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I am using Rutland black furnace cement thinned with water to clay a blade.
I will be using a few thin coats instead of a single thick coat.  
First attempt at claying.

Can anyone suggest (approximately) how thick to apply it.
I know I may have to experiment a little, but I'd like to have an idea where to start,

I am interested in differential hardening, making a hamon is not an issue.

 

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clay thickness will depend on your steel type, hardening temp, quenchant  type, quenchant temp , normalising regime, blade thickness and angle of grind.....

Its a suck it and see kind of deal.

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I have seen demonstrations using fireplace repair cement.  If you research this site you will find a number of different opinions on what is best to use.

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On 2/22/2016 at 1:42 PM, Jim Cowles said:

what typ of clay is used for the Hammond ??  theres regular fire clay.....but there is no info on the temp it will indure

 

Perhaps if you research Hamon rather than an organ company you will have better luck? the fire clay I have has temperatures listed on the can, I used 1/4 inch.

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On 2/25/2016 at 9:29 AM, Steve Sells said:

Perhaps if you research Hamon rather than an organ company you will have better luck? the fire clay I have has temperatures listed on the can, I used 1/4 inch.

He's just trying to get organized.

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4 hours ago, JHCC said:

He's just trying to get organized.

Just had to pipe up with that didn't you? :blink:

Frosty The Lucky.

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I don't like the tone of this thread, but I'll chime in with what I have done.  

I am fascinated with hamons, and have not been able to find much about what really causes them to tick.  It seems like the people who have really figured out how to get a lot of wispy activity have done so by trial and error, and that small variables keep you from creating a procedure that will work for everyone.

I have been using Rutland's black furnace/fireplace cement.  i water it down to a thin paintable consistency, and put a very very thin wash coat over the entire blade.  (basically a painted on coat)  When this is dry, I use a slightly thicker coat to create the hamon line, and try to add some ashi lines.  My clay is probably a little less than 1/8" at the spine, and about 1/16" nearest the edge.

I do all of this with Aldo's 1095, and quench from 1500F into brine for 3 seconds and then finish cooling in canola.

I get nice wavy hamon lines that mostly follow the clay, but not a lot of a activity.  The transition from the hard to the soft steel is very abrupt, ie the transition line comes out very narrow.  After seeing a few pre-quench pics from some great hamon makers, I think my clay is way too thick.  My next attempt is going to use very little clay to see what happens.

I think a lot of this comes down to understanding how to tune the process for your particular setup.

Good luck!

Here is a pic of the last intentional hamon I did:

http://i1262.photobucket.com/albums/ii601/BriansEngines/Blacksmithing/Knifes I Made/IMG_3315_zpsd8f85d46.jpg

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Rhitee93  I've been reading up on it and I'm looking forward to my first hamon attempt.  Nothing is cast in stone but there does seem to be some minor consensus regarding the finishing. Specifically I've noted that more grinding (stock removal) tends towards less "activity" in the hamon. 

I stumbled into some intriguing posts where knife makers were talking about using powdered abrasives.  The idea was that the abrasives were free to roll and tumble in the cut rather than planing to peaks down as you'd get with sheet backed abrasives.  The posts indicated that they switched to powdered abrasives after etching.

 

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That's interesting rockstar,  I know that a lot of people who get very interesting hamons use powdered abrasive in the later stages of their polishing, and that many will selectively polish the harder edge to create more contrast.  (That is a traditional Japanese method)  However, I haven't heard about why the powdered abrasive is different than the paper backed or stones.

I have seen a lot of inferences to heat reducing hamon activity.  A few post by people that get great results have even mentioned that normal tempering temperatures will negatively effect hamon activity.  It doesn't take a great leap in logic to believe that localized heating to 300F during grinding would have a similar effect.

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