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Brandon Buford

Want to understand Hamons more

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I have read and read the posts on Hamon's. The pictures of your Hamon is amazing.

 

The way I am understanding this process is that you put a clay on the blade in various designs, the clay insulates the blade so that the unclayed portions of the blades will harden faster than the clayed portions when quenched.

 

Is this correct?

 

What is an easier type of metal to practice Hamon's on. What kind of clay do u use.

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I have only tried once, so take this for a grain of salt.

From recommendations, 1095 is easy to work with, which is what I am currently working on.

As clay is concerned, I have also been recommended to Rutland furnace cement.

The combination of the two have produced some spectacular results (by someone who knows more of what they are doing than me), so that is what I am using for the time being. Above having the raw materials, however, is the heat treating skill. That is something that I need to work on, which is likely why the only time I tried to produce a hamon it did not work very well.

Wish I could be more help.

 

John

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Hello Brandon

 

You definitely have a grasp of the basic idea. There are many variables that come into play beyond the basics. Temperature, blade cross section, Steel type, soak time, clay thickness and layout, was the blade normalized/how many times/what temps & quench media are just some of the variables that can come into play.

 

This all sound a little intimidating but the best thing is learn what you can from the forum, then go out get some steel, make some blades, and clayem' up and go for it!

 

 

 

I like W2, W1, Aldo's 1075(WHC) as far as steels go and I just started using Rutlands high temp black fireplace mortar for clay but used satanite for years also.

 

Good luck

Matt

 

PS if you decide to quench in water expect to crack a few, and it's hamon not harmon :)

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Thank you. I just realized that my autocorrect makes Hamon turn into Harmon.

 

Fixed. ;)

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Getting hamons to form can be pretty addicting, fun once you get it to work but always with a random element, I find. I've seen some pretty crazy things done with hamon, and I'm nowhere near the level some of these guys are at it.

 

The best tip I got on it was on this forum; JD Smith asked me, "what makes you think you need clay to make a hamon?" He was absolutely right, get all the other variables in order and you don't need the clay, except to fine-tune the hamon shape a little (create waviness, or whatever).

 

Old files are often pretty OK steel for hamon making...my favorite is old time shear steel, which has none of the elements usually added to modern steel to make it more deep-hardening. In my experience shear tends to form hamon whether you intend them or not!

Edited by Orien M

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So if you edge quench some steel, would that form a hamon? If so, I know that it would be more of a straight line than a random swirly pattern. But is an edge quench line a hamon?

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You can get into a debate as to what a hamon is. Some reserve the term for the pattern caused by clay coating with all the various elements. They consider the "natural" hamon to be a quench line caused by the interplay of the thickness and the depth of hardening of the steel and the line caused by the depth the blade was quenched at the "true" quench line. Remember also that a hamon/quench line is just the visual expression of the transition from martensetic to pearletic steel caused by differential hardening. That transition will be there whether or not you polish and etch the steel to show it. With your deeper hardening steels, such as 5160, 52100, and O1, edge quenching is the only way that I know to perform differential hardening. The benefits of which can be argued until to cows come home, or last bar call. Whichever comes first.

 

Doug

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You can get into a debate as to what a hamon is. Some reserve the term for the pattern caused by clay coating with all the various elements. They consider the "natural" hamon to be a quench line caused by the interplay of the thickness and the depth of hardening of the steel and the line caused by the depth the blade was quenched at the "true" quench line. Remember also that a hamon/quench line is just the visual expression of the transition from martensetic to pearletic steel caused by differential hardening. That transition will be there whether or not you polish and etch the steel to show it. With your deeper hardening steels, such as 5160, 52100, and O1, edge quenching is the only way that I know to perform differential hardening. The benefits of which can be argued until to cows come home, or last bar call. Whichever comes first.

 

Doug

 

 

Makes sense. Thank you.

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So if you edge quench some steel, would that form a hamon? If so, I know that it would be more of a straight line than a random swirly pattern. But is an edge quench line a hamon?

 

no...that would be something that is sometimes r3efered to as a hamon, but in the strict sensse of the word isnt...i would call that a "quench line"...in order for it to be a hamon in the japanese sensse of the word (and i kinda trust them on this subject) clay must be used...

 

also just a few quick things...i second the recomendation for Aldo's w-2...great stuff to work with...i don't suggest 1095 however...i know everyone says it is a great begginer steel, but if hamon's are what you are after, it will leave you feeling frustrated, and wanting more...it loves to crack, and the hamons produced are very dull in comparison to what you can get with other steels...i havent personally worked with it, but Aldo also sells some 1075 that produces some wonderfull hamons...

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i didnt notice Doug already answered the hamon questin while i was responding...he is right about it being debated, but the debate only seems to exist outside of the japanese bladesmithing culture...i personally like like to refer to the word "hamon" when talking about the process that involves clay...and "quench line" when referring to diff hardening without the use of clay via edge quenching...you can get nice pretty designs using both methods, but in my opinion are 2 different things...this is really all symantics though when you get down to it.

Edited by Mike Fegan

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Just to throw a wrench into this topic.

 

Stuart Branson posted a link to a great video of a Japanese smith quenching a sword without clay to get an elusive hamon.

 

here it is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_voOugYgag&feature=player_embedded

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Just to throw a wrench into this topic.

 

Stuart Branson posted a link to a great video of a Japanese smith quenching a sword without clay to get an elusive hamon.

 

here it is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_voOugYgag&feature=player_embedded

 

 

thats called hitatsura (full hardened)...and from my understanding isnt considered a "hamon" because there isnt technically a "hamon"...it can still produce very pretty ptterns, especially on tamhagane, but there is no transition line, nd therefre, no "hamon"...its basically just a bunch of activity from the steel cooling faster or slower in certain spots and from being slightly hotter or cooler in certain spots...

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i guess i should add that some smiths do use clay to get the same look, but it is clayed really randomly with bare spots of steel and such...

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Even though the "anchient" Japanese may have considered that full hardening, I doubt that it is, especially if it is developing a pattern and especially if tamahagane, or other bloomery steel was being use. I just don't think that you can get something that shallow hardening to harden all the way through even with brine. I think that the pattern was primarily created by the sections of the blade that were too thick to cool quickly enough to form martensite in contrast with those sections that were thin enough.

 

Doug

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Even though the "anchient" Japanese may have considered that full hardening, I doubt that it is, especially if it is developing a pattern and especially if tamahagane, or other bloomery steel was being use. I just don't think that you can get something that shallow hardening to harden all the way through even with brine. I think that the pattern was primarily created by the sections of the blade that were too thick to cool quickly enough to form martensite in contrast with those sections that were thin enough.

 

Doug

 

 

yeah, i dnt think all parts fully harden...so you get some pretty patterning...thats just the way they chose to describe that type of heat treat probably because the full surface of the steel is exposed when quenched as oposed to a clayed blade.

Edited by Mike Fegan

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also, i would imagine when a clayed blade has some of the clay pop off or fall off and certain smaller areas stayed on, the outcome would be considered "hitatsura"...

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