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Partial clay quench


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This is a method I picked up from a fuzzy photo on Facebook. When I mailed the guy he gave me more details. What follows is a result of the revelation. Now I know that a lot for makers are after the perfect shiny edge hamon. This is achieved by polishing and not so much by etching. I do not cover polishing in this tutorial. I use 1070 and get the standard Black Hamon. I am satisfied with this result and the method because I can get the same results over and over again.

 

Firstly you will need a steel that will show a Hamon quite clearly. I use 1070 but any of the 10 series steels works well. The lower the carbon content the less viscous your quenching medium should be. For example a water quench will work well for 1050 but may cause cracks in higher carbon steels. I use Lard mixed with transmission oil and get satisfactory results. Now you have your steel either ground or forged to shape (be sure to normalise if forging).

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If you hot stamp your blades now is the time to do it. Be sure the blade is straight after the stamp.

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Next make sure you have your clay on hand to coat your blades. I use Gun Gum but use whatever you are comfortable with.

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Now add small ammounts to the back of the blade. Dont space them too far apart or you will have a hamon with flat peaks. Not too close or the hamon will lack definition.

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Start smearing the clay in straigh thin lines towards the edge leaving about 3-5mm of edge exposed

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Do this until you reach the end of the blade

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The lines of clay should not be more than a few mm high and wide

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Never do just one blade. The more you practice the better you will get.

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Now start warming it in the forge. With Gun Gum you can put it in straight away without waiting for it to dry.

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Because the blade is not fully coated the heat will soak in faster and more evenly. Clay acts as a heat sink and can spoil the definition of a hamon if applied too thick.

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Now as with most forged blade we perform an edge quench. With a full coat of clay one would use a full quench. With this method we only edge quench. The clay will insulate the steel and in stead of a straight temper line we get a wavy one.

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Here we can see the whitened edge which has been hardened and the portions of the blade where the clay protected the steel from the quenching solution.

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Some smaller blades.

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After tempering, final grinding and polishing we have the blade ready for its etch.

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And after the etch we can see a clear hamon with some white pearlite shadows along the temper line.

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Job well done.

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Very cool, I know what I'm going to do for my first hamon! :)

Greg

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I had never considered mixing a clay quench with an edge quench... this is almost enough to break out my old clay bucket and experiment.

 

Thanks for sharing!

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Neat technique and beautiful results.

I have a question about your 2nd and 3rd pictures in this series. Why the vertical coloring on the blades as shown? I only ask because I've always hardened then differentially tempered edge-wise.

 

Nice tutorial, can't wait to try it. Thanks for sharing.

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Interesting clay layout, and a great looking hamon! Thank you for the tutorial, very clear and concise.

 

"Make sure your temperature is correct or no amount of clay will give you definition"...IMO this is like the key to hamon in one sentence. That little remark, and an appropriate shallow-hardening steel, will get you a long way. The clay "suggests" the hamon shape, but will not compensate for over- or under-heating (results of both look similar, a narrow, erratic hamon.)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Neat technique and beautiful results.

I have a question about your 2nd and 3rd pictures in this series. Why the vertical coloring on the blades as shown? I only ask because I've always hardened then differentially tempered edge-wise.

 

Nice tutorial, can't wait to try it. Thanks for sharing.

 

The colouring in the second and third Photos is from where I put the blades into the forge to heat the ricasso in order to hot stamp my logo. This has nothing to do with the process really, just putting my name on the knife.

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Hi Stu

 

Can you tellme where you get your 1070? Does it have an equivalent EN number?

 

Regards

Wayne

Sorry, I only know it as 1070. I get it from the Okapi factory by the coast in SA.

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