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Jan Ysselstein

In Search of Hamon, Experiments at the Forge #1

114 posts in this topic

Here are some pics of the spine of an oroshigane blade blank. All material is homemade iron. I may have driven the carbon a bit low due to running very hot...but I did get the carbon diffusion I wanted. I will take this to quenching and polishing..hoping it will be fine (exit) or at least tell me which way to go. I am guessing I have about 64 to 128 layers here. 

The dark outer edges are shadows not carbon..the spine is not flat.

 

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Edited by Jan Ysselstein

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Looking good so far.  Good luck!

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These are some pictures of what I am seeing after a failed quench..the clay was coming off before the quench and I had trouble getting the whole blade up to temp. There is enough "good" material showing to suggest polishing a window to look for hamon.

Picture 1 shows an area where one would expect see a hamon bright large grains ( 2mm screen )

Pictures two and three are weld pics (at a 7mm screen)  some inclusions and some diffusion, more folds should allow for more diffusion.

Some of the welds show some flaws but we are getting there. A modern Japanese smith suggested a good looking blade is 70% due to good material and 30% due to good work practices ( I have good materials ). So I must be 70% there.

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Edited by Jan Ysselstein

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After a quick sanding the some  hamon is beginning to show. This is not bad for a sample sparking much like mild steel. The yakiba was left shiny as it was all over the place. . I will up the carbon content of the next one and continue to focus on the welding technique. The number of welding flaws has dropped from about 23 per blade surface to 3 per blade surface.

I will re-clay the blade and quench again. The spark test after heat treating is quite different from the same material prior to quenching.

 

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Edited by Jan Ysselstein

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The  above blade has been softened and will be quenched again. The charcoal/coke furnace is back in place for heat treating. Today I will start another billet of bloomery steel and will try not to lose as much carbon as before and will concentrate on the welding process. The re-quenched blade should give me some information as to what to do about carbon levels. Here are some pics of the set up all welding is done in the gas forge.

The nature of this material is unfamiliar to me. The spine and edge are as hard as a chainsaw file ( barely tempered by passing through the forge a few times), I straightened the spine with a hammer on a wood block, the spark is not veryhigh in carbon......it must be very very shallow hardening to allow that straightening process. 

 

The gas forge , taking a lot of abuse due to all the slag/flux generated. I will have to get it very hot and scrape it out.

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Some of the  bloom material ready for welding, quite a variety in carbon content

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The charcoal forge, a plate of steel , grate and some bricks. The gap is a little narrow for general forging,  fine for blades.

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Edited by Jan Ysselstein

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The blade was again quenched  I will polish a window and move on to the next blade ..the claying was done much like the sample we are trying to come close to. I will also include a copy of the blade we are hoping to be able to look like. Both the spine and the edge are again as hard as a chainsaw file..and again I have taken out some of the warp ( twist).  

 

This is the blade we want to copy.  I do see some hamon and the weld defects are ver low...we are almost there.....ajust a bit more effort put into the the forging process itself.

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 I will add  a picture(s) of the blade blade later , I am satisfied with the hamon on the homemade steel. Many things came together with this blade. The blade to too close to "very good" not make an effort to polish it. Polishing is a whole other thread and learning curve..but this blade warrants it . Below are a bunch of pictures of the hamon under a USB microscope. I am closing the thread and moving on....more welding practice and study.

7mm screen

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2mm screen

 

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Edited by Jan Ysselstein

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Here is some more Nioi and some pics of the rough blade . . That completes the post , I will post the polished blade.DSCN6239.jpgframe7.jpgframe8.jpg

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Edited by Jan Ysselstein

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Thank you for sharing this Jan. I won't pretend to understand most of what you have done here but it has been interesting to follow.

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That looks like a winner, Jan.  Very authentic hada, based on what little I know about it.

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Nice ayasugi hada. Hope the polish goes well.

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Thanks guys, The hada is something I will think about on the next blade...this blade was just a bar ground to a blade shape. I will post the blade again after more "polishing". The blade was very thick even at the second quench I am a bit concerned I will be "polishing" through the shallow hardening. I may go through the thread and list all the topics I have learned something about as well as the topics that have come into focus for more experimentation.  By the way, what I labeled as Nioi, is Niye . Here is a picture I took this morning ..the

water is the pearlite ..the fog bank is the hamon..the cloudy sky is the untempered martensite..

 

 

IMG_3944.jpg 

Edited by Jan Ysselstein

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Had about 8kg of forged "wootz" blades sitting around ...these were all at about 2% carbon and very clean in composition. Left them in the furnace ( piled ) for oroshigane , then quenched them and broke them into bits. The bits will be used to continue the quest for a blade with a nice hamon....now we are concerned with other variables affecting the appearance of the steel. The concern is, will they weld if I cannot bring them up to 1300 Deg C (above their melting point)..using straight borax they did weld on a test sample.

There are two batches not of equal weight.  One batch is home made steel  the other is all wrought iron chain....the breaks look very similar and we will see if one looks better than the other. Now I am left with just 3 wootz blades for future use.

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Here is the picture to go with the above post. I will try a few welds before my forge becomes my crucible furnace.....I need some feedback on this material as a starting material for blades ( folded steel blades)  If it looks good I can make a few extra crucible runs to prepare some of this material..

All the wootz blades heated quenched and broken..to be use as remelt stock or steel   for folding .

 IMG_3545.jpgmaterial.

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