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so i just got done with the grinding. its at 50 grit right now

and thin coated with hercules brand furnace cement.

its overall length is 19.5 inches. im going to wrap it in 28 gauge annealed steel wire and put a little more clay on it to try to anchor it on a bit better.

i forged this one out of a file. which brand im not sure. the logo looked like a deer a bit. if anyone has insight as to what brand it may have been it would be good to know.

but anyway. i need to know what i should quench it in, as this is my first sword. i was thinking vegetable oil.

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Kyle,

 

I know nothing about the brand the file might be. However, regardless of your quench medium, that amount of clay on such a small sword (and especially ashi with that much thermal mass) will most likely give you a very narrow, possibly unacceptable hamon. I would not be surprised at all if it were only a very thin edge that became hardened, especially if you plan to use oil. Now, I am not saying to use water, but you may want to reconsider how far down you are putting your clay toward the edge and how thick it is, especially the ashi. I really try to emphasize with folks how UNIMPORTANT the clay is to hamon formation. Folks really need to learn to create hamon where the clay is merely fine-tuning of the shape and hataraki, not the central focus of their technique to get it to actually form. Hamon of great interest with a lot of internal activities are formed by control of the heat and thermal-cycling of the blade. The clay just helps to form certain structures and is useful in controlling the heat.

 

Also, don't forget to consider how the sori will be affected by either quench medium. With oil, you may have a practically straight blade w/ no sori. However, with water, you might get radical sori with that much curve already in the blade.

 

If I were wanting to play it safe with this particular blade, I would probably adjust a few things and alter my technique a little. I would first add a touch more sori to the blade so that as it straightened in the oil quench, it would retain a little sori for aesthetic reasons. Then I would use just enough clay to form very narrow ashi on the blade and outline the nioi-guchi I was hoping to produce--leaving the clay off the spine and ji. Likely, the thermal mass of the blade with oil (and assuming it is 1095 or W1) will keep the spine/ji from cooling quickly enough to harden, while the thinner edge should harden enough to reasonably form a hamon. I would thermal cycle it for small grain, but on my quench cycle, I would raise it to just past magnetic and give it a moment there to even out. I would be especially careful to get the entire blade up to heat as evenly as possible. Then I would quench in oil. Of course, this is just my humble opinion. Others will have more experience with oil/clay combinations.

 

Good luck, let us know how it works out!

 

Hope that is helpful.

 

Shannon

Edited by J.S. Hill
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Kyle,

 

Extra normalization won't harm the blade, as long as you don't increase your top-temperature at any point.

 

I am not necessarily talking about the exposed area. That is only a part of the equation--especially if you go with a slower quench medium. What I am talking about is the thermal mass of the clay--it is quite possible you have too much thickness in both the ji and especially the ashi--and specifically too much for an oil quench. Oil is slow. Clay retains heat and bleeds it back into the blade, even the portions that have been quenched below the Ms. That heat bleeding back out can retard the Ms, or temper out the hardening altogether. That is why I said I was not pushing you to use water--but you have limited yourself with the clay lay-out. You will only know for sure by heat-treating and checking the blade and deciding to be done or normalize and try again.

 

As far as heat-treating with charcoal, I would only add to my previous advice to use a larger diameter pipe inside the charcoal fire. Stoke the charcoal and get the pipe an even heat. Place your blade inside the pipe--move the pipe over the tuyere if it becomes uneven in heat. Once the entire blade has reached non-magnetic, give it just a moment more and then quench. Otherwise, try what I suggested above, or be more adventurous and see what water will do. Either way, you will only learn your own limitations and results through trial and error.

 

Good luck!

 

Shannon

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Kyle,

 

I don't see too much curvature in the blade currently (sorry Shannon) the tip looks fine. I'd scrape off the clay as is & redo it to around a third of the way down from the spine (it might be an idea to pre-heat the blade to @ 65-70 degrees C in an oven as this helps the clay dry quickly. Make it even on both sides (use a mirror) & make sure it's no thicker on one side than t'other.

Then I'd quench, horizontally in water, just like you're stabbing it (in two three just like a waltz) then out & straight into oil, practice this many times with a stick - out of the forge, into the water two three into the oil nice slow cutty movements, done!

 

I've done many file tantos like this (even a file short sword over 24" in length :o ) & it's rarely failed me (though I've failed many times ;) )

 

 

Good luck.

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the clay is only about 1/16 of an inch thick. do you guys think thats too much? i think im going to go with the water to oil thing as well.

 

If you are going into water, then oil, then 1/16" MAY not be too thick. If this is the case, then I still stand by my suggestion that your ashi are too much and their bunching goes too close to the edge. And I agree w/ Colin that water to oil is a really safe bet. I don't see too much curvature on the blade, but all water might give it too much with its current sori (which is already plentiful to some periods/schools for waki/o-tanto). Also, Colin is correct that the clay must be very even, otherwise you may get undesirable warping (side-to-side). I would go with Colin's suggestion to re-work the clay lay-out.

 

The main point is that you should write down notes about everything and document w/ photos, if possible. Then do whatever you are going to do. Take notes of HOW you did it and the results. Anything undesirable?--try to find the cause. Anything really cool?--try to identify how to replicate it. Then do it again, and again, and again. Each time, only change ONE variable and study the results. Only this way can you find your own voice and methods that work for you and are consistent for you. In the end, your product will be unique and will get you the results you desire more consistently, and you can better predict how to treat new sugata/hamon/and their combinations.

 

Hope this helps. Good Luck!

 

Shannon

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ok so now i need some more help. i quenched it. being impatient i did it in the day. overcast out but still brighter than i should have done it. it must have been hotter on one side of it because the blade took a quarter inch warp to the right. what should i do? should i just normalize again straighten and reclay? or anneal then re normalize and clay or is there some way to remove the warp and be 1000% that it wont break.

the hamon looks nice though.

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ok so now i need some more help. i quenched it. being impatient i did it in the day. overcast out but still brighter than i should have done it. it must have been hotter on one side of it because the blade took a quarter inch warp to the right. what should i do? should i just normalize again straighten and reclay? or anneal then re normalize and clay or is there some way to remove the warp and be 1000% that it wont break.

the hamon looks nice though.

 

Kyle,

 

The BEST way to remove a warp is right after it is quenched, before it has transformed into martensite--it is still soft and noodly at that time and easy to fix. THAT is really tricky, however, because it is all timing and dealing with a lot of excess adrenaline still going on from the quench. You may search for the procedure or PM me if want to know how that is done.

 

If you want to try to salvage the blade with its current hardening, you MUST first go through your tempering cycles. Then, after the last cycle, try gently bending it with a jig while it is still at tempering heat. This can be tough, too, depending on the steel. I would suggest a jig in a vice, ala Mr. Fogg's tutorial.

 

Me personally? If I had a blade w/ a 1/4" warp, I would just heat it back up to dark red, straighten it at heat, re-nomalize, and then re-clay for another go. 1/4" warp is relatively a lot of warp to try to straighten "cold". Especially on a blade of this size.

 

Good luck! BTW, how did you heat-treat it in the coal? Did you make a cave and coke it out? Or did you use a pipe? I used to make a cave when I used coal (which was YEARS ago). I like the idea of the pipe to even out the heat.

 

Let us know how it works out.

 

Shannon

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