Jump to content
I Forge Iron

Tamahagane hamadashi Tanto

Recommended Posts

I just finished this ( almost ) need to cut a saya  ( Scabbard)  made for 1,200,000 layer tamahagane . outfitted with antique japanese fuchi ( handle support ) with (solid fine silver) tsuba .Changed it to silver one  Also has white rayskin cover and black buffalo horn Mekugi ( pin ) has nice engraving ( horimono ) and black buffalo horn

Kashira ( pommel)  I hope you like it   james




Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow....Looks like you really went all out on this one. Did you go that far on the layer count for the sake of getting more then one million? The layers look that fine that from the picture it is hard to see that it even has layers.

You really do some awesome work on Japanese style blades.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I understand the making of tamahagane, but stating 1,200,000 layers makes me wonder about typos.   Assuming 1/8 inch thickenss for the blade, that means each layer would only be 0.0000000104167 inch thickness.   If the number is not a typo, then how do you prevent radiation exposure after splitting the atoms to get that many layers in that thickness of a blade? 


Just suggesting a better choice of wording so we do not confuse the less experianced members as to what in involved in making the tamahagane, or pattern welding in general.   I have lost a few jobs because clients read stuff like a million layers and I tell them no they wont get that, attempting to explain that is going on, and they are sure of themselves, so I am just not good enough. Then they buy a "good blade" from some where else for $200.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Beautiful work - as always. Your blade architecture is very graceful.

Re the layers, if I recall my high school math correctly, I believe the number doubles with each fold, so the first fold (assuming one homogenous bar) would be 2 layers, then 4, then 8, etc. Using that logic, 20 folds should yield 1,048,576 layers - however, the raw material could start out as some number of stacked pieces, thereby requiring fewer folds to theoretically break a million. Of course, the bar is pretty refined by then and carbon migration has likely reached some average value; as Steve noted, the "layers" are so thin as to not be visible. I don't know how many folds are typically completed to refine tamahagane but I believe Japanese smiths were primarily interested in forging as a means enhance performance. In other words, the material dictated the process development - if they had access to another raw material, the manufacturing process would have been different, e.g., wootz was a form of crucible steel and worked by an alternate method.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello , the blade is a small naginata/ nagamaki just has longer tsuka ( handle) started with  1-75 layer billets folded 13 times  . so it had 75 layers to start layers to start . If you fold it 14 times you get 1,228, 800 layers .This practice was common in order to work out the impurities in the steel. there are Japanese swords that have up to several million layers . I do mine with saymak hammer , The japanese did it with hammer teams of up to 4 men hammering at the same time in sucession . has a wierd Rhythm when you listen . There is usually master smith with a little stick pointing to where they want you to hit .I also have a large kiridashi and knives made from same billet . Let me find them. wait one . most of the pics are not super close ups . If you look at fold lines it appears to have normal amounts of folds . But, between those  are hundreds of very fine fold lines .

On the tanto with horimono you can see a little better . I have 1000's of pics it takes a while to find them

   working on some CPM 3-V swords made like shinogi zukuri blade , no hamon but super tough cutters

as good or better than Infi by busse swords. I will post some more pics later as I am not feeling well

on some stem cell treatment for a bad liver ... thank for looking    James









Link to post
Share on other sites

The girlfriend thought I was looking at food because I kept going "Mmm... mmm... wow". Those are amazing, beyond words. How do you get the same to wrap around so nicely?

 It can be tough , because tsuka is kind of hour glass shaped. Just make sure you soak in water real good and make it flexible . put on glue stretch real tight . Over lap, let it dry and cut off excess material .That's the hard part actually.   James

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have some smaller blades coming , more like skinners , and utility and edc blades . 3 -4 different types . All tamahagane .exotic wood handles they are just ugly bare blade now rough forged and ground a little . I will attempt to clay and quench them , see what happens .

Oil usually is not a hard enough quench to get good hamon on this steel.


It takes a great hamon . Water is the best . with smaller blades you dont have to worry about cracking too much with water when small . All I do is 4-5 seconds in water , Just depends on blade size .

     Because of differential ht you only temper at 300f for 1/2 hr . When doing swords quench is a little longer , temper is when blade get to 300 f  for short time ..... 5-10 min. 


The reason is spine is already about 40 rc where as the edge is 61 0r so .If you do standard mono steel temper , it will damage Hamon and make spine too soft .Longtr tempers and hamon may be there but not bright and sunny. Heat is the biggest enemy of a good hamon ...... Thanks for comments I appreciate......James

Link to post
Share on other sites

The ore was from Japan , (Black sand ore) Via Dick tools from Germany . For some reason They will sell to Germany via special licence? .But not to USA ?  I think the ore was sold to dick tools by Japanese tool maker , who is licenced to bring it here . There is a company in California, Hida tools who make plane blades from tamahagane , They wont sell any Tamahagane kera . I asked them many times .


My buddy and I smelted it our tatara in missouri . we added a little magnatite for grins ..... James      It was a pain!

Link to post
Share on other sites

about 1 foot tall , we tear them down after using them . I think its easier . It was about 5' ft tall and 1.5' wide tapering toward the bottom.

       James      I use fire brick I get from a chimney maker so its not a brick / money issue.      James

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...