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1/4th scale patternwelded katana and tanto WIP

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hello, ive made some okay miniatures before but im wanting to step up my game and make some really accurately sized fittings, i hope that i can show someone a picture of the finished piece and they wont be able to tell its a miniature.


so, heres some freshly heattreated steel that emiliano carrillo sent me, i cut a slice from the billet and forge it on the bias, i usually grind out most of the tang but i try to forge in the bevels if i can. i quenched these in 280 F* canola and tempered at 390, no problems with the quench, everything came out straight.


the steel is 1075 welded to itself for about 500 layers.

the katana is 9.5 inches long and the tanto are about 4 inches, all with be hira-zukuri ground and the katana might need a fuller to get rid of one of those special kinds of really small really deep spots that only patternweld can give you.


here is some video of the forging, i was running low on battery so i couldnt get it all


theres still oil crud and scale from the heat treat but you can see the hada on the blades.



katana and tanto












a shot of the katana on my arm before heat treat, i made the profile taper more after this picture.



this last pic isnt so great but i was just trying to show the blades next to my other 1/4 scale katana.


im going to make my own shibuichi and ito, im thinking about using some bocote i have for the handles because it splits alright and has a tight grain which will look good as a miniature handle, i have some yellowheart i wanted to use for the saya but it has figure i didnt notice when i bought it so it will be hard to split it good enough. i would like to leave the wood visible and not show ANY glue.


i have very little idea of how to embellish a katana with engravings and inlay, i dont know what i would put on it, im going to start figuring that out but if anyone has some ideas or a website with lots of sword fitting pictures i would appreciate hearing about it.


well my laptop is about to die now... i hope you enjoy my work! i will be posting more as it gets done.


thanks again emiliano for the steel, its been working great!

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You mentioned embellishments..etching the blades would work great..simply a template,battery charger and some salt water..or a no2 pencil and light bulb plugged into 120v..free hand..somewhat Dangerous..look in to YouTube videos..Be careful..even acid etched with painted on template..myself I like the saltwater and charger method..Safety plus finished product..

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You mentioned embellishments..etching the blades would work great..simply a template,battery charger and some salt water..or a no2 pencil and light bulb plugged into 120v..free hand..somewhat Dangerous..look in to YouTube videos..Be careful..even acid etched with painted on template..myself I like the saltwater and charger method..Safety plus finished product..

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Hi Steven nice to see you are still going strong with the "mini" creations!! I am also dabling with some now, and is using youre previous katana dimensions to see if I can forge one out of Saben silver steel rod that I have! These little buggers are very tricky and one wrong move on the grinder and its tickets :blink: for the small blade!!! Keep going would love to see more "mini" cutters!!!


Greetings Martin

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non-functioning miniatures! ugh! a miniature has to be fully functional to be a miniature, otherwise its a model. there arent many good minis so i make good minis to try to get them a little bit more exposure. i also like to think about how there are so many things that work because of their scale, like if you took everything in your house and shrunk it down some of it wouldnt work anymore, i dont really know how to explain it, if an ant were as big as us it would just cook in the sun and if we made a regular ant a shrunk down car the gasoline wouldnt work and jeez just think of loosing all those tiny bearings...... little swords, however, work just like big ones for the most part but there are some differences to make it interesting.


martin, im glad to hear that, and i would like to see what you come up with!


so, the katana didnt harden but i have a tanto that has a hard edge and a soft spine, i cant see any kind of hardening line on it, i just tried an interrupted quench by pulling the blade after a second and a half (more like count to one and wonder if its a good idea) and then putting it back in the (hot!) oil. i really thought the katana hardened, i checked it with a file and got a few other blades hardened at the same time but it was bending while i was grinding it, its still thick enough for another heat treat luckily.


i have an electric motor with a slow slow gearbox that im going to make into a 1x30 wet grinder, i just need to finish the drive wheel and stick it all together, but until that gets done ill be using this finger eating, toe breaking, pants soaking thingamajig:


the tanto is pretty much ground to shape, i polished one side up to 1000 grit and did an etch, the hada is mostly straight/wavy. the katana hada is a little more interesting because it was worked more, it still needs to be ground down a lot more but im hoping for some mokume hada with just a few "knots" in the pattern.


here are some pics of the patterns, or hada, is it hada?








and here is a picture with better lighting, the almost finished katana is an o-katana so its big. i havent filed out the tangs yet because its way way way easier to hold them with these rectangular tangs and you need the extra strength there for grinding and sanding the blade. right now the katana is 3/32" wide at the base of the blade and 1/16" at the tip, thats still just a bit thick. the tanto is 1/16" thick at the base of the blade and tapers to 2/3 of that at the tip, i read that the armor piercing tanto had more taper than other japanese swords, i hope thats right.





tomorrow i should get started on the habaki for the tanto, and the katana too if i get it heat treated. im also working on a miniature for Emiliano, he was kind enough to give me the PW steel for free, his blade has put up a fight so its a little behind these but it might show up in this thread as well.


thanks for looking! questions, comments, and critique are welcome.

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A 1x30 is just a 1/2 scale miniature of a 2x60, right? ;)

Nice work, though! I think I'd go crazy, making miniatures. And I like tedious stuff!

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  • 2 weeks later...

got a bit more work done, a rough habaki and a pretty warped katana.... the habaki is alright though so far. i might have to heat up some pliers to anneal the katanas spine while cooling the edge in water, its fun and not so much fun at the same time, i might try straightening with clamps in the oven.




i made a tiny anvil out of a rail spike, it was perfect for such a tiny job.




once it was roughly fit i used a jewelers saw with some sandpaper to clean it up. i fold the sandpaper so it sands on both sides which seems to keep it from tearing.




here is the habaki soldered with a machigane that was forged with a miniature hammer i made (!!!)




a picture from the top, i used a ground-thin file, jewelers saw, and the tanto blade to make the slot in the habaki. the habaki is still a bit long.




when everything is near its final thickness i should be able to use my miniature hammer to fit the habaki even better without spreading the metal at all.


thats it for now, i have to start emilianos miniature all over again, his sword and the katana were just an inch too long but gave me a bunch of trouble.

im going to stay away from blades that are longer than 6" until i can figure out a long thin forge with no hot spots, i bet an electric kiln would be nice for these!

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