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Al, how are you thermally processing the steel? In other words, what normalizing steps are you doing before the quench? How are you quenching (water, oil, etc.)? How are you "using" the vinegar? Are you looking for a western approach or more Japanese? Just FYI, the correct Japanese term is "hamon," not harmon.

 

I'll try to offer some data from my experience, for a western blade--I'm no expert, I expect others will contribute much more than me. After quenching a well-normalized, clay-coated piece in water, I will take it up to 1000 grit wet/dry. After that, things vary, but if I'm using vinegar, here's how I do it:

 

1. Heat a mixture of vinegar (9% strength) and lemon juice in the microwave for ~1 min, enough to get it uncomfortably hot, but not boiling.

2. Use a paper towel (white, no coloring) to swab the heated solution over the whole blade, over and over and over again.

3. Repeat until hair grows on your palms--seriously, though, until the metal turns dark brown/black.

4. Neutralize the acids with Windex (ammonia). Wash with dishwashing soap.

5. Polish with a polishing paste (Simichrome, Flitz, Pikal, etc...)

6. Clean/Degrease with denatured alcohol.

7. May need to repeat steps 2-6 several times--it's a function of your steel, experience, and the steel's treatment. In other words, you have to experiment with the iterations.

8. "Lock-in" the hardening line by polishing with pumice soaked in baking-soda water.

 

Vinegar, by itself, seems to take an eternity over lemon juice to etch the steel. Either one takes "forever" compared to ferric chloride, but ferric is more dangerous overall, and more finicky about concentration.

 

Thanks,

Brian K.

Brian K.

Rogue Amateur and Weekend Hobbyist

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While I cannot say this with absolute certainty, "cooking oil" does not seem to be one's best friend for a complete hamon development. I have never used anything but water, but others have used very high-speed oils (Parks 50, Houghton "K", etc...). Personally, if I were to try an oil, I would try Houghto-Quench K over the Parks...

 

Having said that, what of the other steps mentioned have you tried for getting more detail after quench?

 

Thanks,

Brian K.

Rogue Amateur and Weekend Hobbyist

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Woud fc be a better eching than the vinegar or not.This is the first time I have tryed to do this

so I am asking alot of qwestions. I am trying the sanding from 100 to 1000 and see what I get.

I can see a good hamon right after knock off the clay and temper and at about 400 so I think

I have good hamon it is geting to show up.

Al High

It good to be a knife maker

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If you're seeing some activity around 400 grit, you're probably on the right track. At least with my blades and test pieces, I find that as I progress through the grits, the hardened edge gets a real good mirror polish, but the softer body is not as "clear" of a mirror. At 1000 grit, the actual hardening line does not pop out at you, but in the right light and angles, you can see the difference between hard and soft areas. Etching alone will not make the hamon stand out, there has to be some additional, finer polishing (the pastes, worn 2000 grit wet/dry, etc).

 

The question of ferric versus vinegar is more complex. Both methods work, but yield different final results. Ferric can be much harsher and wipe out fine hamon details. Vinegar may allow more fine details, but end up less robust. As well, certain steels may respond better to one way over another. There's a lot of room and need for personal process experimenting--welcome to the insanity of hamon-chasing! Feel free to post some pics of your progress.

 

Thanks,

Brian K.

Rogue Amateur and Weekend Hobbyist

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I am normalizing 3 times and timpering 3 times I am quenching cooking oil.

I am uesing rutlands clay and I can see the hamon after I ht.

Al High

 

Time ago I have made 2 blades with Hamon in 1070 and I am quenching in cooking oil, works very well and the hamon is clearly visible.

Now, I'm not a big specialist hamon, but this is the result, only a test, because I etch the blade only 2 times in ferric chloride and cleaned with Sidol, a very fine polish paste for brass.

I think the cooking oil work very well, but are not all equal <_<

 

IMG_0068.jpg

CIAO FROM ITALY

 

Marco Di Francesco

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What is the racho fc to water and how long do you do you let it sitin the fc

Al High

 

Hello Al,

 

I'm not sure about the ratio FC / water.

(my FC is delivered in small yellow balls - I put "some" in half an liter...)

 

When your solution is ready you can apply it with a brush and you will see an effect immediately.

The hard steel will turn dark grey...

 

If you remove this black oxide and repeat the FC painting a few times, you will get a visible hamon.

Nitric acid works too...

 

 

fe3cl_01_big.jpg

 

blade_04_big.jpg

Andi B.

 

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www.Zatoichi.de

www.Jogibeer.de

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What is the racho fc to water and how long do you do you let it sitin the fc

Al High

 

 

Unfortunately not remember the racho fc (very dilute), however I have not plunged the blade in FC, i've used a cotton to swab the heated solution on the blade...few seconds.

CIAO FROM ITALY

 

Marco Di Francesco

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