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[Picture Hvy] Some of my Orishigane for Japanese Blades.

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**NOTE: My memory of some things is a little foggy. This project was ongoing and posted on my IG with some details not here I imagine @caublestonecutlery

This is about 30% of the steel I made this year. Some of it didnt make the cut as I was experimenting and testing different parameters of the furnace and run.

20170626_075618.jpgAverage spark of this seasons orishigane

20170626_075648.jpgThe puck that the spark belonged to


20170626_133937.jpgCut puck in half. Rather porous to be expected, but still very dense

20170626_212358.jpgPolished and etched to show dendritic structure





Edited by Daniel Cauble
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I went back to that test blade I made from this material and went to the side I had left off with Uchigumori-Ji benchstone. On this I had used very hard and fine Jizuya, and then kanahada nugui. The b

It is close to what I wanted but I'm practically never satisfied with anything so it's a constant battle.   Over the weekend I progressed through the stones but realized I had missed scratch

From that 180 grit stone I went to a 220, 320, 600, and then 1000. The 220-1000 are a hard coarse synthetics I originally invested in for kitchen knives, but specifically and especially for yanagiba d

Posted Images

20170917_192024.jpgI found out a Lowes 20 miles away had 3k firebrick.

20170917_194554.jpgSo I decided to make a traditional japanese side blown

20170917_210422.jpgNeeded a table made for this.

20170918_195531.jpgYou got that right. I had a little guidance by from a friend of a Japanese Swordsmith for the construction.

20170918_202639.jpgThe EPK clay I washed it down with was cured

20170919_180204.jpgI wanted to leave as much ash as possible

20170919_182445.jpgThis i gently packed down

20170921_075506.jpgMore pure ash added

20170921_132527.jpgWetted and packed in further

20170923_111227.jpgRod for tekogane plate


20170923_113857.jpgEven some japanese sword smiths use Borax for this step.

20170923_114119.jpgA mix of some borax and rice straw ash, along with Japanese rice paper to wrap.

20170923_114206.jpgIt wraps well. No wonder they use this.

20170923_114311.jpgCoated in more rice straw ash

20170923_114416.jpgClay slurry I created a year ago when these endeavors began

20170923_114542.jpgLiterally first forging in this new forge was this project. Feel confident.

20170923_123530.jpgThe confidence was somewhat warrented, and also not. I lost about 1.5# of material into the forge, as the rod was made of orishigane, and that was my mistake. Not shown in the pics is the creation of the rod, made of material like the rest of the sword material. So it melted. Not to panic, I had the rod from the previous half and it was made of wrought iron with a much higher melting point. At this point there was no fuss, and I wire welded it to my bar that was now 1.5# lighter. It consolidated well however.

20170923_123534.jpgAs you can see

20170923_124201.jpgI went on to fold this bar, alternating my cut and fold width wise, and length.

20170923_135648.jpgThis is a lengthwise fold




20170923_144202.jpgClean bar. 5 folds (Ran out of charcoal for a 6th). I will fold this 1 more time, and then stretch and cut in half, and doing the same with the bar from last year, combine them all to fold together another 6+ times.

20170923_145815.jpgEven after 5 folds, the carbon level is very intense.


Edited by Daniel Cauble
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Thanks. Its a ton of fun. A lot of work and practice has lead to this 

The blues were actually in my orishigane. The grade 1/b tamahagane is just meant for my own study.

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Fascinating Captain. It looks like you had quite a number of smelts + remelts in this endeavor over what, a year or more? I admire the tenacity.

Edited by Joshua States
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Each heat is basically a fold, so yea welding heat. It may get a quick low heat at the actual folding the bar over part as it is a bear to bend and work such a high carbon steel. Once tbe temps cool down cool enough as the bar is being drawn out, it feels like a thick bar of W2 or mildly the same resistance something like crucible will give the hammer.


The first half i worked last year was a tremendous amount of work. I was developing my methodology while also figuring out how to get the steel the cleanest. The first half was made from melted wrought and some had bloomery bits in it. Except after reading aristotles accounts of steel in his version of a furnace, i learned that if i took the material i melted once already and melted it again, i would have a cleaner steel that had a higher homogenity in carbon. Which it did. The only drawback was the return in steel quantity was greatly diminished.


I think the first bar had probably 12 melts worth of steel in it. Which incudes the remelts of the melts.


Between that bar and this bar i made a fair amount for testing and even made some for trades with other smiths. Then i took a break ajd started working on other projects. Charcoal is expensive, and i get bored of making charcoal in the retort.


I revived this project after spending the day at Jesvs's old house on top of the mountain. He had a lot of spare crane cable, and implored me to use it in remelts.


So this past spring i decided to do probably another 20 melts or so testing out one parameter of the furnace to another. I even ran into some problems that required me to have a neureaka moment while reading Art of the Japanese Sword.

This last bar is made from remelted crane cable for the most part and my hope is that the differing feed materials may lend to a contrasting hada on the blade in the end.

Ive found that the feed material isnt all that important. I still have tk send pieces for analysis, but my suspicion is that the remelt process at least strips the steel of Mn in the melt. My testing with the remelts over time have indicated this. Ive melted 1018 that had .8Mn per spec sheet, and the resulting 5 fold steel example was as shallow as you would expect from Mn devoid steels. The modern steel remelt also did not require a 2nd or 3rd remelting to achieve the cleanest steel possible either.


It all folds and sticks to itself like a dream.

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  • 1 year later...

Have been working on the ability to push carbon into high carbon steels to make them higher carbon steels using higher carbon orishigane and carbon migration principles laid out by Verhoeven.


This orishigane was pulled from the furnace and knowing how well I can make ultra high carbon steel from one end of the puck to the other, used the entire mini-bloom of orishigane. Folding was conducted using my own formulation of mud and rice straw ash.


From there it was folded 9 times and laid to rest until I was ready to use it.


The spark yielded a rather high carbon spark. Much higher than W2, so I set out to sanmai weld W2 with orishigane at mid to high temp welding heats with soak in hopes of pushing carbon into the W2. Then drawn out into a billet to be used as core material.


From there I constructed a sanmai with this material and my usual 1018 mild jacket. This time using a lower temp forgeweld to mitigate migration into the mild.


Drawn out and a gyuto was made. Hardened using japanese Ht techniques and just got done machine grinding it. On to hand sanding.


Unfortunately I dont have time to make this a kasumi style kitchen knife and stone polish it like I really wanted to as this is going to Bladeshow and I dontnhave time. So sandpaper, loose abrassives and etchants it is.




Edited by Daniel Cauble
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2 hours ago, Daniel Cauble said:

Unfortunately I dont have time to make this a kasumi style kitchen knife and stone polish it like I really wanted to as this is going to Bladeshow and I dontnhave time. So sandpaper, loose abrassives and etchants it is.

What? No house elves?

Looks great Daniel.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I said screw it and started polishing it for kasumi anyway (japanese natural stone polish). Long way to go :0


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Some micrographs of the core steel. The core steel is again W2 sandwiched between orishigane. A few show the clean weld of the two disimilar metals. I need to obtain a few more etchants to show grain boundaries.



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  • 3 months later...

It's an obsession I've fine tuned for over 6 years now.

I've started micrographing my steel from the raw hearth steel. My results compliment findings in historically produced steels found by archaeologists which is neat. I am currently poised to be assisting in creating a large database of structures for other researchers to use.

Lately I have pushed my furnace to cross the 2% C threshold and making larger quantities of white cast to be mixed and blended into my steel. Once carbon starts to cross 2%, ledeburite starts to form and the material starts to become a ceramic. 







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