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Hey guys,

 

So, I decided that since I've been making a few of these things, and they're turning out ok for the most part (less a few blips figuring out my new heat treat oven)...I'd post up my current method. The idea is both to have it critiqued by those more experienced, plus maybe pass along some things to those less experienced (whether it be my method, or the critique...either way there's benefit!).

 

Anyhow, onto the pictures...shall we?

 

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Here you can see my little paint can forge. Its setup to run two burners if necessary...but for normal forging I just run the center one. You can also see I've got most of my forging done here. I started out with 3/4" W1 drill rod from McMaster Carr. Honestly, I should have used 1" as I wanted a 2" heel, but the thought of beating that stuff down by hand kind of made me cringe. As it was...I had 8hrs in forging to shape with the 3/4".

 

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Here we are, all forged to shape. There's every bit of 8hrs work there (I really don't know if that's fast or slow to be honest lol). I've got to say its nice to have a reliable supply of W1 to use...but man it makes me wish I had a press or power hammer, lol. Anyhow, it's a little over 9" of edge length, and about 14.5" overall. I like about 4" of tang on my kitchen knives.

 

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Here you can see my tapers forged in. To those of you newer to forging...I suggest that you take as much time as you need to make your forgings as clean as possible. I know we all want to get to finishing our knives, but the time you spend at the forge will save you HOURS of filing or grinding. What I do, is keep a VERY close eye on my thicknesses, making them absolutely uniform throughout as I forge in the blade profile. Once I get close to my chosen edge length, I'll go back to the tip and carefully start forging in my distal taper. This blade was forged pretty thin (near 1/8"), due to the fact that I chose the 3/4" drill rod, and was trying to stretch it for a 1 3/4" heel, lol. Anyhow, after I finish the profile and distal tapers, I'll work in the tang as much as I can, then hot cut it. At that point I go back with a moderate heat, and correct any slight twists or bends in the edge/spine that I left with the hammer. This takes TIME...but it's seriously worth it. The last thing I do, is heat the blade as much as necessary, lay it flat on my straightening anvil, and smack the crap out of it with an old wooden baseball bat. This really works any variances in your lines down flat, without dinging up the work. I repeat as necessary on both sides until I'm happy with the forging. You can see the results in this picture.

 

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Next, its on to normalizing. I used to normalize in my heat treating forge (its a 3 burner setup made from a 5gal air tank)...but I got fed up with juggling to get an even heat on a blade that has multiple complex cross sections lol. So last week I decided to build a heat treat oven. Total cost was about $200. If you want to take a look, I did a walk through of the build http://www.bladesmithsforum.com/index.php?showtopic=26893&st=0'>here. I also used to normalize with the three heats and air cool, but I've been reading a LOT lately, and have worked out something that seems to be doing well for me. First I heat to 1600°F. Bring the oven up to heat, hold 5 minutes, set the oven for the next temperature (1500°F), then take it out and dunk it in my brine quenchant for about 3 seconds (meaning in and out during that three seconds...NOT a solid dunk, the idea here is to cool quickly, not harden). After that its over to the anvil to be tapped with my baseball bat until straight, then air cooled until the oven is close to the 1500°F (this doesn't take long as I leave the door a bit open). After that I cool it the rest of the way in the slop bucket...then back in the oven it goes. Generally the oven has dropped to 1450°F or so...so it has to come back up to heat. Once its there I hold 5 minutes, and repeat the fast cooling process. Next step is to repeat from 1450°F, only this time, I actually want to quench the steel. Here I submerge for 3-4 seconds, then out to air cool while the oven descends to 1250°F. Once the oven is close, I cool the steel...then its into the oven for an hour. This process (basically a dirty spheroidal anneal I guess) really seems to soften the steel up for the hand work and grinding to come (much better than my old 'normalized' state), and from what I've read, puts the steel in an excellent state for final heat treating.

 

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After an hour in the oven at 1250°F, the blade gets dunked in the slop bucket to cool it, then its on to the hand work. Years ago I read about draw filing here on this site. BOY was it a life saver! I probably used up 30 files draw filing the various creations I've made over the years. I'd also read about a tool (thanks Don!) called a 'sen', which is basically a spoke shave or plane, only for steel. I'd always wanted to make one but never got around to it. About three years ago though...I was working on a blade one night, and was out of sharp files. It was late, and I didn't want to stop working on the knife (I was making great progress lol). That's when it hit me that I had over two dozen 'sens' sitting in my used file drawer. I took the cheapo half round file you see above over to my bench grinder, and cut a bevel in it. IT CUTS like crazy...far better than it ever did as a file lol. When it dulls, I just go back to the grinder and make a new edge. I've still got 29 more files to use up like this if I choose to :). As a side note...I thought I was the only one to do this, until I bought all of Walter Sorrells videos. Turns out he does the same! For you newer folk...I highly recommend those by the way. WELL WORTH the money.

 

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Here you see the results of the 'file sen'. I like to use it because it cuts WAY faster than belts do on the fire scale, gets me a basic flat set...and gives me a lot more control over my base geometry than just hogging away with the grinder would. Plus it saves belts like nobodies business. I do like to stop before I've scraped away the last of the hammer marks and pits. The reason for this is that the tool leaves a bit of a rough surface, and if I scrape it all down to bare metal, I'll have to grind away the sen marks anyhow. This way, I finish both at around the same time. Once this step is done (literally about 20 minutes a side, TOPS...usually less), its over to the 6"x48" belt/disc sander with a 40 grit belt mounted up. My only goal at that point with the sander is to finalize the profile, get the sides even as far as distal taper goes (there's very little edge taper at this point), and get rid of any remaining hammer dings and scale pits. Oh...and for the newer guys...use the disc sander (carefully lol) if you have one! Between it and the 6" belt (which can be made almost as wide as you want if you turn the work)...I don't know of a better way to keep this stuff straight.

 

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So...here's the result of about 10-11hrs of work. Its pretty close to ready for heat treat. I have maybe an hours hand work tomorrow (rounding the spine and choil, and cutting in the machi), and a bit of time trueing up the grind. After that its another 1hr bake in the oven at 1250°F to relieve all stress, at which point she'll get clayed up. Then, depending on whether or not I feel like waiting for my new quench oil to get here...I'll either heat treat...or, well...wait.

 

Anyhow, comments and critique are more than welcome guys :).

Edited by C.Anderson
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Hi Cris this kitchen cutter is my next big project out of 1070, I will follow this Tutorial with a lot of enthusiasm!!

Do you hot stamp or edge youre logo in to to keep youre knife from warpage??

 

Thanx for sharing and hope youre oil come soon too see the next steps

 

PS: How do work out what size is correct for a kitchen knife, is there a "written" rule of some sorts - rule of thumb??

 

Martin

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Thanks for the WIP's, I always enjoy seeing how other people do things. I'd really like to hear more about your Sen. I heard of them a couple years ago, but couldn't find much info about them with details. I grabbed an old file and tried experimenting with angles-how did you come up with your angle? And is it correctly used pulling towards you?

 

Thanks for any help and I look forward to seeing how the knife turns out.

 

Jeremy

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Hi Cris this kitchen cutter is my next big project out of 1070, I will follow this Tutorial with a lot of enthusiasm!!

Do you hot stamp or edge youre logo in to to keep youre knife from warpage??

 

Thanx for sharing and hope youre oil come soon too see the next steps

 

PS: How do work out what size is correct for a kitchen knife, is there a "written" rule of some sorts - rule of thumb??

 

Martin

 

Hello Martin, you're welcome! Thanks for reading along!

 

I've never actually hot stamped my logo. The stamps are sort of expensive if I recall, then there's the whole 'getting it deep enough but not so deep you ruin things' issue. http://www.bladesmithsforum.com/index.php?showtopic=17602&st=0'>This is the method I use.

 

On sizing...well, there's as many 'right' sizes and shapes as there are chefs lol. There are a few standards I guess though. For myself, I was told by a pro chef once that while any chef may own and use dozens of knives, they really only go to two for the most part. An 8"-10" chefs, and a 5"-7" petty/paring. Sizing at that point is personal preference, as is heel height. I personally like 8"-9" knives with a 1.75"-2" heel for most things in the kitchen. My suggestion, if you're going to make kitchen knives...is google, google, and more google. Professional cooking forums give THE best info when it comes to making quality chef's knives (after all, they're the ones using them 8-12hrs a day, right??).

 

Thanks for the WIP's, I always enjoy seeing how other people do things. I'd really like to hear more about your Sen. I heard of them a couple years ago, but couldn't find much info about them with details. I grabbed an old file and tried experimenting with angles-how did you come up with your angle? And is it correctly used pulling towards you?

 

Thanks for any help and I look forward to seeing how the knife turns out.

 

Jeremy

 

Hey Jeremy. I enjoy reading other peoples WIP's as well, lol. I've learned so much over the years from them its not even funny. As a matter of fact, I've never seen another bladesmith make a knife in person. Everything I've learned has been from this forum, and others like it. I kind of consider these posts of mine my way of passing forward what was freely passed to me.

 

On the file sen, I guess mines probably about a 70° angle or so. I never measured. I bet a clean 90° angle would cut somewhat as well, lol. If you start getting too narrow, I think you'll lose control and dig gouges. What I did was grind a slight bevel on the flat/bottom part of the file (I wanted to get rid of the teeth and set a working angle), then grind away the teeth on the rounded part (using a straight angle). Once the teeth were gone on both sides, that was my angle I started with. It seems to work fine. You absolutely use it by pulling it towards you (the same way I learned to draw file actually). I'm not sure how you would control it otherwise.

 

Anyhow guys, I'm headed out to the shop to get some more done on this thing. Picture to follow later today :).

Edited by C.Anderson
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nice wip, Chris. i'd suggest, though, that if you're looking to do these commercially without a power hammer, that you get some 1095 from Aldo - he sells it in 1/8th x 1.5" or 2" and it will save you eight hours of processing before you get to shaping. it's very similar to W1 and takes a really nice hamon. I'm also a bit dubious about quenching during normalising - I've seen no evidence of significant grain reduction in simple steels vs normalising in still air, and you're risking cracking each time, particularly with a forged finish, and from the higher heats. i'm also not sure your sub critical anneal will be doing much - triple normalising at the proper temperatures should give you a spheroidal structure as it is, though the final stress relief after grinding etc is probably a good idea as stress relief on thin blades...

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Quick question, am I reading it right that you quench the blade from 1600F and then hit it with a bat? Wouldn't that put a bit of stress on the blade?

 

If I may be so bold, for the spheroridizing anneal you only need to quench on the heat right before the 1250F soak. If you air cool from 1600 and 1500 and then brine quench from 1450 you will have a nice martensitic steel that will respond quite well to the 1250F soak. The quenches from higher temps could give you some stress cracks.

 

Thanks for the WIP!

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nice wip, Chris. i'd suggest, though, that if you're looking to do these commercially without a power hammer, that you get some 1095 from Aldo - he sells it in 1/8th x 1.5" or 2" and it will save you eight hours of processing before you get to shaping. it's very similar to W1 and takes a really nice hamon. I'm also a bit dubious about quenching during normalising - I've seen no evidence of significant grain reduction in simple steels vs normalising in still air, and you're risking cracking each time, particularly with a forged finish, and from the higher heats. i'm also not sure your sub critical anneal will be doing much - triple normalising at the proper temperatures should give you a spheroidal structure as it is, though the final stress relief after grinding etc is probably a good idea as stress relief on thin blades...

 

Thanks Jake, this is exactly the kind of discussion I was hoping for. That's good advice on Aldo's 1095 (at least until he gets more W2 in)...I didn't think of it. On the quenching during normalizing, you're probably 100% right about grain reduction. I'm careful with my heats when forging, so grain size probably isn't much of a problem anyhow. Its more about carbide distribution and sizing, and keeping the grain boundaries 'clean'. On hypereutectoid steels, the carbides can be a huge help, or the ruination of the blade. Lots of tiny, evenly spaced carbides are a good thing, larger, clumped carbides are bad. Thermal cycling in descending heats, without the slow cooling (I'm not really looking for hardening in the two higher heats, it looks like I mixed that up in my first post...I just want to cool quickly), and then the sub critical anneal is one way to manipulate carbide distribution. My understanding of the metallurgic 'how' is a little hazy (and so my process probably reflects that, at least until I get my mind around it completely), but the why makes good sense, and the resources I've picked this information up from are dead reliable (Howard Clark, Kevin Cashen, Stacy Apelt, Mete...and others). Believe me...I'm not set in stone here...more learning as I go.

 

Quick question, am I reading it right that you quench the blade from 1600F and then hit it with a bat? Wouldn't that put a bit of stress on the blade?

 

If I may be so bold, for the spheroridizing anneal you only need to quench on the heat right before the 1250F soak. If you air cool from 1600 and 1500 and then brine quench from 1450 you will have a nice martensitic steel that will respond quite well to the 1250F soak. The quenches from higher temps could give you some stress cracks.

 

Thanks for the WIP!

 

Lol, put like that it seems a bit...counter productive =p. In reading over my first post, it looks like I explained things a bit unclearly (it was late, I'll fix it momentarily). From 1600°F, and 1500°F, I'm not looking for hardening. Just to cool the steel quickly in order to eliminate any chance of the carbides coarsening due to slow cooling. The final heat is absolutely where I'm looking for martensite.

 

For the record though...my most successful method of straightening is to tap the edges flat against a 2x4 with my bat while the blade is still cooling above MF :).

Edited by C.Anderson
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I second Jake on the normalizing. I cringed when I saw you quenching it at that point. But I'm following this with enthusiasm, I'm going to start trying my hand at some kitchen knives myself soon.

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I second Jake on the normalizing. I cringed when I saw you quenching it at that point. But I'm following this with enthusiasm, I'm going to start trying my hand at some kitchen knives myself soon.

 

I can see why, lol. There are actually some pretty well known guys that quench during normalization (and I don't mean the whole 'triple quench' thing) though. I do agree however...the thought of hardening W1 in room temperature brine from 1600°F would make me pretty nervous too lol.

 

Well, about two more hours in, and its ready for its second destress cycle, and after that...clay.

 

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There's the blade thinned out on the edge (the edge is just under 2mm from heel to tip now), my distal taper is set at about 2.8mm from machi to mid blade, and a descending taper to the tip, and the machi are rough cut in with the tang profiled.

 

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Here I've eased the spine and choil. I like this for how it looks...more finished and refined, but my understanding is that professional chefs pretty much require this treatment for their comfort.

 

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And the finished blade ready for destressing and heat treat. Right before I came inside, I turned the oven on to preheat to 1250°F, and washed the blade with a thin coat of satanite for anti-scale. Satanite is weird...sometimes it works for anti-scale, sometimes it doesn't. I've read that adding a bit of boric acid (roach killer is often 100% boric acid btw) will increase its effectiveness tremendously...and on one of the other forums I actually found a great recipe for anti-scale containing ochre, boric acid, satanite, and a couple other basic things that slip my mind. One of these days I'll make some, lol.

 

Anyhow, I may heat treat this tonight in 120°F brine. My main reason for ordering the Parks was to minimize warpage...but I don't know if I can sit on this thing until Saturday, lol. If I don't heat treat I might forge out a couple more to have ready to go. Either way, when it comes down to quench time...I'll be sure to get you guys pictures :).

Edited by C.Anderson
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Looks great!

 

Thanks!!

 

It folded like a two pringles in a wrestling match during the heat treat though, lol. All the baseball bat thwacking in the world didn't help, either =p. It didn't crack...but it may not be salvageable in this form due to the warps. I did something new with my clay though, and I'd like to see how the hardening line turned out. I'll probably set it aside after that and re-harden in the Parks on Saturday. No reason to tempt fate twice, right?

 

I'll get some pictures after I rough out enough of a polish for it to etch, once its out of temper.

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Any pictures of the warp? You might be able to clamp and shim them in the temper to get it straightened out.

 

Hey Don!

 

I had considered that actually, but someone told me that it wipes out the hamon somehow. I've never bothered to try because of that. Luckily enough this thing basically through hardened, so it won't hurt my feelings to reharden it Saturday in the Parks lol. I'll still post up a picture this evening.

 

By the way, I wanted to say I'm a real fan of your aesthetic when it comes to these knives. I've handled one of them, and the fit, finish, and execution is top notch. I'm a bit north of you in Glendale...maybe one of these days I'll have to come down and spring for some pizza and beer so we can compare notes, lol.

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Hmm, interesting! I didn't know about that; I wonder what goes on during the tempering.

 

And thanks! Some pizza and note swapping would definitely be awesome :) How did you come across one of my knives? Just curious (because I haven't really made that many :P).

Edited by Don Nguyen
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Hmm, interesting! I didn't know about that; I wonder what goes on during the tempering.

 

And thanks! Some pizza and note swapping would definitely be awesome :) How did you come across one of my knives? Just curious (because I haven't really made that many :P).

 

Hey Don, I didn't see your post! I don't know that it's true...to be honest it seems like it wouldn't be, simply because when I used to temper in a regular oven without vermiculite, the cookie sheet (metal touching the blade), or even the bars of the oven grate (again, metal touching the blade)...would have wiped the hamon. Since that never happened, I don't see how a couple copper or steel plates would. I heat treated this blade tonight in Parks...if it turns out to have a bend, I'll try it out and report.

 

As for your knife...lol. We have a mutual friend who owns one, and when the opportunity to try it out came up, I jumped on it. I may end up buying one one of these days...they really are beautiful.

 

Back on topic though, my Parks came in this afternoon. I had already straightened the blade in the forge at low heats with my baseball bat, so after a quick 1250°F 30 minute normalization (I let it air cool just to see if it would cool straight, it did), I applied my clay (below), and brought the oven up to 1450°F. In went the blade, which I let austenitize for 7 minutes (after the temp equalized again at 1445°F...my oven is weird). After that, it was a quick dip in the 105°F (ambient in my shop) Parks for 12 seconds, then out for 5, then back in till the temp equalized. I took it out, and there seemed to be a slight bend in the tip. I tapped it straight, dipped it in water till it was cool to the touch...then checked it with a file. Now this is where things get odd. I've never quenched in oil, always brine...so I'm used to SCREAMING hard blades out of the quench. The tip made the typical glassy sound with zero bite. But the heel bites. Not easily...but it bites. Now, there is no way the heel didn't equalize in temp and soak there during austenitization...and it was a good 4-5" below the Parks in the quench. Why would it feel softer to the file? The thing is thin...maybe 2.5mm on the spine at the heel, 1.5mm on the edge all the way up the blade. I filed pretty deep on both sides of the edge to eliminate the possibility of a decarb layer...and the clay layout shouldn't have been a problem...if anything, I assumed it would through harden due to how minimally it was applied. Here's a picture of that:

 

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So...any ideas? I mean, it may have hardened enough to show the hamon...but to the file (at least pre-temper), it was certainly softer than the tip. I can't believe the Parks could have been too slow...I mean, the stuff hardens 1/4" thick sections of W2 and 1095, with clay applied no less, there's no way it wouldn't harden a 1.75" wide, 2mm average thickness heel on a kitchen knife.

 

Anyhow, I'll post again once the things out of temper!

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Well, it turns out only the leading 2" from the tip hardened. At first I was puzzled, but then it dawned on me that the thermocouple I am using was from the old kiln, and might not be 100% accurate. So I popped my Reed handheld thermocouple in through the door, sealed it...and waited for it to come to temperature. Sure enough, at 1450°F on the controller, the Reed was only reading about 1400°F. I don't think I got enough heat into it before. So, I ramped up my controller to 1520°F, which brought the Reed up to 1467°F. A little higher than I wanted, but well within the acceptable range for the steel I'm working with, and I wanted to make sure the damn thing was hot enough. Also, this time...when I quenched into the Parks, I held it for a FULL, slowish 12 count, interrupted for 5, then back in until everything was leveled out. Last time, I think I pulled it out too early because a couple seconds after the blade was out of the Parks, the whole thing (not the quenchant in the bucket, just the fluid on the blade) lit up lol. This time it just smoked a bit.

 

Anyhow, here's a couple pictures of the new clay, and post quench:

 

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As you can tell, I'm looking for something kind of minimal here...but really its all just an experiment to see what the steel thickness, temperature, clay, and quenchant will give me. This oven and the oil are a whole new ball game for me, and to be honest...its almost like starting new again when it comes to heat treating lol.

 

Oh, also...tonight is my first night using Rutlands instead of Satanite, and I've got to say, the constant freakin pinging and tinking as the stuff pops itself off the blade is maddening. On the first quench earlier I thought the blade literally cracked like seven times. NOT a nice feeling!!

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Crazy how much difference showed between the thermocouples.

 

Really looking forward to this!

 

I know right? A new one is only like $15 from the ceramics store I got the kiln at...I'll pick one up next week.

 

So I made a few passes with an 80 grit belt to knock off decarb last night. With the wide platen on my sander, the first thing that's apparent is that the blade is definitely not straight :l. I've got a little bit of a twist in the front third of the blade, which actually returns to mostly true by the point....only, the point bends a bit as well. There's also a little kick out of the edge at the heel.../sigh. This could have been a factor of my initial grind maybe, or more likely the little bit of grinding I did on the warped blade between the previous heat treats (to see if there was anything interesting going on) threw it off. This blade is pretty thin compared to where I normally heat treat. It'll be nice to try the next one start to finish, quenching in oil from the new 'higher' heat. I did clamp the blade between two old files, and tempered at 375°F for an hour. It didn't straighten it lol. I'm hoping the bends are gradual enough that I can eliminate them while bringing the edge to sharp. I think maintaining my geometry while doing that will be the bigger challenge. The good news is that the Parks dipped the tip down a small amount, leaving a half millimeter gap in the middle third of the belly when laid on a straight edge. The reason this is good, is that in correcting that along two thirds of the blade, It'll bring the edge profile up a tiny bit...into a thicker part of the width of the blade. This will give me more room to correct things while maintaining my geometry.

 

In the end, all I can say is that I'm REALLY hoping that a start to finish heat treat process involving the oven, and Parks...will keep me from having to do these major sorts of 'tweaks' to bring these things back into the range of my initial design, lol.

 

ETA - The parts that did get sanded, showed a clear pattern by the way. Its almost too literal an interpretation of the clay, lol. We'll see what there is to see here shortly though.

Edited by C.Anderson
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Soooo, I had to put it through a heat treat cycle...

 

Again.

 

The hamon was very strange last time. And the blade did some rather nasty things in the quench. I determined that it definitely was the grind being tweaked from messing with it between the previous heat treats (mostly the brine ones). I figured it out by entirely regrinding it true, lol. When I quenched it this time, it warped...but nowhere near as bad. I also did something else neat with the hamon this time (which oddly enough came out just about as I planned for once)...more on that below. We'll tell the rest of the story with the pictures.

 

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This is the blade post heat treat...with just a pass or two on the grinder to see where my problem areas would be. As you can see, they showed up nice and black. On one side, the heel and the last third of the spine, and on the other side, the edge near the tip. These were basically where the edge and spine warped out of alignment in the quench. I made one of those seat of the pants decisions and decided I could grind them out. It was a closeish thing =p. In these two pictures you can also see my initial grind pattern laid out. I grind the edge in first (bringing the 'line' of the edge in true...then fading into the entire edge). If there's problem areas I work them as much as necessary to get a good starting point, then continue on, using my established 'good' geometry as a base to correct everything else. After that, I move to the spine, and do the same thing, only with a less aggressive angle...only a few degrees, tops. I don't want this area 'flat', I want a bit of back cut to help with stiction (yes, that's a word lol, its what happens when your potato won't come off the flat of your knife!). Anyhow though, this method leaves the area in the center only moderately ground. I save it for a cushion to blend the two opposing grinds later. Oh...and if you'll notice, the quench dipped the nose down AGAIN (/sigh). I ended up cutting half an inch off the length of the blade in order to bring my tip and edge back where I wanted them.

 

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Here you can see the left side of the blade all trued up. The right side however, was giving me some issues. That wave in the nose was pretty deep. In the end, it JUST fit within my intended grind...and I was able to bring both sides in equally.

 

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Edge shot. If you look closely, you can see I positioned the edge near the tip pretty much vertical. You can also see how much this kicked the edge out on the heel. A few tweaks at tempering heat helped a little with the twist, and the rest came in with the grind. Neat tip here (which I'm sure many of you use)...when you're freehanding an edge in, it helps to paint it in with a white (or any other color of your choosing) paint Sharpie. Contrast is king in helping you keep things centered. This also helps me see how much cushion I have in edge thickness to bring everything to true. Like I said above...when something is this tweaked, I work one section of edge at a time, bringing everything in to straight before moving to the next.

 

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Here you can see my current grinding layout, along with the current thickness of the blade (in mm). You can also see that I dip my blade in etchant every once in a while, to help me with contrast...which aids in keeping my grinds true. At this point I've mostly blended my spine to my edge, with that center area being either the same thickness as the spine, or slightly thicker (in this case its the same, which is why I didn't mark the thickness). From here I pretty much leave the spine alone, and work the edge in from the lower grind line (about 2-3cm up at the heel, and blending to a very wide edge the closer you get to the tip). After the edge is brought in, I'll go ahead and back cut the spin a tiny bit on each side (again...we don't want stiction). Now understand, I've only seen a couple of higher end kitchen knives...well, two to be exact. One was Mr. Nguyen's...and another was made by Mike Davis. From what I could tell...neither is very much like mine in the grind really (which is either very good for me, or not so good, lol...guess we'll see). The idea here, is to make a relatively narrow edge angle at the heel for sharpness...yet keep enough stiffness (by limiting distal taper on the spine until midblade) to eliminate major amounts of flex. The distal taper from midblade is actually the beginning of my tip, with a wide, flat bevel starting at that point. The idea is to allow for a nice and narrow overall edge angle, and 'laser' like tip, for fine work, with more of the strength and stiffness of a 'workhorse' type blade in the feel. Guess we'll see how that turns out at a later date, lol.

 

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The hamon. Believe it or not, this semi weird hamon was honestly by design. I got tired of playing with the Rutlands (so far...I'll be honest, I prefer Satanite), and the blade was beginning to get silly thin. I didn't really want a traditional hamon for this one, I wanted to do something a bit different. So I thought about it for a bit. Now...this blade is going to a friend of mine who is a graphic artist, photographer, painter, and hobbyist chef. During the time that I was considering what to do with the hamon...she posted her new logo on Facebook. Soooo...I decided to only put enough hamon on to encompass the area where I put my makers mark (since the freakin thing didn't want to cooperate anyway). For this blade, my mark will go on one side, and her logo will go on the other in the same spot, with the hamon encircling them both. Now, I did try to put some longish ashi in towards the tip for activity, but I'm not sure what's going to show up. Right now I just have one weird line running roughly parallel with the spine, lol. Guess we'll see =p.

 

Anyway...that's that. Tomorrow I'll bring the edge in, test it...and probably start on a handle. After that, its polish, etch, set the handle in with beeswax...and off she goes to her new owner :). I'll try to get you guys more pictures as I work towards that point, of course :). Right now though, I'm just happy that with the entirely ungracious lack of cooperation this blade has given me...I was still able to bring it in in a manner I'm content with!

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Well, I have a knife (blade) :).

 

I finished up the grinding, gave it a quick polish, and brought the edge down to its final geometry. Now all that's left really is to handle it, and etch the two logos :).

 

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Here you can see my grind coming in well enough. Once I got my edge down where I was happy, I finished working in the spine.

 

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Edge coming in bit by bit.

 

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I don't know if anyone else does this...but this is my cheat sheet to keep my grind where I want it. This sheet, along with continuous sighting down the blade, helps me make sure I'm maintaining my intended design dimensions. Each of those numbers represents one measurement of the thickness of the blade...either at the edge, spine, or 1cm/2cm up from the edge. The circled numbers are final thickness in millimeters.

 

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I don't go nuts on the polish on kitchen knives...though this one will get a bit better polish before its finished. Basically I do 120g on the belt, then hand sand 120g. Dip in ferric for 10-15sec, then sand 240g, dip, sand 400g, dip, sand 600g. At that point its all etch cycles with the oxides rubbed off with my fingers and Barkeeper's Friend/Windex. This gives me an established oxide layer (Barkeeper's Friend is something of an etchant itself...leaving a powdery grey finish), and amazingly enough eliminates any initial transference of oxides to the food. It also gives a nice even base for the natural patina to work on.

 

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Heel shot, showing the geometry at that point.

 

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Here's a shot with my handle materials. This knife is getting a wa 'inspired' octagonal handle, which basically means it'll be similar to a traditional Japanese octagonal handle. The wood is stabilized cottonwood burl from Craig Stevens, and I'll be using the brass washers for spacers (one separating the ferrule from the body, and two towards the butt of the handle for appearance). If it all works out, I'm thinking it'll turn out pretty nicely :).

 

 

ETA ~ This is why I don't go nuts on the polish of carbon kitchen knives:

 

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One tomato, one onion...lol, and I've got a beautiful bluish purple patina forming already :).

Edited by C.Anderson
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Man that is looking Awesome ! I look forward to seeing it finished .

 

Sam

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Man that is looking Awesome ! I look forward to seeing it finished .

 

Sam

 

Thanks Sam! I' m hoping to get the handle glued up today. If that works out...it should be in usable shape by Wednesday afternoon I'd say.

 

One thing though...I really don't have any experience in sharpening this thin of a blade. The primary bevel angle varies from 2.6° at the tip, to 5.5° mid belly, and 5.9° mid blade, to 6.0° on the heel. That's the included angle, not just one flat. I calculated those angles based off the 1cm measurements above the edge. There's also the tiniest bit of convexity RIGHT at the edge. It's sharp (I haven't actually sharpened it, lol)...it'll shave with very little effort, and slices newsprint reliably from heel to tip. The last one I made is much sharper, but I think the edge is a little weak for professional use. It's fine for my Dad, as I can touch it up any time. This edge is much stronger, still very thin, and overall should be something really nice. I've got the steel, got the heat treat, and got the geometry...I just need to figure out a good process for making an edge that's going to last cutting for hours on end, lol.

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Handle material all glued up:

 

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Its stabilized raspberry cottonwood burl, brass spacer, wenge, brass, cottonwood, brass, wenge, brass, cottonwood. The two pieces of wenge look very different, but they're not, one's just got glue all over it, lol. The other one will be very dark like that when its finished. I've got to say...this handle is a little more...flamboyant, than I normally go for. But the young lady that's receiving it makes it look somewhat...subdued, for lack of a better word lol.

 

More to come tomorrow!

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Regarding the Sharpening method. I would suggest you check out the sharpening tutorial videos on YouTube by Murray Carter. (ABS Mastersmith and the only North American to "inherit" a Japanese Master Bladesmith legacy = 17th Generation Yoshimoto Bladesmith)

Several of his sharpening videos have influenced my current methods, but foremost in my mind are these:

He talks about using the super fine Japanese water stones, but he also demonstrates a method to use a fine 6,000 grit synthetic or Arkansas stone to achieve nearly the same degree of sharpness.

 

EDIT: I just noticed upon re-watching this video; He comments on using a "3 finger test" to see when a new edge has been established but doesn't define what that means. He is using 3 fingers to feel for a "wire edge" or "burr edge" where the steel is thin enough to fold a feather of steel over opposite the side you are working. He is not actually cutting into his fingers like it appears!

 

James

Edited by James Spurgeon
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Regarding the Sharpening method. I would suggest you check out the sharpening tutorial videos on YouTube by Murray Carter. (ABS Mastersmith and the only North American to "inherit" a Japanese Master Bladesmith legacy = 17th Generation Yoshimoto Bladesmith)

Several of his sharpening videos have influenced my current methods, but foremost in my mind are these:

He talks about using the super fine Japanese water stones, but he also demonstrates a method to use a fine 6,000 grit synthetic or Arkansas stone to achieve nearly the same degree of sharpness.

 

EDIT: I just noticed upon re-watching this video; He comments on using a "3 finger test" to see when a new edge has been established but doesn't define what that means. He is using 3 fingers to feel for a "wire edge" or "burr edge" where the steel is thin enough to fold a feather of steel over opposite the side you are working. He is not actually cutting into his fingers like it appears!

 

James

 

Carter's 3 finger test isn't to detect the burr, but to determine the level of sharpness based on toothiness (so a highly polished edge will fail the test). Essentially he's letting the edge "bite" into the surface of the skin.

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