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Nick Wheeler

powdered abrasive applicator?

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Hey Folks :)

 

 

 

Long time no post.... :wacko:;)

 

 

 

So with all these attempts at creating and bringing out hamon over the last several years, I have accumulated quite a few abrasive powders. Things like pumice, rottenstone, optical abrasives, etc. (of course the usual suspects like Flitz and SemiChrome).

 

One of the things I've never felt like I had a good handle on.... is how to apply these abrasives. I've tried cotton batting, flannel, felt, felt pads, make-up pads, craft paper, notebook paper... many times it's just rubbed back and forth with my thumb. (I screwed the pooch the other day because I had a rusty sliver embedded in my thumb that I didn't know about, but it sure showed up in the form of a deep scratch on the blade!!! :angry: )

 

So how do you guys do it?

 

Thanks guys!!! B):)

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Nick,

 

Generally, with my thumb, like a piece of tsuya. But sometimes I use a piece of scotchbrite pad to back it. I like the idea of a make-up pad--never thought to try that before. Usually I will wet the blade with either light oil or baking soda solution, depending on the stage of polishing, which makes the abrasive clump a bit. On monosteel, I am liking the finish of loose abrasives on the yakiba, w/ jizuya on the ji, most recently. Natural hazuya just seems to still be too scratchy for the ha on monosteel.

 

Thanks,

 

Shannon

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funny... 4F pumice n disposable paper towel or cotton t shirt alway worked for me..

 

rub it... if its not nice, etch again and rub.... sometimes interesting things pop up after doing this for a good while

 

oh.. and i etch with dilute nitric..... jeez, isn't that my answer for just bout everything... :blink:

 

i believe that pumice tip came from Don.... very cool !!!

 

 

the pumice removes the black oxide ... leaves the surface under... and after rubbing awhile, i almost think it removes/erodes some of the softer surface structures on the steel... .. just a guess

 

 

Greg

 

ps... hope others chime in..

 

pss isn't pumice grains right around the same hardness as the hardened steel ????

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I use a horse hair brush. In some other cases I use a natural sponge once I have mixed rottenstone with a fatty medium.

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Thanks for the replies guys.

 

This particular blade I'm working on is giving me fits. There's a lot of activity in it, but getting everything to look just the way I want is a real beeyotch.

 

Don told me several years ago that every blade is different and every one requires something different. The ADD brain in me with an engineering background craves a set of standards for etching/polishing a clay hardened blade, but I guess I have to come to grips with the fact that every single one I've ever done required some experimentation to get it "right."

 

Thanks again guys. :)

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Thanks for the replies guys.

 

This particular blade I'm working on is giving me fits. There's a lot of activity in it, but getting everything to look just the way I want is a real beeyotch.

 

Don told me several years ago that every blade is different and every one requires something different. The ADD brain in me with an engineering background craves a set of standards for etching/polishing a clay hardened blade, but I guess I have to come to grips with the fact that every single one I've ever done required some experimentation to get it "right."

 

Thanks again guys. :)

 

Nick,

 

It is difficult for us scientifically-minded guys when there is not a standard list of actions that lead to a specified result. However, polishing is definitely an art. I have never polished two blades the same way, ever. They always need a different treatment. Sometimes you get to the end of the process and have to go back several steps to try a different approach. Try telling us what you have done, what results you are getting, what you are seeing, and what you want to enhance. Pictures would help, too. I don't mind trying to help you bring out the hataraki. But it might be difficult via internet.

 

Thanks,

 

Shannon

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I should point out that I have only worked in western style blades to this point... but the allure of the hamon has always been stuck in my head so I keep messing with them.

 

My "standard" procedure is to take the blade to 1500 or 2000 grit paper (CLEAN) then start etching with vinegar and dish-soap.

 

Cleaning the resulting oxides off with this blade has been done with Flitz dilluted with oil, 3micron silicon carbide polishing abrasive (in water and also in oil)... and a few other things like pumice and rottenstone.

 

Anyway... it's been etched and polished a bunch of times and this is what it looks like right now.

 

standard.jpg

 

It's getting close, but I wanted something like what I got on this one (maybe I just forgot how I did it three years ago, lol).

 

standard.jpg

 

standard.jpg

 

Thanks guys :)

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Nick ,

that is a nice looking hamon and blade too.biggrin.gifbiggrin.gif

 

I read thru this quick and didn't see leather mentioned as a back up.. If it has , sorry for the repeat.... I use the inside of a piece of leather with some slurry from a belgum stone to give a satin finish. I'm not doing a hamon so maybe it wouldn't be applicable but ... the leather loads up nicely with what ever grit you use... so you would need to use dedicated pieces for each grit ..

 

Dick

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I should point out that I have only worked in western style blades to this point... but the allure of the hamon has always been stuck in my head so I keep messing with them.

 

My "standard" procedure is to take the blade to 1500 or 2000 grit paper (CLEAN) then start etching with vinegar and dish-soap.

 

Cleaning the resulting oxides off with this blade has been done with Flitz dilluted with oil, 3micron silicon carbide polishing abrasive (in water and also in oil)... and a few other things like pumice and rottenstone.

 

Anyway... it's been etched and polished a bunch of times and this is what it looks like right now.

 

standard.jpg

 

It's getting close, but I wanted something like what I got on this one (maybe I just forgot how I did it three years ago, lol).

 

standard.jpg

 

standard.jpg

 

Thanks guys :)

 

 

Nick,

 

What qualities do you like about the older blade's polish that are not in the new blade's polish? The only stark difference I see is the contrast between the ji and yakiba.

 

If all things are equal--that is, if each blade looks exactly how it is represented in the photographs, then the newer polished blade has a superior polish. It is cleaner, has no residual scratches, the habuchi is not withered, and the oxides are all cleaned off, with what looks like an honest representation of the microstructures and hataraki of the hamon. And don't forget about color--the ji has a pleasant, if not somewhat typically bright shade, and the ha is as frosty as one can expect with this type of polish.

 

I am not a huge fan of nugui on monosteel. You REALLY have to be careful and choose a compatible blend, or it will scratch the tarnation out of the fine polish it has taken so long to achieve. However, if it is the stark contrast between the ji and ha that you are looking for, it would not hurt to experiment in the direction of kesho-polishing to achieve this look. BTW, I personally would not bother trying to find hazuya compatible enough for your W2 (or is that 1095?). Be sure to filter your nugui several times for monosteel. I would stick to applying the nugui modestly and evenly, then carefully polishing the yakiba back with your abrasive powder(s) backed by a tiny piece of scotchbrite (or some other pad) to give you the control you will need to NOT get up too far into the nio-guchi.

 

I don't have any photos, but this is something I have been experimenting with and having some success.

 

Hope that helps,

 

Shannon

 

PS--Beautiful blade, BTW. Very admiral hataraki and looks like bo-utsuri???? Good job!

Edited by J.S. Hill

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Thanks Dick- Funny thing about your reply. Before I had seen it (but after my initial post here) I had searched for fine felt polishing pads online and got a site that sells fine elk and cow hide pieces for polishing. I thought, "Hey, I've got some real fine buckskin.... let's see how that works." And it worked GREAT. :D

 

Shannon- Thanks for the detailed response! In all honesty, I need to brush up on my Japanese blade lingo to keep up with you. I'm still hung up on every western smith I know pronouncing hamon as "ha-moan" when Leon and Hiroko Kapp told me it's "ha-mun" LOL :blink:

 

To address your reply... I don't think these pics are real accurate depictions of the blades. Coop's photo of my knife is an AMAZING photo... but not sure how accurately it depicts the hamon itself. Coop will be the first to tell you it's hard to shoot a hamon... and he did that blade while AT the Blade Show in '07.

 

The hamon on both blades are actually quite similar. The Js knife was forged from W1 and this new integral is W2. The problem I'd had with this new blade is that it just didn't quite look "CLEAN" to me. It had sort of a muddy look to it.

 

I spent a good while longer trying different things to polish it, and it now has more of the look I was after.

 

It's not really a tangible thing... it just didn't seem RIGHT.

 

It's a heck of a lot closer now.... hopefully I'll have a picture of the knife to post fairly soon.

 

THANK YOU!!! :)B)

Edited by Nick Wheeler

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Thanks Dick- Funny thing about your reply. Before I had seen it (but after my initial post here) I had searched for fine felt polishing pads online and got a site that sells fine elk and cow hide pieces for polishing. I thought, "Hey, I've got some real fine buckskin.... let's see how that works." And it worked GREAT. :D

 

Shannon- Thanks for the detailed response! In all honesty, I need to brush up on my Japanese blade lingo to keep up with you. I'm still hung up on every western smith I know pronouncing hamon as "ha-moan" when Leon and Hiroko Kapp told me it's "ha-mun" LOL :blink:

 

To address your reply... I don't think these pics are real accurate depictions of the blades. Coop's photo of my knife is an AMAZING photo... but not sure how accurately it depicts the hamon itself. Coop will be the first to tell you it's hard to shoot a hamon... and he did that blade while AT the Blade Show in '07.

 

The hamon on both blades are actually quite similar. The Js knife was forged from W1 and this new integral is W2. The problem I'd had with this new blade is that it just didn't quite look "CLEAN" to me. It had sort of a muddy look to it.

 

I spent a good while longer trying different things to polish it, and it now has more of the look I was after.

 

It's not really a tangible thing... it just didn't seem RIGHT.

 

It's a heck of a lot closer now.... hopefully I'll have a picture of the knife to post fairly soon.

 

THANK YOU!!! :)B)

 

 

Remember, too, Nick, that the purpose of the polish is to show the natural features of the blade in an honest and forthright interpretation. When a Japanese-style blade is polished, the polisher has some limited amount of control that will allow him to accentuate or "push back" certain features so that they are more prominent or less conspicuous. However, the polisher's control over the look of the blade is VERY limited, and EVERY piece will be different. It is possible that you will never get the newer blade to look as "clean", because it may well-be a more diffuse hamon in the first place. If that is just how it is, let it be who it is. Heck, It is possible you will never see two of your own blades exhibit the same hamon / polish combination. There really is that much variation. I have seen BEAUTIFUL examples of nihonto that have a more "diffuse" look to the hamon, a bit more misty, etc. A bad polisher could have done a kesho-polish out of turn for the school and period. You love them and appreciate each individual blade for whom they are.....

 

Is any of this truly tangible? I have a hard time w/ people calling a quench-line a "hamon", whether they used clay or not. Hamon are about control, design, and skill. Your blade exhibits those. Nice hamon. The Kapps had it right--should be "mon" as in the "mon" in "Monday". Not "moan". Have you spoken to Leon Kapp recently? Is he still tinkering on polishing Anthony DiCristofano's blades? Mr. Kapp knows a lot, too. Wealth of knowledge, especially in polishing.

 

So you got the new blade to look "cleaner" in its polish and are more satisfied? What did you do to get it there?

 

Later,

 

Shannon

Edited by J.S. Hill

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Hi again Shannon :)

 

 

I was supposed to get out in the shop but my feet aren't moving me there just yet ;)

 

Unfortunately, I have not spoken with Leon in a good long while. My initial meeting of them was a bit embarrassing actually. I was standing behind my table at the ABS show in Reno with a bowie I had clay hardened and done my best to polish. This small Asian woman with a VERY thick accent, and her husband who was deaf and rather hard to understand... came up to the table and started talking in terms about that blade that were way over my head.

 

They mentioned something about The Craft of the Japanese Sword I smiled and said, "Yes, I have that book and love it."

 

I was so embarrassed about 5 minutes later when it clicked... "These people didn't mention the book because they like it, they mentioned it because they WROTE it!!!" :lol:

 

As a funny sidenote, Hiroko told me to keep up with my western style knives with a Japanese flavor and leave the Japanese style pieces to the experts. ^_^

 

Yoshindo was a demonstrator at the blacksmithing conference here in Washington a couple years ago... but I had JUST started a new job and couldn't get the time off. :angry:

 

As per cleaning up this blade, I just kept at it with the polishing powder from Mager, but I added a little bit of 1000 grit in with the 3 micron and made a paste-ish slurry out of it. I rubbed the dickens out of the blade with this slurry on a piece of craft foam from Wal-Mart glued to a popsicle stick. Japanese tradition meets hoaky red-neck! ;)

 

Then I did the same with the 3micron powder and some Rottenstone.

 

It seemed to be the "magic bullet" as it did almost exactly what I was hoping for.

 

 

 

I'm scared to move onto the next blade that I have clay-hardened and nearly ready for final polish!!! :blink::D

 

Thanks again Shannon :)

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What about borrowing a tool from amateur telescope lens makers?

 

A pitch lap

 

I have not tried this but I thought about pouring a thin layer of pitch on say a denim backing and using maybe a window screen to press a grid into it.

Press your powder into the lap.

Then use it under your thumb.

Anybody ever try this?

 

Sound Like a reasonable idea?

 

Lens makers have to have an flawless and accurate finish.

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