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First Successful Hamon!!!!! Milestone for me


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So I've been working on trying to create a finished Tanto inspired blade since last year and have been hitting walls along the way. I've cracked numerous blades now in water, I think 5 or 6 now... :( Using both 1075 and 1095

 

Tonight i finally was able to produce a Japanese inspired blade i will be able to finish!!!!

 

There are no cracks or warps in the blade at all....I was amazed! and the hamon came out pretty good, the tip and near the tang became a bit to shallow but im still a happy camper!

 

The photos are of the rough grinding after forging the blade, It being clayed, and finally hardened with a quick etch to see how my hamon came out. i know the pics aren't awesome but i tried, lol

 

Hope you guys enjoy this as much as i am right now

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congrats on the hamon! it will be a pretty little blade once shes fully polished up. :D what kind of clay did you use? and what kind of anvil is that? :huh: looks like a nimba but it doesnt have a pritchell in the horn.

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Thanks guys.

 

I used satanite with a teaspoon of powdered charcoal added to the wash and thicker slurry. The anvil is a 100LB TFS double horn on 200lb cemented stand and the pritchel hole is covered by the blade, lol :)

Edited by Michael Asquino
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Yellow poplar saya and Tsuka, Copper habaki with brass seppas, copper kashira & Fuchi, black deer skin Ito, Mild steel Spacer Tsuba

 

As far as saya details probably going to make it glossy black Laq.

 

Going to make this real simple and practical... I dont wanna go all out on my first one, lol :)

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Great. Now comes the hard part. polishing it. You will need to learn and play with different etchants (I suggest slower ones like vinegar or lemon juice), and different abrasives and polishes. I suggest polishing the whole thing up to 2000 grit. Then, etching several times in vinegar. You can leave the blade in vinegar for 2-6 hours, won't hurt. Take it out, rub oxides off above the hamon either with Mother's Mag and aluminum polish or just worn 2000 grit or so paper. Some blades Mother's is best, others paper is best. I don't know why.

 

Below the hamon and especially at the transition, use FF pumice, dry. You can feel where it bites, and you should rub the hell out of those spots to emphasize the activity there. Make certain not to let the mother's touch the hamon. If it does, you can revive the hamon with another etch and a good rub with pumice.

 

Some people use loose abrasives over the whole thing after this. I don't. Others use loose abrasives over the whole thing and skip the pumice step but work the hamon area more with the abrasive. You will find your own set of techniques. It takes a serious commitment to doing everything just right to get a hamon truly polished and showing. And of course, this hybrid method is best for modern steels. The real patience comes with water stones. I don't have those, so I can't help you there.

 

You will be amazed at how lively a hamon can look in person when you follow these basic steps. It is hauntingly beautiful. It is also something that will pull you even farther into bladesmithing.

 

great work.

Kevin

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Thanks a lot Kevin, I have a full set of Wet/dry Sandpaper ranging from 50 to 2000 grit and also have Fritz Polish.. that first etch was a 1 - 4 ferric chloride water solution for 25 min.

 

Right now the grind is at 80 grit from a quick run on my belt sander.. should i take it back to 50 and start going up the ranges to 2000?

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you will be amazed at the difference that vinegar makes compared to ferric. It is shocking.

kc

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Ill second that! But it also depends on preference too. Some like a darken the darkend and frosty and some others like a bright and frosty or even just a simple polish to show the detail.you can also use warm lemon juice in replace of vinegar.

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Nice! I have a stock removal tanto made from 1080 that I got as far as normalization. Still waiting heat treat.

 

While not meaning to hijack, I'm curious as to thoughts ion satenite as a yake tsuchi (clay for yake ire)?

 

I had limited success with a small test kiri-dasi and the satenite, but received advice from a knowledgeable member on another board indicating use of satenite is a "common mistake", and that it's far better to make your own using 1/3 each of lump charcoal, bentonite clay (cat litter), and fine sand. I bought some silica sand that was very fine, but even after grinding in a spice grinder followed by a mortar/pestle, the mixture seems too coarse.

 

My mix seems too sandy, perhaps because I used 1/3rd based on volume not mass (as I was told to do).

 

I note that OP added charcoal to his satenite, and understand this burns out in heat treat to leave air pockets for better insulation or such.

 

Any thoughts or suggestions here?

 

Regards

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take a look at the hamon produced by Don Fogg or Howard Clark before you say it's a 'mistake' to use satanite...

 

people prefer different clays for different reasons, but personally i'd say that clay choice was the least important aspect of hamon production, and you should learn to produce a hamon without clay, relying on steel selection, thermal cycling and quench temp. insulation is not usually important when you're using shallow hardening steel - the width of your hamon is determined by the hardenability of the steel and the blade geometry, the shape is 'controlled' (ha) by disrupting the vapour jacket and channelling the quenchant to where you want it. there is no silver bullet, just skill, perseverance and luck...

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I just use satanite, so far.

Others use Rutlands, but it is so caustic that I skip it. I think Walter Sorrells may use satanite, he did in his vids, anyway.

 

Jake is right, the ideal state is to just use the clay as a way to influece the hamon. There should already be a transition from hardened to intermediate to mostly not hardened even without clay if you have the right materials and process.

 

keep at it. You can get good results early on, and they just keep getting better, for the most part.

 

Kevin

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I have a Chile habenero forge which i use for everything from Forging, annealing, normalizing and hardening and tempering... when i first started forging my atmosphere was very rich in oxygen so over the course of my learning i throw some lump charcoal in my forge to reduce on scale which is another reason why i added it to the satantite mix...

 

I found hardening in a low psi propane atmosphere with charcoal really helps me to reduce on scale formation during normalization and hardening.

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Thanks for the feedback. I know that some smiths keep their clay recipe as a trade secret, and asking for the "best clay" is akin to asking what oil to use on a car forum....

 

I have heard of a no-clay hamon but prefer to try and be traditional, hence using clay to try and a), produce a hamon, and B), control its shape.

 

I really don't think my home made mix is right. It behaves like playground sand more then pudding, if that make sense. And I am tired of trying to grind it finer. For now I will stick to satenite, but will add some ground up coal as per OP.

 

I have admiral 1080, which i hear can be high in Mg, so trying to get the best odds possible.

 

Thanks again.

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1. i guarantee no one is keeping their clay mixture secret - it's just not that important, at least until you've mastered the basics. even in ancient japan the secret recipe thing was probably more to do with advertising than any practical consideration. if you really feel the clay mix is what's holding you back, there are some very in depth threads on it on this forum. i just use any generic furnace cement i can lay my hands on, and the steel never cares...

 

2. clay seems a strange place to draw the line for tradition - plenty of Japanese smiths didn't and don't use clay. all of them forge, and none use admiral 1080.

 

3. if you don't learn to at least produce a hamon without relying on clay as an insulator, my personal feeling is that you won't be learning as much about grain refinement and temperature control as you could be.

 

4. Admiral 1080 is high in manganese, tends towards heavy carbide segregation, and doesn't react in anything like a traditional manner to hamon production. clay is not going to fix this. grain refinement and temperature control might, to an extent - normalise a lot (i used to shoot for at least 6x)and quench from a low austenitising temp into warm water, temper immediately at c.400f, and pray the stupid stuff doesn't tear itself apart....

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Thanks Jake, clearly I've much to learn.

 

I know stock removal is not traditional, but still felt more often than not the "traditional" manufacture of nihonto involved a water quench with clay insulation, and I just figured that was the line I would tow as there is no way for me to make iron sand ore, and I suck at forging thus far. No doubt being able to produce a hamon w/o any clay assist would prove additional mastery of the material.

 

Bad news on the Admiral 1080, but thanks for confirming what others have alluded to as well. At the time I figured any 10xx was as good as another (all being plain carbon steel), and have already invested in a rather large bar, of which a big chunk became my current tanto so now have time in the game as well. Perhaps some more normalization is in order.

 

Add to this a crappy home-made charcoal brick forge and, clearly, I have my work cut out. I will start praying to the Kami now (while its still too hot in so-cal to want to do the heat treat). The abstinence part is no issue as I'm married over 25 years now. ;)

 

 

 

Cheers

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So ive been slaving away at polishing this thing and heres where i am now, this is 2000 grit with a 4-1 FC etch for 20 min...

 

After i cleaned the etch, i noticed i was getting horizontal lines on the Hada... Any ideas?

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cant really see the pic all that well. I would help if I could.

try an etch with vinegar, then go at the part with hamon with ff pumice. Go at the part above with worn 2000 grit. do this 3 or 4 times. Rub the heck out of the area with the FF pumice, especially anywhere you feel the grit biting. You will be surprised what new activity leaps out, and how suddenly the hamon is "frosty."

 

just my advice.

 

Also, listen to Jake. He knows what he is saying. 1080 can lead to some hamon, with really good normalizing and temp control. but, low manganese 1075 or w1 or w2 will AMAZE you. It is a haunting beauty you get with these, especially aldo's 1075 or w2.

 

thanks Aldo!

 

kc

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20 minutes is far too long to etch with ferric for bringing out the hamon - at 4:1 20 seconds would be closer to the mark; i usually go with 30 seconds at a time, clean off the oxides and repeat as often as necessary.

 

the streaking in the steel (looks like it's in the yakiba rather than the hada?) could be from contaminants in the etchant, or simply a natural result of the oxide build up resulting in an uneven etch, or even alloy banding. any of these things can pretty much destroy a good polish in a long etch, which is why you should etch for the shortest time possible...

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thanks guys!

 

Im in the process of ordering some of aldos w2 and 1075, i cant wait to work with it.

 

At this point should i re-polish the whole thing start to finish to start clean again? or just re-etch?

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also i was wondering Kevin when you use vinegar should it be warm, cold, boiling? Ive seen some instances where people have boiled theirs before the etch

Edited by Michael Asquino
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For what it's worth, I have always heard that the vinegar should be warm/off boil (stinks) for best results. Compared to ferric chloride its pretty mild so you want the steel and vinegar warm for fastest reaction.

 

Nice work getting the hamon that you have. Update if the pumice helps as I've not tried that.

 

Regards

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yes, make it hot, but do not boil, and add just a drop or so of dish soap. it helps the acid stick to the surface, i also add some lemon juice as well. Aldos 1075 is a joy to use, it curves, hardens, and gets sharp just to my liking, just be careful on the positive sori, ive had a few blades shear their edges from the quench, but its usually a craps shoot for most people, until you can fully understand and control it all, but even then you still get the nature of the beast. :ph34r:

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