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Andy Davis

1075 Hamon

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I finally went to the shop this afternoon. I had been gone for an extended period due to the newlywed lifestyle and being in school for the summer. However I managed to escape to the shop for some much needed steel.

A quick thanks to everyone who congratulated me and my new wife, we are very happy to be together and she has even gone as far as to let me keep my grinder in the garage instead of her car! Boy did I pick a good one!

Now for the knife.

This is just some plain 1075 from Admiral. This was my first attempt at getting a hamon line. I used chimney mortar for the clay and Parks 50 for the quenchant. It didn't show anything when sanded to 400 grit but when I dunked it for a couple seconds in ferric it popped right off the blade.

I went with some random scrap maple, however once it was clean given the time I invested.

 

How do you normally bring out a hamon in 10XX steel? does it always take ferric?

Next up is a sheath and lanyard, then it will be up for sale in the coming weeks.

David and I have a ton of awesome new projects on the list and will be using every spare minute this summer to work on it. Thanks everyone for their support and kind words!

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Andy

-Mad Dwarf Workshop-

Edited by David D.

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First off, congrats, I hadn't heard you got married.

 

Second, love the knife, the hamon really jumps, and the handle is great. The whole package is schweet. B)

 

Third, I've only done one hamon, but I like the results I got by etching with hot lemon juice in two 15 minute periods. I believe there is a tutorial about it somewhere around here.

 

 

 

 

 

Edit- here it is: http://www.bladesmithsforum.com/index.php?showtopic=19283 Really good tut.

Edited by Stephen Stumbo

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Ferric, lemon juice, hot vinegar, the Japanese use nitric acid ( although they'll deny it) I think just about any acid will bring out a hamon but I find many weaker etches will bring out more details than a quick dip in something stronger. I also find that each type of steel has it's own "sweet spot" as far as method and order you do things. If I was smart I would write down my observations and create reference files for each steel type, but I'm more of a "let's see what happens when I do this" seat of the pants kind of guy. :D

 

 

Matt

 

 

PS heading down the hamon trail is a slippery slope :P

Edited by matt venier

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Matt isn't kidding. It is a painful and frustrating addiction.

 

Nice knife, by the way!

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I tried hot vinegar once, trying to remove scale more than anything else, but saw pitting in a very short time. No more of that for me. Careful.

Brian

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I always dilute my vinegar 2 to 1 after I had pitting issues on my 1st go.

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I've had some issues with pitting when I've soaked the blades in vinegar so now I heat the vinegar up in a pan and brush the blade with it until it turns gray/black with oxides, then clean the gunk off with pikal or pumice or ceramabrite or some fine abrasive that strikes my fancy at that particular time. Then repeat until you don't see any more improvement. Then you cab go to town with any number of things to finish it off.

 

 

Matt

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I've tried a lot of things but I like the look that multiple lemon juice etching cylces brings out on the 10XX series steels. I heat up the juice in the microwave for about a minute, then wipe it on over a period of about 10-15 minutes till you can see plenty of nasty looking oxides build up on the surface. Then clean those off with Simichrome polish (people have used Flitz or Mothers to good effect too, I hear). Repeat as many times as necessary to bring out the detail. I've tried vinegar too, but didn't like the smell :)

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Andy - here is something I wrote in another place on this forum.

 

Congrats again, and be careful, hamons are as addictive as pattern welding.

 

The real answer is Practice!

 

If you go do Don's website and read the notes from his Katana class, there is a bit on polishing. That is one way to do it.

 

Essentially, get the whole blade really, really well-polished to between 1000 and 2500 grit. Then, etch several times in dilute ferric or vinegar or lemon juice with dish soap. After each etch, rub above the habuchi (these terms can't be avoided - the little white line of transition) with 2000 or 2500 grit paper. Your previous polish has been with stones, then paper with HARD backing. Now, you are using SOFT backing on paper (I use my fingers). Rub each pass the same direction, and the entire length of the blade. You should do this entire length thing with every grit above 800 or 1000, so that ALL the scratches run the whole length of the blade and are all parallel.

 

On and below the habuchi - I make a pseudo-finger for this so I don't cut myself, since these blades are wicked sharp at this point. I glue little pads of leather to tongue depressors, and then put FF, FFF, or FFFF pumice on the pad and rub it around over the habuchi and below. Once all oxides are removed, wipe with clean, soft paper towel and then etch again. Repeat between 5 and 12 times.

 

After all of this, you then clean the whole blade, and go over the area above the habuchi with some form of metal polish (Mothers, pikal, flitz, semichrome.). If you use flitz or semichrome, be sure not to let the polish get on or below the habuchi - the purpose of the polish is to get rid of any scratches and to darken the blade as it makes it look smoother. I even mask the habuchi/hamon off with tape sometimes for this step. Just make sure the tape won't stick "too well."

 

 

Now - all of this assumes that you have put the clay on the blade properly, and that you have normalized 3 times prior to adding the clay in the first place, and that you have a really good steel for low hardenability/low alloy, and that you control the heat well during the hardening, and that you quench in water or do the interrupted water into oil (3 secs in water take it out and put immediately into oil).

 

A thin wash of clay over the whole blade, with a thicker covering over the area to be soft, and an even higher line of clay along the habuchi (but thin), and an ashi line of clay everywhere you want the little "drips" to show. Those are called "ashi" in jargon - which I think means "legs" in Japanese.

 

So many factors, all make a difference. Heat control at hardening (which depends somewhat on the type of steel as to what approach is "better" for certain results), grain refinement by normalizing on 3 descending temps before hardening, and alloy are CRUCIAL. Clay placement and polishing HELP.

 

See what I mean - PRACTICE. The good news is that this sort of practice is magical in beauty. I love it. At any time I have 3 or 4 knife blanks that are either being clayed or are hardened with some hamon visible. I just love to look at these. In its own way, it is a beautiful to me as damascus.

 

Hope you don't mind the long answer. Best of luck. I suggest starting with W2, or Aldo's low manganese 1075, after those two come W1 and 1095 (and old nicholson files make a fine little hunter with a hamon). Sadly, all of this is "for me, in my shop, with my tools." Most of it will generalize to you, maybe all. It depends on a lot of stuff about how each of us work.

 

edited to add: one last thing - there are many, many, many people on this forum way better than I am at this, I am still learning. I think everyone is still learning, really. It seems that, people who have been doing this for a much longer time have written the above set of info or their version of it, so often that they don't always put it all out there at once. It must get tiring after 15 years. The best way I know of to get the really skilled "old timers" to work with you is spend a lot of effort and energy learning and demonstrate that you are serious. There is an amazing amount of good info buried in this forum. The normal search tool is not real good. Go to Don's regular website and use the Google tool - it searches his site and the forum, too. This will get way better info than I can give.

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