toddhill Posted May 29, 2005 Share Posted May 29, 2005 Hi. This is Todd Hill living in good ole hot AZ. I'm an amateur bladesmith and my driving passion has been traditional Japanese, hence my interest in Don Fogg and this forum. I've been working on clays and hamons and water quenching for about a year now and I think I'm getting close to some success. First, I ignored all the advice out there and "wasted" a lot of time messing with 5160, because it was so readily available. I finally succeeded in getting a hamon with it using a water quench. But, just like they all said, the hamon was "weak." So, I got over 5160 and moved on to 1080. I forged an 8 inch blade and clayed her up (first pic). I covered the spine to get as much sori as I could. I heated it to just above nonmagnetic and plunged it into the 100 deg. tap water. After a few seconds I felt and heard four distinct clicks as the blade cracked rather severely along the edge (second pic). The blade took significant sori. I asked the pros for feedback and they said I had my clay too high up. That much hardened edge couldn't handle the curving of the sori. So, I forged another 8 inch blade from 1080 and clayed it much lower (I guess there's a reason for the traditional one third ratio for the hamon). This time I played it extra safe and also scraped the spine to minimize sori. Again, I heated it to just above nonmagnetic and plunged it into my 92 deg. tap water. Heart beating, I waited. No clicks! No cracks! Also no sori. While the blade was still warm I put it into a 350 deg. tempering oven, clay and all. I took it out after an hour (third pic). After polishing and etching I found a delightful hamon (fourth pic). Sorry, the pics are so small. The forum won't allow me any more space. Never mind, it won't allow me any space. I'll have to put them on another post. I have a lot to learn still, but am getting closer to success. I'm seeing why bladesmiths can ask the prices they do for handmade knives. It's a lot of work, with a lot of mistakes along the way. So, even if they can put out a blade in a matter of hours, I know many days and months and failures are behind those hours. I want to learn more about how to apply clay and the patterns that work best. Do any of you have pics of blades with clay on them so I can learn from you? Thanks, Todd Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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