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After a very long hiatus, my 2nd forged knife is in progress!

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Hello, everyone!


Long time no post--I imagine most of the folks on here won't even remember me, these days :P. After forging my first knife under the guidance of Tai Goo about 7 years ago, I visited a couple local bladesmiths to help me learn a bit more, but after that, I dove into leatherworking because I was living in apartments and couldn't set up my own forge. Now, though, I have a house, so I built a forge and got myself a fairly wimpy little old anvil. Probably about 5 years ago, now, I visited Cris Anderson with a bar of 1084FG and a plan to make a tanto, and he helped me shape the tip and get a bevel started, which is what you can see in this image:



Now that I have my own set up, I was excited to finally get back to work on it! I still have more to do, but here it is with a base bevel down the entire length:



Right now, most of the edge is about nickel-thickness, or a little thicker, so I still have some thinning to do on the edge. There is also a bit of a twist at the tang, but I can fix that (I think :P):



I'm not really going for a fully traditional tanto with this project, but it's a fun thing to play with. When I put the bevel in, it curved quite a bit, as you would expect, and I took about half the curve out of it with a chunk of wood, but I wasn't sure how much to take out of it, at this point. I was planning to try claying it up and doing a differential hardening, despite the fact that 1084FG doesn't take a hamon all that well, and as I understand it, quenching in oil (which is my plan) will have a tendency to cause negative sori and straighten the blade out. With that in mind, I left some curve in it, but maybe my thought process is off?


In any case, once I thin the bevels out to where I want them, and take the twist out, I plan to take it to the belt grinder to clean it up a little bit, but I want to get the majority of the shaping done with the hammer, if it all possible. Then, it'll be on to hardening and tempering, a little sanding/polishing/sharpening, and a simple wooden tsuka and saya.

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Well, I'm still totally open to input, but I've put some more work into the tanto, in the meantime! I forged the bevels down some more so that the edge was about the thickness of a dime, and mostly straightened the spine. I couldn't quite take care of the point the way I wanted, so it ended up with a bit of a nose to grind off:



Here it is after cleaning up the edges:






Then, I put a hole through the tang for a pin, stamped my name into it (which came out pretty ugly, but oh well--it'll be under a handle, anyway), and used my grinder to take some of the meat off the bevels in preparation for using files:






I'm going to flatten out and smooth the bevels with files before heat treating it, which will be an attempt at a hamon, then I'll finish sanding and sharpening it.

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That has potential...:)


Predicting sori is nearly impossible. I'd suggest making it the exact shape you want it,but don't get too attached to it staying that shape... and then praying sori doesn't happen.


I would also suggest letting it soak in vinegar a few hours to loosen up the scale before you start filing, as fire scale is rough on files.

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Thank you for the feedback, George! I actually did plan to soak it in vinegar before filing it, so I did that, and then I cleaned up the bevels as much as I can/care to with a file and some sandpaper wrapped around a steel bar. I'm not going for a super polished finish, because I like things a little rough, so I wasn't too worried about that. I just finished claying up the blade for heat treat, so I just have to let it set.




Now, I realize that this steel (1084FG) is relatively deep-hardening, and doesn't tend to take a hamon very well, but I'm going to try, anyway! I figured that I might as well, since I'm playing around with a tanto design, and if it doesn't take, it's not the end of the world :P. We'll see what happens with the sori.

Edited by Noah M Legel
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1084fg (Just 1084 I'm assuming?) will take a hardening line, but won't be anything close to a hamon. If done right, you SHOULD get something, but don't expect more then a wavy line. Also, unless you're quenching in water, sori probably won't happen.

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1084fg (Just 1084 I'm assuming?) will take a hardening line, but won't be anything close to a hamon. If done right, you SHOULD get something, but don't expect more then a wavy line. Also, unless you're quenching in water, sori probably won't happen.

1084FG is 1084 from Aldo that has a slightly different chemical composition from regular 1084 to make it have a naturally finer grain. I actually got some input from Cris Anderson, who is also a member here on the forum, who said that it will take a hamon like other steels, it just won't be as active or defined, and I had my clay too thick. I thinned out the clay, and I'm planning to try a quench in oil sometime this weekend.

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yeah, too much manganese, if it is like other 1084. I am glad to see you back. Of course I haven't forgotten you. I still have the sheath on that camp knife I made. The knife is ugly compared to what I make now, but it still cuts like nobody's business (I got six stiches from an accident with it when I was making it).


I kept it after that.


Anyway, be careful. Your clay layout is too thick, especially if you are dropping the ashi all the way to the edge. You want an eighth of an inch or even less thickness.


I humbly suggest Aldo's low manganese 1075, or W2 for hamons. I am in love with the 1075. I like to fold it with a combo of 1020 and W2 to bring the carbon down just a tad and keep the manganese low. If you do this, you get a hamon, a hada, and a blade that forms lathe rather than plate martensite. You get mostly lathe martensite just from hardening the 1075 as is. That is a wonderful thing in a sword.


Dan Mariagni (iif I spelled it right - the Ashokan guy - is the one who taught me these virtues).


edited to add: I forgot to say, that looks cool. It truly does have potential, and it is light years ahead of my second forged blade. I wasn't criticizing above. Just trying to be friendly and give some ideas. Not even really advice. You are off to a great start.


Great to see you back at it. Keep posting.

Edited by Kevin (The Professor)
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I never knew Aldo had that steel. I havn't purchased steel in awhile so it's probably pretty new. :P Cris does great work! His input is steps and bounds above mine. Good luck with the quench and let us know how things went!

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I mess with a hamon occasionally and I've tried Aldo's 1084. I clayed the blade with furnace patch cement that had been thinned a little from the ricasso to near the point but I only got a hamon just shortly beyond the ricasso. I'd bow to the experience of others and go for the 1075 if I really wanted to go for a hamon. I did once do a test blade with a hamon with 9260 that came out pretty good. You just can't find the stuff anymore sense Admiral quit carrying it.



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Thanks for the input, everyone! I did actually go into this knowing that 1084 wasn't the best choice for doing a hamon--I just had this piece of 1084 leftover from Tai Goo teaching me, and it kind of naturally felt like it should be a tanto, and from there, I decided that I would try for a hamon. If it doesn't turn out, it's not the end of the world, as long as the edge is hard enough to keep an edge.


I did thin out the clay as Cris and Kevin suggested, and backed the ashi away from the edge, but I don't think I got it hot enough before quenching because the edge was just as soft as before. Thankfully, the blade didn't crack, at all, so I got to try again! I scraped the remaining clay off, normalized the steel, and put new clay on--thinner from the start, this time, with faint ashi. After that dried overnight, I stuck it in the forge for a good soak, and made sure that it was (hopefully) around 1500-1600F, judging by how it looked, since I don't have a thermometer for the forge. My quenchant was canola oil, which I heated to about 120F, judging by feel because, again, no thermometer :P.


It wasn't the most precise process, but it seems to have done the trick! No pings in the quench, and when I took it out of the oil and checked it with a file, it wasn't able to bite into the steel like it had, before, and skated over it pretty well. Will the hamon show up? Who knows! But at least the edge hardened! The blade picked up the tiniest bit of sori, mostly toward the base of the blade, but it's hardly noticeable, so I can live with it. At that point, I threw it into a toaster oven for tempering, then cleaned things up, a bit, with a 120 grit belt. Now I just need some more sandpaper to go at it by hand before I break out my stones!





And yes, I wanted to leave the pitted section above the shinogi (ridge line), although I'm not 100% sure I'll keep it, now.


ETA: After a little vinegar and oil, I think I see a simple, narrow hamon! It could just be an artifact of grinding, but I don't think it is?




Edited by Noah M Legel
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first - congratulations, it is alive!

second - keep a magnet by the forge. when you are above magnetic (nonmagnetic) then you have about 100F to go, and then quench with the simple steels. That is one reason I use so much 1075 and 15n20 since my shop can't run the big kiln (can't wait until I get the wiring upgraded - will be able to afford it in a couple of months!). You can use a magnet, and also train your eye during the normalizations so that you can be pretty sure of quenching hot enough but not too hot.


Too hot is the enemy of hamons, and also blade toughness.


ok, enough rambling. You have done quite well. Looking forward to how you fit this bad boy out.

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I really appreciate all the feedback I've gotten, so far! I actually do have a magnet handy, on my anvil, that I used to check for non-magnetic, but I didn't soak it long enough after checking it the first time, I think. This time, I got it! I don't plan on doing a super-nice, super-clean finish on this blade, because that's not really my style, so I'm happy with leaving the forge finish on there and letting an etch darken things up. The tanto got a good long soak in vinegar, and after a quick scrub with a Scotch Brite pad, you can start to see the hamon all the way down the blade:






At this point, I decided I wasn't entirely happy with the edge, so I worked it on the stones some more, which messed up the finish, so to fix that I'll have to go back to the vinegar. Before I did that, though, I was curious as to how it would look with a bit of a polish, so I broke out the Simichrome and man, did it make a difference! More contrast and you can even see interesting patterns in the steel coming off the hamon:





I'll clean up the finish, at some point, but my next project is going to be the habaki, which I'm kind of dreading, honestly :P

Edited by Noah M Legel
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