent thread.

 

Commiserations on losing the AC. Here in Hong Kong it is 32 C with 99% humidity and I worship the AC. Living out in the country, we often get power cuts and it is a really pleasant feeling to ooze with sweat whilst sat on the sofa...

 

I've always wondered what the original paddle which has the broken pieces of tamahagane stacked on it is made from.

Is it made from high carbon tamahagane as I assume in the heating and folding process it must become part of the billet?

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i notice the young man on the right looks like he is about to fall asleep. haha

 

will this be a jian or a katana?

 

 

LOL! his name is Huang I call him xiao boo. you know in the cartoon Yogi Bear and Boo Boo. see i am tall and he is short so i call him xiao boo. like little bear. at first he did not like this name but now its stuck on him. and he will answer to it.

 

he a good kid. i think the picture just caught him with his eyes closed. he works hard and is a good guy

 

xiao in chinese means small or little

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Wow, thanks for posting. These pictures are amazing. Now I know I'm not the only one who wears sandals in the shop. I haven't figured out how to keep scale from falling on my toes yet.

The clay application and pattern is very interesting.

 

I found the Zu-Ben (zu-ben.com) site recently. Lots of nice work there.

 

 

sandals are used in most of the world but not in the west so much and especially when working with steel and fire.

 

i am glad you mentioned the web site www.zu-ben.com. that is an unauthorized web site. it does not represent Zubeng Forge or Master Rich Chen\ChenRongLiang.

 

 

 

 

Please note the spelling: Zu-ben.com and the real spelling of Master Rich Chen's Forge 'Zubeng Forge'

 

There is also other spellings and domain names that are not authorized. Someone has even bought the domain name www.zubeng.com and that is not us. They want to sell it.

 

In Asia Master Chen has 3000 followers of his work and he is well known. So just like the New York Yankees had someone buy the domain name NewYorkYankees.com they were not the real New York Yankees. they are just squatters or whatever the term for domain buyers are called. buying names in the hope to sell to the real owners.

 

even the pictures on that web site zu-ben.com were taken with out permission. i used the camera my self personally and made the photos then posted on the internet. they were taken without our knowledge and with out our consent and posted on zu-ben.com. however this is China and the laws to protect us are there in place but not easily enforced.

 

so friends to be sure you have a real Zubeng Forge knife or sword you must get it from us. That is not to say that there is not real Zubeng knives and swords out on the secondary market.

 

Just beware

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Excellent thread.

 

Commiserations on losing the AC. Here in Hong Kong it is 32 C with 99% humidity and I worship the AC. Living out in the country, we often get power cuts and it is a really pleasant feeling to ooze with sweat whilst sat on the sofa...

 

I've always wondered what the original paddle which has the broken pieces of tamahagane stacked on it is made from.

Is it made from high carbon tamahagane as I assume in the heating and folding process it must become part of the billet?

 

as for the ac going out. i am about 185 miles south of you in HK. its hotter here than in HK unless you take into account you being in the city with all the cars and concert. I am so far south the sun comes in the windows from the north in the summer.

 

My ac stays on 24\7 I keep all the windows and doors closed. I feel it is cleaner since the air in the flat is cleaner than the outside air. Also I don't need to mop or sweep the floors as much with the doors and windows closed. Another side effect is no or almost no 'skeeters' biting me all day and night. All the Chinese say I waste electricity but I consider the room being dirty from the outside air and the trouble of cleaning the whole flat, PC, tables and anything else less trouble than paying for the extra power. Also I have a dog and I don't want the dog to get sick from the heat. I do change the temp from 27c when I am at home to 30c when I go out. The dog can accept 30c and sleep when I am out.

 

RE paddle steel: good question. i will have to ask master chen. i do not know the thickness of the paddle at the point where the pieces are held but it is thin. if the carbon is low or even high the amount there will not be much.

 

i would assume that it is made from a sword that did not make the cut ( no pun intended :) ) but master chen has about a 10% success rate and there is a lot of good steel that has a flaw in it such as a air hole or a split or even just a plain jane hamon. this will not go out of the shop. so he could have used such steel for the paddle.

 

With you being in HK you can take a bus here easy its just 4.5 hours. Why not come down for a day or so. you can take a bus on Friday stay the night and return on Saturday late. you can see what we do here.

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Fire! Fire! Fire!

 

Fire Steel and Charcoal.

 

Here Master Chen will heat treat the blade. His son will attend the fire.

 

I will keep a safe distance from the fire to protect the camera and me!

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Master Chen put the blade into the fire. He judges this fire to be about 1850 F

 

But there is no machines and each part of the fire is a different temperature. Its not easy to make it even through out the 5 or 6 feet length of the charcoal.

 

He does it all by eye and hand and experience. I mean after 500 blades I guess you know when it hot enough.

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Edited by Bobby

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Master Chen is ready to finish the heat treating.

 

I took the pictures of this process and I was fortunate to get the timing as I did.

 

when he removes the blade from the fire you can still see the charcoal lines burning on the blade.

 

he will take it out and look at the color of the steel then he will maybe wait 1 second or a few seconds and then put the blade in the water quench it all at once.

 

He does this from experience.

 

On the second photo you can see the charcoal lines on the blade still burning even out of the fire. On the last photo the lines are still burning as it is put in the water.

 

Rare chance to see this.

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Master Chen takes a look at his work.

 

Notice the blade is curved.

 

Go back and look at the picture before he quenched it and it will be straight. the quenching curved the blade

 

The next photo you can see Master Chen holding the blade with the clay and the charcoal lines still on it.

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