Jump to content

Question.... unintentional hamon???


Recommended Posts

Have a quick question. Is it possible to get a hamon besides using clay? Ive never messed with hamons at all yet but seems like i have a faint one going on in my recent blade. its a damascus chefs knife comprised of 1095,15N20 and nickel sheet. any ideas? Heres a picture and ill try and take a better one to show you what I'm seeing. along the edge is a faint shadow.

Thanks IMG_1569.JPG

Link to post
Share on other sites

A hamon will form in the areas of the steel that cooled the fastest...simple as that. without a clay mask, it forms on blades where the taper towards the edge is steep. Since it is the thinnest part of the cross section it will cool the fastest. You will certainly form one if you edge quench with a temperature gradient; the edge being the hottest and cooler as you approach the spine. Keep in mind as well that only shallow hardening steels(10series, W1-2, 52100 etc) will produce this effect.
The attached pic is one of my blades with an "accidental" hamon. it is forged from 1095.

post-605-127602900921.jpg

Edited by jdsmith02115
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Yup. The clay helps shape the hamon, but it isn't the main reason the hamon forms. Like mentioned above, steel type and thickness tapers are probably the two biggies. I got several decent-looking hamon by total accident :lol: , and some by just heating the edge, and leaving the spine below critical at quench.

 

An idle question...do you guys feel that hamon and differential hardening are different techniques? To put it another way, is an edge quench (etched to be visible) a type of "hamon", or is there more to it than just getting a hard edge and soft spine, with a visible line in between? :ph34r:

Link to post
Share on other sites

An idle question...do you guys feel that hamon and differential hardening are different techniques? To put it another way, is an edge quench (etched to be visible) a type of "hamon", or is there more to it than just getting a hard edge and soft spine, with a visible line in between? :ph34r:

 

An idle answer ;) ...For me, the term "hamon" means you're after a specific style of differential hardening effects that requires a rather wide zone of mixed structures, that sort of wispy-looking cloudy stuff I don't know the Japanese term for, and ashi are required, utsuri is a bonus. This requires a very shallow-hardening steel.

 

You can get a sharp line with 5160 by edge-quenching, or a softer line by doing a soft-back draw, but as far as I'm concerned that is not hamon. If you're going to use the Japanese term, you have to use it the same way the Japanese do, in other words.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Very nice, thanks for the idle answer Alan :D . Pretty much how I feel about it, too. I almost always differentially harden my blades, but don't consider the lines "hamon" unless they have plenty of activity, or were controlled using clay. I learned a lot about hamon formation by playing around with edge quenching, though.

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

An idle answer ;) ...For me, the term "hamon" means you're after a specific style of differential hardening effects that requires a rather wide zone of mixed structures, that sort of wispy-looking cloudy stuff I don't know the Japanese term for, and ashi are required, utsuri is a bonus. This requires a very shallow-hardening steel.

 

You can get a sharp line with 5160 by edge-quenching, or a softer line by doing a soft-back draw, but as far as I'm concerned that is not hamon. If you're going to use the Japanese term, you have to use it the same way the Japanese do, in other words.

Thanks Alan! I'm still a newbie but from what I've gathered I agree with you, I was just trying to get my head wrapped around it. That is far from an intentional and beautiful hamon like what a lot of guys have happening on here. I'm also trying to challenge myself to ask more questions and deepen my understanding. So I appreciate all of you guys chiming in.

And JD thanks for your information as well!! Also that bldr is beautiful!!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Also this is the blade almost finished. I got a lot of handle material from a consignment shop in the area that a local bladesmithsforum was selling (never was a able to contact him) but I'm at a loss to the wood here so it'd also be helpful if someone who recognizes it give me an idea what I'm working with. Thanks again!!image.jpeg

Link to post
Share on other sites

That handle looks magic, like from Tolkien's Elvish style :blink: Maybe some burl...

Yeah Kris! It really looks like magic in the light! The figure of the wood is beautiful and almost looks like veins of gold flecks running through it. It really took me by surprise as i sanded and polished it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Alan knows more about this than I do, however, I will at least introduce the idea and see if anyone cares about it. It is pretty common that no one cares about the ideas try to relate. And we just move on.

 

Anyway, here it is - there was one or several or something incidents where modern museums/collectors/scholars decided to polish very old blades (e.g., seax). To everyone's surprise, there was a line of differential hardening on the blades.

 

Were these created deliberately, a) to enhance the performance of the blade, B) to be pretty, and / or c) to show off the ability of the smith?

 

I don't know the answer. But, it was cool to learn that there may be differential hardening lines hiding in old seax blades. Whether they are hamons (in Alan's terminology, deliberately done) is a question I really would like to learn an answer to. The Chinese were deliberately creating shangxue (hamons, where the Japanese learned them from) during the Han Dynasty (so before 200 AD, maybe by 1 AD.).

 

The pattern on that blade looks great, and the handle material is outstanding. Ths is coming together to be a very cool piece.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yep. I have spoken to the gentleman who performed the research (he'll be at Owen's hammer-in if you're interested) and he is of the opinion that it is just an artifact of the steel itself. As has been said, a very shallow-hardening steel cannot help but form a hardening line of some sort. The structures on the blades in question (a sax and a spatha) do not show any of the traits associated with deliberate manipulation of the phenomenon. In other words, most likely accidental or incidental.

 

It is important as well to know the blades in question would not have shown the pine in their original polish, it too traditional Japanese techniques to reveal it at all.

 

Still pretty darned cool, though!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...