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I need your help!! japanese oriented q's

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So, I plan on starting a project tanto durring the next few weeks and I want it to be as close to traditional as possible. This is a precourser to making katana's and other japanese weapons, so essentially I want to use mainly the same technique. Obviously I cant do the 10year practiced polishing, so I will have to make do with that aspect, but I am making a sen, and I have a few water stones. Any way, my main problem is finding what the mixture is for the clay coating to the blade. I read somewhere it is a mix of clay and charcoal, but I need specifics.
Also, is a katana's edge double beveled like common knives, or is the entire blade a bevel going straight to an edge? make sense?
Thanks alot. Any advice would be INCREDIBLY helpful.

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So, I plan on starting a project tanto durring the next few weeks and I want it to be as close to traditional as possible. This is a precourser to making katana's and other japanese weapons, so essentially I want to use mainly the same technique. Obviously I cant do the 10year practiced polishing, so I will have to make do with that aspect, but I am making a sen, and I have a few water stones. Any way, my main problem is finding what the mixture is for the clay coating to the blade. I read somewhere it is a mix of clay and charcoal, but I need specifics.
Also, is a katana's edge double beveled like common knives, or is the entire blade a bevel going straight to an edge? make sense?
Thanks alot. Any advice would be INCREDIBLY helpful.


GOOD LUCK, you'll need it hehe! To go completely traditional, you'll have to construct a small tatara smelter fueld by charcoal and charged with iron sand. After you have smelted your bloom of tamahagane or orishigane, you'll have to take the usable bits and forge them out and forge weld them together into small bars,, then harden those and break them up. Re stack then reforge weld them all together into a solid billet, folding anywhere from 10 to X amount of times, either on the same plane or alternating planes. Once that is done forge it out into a sunobe or blade blank, forge the bevels, clean up grind. Clay coat, water quench, stone polish then start on the fittings.

The other way to get an equally beautiful and usable blade would be to buy a bar of 1075(close carbon content to that preferred by Yoshindo), forge it out into your blade blank, then forge in the bevels. Grind and sen and file it the rest of the way to semi final shape, coat with the refractory clay known as Satanite, quench in warmed oil, then pull out and stick in your household oven at 400 to 495 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour. Pull it out, let it cool then finish grind/file, polish, then mount.

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thankyou, I think I may be picking up some 1075. Although the proccess behind smelting Tamahagane is amazing and incredibly interesting, I dont think I have the skill or time to aquire the skill to do this.

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Note if you are going "traditional" then the bladesmith is NOT the grinder/polisher; that is a seperate craft as is Tsukamaki, etc.

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yes, Ive researched a bit into this stuff. 10yr apprenticship to become a sword polisher, only one or two Americans to have completed the training. Its done with waterstones that are becoming increasingly more rare/expensive. A sword smith is responsible for a basic shaping of the blade with the sen, and a coarse stone (I believe) and the polisher does the rest, including bringing out the hamon, and final shaping of the blade.

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The other way to get an equally beautiful and usable blade would be to buy a bar of 1075(close carbon content to that preferred by Yoshindo), forge it out into your blade blank, then forge in the bevels. Grind and sen and file it the rest of the way to semi final shape, coat with the refractory clay known as Satanite, quench in warmed oil, then pull out and stick in your household oven at 400 to 495 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour. Pull it out, let it cool then finish grind/file, polish, then mount.:o
a perfect formula for success:D
seems so easy on paper.

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^^yes it does.

could I use 1050 steel? I found out I have a 6ft 2x1/4 bar. I read somewhere it takes a nice hamon, but is a biatch to get the spine hard enough.

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erm, then how am I going to get a hamon? am I missing something? I thought the hamon was created by the differing thickness of the clay layer on the spine/front of the blade..(need to memorize those darn japanese terms).

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Not the spine as in back bevel, but spine as in the thin part on the back of the blade, opposite the edge. You will put clay on the back bevel and part of the lower bevel, but leave the spine unclayed. Look up Wally Haye's katana video and get it, worth every penny.

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hope no one mind but I am tipping my hand here....the following is extracted from my 4the book. I am currentlkyt woirking on the Hamon section...


<<
The steels best suited for this are what are commonly known as "shallow hardening" or "simple" steels. The late Bob Engnath and I, through a lot of research (this translates into years here, and a considerable amount of failed attempts ) have found that the best results so far involve using a brine quench and 1045 to 1050 steel, resulting in a cutting edge hardness of approx 55 to 57 Rc, plus or minus a point or two. My own work conducted after Mr. Engnath’s passing has been able to verify this repeatedly, with a temperline that is well, just short of being totally spectacular.

Factors that come into play for a “good” temperline:

In a "European" style of sword, using a deep or shallow hardening steel is not much of a factor, usually it depends upon individual choice of the smith, and to be honest, for a European style sword, I feel that a deep hardening steel is "better", but that's opinion, but be that as it may.

In the "Japanese" style of heat treating, you do NOT want any deep hardening characteristics as this will have a negative effect on the temperline forming along the refractory boundaries. You want a small area to undergo transformation during the thermal treatment. Using a deep hardening steel will really defeat your purpose and well, you won’t get a very attractive line. So stay with the low alloy, simple, shallow hardening steels.>*

End of part one... if there is enough interest I will pull out further info from the text. This is just the bare bones of the chapter as there is a whoile lot more to it tahtg what i pulled out

*Copyright Dr. JP Hrisoulas 2006

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wow, verry cool. What is your name? and the names of your books? so, what you are saying is lower alloy's take temperlines better, because deep hardening steels soak heat faster making the whole blade closer in temp? cool, its nice to know I have the perfect steel, thanks ALOT for that beautiful peice of literature, good luck on your book and Ill probably be getting a copy when it is published.

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That would be James Hrisoulas author of "The Complete Bladesmith", "The Master Bladesmith", and "The Pattern-Welded Blade".

You've been researching for 10 years and are not familiar with them? I'm shocked! If you are starting out to be a bladesmith they are necessary reference works!

And no deep hardening steels do not soak heat faster. Their alloys are such that they harden deeper in a thick place--the nose of the hardening curve is over far enough that even thicker pieces have time to make it to martensite

Note that on japanese blades the spine of the blades are generally pretty soft and it is only the edge that is hardened and that is usually quite hard and brittle.

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The famed cutting ability of the Japanese blade is multi-faceted:

A. Most of the traditional blades have a soft steel core jacketed by higher carbon steel. Any modern homogenous steel will not translate this feature in exactly the same way.
B. The differential heat treatment as described by Dr. H above.
C. The induced curve in the blade - part of which is a product of forging and part of which comes from the heat treating step.
D. How it is wielded is the final part of the equation. An experienced swordsman is necessary to demonstrate the full capability of the weapon. The entire Japanese society was built on the culture of the blade so it took on a religious significance that was not witnessed elsewhere.

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That would be James Hrisoulas author of "The Complete Bladesmith", "The Master Bladesmith", and "The Pattern-Welded Blade".

You've been researching for 10 years and are not familiar with them? I'm shocked! If you are starting out to be a bladesmith they are necessary reference works!

And no deep hardening steels do not soak heat faster. Their alloys are such that they harden deeper in a thick place--the nose of the hardening curve is over far enough that even thicker pieces have time to make it to martensite

Note that on japanese blades the spine of the blades are generally pretty soft and it is only the edge that is hardened and that is usually quite hard and brittle.


Ha, I own the complete blade smith :D great book, basically one of a few smithing/bladesmithing books that got me started. Im going out to start one now, Ive got a new forge design to try out.. might work for coal, but is designed for charcoal. Thanks for the help guys, I believe I can take it from here :D

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Just finished the construction of the blade, now its time for a rough shaping with sen/files, drawing out the tang a little more, peircing it. and the temper. then ofcourse, all that we have discussed.

1050 steel, roughly 12-13in blade length, will be constructed like a small katana, because I am trying to get down the basic methods in a dry run, so to speak...

thaks again ya'll.

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yes, a tanto.. I thought I said that.. I meant to anyway. what I meant with that sentence was that it would have all the characteristics of a katana, Ive seen tanto that are wood handled, and wood sheathed. just plain.

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So, I plan on starting a project tanto durring the next few weeks and I want it to be as close to traditional as possible. This is a precourser to making katana's and other japanese weapons, so essentially I want to use mainly the same technique. Obviously I cant do the 10year practiced polishing, so I will have to make do with that aspect, but I am making a sen, and I have a few water stones. Any way, my main problem is finding what the mixture is for the clay coating to the blade. I read somewhere it is a mix of clay and charcoal, but I need specifics.
Also, is a katana's edge double beveled like common knives, or is the entire blade a bevel going straight to an edge? make sense?
Thanks alot. Any advice would be INCREDIBLY helpful.
If it can help you: INTK Forum cordially, Stefano :)

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