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Waki Water / water that will not rust metal.


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Hi Gang, I don't think I have ever seen this posted here before, and as I was making a bunch for finger stone polishing, I thought I would share. This is how I make the water I use when doing fine polishing on any blades. Especially Japanese style blades, when working with the finger stones, and if working on an iron tsuba in tight places. It is very easy. I use a big plastic funnel, and a plastic 1/2-1 gal. container of any kind. A wide top is best, for the funnel to sit in. Cut out an old T shirt or some kind of simple, natural cloth that will drain. I put the cloth in the top of the funnel, go to the fire place, and fill it about 2/3 full with hardwood ash. Put the funnel, into the container. 001.JPG Then I use a gal. of distilled water, and gently fill the funnel, with the ash. This will drain into the container. It will make a very Pee looking water. Run as much of the water as will safely stay in the container, then repeat. Run the Waki water through the ash about 4-6 times. 003.JPG This will make water that will not rust metal. No need to add baking soda, or anything else. Oak is best. 004.JPG Polish away. Mark

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That's actually a very weak solution of lye, or sodium/potassium hydroxide. If you take that water and run it through the ashes until it'll float an egg, then boil it, you'll get lye crystals. Mix that egg-floating solution with rendered fat of some sort and boil it down, you'll get old fashioned lye soap.

 

Cool chemistry, but I honestly did not know it prevented the water from rusting steel!

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Yeah, a lot of the old home places had a thing that looked like this next to them:

 

Grooved-1913-Wedge-Shape-Lye-Hopper.jpg

 

Exactly the same thing you're doing.

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If you don't want to make Mark's solution, which is pretty cool by the way, what you want for polishing water is washing soda (Sodium Carbonate Na2CO3) also called soda ash, not baking soda (sodium bicarbonate NaHCO3). Potash is made from wood, soda ash is made from sodium rich plants or can be. It is synthetically produced in large quantities from salt and limestone.

 

You can make soda ash from baking soda by cooking at 400 degrees in the oven. When heated, sodium bicarbonate becomes sodium carbonate, water (steam) and carbon dioxide.

Or just buy it. Arm and Hammer makes a Super Washing Powder. Says it is sodium carbonate only.

 

Or get more pure (maybe) stuff online.

Soda ash on Amazon

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i think the chemistry has something to do with reducing the acidity that leads to corrosion on the fresh cut steel surface as you polish...that is why the common denominator in the solutions is some type of base...and it needn't be very strong to do the job (so dilute and save those fingernails, tyler!)

Edited by DaveJ
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I have never noticed that it wrecked my fingernails. I've done some serious dozens of hours of finger stone polishing for some weeks at a time.

??

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