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Old habits die hard......


Tony Coiro

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Hey everyone, looks like I was last active on here on the order of years ago. I got lost in electric vehicles, alternative energy and other nerdy stuff which has strangely led me right back here. I just took a job at an alternative energy startup in Johannesburg, South Africa and the majority of the solar installations will be very remote. Since I am blissfully unemployed for the next ten days, have a couple pieces of W2 left and my forge, tools and anvil sitting in the garage, it's time to make a new knife. (I am too excited to even remember I still have no idea what I am doing.) I'll keep you guys updated on the progress and expect plenty of 'reverting to newbie' style questions. :D

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Yup, I am excited. I am thinking of doing a camping/outdoors tanto. (Which, as an application, is sure to offend everybody.) I absolutely have been fascinated by differential heat treating and four years later, I've become enough of a geek to understand it. I also love the look of tantos. I am starting to draw out what I am thinking and would like to avoid any silly dimension errors now.

 

Proposed, highly subject to change:

Blade Length: 6.5"

Blade Width: 1.125"

Blade Thickness: .125"

Tang Length: 2.5" (With .125" width removed on both sides for the copper habaki.)

 

Blade spine is forged straight and the curve happens during heat treat correct? This is gonna be fun.

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cool. i would seriously think about extending your tang length though - while most originals have very short nakago, they were not designed as camp tools, and a blade that broad is likely to encounter a lot of lateral/twisting forces used in an outdoorsy context. remember also that most of the strength of the originals was from the combination of the same (which is basically rawhide and sets up like iron) and silk wraps as a general rule of thumb i usually shoot for a nakago about 1" shorter than i intend the tsuka to be.

 

the sori (curvature)is simple in theory but a real pain in practice. i'd say with a blade of your dimensions (short, thin and broad) you're unlikely to get much shape change in the quench. the hardened portion of the tip definitely won't curve. with very short blades it's generally best to forge in a shallow, even sori, and let the chips fall where they may - this will make any sori that does occur in the middle of the blade appear even, purposeful and natural - otherwise you can tend to get a flat tip and habaki area, and a curve in the middle, which looks clumsy.

 

good luck, and welcome back.

Jake Cleland - Skye Knives

www.knifemaker.co.uk

"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."

"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the the universe."

 

Albert Einstein

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So I'm using 2" diameter, 3/8" cylinders of W2, clearly needs to be beaten down a lot. (Turns out physicist muscles are not blacksmith muscles but it's coming along.) Anyway, I welded a low carbon metal rod onto it as a handle and that served me well for 2 hours now but just fell off, seemed like more from the motion/shock of forging than a bad weld. Is there a better weld material to use than others for this or is handle falling off to be expected when being hit by an amateur?

knife.jpg

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Welcome back, Tony!

I do remember your nick at least :)

 

I guess every welded handle will brake after some time, especially as it is prone to getting hot and cold in rather short intervals. If it held two hours forging by hand, I´d say you welded well :)

 

When forging damascus ( cole / power hammer) I need to reweld the handle every... five to six heats ( I guess, never counted).

www.mareschmesser.de

 

Knifemaker, Germany

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Well, a lot of progress today for someone of my skill level. Managed to forge out the round stock into a 9" bar. After a couple hours of trying to beat the metal into submission with manliness, I finally really learned how to let the hammer to the work and things went much faster, better and less tiring. I am hoping to finish the rough forging tomorrow. I have forgotten how much fun forging and forming the point and edges can be. Made plenty of silly mistakes in that area today. knife2.jpg

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Welcome home! Glad to see you are getting back into the swing of things B)

I have the same handle problems, so I gave up on them and instead wrap the billets tightly in steel wire and hold with tongs. When the welds stick, I brush off the wire (which is mangled and flaking off anyway).

 

John

Not all those who wander are lost. -J.R.R. Tolkien

-Shards of the Dark Age- my blog
-Nine Worlds Workshop-
-Last Apocalypse Forge-

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Hi Tony, I see you are in my neck of the woods. I'd be very keen on where you get your W2. My forge is in Randburg if you ever interested in a play day.

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Rough forging and grinding done today, I can't tell if I like it. I feel like I want a more gradual taper into the point, it seems to angular of a transition now. When flat grinding, how do you keep a straight "grind line"? I was using a belt sander with 40 grit sandpaper. Better to use files or do I just need to be less bad at this?

 

616053_4208542289605_249648039_o.jpg

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first off, you need to set the profile - the shape you've drawn looks good by the way - because that will affect everything else, and is a bugger to change properly once you've done the rest of the grinding. then you need to establish flats down both faces - if you're working off an uneven surface then your grindlines will never come out straight. from there it's just a question of keeping a constant angle as you grind down to the edge. and that, my friend, is where practice comes in. and good belt tracking. and a good platen.

 

that said, your blade looks pretty thin, and a crisp grind line is very difficult on a thin blade, because the change in angle is so minimal. remember that the majority of tanto were hira zukuri - flat ground (actually convex, but no ridge line). on the other styles, the ridgeline (shinogi) is the thickest part of the blade, which is bevelled back towards the spine as well as to the edge, the degree to which it is bevelled to the spine determines the 'height' of the shinogi. the relationship between the distance to the edge and to the spine from the ridgeline determines its width.you're probably better going for a flat grind on this one, and saving the ridgeline for a thicker blade.

Jake Cleland - Skye Knives

www.knifemaker.co.uk

"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."

"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the the universe."

 

Albert Einstein

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Well, here's the obligatory status update. The rough grinding is very nearly done, maybe another hour of sandpaper. I also got a good start on the wooden portions, went with some figured asian satinwood. It should look pretty pending I have any skill in woodworking. (I don't.)

277222_4231830631799_944271671_o.jpg

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So the clay has dried and I am ready to heat treat the W2. I've spent the past hour reading about the process and it appears W2 is a water quench steel but only for materials much thicker than knives. At this moment, the oil quench is the plan. I haven't yet seen it described as more than just 'oil'. Any recommendations as to what kind of oil to use? I've attached a picture of the clayed blade, although it has had 36 hours to dry since the picture was taken.134651_4234321814077_2026414168_o.jpg

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Canola oil is fine to quench in but it should be hot, at least 100 degrees some people go hotter.

I am limited in my claying experience but I think that you are going to find that you have too much clay on there and its very close to the edge which could cause you to not get any Hamon.

If that's what happens then normalize your steel and re-clay.

Good luck.

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Attempted two hamons this evening, neither successful. The first was the clayed version and the second was with an edge quench, normalizing before both. After both, I sanded with 60, 120, 220, 320, 400 and then 600 grit, followed by a polishing compound. While it made the blade look good, there was no noticeable hamon. My first thought was I didn't quench it with the blade at a high enough temperature. My other thought was after talking to a friend of mine in material science, I probably only had the blade non-magnetic for between 60 seconds and two minutes. Do I need it to soak at temperature longer? I am also thinking about changing from vegetable oil quench to water, although I will wait for feedback before trying that.

Edited by Tony C
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Well crap. Looking back, I made a variety of newbie mistakes. My goal with this project was a hamon and since this is my second knife (my first was done 4 years ago), I wanted to learn/relearn as much as possible. Hammer control, grinding, polishing all got far better. I must've tried 6 times various ways to get a differential heat treat, each time knife getting a bit thinner. Kept trying to get it to work anyway (mistake #1), warpage along the edge became a problem (likely didn't normalize enough, mistake #2), went for the water quench (cuz I was idiotically pursuing the hamon, mistake #3) threw it in a vice to take the minor warpage out when I noticed a hairline crack in the tip. I think it's shot of being a strong knife is officially over. I'm pretty good with a welder, so I'll probably patch up the crack, sand it down and make it 'decorative'. I still have plenty to learn in grinding, polishing and woodworking so I think that this is the best course of action.

 

2012-11-13_12-33-33_933.jpg

Edited by Tony Coiro
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Sorry to hear she didn't come out alive, it's always a bad feeling seeing a crack spring up in the steel. Is it long enough to cut down the blade, make it smaller in width, and come out with a proportionately smaller knife? For what it's worth, making these mistakes now helps save a lot of time and trouble later on.

 

John

Not all those who wander are lost. -J.R.R. Tolkien

-Shards of the Dark Age- my blog
-Nine Worlds Workshop-
-Last Apocalypse Forge-

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Looking at your blade, I'd chop the break of, or break it off? It would give you an idea of your grain size. Give it a stubby tip(chu kissaki?)normalize your blade again, and reclay. Low temperature(1475) and a you should be good. ^_^

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