Jump to content

The merits (or not) of PW steel


Recommended Posts

I am sure this has been discussed no end but I could not find a thread that talked about it. If this has already been hashed to death just direct me to it.

 

The blunt question is-Does patterned welded steel add anything to the functionality of a blade?

 

This is not a question of aesthetics. There can be no argument that well done PW steel can be a joy to behold. After all that is why we make them. We like beautiful blades.

 

All the touches that Gerhard puts in his knife doesn't make it any sharper but holy moly I lust after this thing.

 

230f.jpg

 

No, I am talking about the criteria that makes a knife/sword useful.

 

Wear resistance, toughness, flexibility, sharpness.

 

Why am I asking this question?

Well, for one thing, I have to much time sitting and looking at my half-finished charcoal kiln outstanding in my field in the ice and snow. :angry:

 

More importantly.

I have found myself very attracted to well made W-2 knives/swords with great hamons. I find the plainness of the well polished steel really sets off the active hamon. I am not as impressed with a PW blade with a hamon-seems a little garish to me. Maybe some of the more subtly patterned blades with say 1095 and 1050 are not so "loud". But then I have to ask-what is the point?

 

The subtle patterns that come from processing Tamahagane is another subject altogether.

 

Coming from the Iaido and Kendo sector I really want to concentrate on using blades-More than the Chinese stuff available but not so much "art" swords. I have already had one such potential customer contact me through my website/blog.

 

I think Howard and the Mad Dwarves have shown that modern monosteel blades can perform wonders.

This is not to say I won't make PW blades. But at this point in my life I think a little "focus" is called for here.

 

And finally I think it is great subject to explore. That is why I stuck it here in "The Way" and not in a more technical section of the forum.

 

What do ya'll think :)

Edited by Danocon
Link to post
Share on other sites

Dan,

I really want to comment on this, but I fear my words would not be well received.

 

I think, in the end, we humans are soft and squishy and most anything, including paper..ala paper cuts..can do us fair damage.

Modern steels are a wonder, but they are built upon the past.....I see no reason to limit ones-self to but one time period, style, culture or steel.

Any steel, ancient or modern can be worked to a useful blade......if you have the willingness to learn.

 

As to your life's focus.....specialization is for insects.....and you are not a butterfly dreaming he is a man....so.......play on.

 

Ric

Link to post
Share on other sites

from what i've come to understand, in the mono-steel blades, it's a smooth cutting action on a microscopic scale. whereas the PW has more jagged edges on each of the layers, causing more of a tear, or micro-serations than a straight, smooth cut.

 

but i'd wait for a second opinion to be sure

Link to post
Share on other sites

on the whole i'd say there's no real practical benefit to a patern welded blade versus a modern monosteel blade. indeed, with the possibility of hidden weld flaws and the relative uncertainty of h-t, it could be argued that a pattern welded blade has the potential to be inferior to a well made blade from a good monosteel, but barring a fatal failure, the differences would be tiny.

 

that said, you seem to be mostly talking about high layer japanese style blades, where i'd say there are benifits to folded blades. firstly, there are some hamon features which can be induced far more readily on a high layer blade, and of course it is impossible to mimic ji-hada without folding. i guess in terms of your question the relevance of this depends on whether you consider hamon formation to be a practical consideration, or an aesthetic one...

 

where there is a definite benefit here is that by combining two subtly different alloys, the smith can manipulate the characteristics of the steel produced, much as japanese smiths do with tamahagane. you mentioned 1095/1050 - by combining these steels in varying proportions, you could produce a steel with a carbon content anywhere between the two steels. Howard did some experiments which indicated that after two folds, the carbon content is homogenised through the billet, and that for each welding pass,i think 0.02% carbon is lost. then there are other alloying elements like manganese - i'm not sure whether it can migrate across weld boundaries but at a high enough layer count it should still be evenly enough distributed that by adding a higher manganese steel to a very shallow hardening steel, 1080 to 1095, say, you'd effectively raise the hardenability. for hamon formation, which is all about controlling the hardenability, this is useful.

 

then there is the idea of including wrought iron in a billet - while enough carbon should migrate to make the steel homogenously hardenable, i'd imagine that the structure of the wrought would remain which might toughen up the blade. anyone done any experiments with this?

 

and finally there is the issue of using home made bloomery steel, where the pattern welding is built into the process of trying to make a homogenous steel.

 

 

so, as usual, short answer: no. long answer: it depends...

Link to post
Share on other sites

[

Dan,

I am not able to answer the technical part of the question but my suggestion is relax, take it easy..do not feel pressure to produce. Make it an enjoyable learning by doing experience. PW , Wootz, Shear, Cast Steel an and all that stuff is worth it because it is so interesting and so beautiful..if you can begin to control the looks of the steel by your skills and knowledge ( knowledge only experience can bring to you) you will be very satisfied. Be careful your thread or blog etc. does not drive all your activity or it may deprive you of some pleasure and freedom.

 

Someday I will join you, that was my original plan but I only have enough free time for wootz right now...as I type here, my latest crucible effort is cooking in my wood stove..and I am really sure that this time I have it right (again). I have been not too successful with the homemade crucibles but am not taking on any pressure.

 

Jan

Link to post
Share on other sites

Just making an obsurvation, or two, maybe more, not sure. I have seen up close the swords that Dave and Andy have produced and they are most excellent. They would stand anyone in good stead if they were transported back in time to when they were actual weapons of war. They'd undoubtedly be better than the best blades of the day. Japanese swords were not repeatedly folded and welded to produce ji-hada, that was a by product. The purpose of all that work was to forge lumps of steel of varying content into an homoginous billet. Granted, at least in Europe there were those smiths who did notice that strips of steel and iron welded together did form a pattern and decided to utilize that characteristic to make designs in a blade but it was done mainly to stretch out the "high" carbon steel to make a sword blade. I support this statement by the fact that when large, or at least larger, amounts of good steel could reliably be produced, pattern welding seemed to pretty much fell by the wayside. As stated above each fold and weld gives an opportunity for a defect to form, then there's all that carbon reduction from the high heats that it takes to weld a blade. Then there was a post that I once read where the author stated that he asked a traditional Japanese swordsmith about which was better. The smith stated that monosteel was better than the traditional tamahagane steel. Then there's the fact that "in the day" there weren't the alloys that we have now with their increases strength and wear resistance. Sorry, just rambling-best that I can do at 0215. ^_^

 

Doug Lester

Link to post
Share on other sites

Dan,

some good answers above...

 

I am reading that you are questioning where you are headed... I think all of us take a similar journey.. I think this forum is a double edged sword ( Pun

 

intended)... in that there are so many directions that are shown here.. I find myself thinking "oh that's cool! I gota try that"every time I come here... I have

 

had this problem my whole life.. I got caught up in the larger world of wood working and blacksmithing also . I can't decide what I want to do other than I

 

know I don't like doing the same thing all the time .. And so I follow my heart as to what is striking my fancy today.. I've had gallery owners who have told

me... "you can't do that you have to pick a subject and stay with it " . "If you are known for making sculpture no one is going to respect a knife you make

cause you aren't know for that". But I don't care... this is my life and I'll spend my time I have on this planet doing as I please, thank you.. My ideas are

alway evolving so I try to keep up with them... If you are doing a reproduction you obviously have to follow the original .. I find that to be fun cause it puts

you in the head of the person who made the original .. like being in a time machine.. But making up you own design based on your own likes and dislikes

can be equally satisfying... I think the worst thing is not doing anything cause you can't make up your mind... getting stuck on what you want to do is, for

me when I walk away from it all and think of something else for a while to clear the cobwebs... then usually it is not too long till a song Van Morrison did

comes to mind.

"Precious time is slipping away

you know you're only king for a day

doesn't mater which card you play cause

precious time is slipping away "

 

 

I hope a clear path will come to you in the night as you are sleeping ... and you wake up with a new vision or a revised one from the past..

 

Maybe Cabin Fever?cool.gif

 

Dick

Link to post
Share on other sites

Dan,

I really want to comment on this, but I fear my words would not be well received.

 

I think, in the end, we humans are soft and squishy and most anything, including paper..ala paper cuts..can do us fair damage.

Modern steels are a wonder, but they are built upon the past.....I see no reason to limit ones-self to but one time period, style, culture or steel.

Any steel, ancient or modern can be worked to a useful blade......if you have the willingness to learn.

 

As to your life's focus.....specialization is for insects.....and you are not a butterfly dreaming he is a man....so.......play on.

 

Ric

 

Fantastically well said.

I would say have fun with it,we only get one shot at this thing called life.

As I get older I get less and less willing to take on non essential projects that I dread doing.

I'm mostly a hobbiest so customers requests aren't an issue,if they like it they can have it.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Derek M.

I really got a fever to complete my sword "template" (actually a protype/template I made in 2004)

after seeing "Secrets of the Samurai Sword" documentary.

 

I was doing all the pre-welding machining operations on steel in a factory so the welders could just keep on welding pieces...When I saw where the older Japanese steel-worker stays up 3 days straight to regulate the ancient style steel furnace...It was barely the "Shock" effect intended, rather I envied him!(Link to vid further down).

I used to leave the shop and ride home with my buddy,

and occasionally exclaim,"I love steel work"...Then I'd look over and see his expression, like I was a psycho! :lol:

 

Well Sword-Smithing is the ultimate in steel work.

The sword is sometimes mentioned as "Changing" or "affecting" history.

IMO that's a complete understatement.

The entire "Bronze age", "Iron age" ,"Steel age" were Ushered in/Begin with reference to the sword! (OR Atleast the ax: tool/edge weapon...)

 

As for PW, sure, it was used in the Japanese swords to get a tougher interior rod to absorb shock, with a harder edge surface to maintain sharpness. Still issues.

shows Sharpy(Sp.?) test

(At about 4:52) I'm thinking by changing the lines within the steel, it will in many cases change the angle of impact internally, adding strength. Likewise beating "X" "W" or "V" shapes into the edge while forging should disrupt the lines as well (how much?)...

 

On one hand ,Reminds me of this "Cowboy Action Shooting" where folks dress in era clothes and recreate Cowboy days, when in fact the "Cowboys/Gunslingers" style was to use the most

High-tech gear of their day.

On another hand perhaps it's like learning guitar, and using the acoustic before electric (although that's not the best analogy Hmmm...)

AND WHY are Modern Swords termed "Fantasy" swords when the recreations are the real "Fantasy" versions of past models? (Except the few done entirely "Traditionally")?

when I hear "fantasy sword" I think of stuff with plastic handles/fall apartage if ever taken off-the stupid wall hangers!! :angry:

 

It does show a deal of respect and heritage keeping the tradition alive.

Personnaly I'm more interested in "Product" than the "Process"...some others are opposite I'm sure. I prefer "Organic" food (although it's too pricey) But I certainly would not take it a step further and say it must be farmed by an ox pulling a wood plow because that's authentic, and pay whatever extra cost.

 

Well there are bad PW's out there too, for example the steel must be hardened to highest carbon content, certain grades and alloys should not be combined (But it doesn't stop them from being made/sold).

Oh, BTW in one of the sword documentary parts (linked), they mention the undesireable minerals being pounded welded out along with some of the carbon.

For modern steel it's a known amount, perhaps there's a balance along with the function:

Strength,or vanity, ...

I think some extensive "Sharpy(dang sp.?)" testing is in order! ;)

(hope it's not too bad that, I've Just got to ramble sometimes...stupid online job searching...jerks want resumes for worthless pay jobs UUUUUUUURRRGGGGHHHHHHHH!!! atleast ANY could be steel related, but NO!!! :(:(B)

Edited by Derek M.
Link to post
Share on other sites

I've made exactly one 'proper' Pwelded blade, out of a purchased billet of unknown composition (O1 and ???...might be mild steel). It doesn't hold as good an edge as my mono-steel ones. More research needed!

 

Most modern pwelded blades seem to me to be done "for pretty", rather than "for function"...not that there's anything wrong with pretty.

 

Back in the old days (pre-Bessemer process) smiths had to pattern-weld all the time just to get big enough, refined enough stock. The old shear steel wagon springs I enjoy using are "pattern-welded" in a way (the "pattern" in this case, was probably something like, "stick together enough pieces of blister steel to make a spring"...I've found all sorts of welding variations in these things.) We just don't have the same kinds of material as the smiths of old, so we don't have to do the same kinds of processing to it. I doubt the old timers would have welded so much if they had access to the kinds of steel we have nowadays. My rambling $.02...

 

Dick, I've gotten those exact same kinds of remarks from galleries..."stick to one thing, or no one will be able to figure out what you're doing". To which I say, "Phooey"...;). For me, learning about the processes is the most fun part.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Derek M.

I've made exactly one 'proper' Pwelded blade, out of a purchased billet of unknown composition (O1 and ???...might be mild steel). It doesn't hold as good an edge as my mono-steel ones. More research needed!

 

Most modern pwelded blades seem to me to be done "for pretty", rather than "for function"...not that there's anything wrong with pretty.

 

Back in the old days (pre-Bessemer process) smiths had to pattern-weld all the time just to get big enough, refined enough stock. The old shear steel wagon springs I enjoy using are "pattern-welded" in a way (the "pattern" in this case, was probably something like, "stick together enough pieces of blister steel to make a spring"...I've found all sorts of welding variations in these things.) We just don't have the same kinds of material as the smiths of old, so we don't have to do the same kinds of processing to it. I doubt the old timers would have welded so much if they had access to the kinds of steel we have nowadays. My rambling $.02...

 

Dick, I've gotten those exact same kinds of remarks from galleries..."stick to one thing, or no one will be able to figure out what you're doing". To which I say, "Phooey"...;). For me, learning about the processes is the most fun part.

The thought from this post really is a "can of worms" meditating on it,

But it's a good can o'worms IMO.

I think the state of the modern bladesmith/Swordsman is at a Happy eclectic is all.

 

The Thought came up thinking on the state of modern "Cowboys"...there are those completely traditional reenactors on one hand, while on another It's been alive all along.

They tend to use helicopters for herding, or carry perhaps an AR-15 patroling property rather than repeating Winchester...Yet riding horseback, lasso, denim, similar hats/boots gear and I'm sure they all respect the traditional/antique/authentic gear while being modern living version of the old days.

 

For me the (whichever functional) Sword is a statement, as the antlers of a deer for example (funny the older/more established the whitetail for example, his rack grows back more fancy each year)...

 

Morbid, but I somedays feel I was born too late, perhaps any era before the "duel" was banned would've been nicer.

(The survivor wasn't hauled off for "murder" because it was a duel) etc.

 

Oh, also I forgot I heard somewhere that up to 1/3rd of Samurai type swords were lost in the quench(???) :blink: Guess that's why a blades "birth" is often considered when it raises from the quench.

Well just a couple, another .02 that just hit me, and hopefully it will cheer someone up to think on what I'll call "Happy Eclectic" Knife/Sword state/(way) B) !

EDIT: Anyway, I feel better now I remembered the term "Tactical Sword" :)

Still thinking (as mentioned: "Testing is in order") ;)

Edited by Derek M.
Link to post
Share on other sites

Dan,

I really want to comment on this, but I fear my words would not be well received.

Ric,

 

I think any comments you make would be well received. For it is clear that your intent is to create, enlighten and teach. Not belittle or degrade anyone.

I have in fact spent much time on your site watching your videos, drooling over your available work.

I marvel at your eclectic interests and skills. It is obvious that you have spent a lifetime traveling you own path digging deep into the many mysteries around us.

 

I think, in the end, we humans are soft and squishy and most anything, including paper..ala paper cuts..can do us fair damage.

Modern steels are a wonder, but they are built upon the past....

 

I think this is an important point. As you say there are a myriad of ways to make something that will cut-Us, animals, wood any number of things. Wood, stone, metal and yes even paper can cut us. So why even make a knife that is beautiful let alone go to the extremes of pattern welding, recreating wootz or smelting our own steel. Pushing the limits of the materials and ourselves.

 

I posted this to be a little provocative. For me I know the merits of well-made Pattern welded/Wootz/Tamahagane blades. The biggest value is to the maker. Any knowledge and skill we acquire is a real possession-More so than the chair I am sitting in or the computer I type on.

 

Secondly is to the world at large. Whether you like the term or not we are all artists and any art we create adds to the human experience. Call it what you like but it is imagination and the ability to create that has allowed us to survive and flourish as a species. So it is multiplier effect. We grow as we make and our art inspires other to create or at least appreciate the creations. This is a good thing.

 

And the biggest merit-It is just so darn much fun. :D

 

As to your life's focus.....specialization is for insects.....and you are not a butterfly dreaming he is a man....so.......play on.

 

Ric

 

WooHoo!

 

Well and poetically said. And if you don't mind me saying -well received.

At this point I am not so much interested in specialization but developing a sense of commitment to a destination. The journey has always been important to me. The problem with making the journey paramount is that when it is no longer interesting it is easy to travel down a branching path-leaving multiple destinations unvisited and vistas unseen. My focus now is to actually arrive to where I was headed before taking a different path. :)

 

 

I think the worst thing is not doing anything cause you can't make up your mind... getting stuck on what you want to do is, for me when I walk away from it all and think of something else for a while to clear the cobwebs...

I hope a clear path will come to you in the night as you are sleeping ... and you wake up with a new vision or a revised one from the past..

 

Maybe Cabin Fever?cool.gif

 

Dick

 

 

I agree Dick,

 

Not doing anything is the worst-And for whatever reason I have been there. Going from incredibly driven to unable to do anything. I suppose all of us go through those periods but it is disconcerting nonetheless.

 

And going back to what I said above-this community is a great way to keep the motivation going- creative energy is infectious. And yes as you said, maybe a little overwhelming with all the paths that are shown.

 

Maybe a little cabin fever :blink:

 

A final note:

 

People like Ric or Howard or Louis M. and any of the others who have peeled back and discovered layers upon layers of mysteries have a completely different perspective than those of us who have played around on the surface. Their trail blazing can make our path easier but until we walk it and maybe blaze new trails ourselves we will never understand the magic :)

 

Dan

Link to post
Share on other sites

A final note:

 

People like Ric or Howard or Louis M. and any of the others who have peeled back and discovered layers upon layers of mysteries have a completely different perspective than those of us who have played around on the surface. Their trail blazing can make our path easier but until we walk it and maybe blaze new trails ourselves we will never understand the magic :)

 

Dan

 

 

Now THAT is well said. B)

 

I remember the first time I ever heard of "damascus" steel, along with all the accompanying hype and BS back in the mid 1980s. Then I saw some of the first Case "damascus" pocketknives at a knife shop and thought they were just spectacular, when now I realize they were just crappy random pattern 1095/mild laminates. Over the last 20 years I've gone from being obsessed/impressed with the various modern patterns, including everything from simple ladders to elaborate powder can mosaics, to being unimpressed with any of it unless it's done for a specific aesthetic effect. I can appreciate the skill required, and I certainly understand the HUGE amount of work that goes into the more intricate mosaics, but they don't do it for my inner metalhead, if you know what I mean.

 

I remember well the first cable billet I ever made, followed quickly by some timing chain, all hand-forged in coal with no press or power hammer. I thought I was some kind of god for about six months, it felt so good. :lol: Five years later when I did that four-foot twohanded sword out of 180 layers in a raindrop pattern I felt like it was just a lot of extra work for a sorta cool look, probably because I borrowed Matt Walker's shop to make the billet in with his NICE gas forge, press, air hammer, and industrial grinders. There was no more magic or mystery, it was just an industrial procedure with little to no chance of failure. Lots of hard work, but no magic.

 

In a way, that's why the Fiery Beards began. You just can't make a multicore migration-era pattern welded blade without magic, even if you do use all the modern conveniences. The patterns themselves are simple, just twists and straight laminates, but the feeling I get from successfully doing one of those is so far beyond what I get from anything else it's not even in the same league. I understand some folks feel the same way about hamon. One of these days I may take a few steps down that path, as I know that's another of those things that can't be described, but rather must be experienced to be truly understood.

 

We all have things that speak to us more than others, there's no value judgement in the above paragraphs. I'm not a precision nut myself, but I appreciate those who are. I don't care for torx screws or "tactical" anything, but that doesn't make them a wrong path for someone who loves them. For some reason I'm reminded of JPH once saying he wanted to make a multibar composite pattern-welded katana just to annoy the purists. :lol: It's all good. The only important thing is to find what moves you personally and to pursue that path to its conclusion, if it has one. The best paths never end. B)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Jack of all trades and master of one ..........

The path of steel has many winding side roads that go off of the path and meander back, or stop at a dead end, or road block........

 

The side roads help strengthen the path or sometimes they become the path.

 

In order to have a knowledge of one thing it helps to know others .

 

In answer about damascus......

mono steel is better. It is cheaper , available, predictable and good........

as a material monosteel can make beautiful, elegant, wonderful stuff .

I love nothing better than forge welding it up with cacky wrought iron , to torture it and abuse it and make it mine!!!

Link to post
Share on other sites

I was totally obsessed with pattern welded steel for many years. On a quest, even. I think I did help raise the level of carbon in the medium, over all, and promote a better understanding of what happens and how/why. Much of that information is taken for granted at this point in time. Some of it made me unpopular with some other smiths at the time. In the end it is the customer who benefits most from a better understanding of metallurgy and heat treatment, so it's all good.

 

If it's done well, it (pattern welded steel) can compete with nearly anything for strength, cutting, flexibility, edge holding and the whole package. Many different materials will get you to that same destination. It'll never be better than mono steel in those ways though, and some of them (modern mono steels) can be better.

 

But whatever magic there is in this craft is due to the smith working the steel and the fire and the hammer and himself all to one end. Focused, in the moment. It's best in the spirit of Mushin, mind of no mind. Not thinking, but doing, indeed being the work. That's where the magic lies. Losing one's self to the fire and the process and the work. That's why I play with fire and hammer. It is primordial.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Id like to comment on a few things..I love a nice pattern welded steel, but unless it was born on my anvil it dosnt mean much.That dosnt mean its not beautiful, just dosnt mean much to me personally.Thats just me..I love to forge weld, not just blades but forge welding in general. Chain, rings. Whatever it may be..

Like Alan I forge in coal, the air comes from a hand cranked blower. Lisa uses a gasser and dont get why I like solid fuel forging so much..Its a primal, raw elemental feeling for me..I see my fire as a tool, not a heat source. To be shaped, used and controlled like any tool..

I guess to me its more about what goes into the end product than what comes out of it..If that makes any sense..

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Derek M.

(since it's still the recent post topic),

I found it! It's spelled "Charpy test"(Tried every other possible sp. first :lol: ).

 

HERE in Wikipedia.

Thinking since it states there:

...But a major disadvantage is that all results are only comparative...

 

Seems like a homemade, home workshop version would be quite practical. (since it's "comparative")

Can't see it very well in the pics there, But it's a weight like a big sledge hammer,

Gets drawn back to a varying point on the radius, and releases to smack the sample metal in a vise like aparatus. (Not sure if it's motorized or not, but it wouldn't need to be).

 

The steel is inspected for the grain in the break, what point it breaks or whether it bends.

 

Perhaps a homemade version, a pendulum rod, measured plates for weights, a frame, solid mounted vise to hold the sample or scrap, protractor marks and gravity. B)

Edited by Derek M.
Link to post
Share on other sites

That's what a Charpy impact test is, big weight on a pendulum. The test specifications are available, the apparatus is not terribly complicated. Izod is another impact test.

 

The industry standard tests are all useful comparisons. So is just breaking blades, and rockwell tests.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Derek M.

That's what a Charpy impact test is, big weight on a pendulum. The test specifications are available, the apparatus is not terribly complicated. Izod is another impact test.

 

The industry standard tests are all useful comparisons. So is just breaking blades, and rockwell tests.

The Izod Test looks interesting that it figures the impact absorbed before breakage.

 

Been thinking even a simple version would be a little time consuming,

much more so to try to set it up to specs,

I'm thinking more a comparative shop tool...

well, I remembered seeing various simple home project type high-speed camera information on the web,

Perhaps if a high speed camera vid or digital frame by frame with the camera mounted stationary, and some measurement lines background. Seems like that would give the same information about breakage/ flex, and with some mathematics the energy absorbed could be figured to a known value that way as well. (although it wouldn't be necessary for shop stuff).

Oh, since "Rockwell" was mentioned I looked HERE (Man I'll be a walking wikipedia soon :lol: ) I thought it was a test done by scratching under pressure,

I wonder where knives are sent for testing or...(method)??? (BTW, Interesting they link 8 hardness scales there, Geez)

Thanks. B)

Link to post
Share on other sites

This

 

 

In a way, that's why the Fiery Beards began. You just can't make a multicore migration-era pattern welded blade without magic, even if you do use all the modern conveniences. The patterns themselves are simple, just twists and straight laminates, but the feeling I get from successfully doing one of those is so far beyond what I get from anything else it's not even in the same league. I understand some folks feel the same way about hamon. One of these days I may take a few steps down that path, as I know that's another of those things that can't be described, but rather must be experienced to be truly understood.

 

 

And this

 

But whatever magic there is in this craft is due to the smith working the steel and the fire and the hammer and himself all to one end. Focused, in the moment. It's best in the spirit of Mushin, mind of no mind. Not thinking, but doing, indeed being the work. That's where the magic lies. Losing one's self to the fire and the process and the work. That's why I play with fire and hammer. It is primordial.

 

 

Iluminates exactly what i am talking about here.

People like Ric or Howard or Louis M. and any of the others who have peeled back and discovered layers upon layers of mysteries have a completely different perspective than those of us who have played around on the surface. Their trail blazing can make our path easier but until we walk it and maybe blaze new trails ourselves we will never understand the magic :)

 

And what Howard said about Mushin is the entire heart of the matter-Mind of no mind. As far as I know there is only one way to get to that elusive state. Repetition. Not mindless repetition but mindful repetition. Do it over and over and over again while thinking about what you are doing and why. Altering each repetition-finding the "right" way until it becomes automatic-but not. Each repetition is brand new and perfect. Not perfect in a stale sense but perfect as in the shape of a cloud or a mountain range.

 

All of us have our challenges to overcome and this is one of mine. As soon as I get a glimpse of the mystery it is time to move on to something else. Oh there have been a few times were I stayed the course but they have been few.

 

In the Japanese arts of Kendo and Iaido there are no "belts". There are rankings though. Shodan is the first dan ranking. Equivalent to the first black belt in the belt ranking system.

The word -dan translates to step. Shodan means First Step. Everything you have done to that point now allows you to take your first steps.

 

Whatever it is about the Mind-Body-Spirit connection-mindful repetition works

 

Every time

 

Dan

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...