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Steven Gillespie

W2 hamon problems?

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Hello everyone,

 

lately, ive been working on a W2 shinogi-Zukuri Wakizashi, but after the first quench, there was no curvature, so i did another normalization ect. only to find again it did the same thing. So now on to my fourth attempt to heat treat it, it did not make a difference -_- , only a very slight curve , but no hamon activity except when its been etched using lemon juice, as its what i have on hand. this has become a very frustrating project being my third japanese styled blade. So, would it come with the fact of clay, temperature, or grain sized? i suspect the clay and temperature cannot cause this as its the same as ive done on the other two with very good, clear results. However i am no expert on this, so please enlighten me on what can be done to fix this and prevent future loops of this problem. :D

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Are you talking about a hamon or a sori? Of the things that you have listed I would suspect problems with grain growth as it would promote depth of hardening which would decrease pearlite formation. Also, how does the thickness of this blade compare with the swords that you have treated successfully? How about length of the blades?

 

Doug

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Are you doing any tests to see if it hardened at all? It probably either hardened all the way through or didn't harden at all. Test the blade with a file. If it cuts, it hardened, if it didn't, heat it up more when you try again. What are you quenching into?

 

-Ethan

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Well, you didn't say, but I would guess you are quenching in oil. A switch to warm (110-129F) water and an interupted quench (in fur seconds, out four seconds, back into the water a bit longer, then temper immediately) would solve the sori and hardening issues. This also comes with the attendant risk of cracking.

 

Everything has an influence. Grain size, clay, temperature, quenchant, blade section geometry, everything. Change one, changes everything else a little bit. I have made more than 500 sword blades, and still get surprised sometimes. Chin up, and carry on. Make another one (or several).

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Well, you didn't say, but I would guess you are quenching in oil. A switch to warm (110-129F) water and an interupted quench (in fur seconds, out four seconds, back into the water a bit longer, then temper immediately) would solve the sori and hardening issues. This also comes with the attendant risk of cracking.

 

Everything has an influence. Grain size, clay, temperature, quenchant, blade section geometry, everything. Change one, changes everything else a little bit. I have made more than 500 sword blades, and still get surprised sometimes. Chin up, and carry on. Make another one (or several).

The hardening was successfull every attempt, I do use straight water at air temp usually about 70 degrees I would say for the blade I try to keep it around a below a dull orange and a bright red soaking it for about 2 minutes. As for the clay im using rutlands furnace cement. Ive tried both the grey and the black, maybe the clay has something to do with it. Also the cross section and overall dimensions are fairly close to the last two(around a little over 1/4 inch taper to just under 1/4 inch) other than the slight taper that should be there that wasnt in the last two blades. It may be grain size reduction but I would have no way to tell without breaking the blade. I'd really hate to toss the blade since its not broken or cracked, just stubborn, or I'm just doing it all wrong. :D

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W2 can have a fine coating of decarb on it that will disrupt the ability of the etchant (no matter what type you use) from getting the differential hardness to show up.

 

I have had this happen before and went through the same process & found that each time it only got worse & eventually the etchant just did not seem like the blade had hardened at all, but was fine...so it was a surface problem of fine coating of carbon that basically looks white just like the steel.

 

I talked to my mentor about it and he concurred that this has happened to him before in W2. I did a post about W1 where I had a similar problem .....but there is mroe to learn, so if anyone can chime in and share I too would be interested in hearing what your experiences are & what solutions may there be beyond sanding/grinding like crazy post HT.

 

-DON:)

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thats the thing.. there is no decarb as i did not hit that point for the steel to decarb and the thin wash of clay i used also prevents decarb and scale. i also ground the blade a tiny bit to remove the "skin" that could have been there, right now my culprit is too fine of grain, however ill be doing small tanto to try again.

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I would think that the problem would be too course grain that caused the blade to harden all the way through. To have problems with too fine of grain you would have to get things to where the blade would only harden at the very edge of the blade or only forming a hard edge at the corners of the billet. If the blade hardens, especially at the spine, too fine of a grain would not be your problem.

 

Doug

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Its been quenched and normalized four different times, and its differentally harden consistently, however not well enough to show a hamon, the grain cannot be coarse as the vanadium in W2 prevents that from occurring, so it brings me back to a problem with the clay, or too fine of a grain. i will be re attempting without a thin wash of clay after it has been normalized again, maybe soaking at a higher heat to reset the grains to see if the grain is a problem, but re-thinking back i believe that the rutlands furnace cement may have been too coarse to get a very fine wash like i have been able to with the satanite i used on my last successful two blades.W2 is not a steel im all that familiar with as i normally work with 1095 and 1075 which have to be treated slightly different to get a good hamon. So its a trial and error process right now to see what works for me, and hopefully ill have my water stones by then too. :D

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I believe that even though vanadium will cause a drag of crystal enlargement, it will not entirely prevent it. Too much heat for too long a period of time for a given alloy and you will still get grain growth. Of course, this will depend on the amount of vanadium present but remember that W2 is still a shallow hardening steel so it won't have nearly as much vanadium as a high speed tool steel.

 

May I make a suggestion that you look up Kevin Cashen's email address, find one of his posts and click on his name and it should come up, and ask him. He's one of the few makers who does microscopic examination of the steel that he uses and he is very well versed on steel metallurgy, much more so than the average knife maker. I've corresponded with him and he's good about getting back to people, especially when he sees that they are really trying to learn. Just remember that he has a life and doesn't hang out on his computer all day. He's a great guy who is well respected but he does have orders to fill. As a matter of fact, he did a great presentation on hamons this past weekend up in Troy, Ohio.

 

Doug

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yes im aware its shallow hardeneing and it doesnt completely prevent it, but it require a fairly long soak for the grain enlargement to occur, and i dont keep them soaking long enough for that to happen other than forging, but not for long. i appreciate the advice, but ill try some experiment to see that it does, like i said, it may be the furnace cement preventing the hamon to develop since it is more coarse than satanite. so i will try this before i bug him about an issue that i may be able to correct. but like howard said there are many factors that occur when clay coating a blade, i also notice that alot of makers in videos ive watched run thier forges hotter than was running mine to heat treat, so it may be that the entire section is not fully up to heat like under the clay, but its just one of the many factor that can easily be fixed.

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In your first post you said their was no hamon unless etched with acid. If it is showing up with acid, then it is there. I wouldn't really worry about the sori, and if the hamon is in a pattern you like go ahead and polish. If not try again, but you will only get so many tries before it cracks.

 

I have had mixed results with the furnace cement, personally I think it insulates to well, but if you apply it carefully and let it dry it can give some pretty nice results.

 

The grain size will get big with W-2 just like anything else, so always normalize x3. Last thing I want to mention is your forge temp. I would recommend keeping it as close to critical temperature as possible. This will bring the blade up to temp much more evenly and reduce the risk of cracking it. With a longer blade it may require a little hotter forge just because one part of the blade is cooling while the other is heating, but typically you want to keep it as low as possible.

 

A while back the monthly topic on the ABS forum was about hamons. Several very good smiths went into quite a bit of detail about their techniques, if you are interested here is a link My link

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if the hamon shows up with etching, i don't get what the problem is - etching is how you get the hamon to show in a monosteel blade... what are you expecting to happen?

Edited by jake cleland

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it does indeed show up, but very light, very hard to see, even at a full polish. ive polished the blade every time with no hamon to show even after etching and it barely showing, using different techniques to bring it out, it just disappears. ive not had this problem with any other blade, so im not sure how to approach it, as this is also my first try with W2 with all my other blades being in W1 and 1075 and 52100.i also let the furnce cement dry and then cure it in an oven so it doesnt swell and so the oven is warm for tempering.tomorrow i will attempt to reset the grain and then normalize the blade and re-quench. Hopefully it works, if not and the blade snaps then i guess ill have a tanto, or more forging practice.

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Thank you for the link btw. I just read it, and shined a new light on my approach, i may be adding too much clay over the entire blade, and going past the temerature that W2 likes to show the hamon best. It is my fist attempt with W2, so my spproach is comming from using W1 and 1075 which work differently enough in the quench to mess it all up. I will attempt my 5th quench on this blade tomorrow, and hopefully it will work. Also, thank you all for helping me, as hard headed as i am, to understand this problem. :)

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If you put rutlands on the part you want to harden, it won't. You need only a very thin coat to insulate the part of the blade where you don't want hardening.

The first few times I quenched W2 I did the same thing, too much clay, and a thin wash on the whole blade like the Japanese smiths sometimes do.

It might work for 1075, but with Rutland's on W2, the hamon is going to show up almost exactly how you paint the clay on.

With Rutlands, I mix in some water until it has the consistency a bit thinner than creamy peanut butter. I spread it down the blade just on the back 1/3 or so about 4-5mm thick or about 1/16th inch I'd guess. It's just enough to keep the water from drawing heat off of the steel. Eventually the water penetrates the clay, but it's too late to harden. The edge has to be clean of clay. Rutland's thinned a little makes for nice fine ashi too.

 

I think it was Howard Clark who pointed out that I was using too much clay. Thanks Howard!

Edited by Brian Madigan

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Couple of things could be giving you problems. First off, the quench could be too slow. Water into oil will solve this or, if the risk is too much going into water, get some Parks 50. Second, you need to let W2 soak at temperature a bit before hardening. Get it up to temp. and harden immediately and it either will not harden or will only partialy harden. As quenched W2 will be screaming hard. If your file bites and keeps on biting a bit - it is too soft. Try again and soak it longer, especially if you are quenching from the low end of austenitic, the lower your temperature the longer it will need to soak to become completely austenitized.

 

~Bruce~

 

 

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