View Full Version : First W-2 hamon

Jerry Bond
10-21-2011, 07:00 PM
27890OK somebody, tell me something--
I always take the hamon across the recasso and under the handle but this time the hamon stopped at the plung and nothing on the recasso at all. useing Aldo's 1/8" w2, santanite,MC 11 oil.
Please tell me your thoughts, Jerry

I had the clay going back 1/2" behind the recasso.

McClellan Made Blades
10-26-2011, 02:13 PM
The only thing I can think of is that maybe the clay fell off before you got it in the oil. Of course it is the nature of a Hamon to be elusive! Some of the best advice I got on my 1st W-2 blade which was last week was to ditch the McMaster Carr oil and get something faster, I went with Maxim's DT-48, really great oil at a really great price! I do the same thing with my hamons on smaller blades, but on big blades I like the entire ricasso to be softer, for a little more shock absorbtion when someone wants to whack really hard. Plus it helps with the possibility of stress fractures, did you have any trouble with the hamon being low on the blade? Also, what temps did you take it to and how long did you soak, what did you polish the hamon out with? I'll try to help if I can and a pic would be nice! Rex

Jerry Bond
10-26-2011, 06:46 PM
Thanks for answering Rex, I had given up and was going to post the question on blade forum.
Anyway, the clay stuck like glue,I soaked @ 1480 for 5 min. I polished out with Never Dull. Great hamon on bevels' just stopped abruptly at the plunge line. Been useing a lot of 1095-1084-80&75/80 and never had any problems. Just this time
where it stopped and I didn't understand. The line followed the clay within 1/8" as usual. I have thought about it quite a bit and concluded that it would almost have to be the quince oil. Believe I will mix up some brine this weekend.
Will try to post pictures again, but that don't work well for me. Jerry

McClellan Made Blades
10-27-2011, 10:49 AM
I think I know what your problem is, your temp is too high, the soak is about right depending on how your kiln is powered if it's gas, it won't take htat long to soak it, if it is electric it will take longer, I'll post some directions in a little while, you can re-HT it, and it will be fine, so don't worry. I'll post more later, Rex

McClellan Made Blades
10-29-2011, 03:14 PM
[FONT=Times New Roman]I think I know what your problem is, your temp is too high, the soak is about right depending on how your kiln is powered if it's gas, it won't take htat long to soak it, if it is electric it will take longer, I'll post some directions in a little while, you can re-HT it, and it will be fine, so don't worry. I'll post more later, Rex

I finally have a minute to answer, I went back and re-read all the posts,and I'm pretty sure I have the problem figured out. Have you checked the hardness with a new file? It may suggest that it didn't harden all the way. I'm pretty sure that the main problem is the HT temp, Don Hanson says to HT right at 1450, the higher you go, the more bad it effects it will have on the hamon and the steel and since he is the (un)official MASTER OF W-2, I listen to what he has to say!), I would think for sure it is in your HT. You can re-HT it when you get either Maxims DT-48, or Houghton's will work very good too, (you may have to call and ask which of their quenching oils is best for fast quenching a blade) these 2 are more affordable than Parks and easier to get. But, the DT-48 worked GREAT on mine and was the most affordable, depending on where you are, when I bought my 5 gallon, it was
$62.00+ shipping, which to me in Alabama was still below a 100 bucks!

OK, I'm going to break it all the way down for you, like most of my posts this
will be long, but I'll try to keep it as short as possible. I'll go step by step, here goes.

1.) HT to 1450, once at the target temp, let it soak for about 5 minutes, you may have to work with the soak times, to dial it in to your kiln. Bigger blades will require a little longer, during this time maker sure you temp doesn't creep up too high, if your kiln is computer controlled it won't be a problem, if not you will have to sit with it and make sure. I'm assuming your kiln is electric, with electric it takes a longer soak to get it into solution, smaller blades don't require that long while larger blades will take a longer soak, I'd say 5 minutes is the minimum.

2.) The Quench, keep in mind you need your quench tank in the best place to get too it really fast and SAFELY! Also know that the temp of the blade has to be cooled in 1 second, once you pull it out of the kiln to quench it, it starts loosing temp, I practice a few times before I pull it out, because I want to make sure it's safe to do, such as stuff on the floor, anything that could be in the way that may trip you, basically anything that will make it un-safe. After I do a couple of "cold" runs, I get all geared up for the heat, welding gloves, eye protection, leather apron, etc. Open the door grab it and in the quench as fast as possible and as SAFELY AS POSSIBLE!!!!!!.

3.) Next I usually check it for hardness, if a new file is biting into the steel, I will then check it all over, sometimes you can have a Decarb coating on the steel, which is HARD! A file will not bite through it, the blade could have hardened underneath it, so make sure you are in a spot where you can see the steel. This is also where you check to see if it warped or twisted and it can still be fixed. Sometimes I clean the blade up a little, with bigger blades I usually go straight to the oven for temper.

4.) Now it's time to temper. I have heard everything from tempering for 2hours 2times at 450 to 1 hour 1 time at 350. I don't remember where I got the 1 hour for one time, but that's what I did on the last t knife I HT'd, I had made this one 2 years ago for myself to be an EDC, to be carried in the side pocket of my Carpenter pants. I had forged this blade from 1/2" round stock, after grinding and cleaning it up it was almost too thin, I expected it to cut like a laser! After cutting with it a few times I began to wonder if I HT'D it correctly, then I tried to cut some twine, it wouldn't even gnaw through it!! I knew then that it wasn't right, I had made a larger knife with W-2, for a customer, and did not get the HT right so I researched it and tried it again, I researched more and got with a few folks here on KD that helped tremendously! Once I dialed in the HT and learned so many other things about Hamons doing that one knife, I decided to go back and re-HT the one I made 2 years ago, I'll post some pics of it here, it is SICK!!! It is amazing! But........there is more work to do still!

This is part one, I will continue this on the next post...

McClellan Made Blades
10-30-2011, 01:19 AM
5.) Hand sanding,
probably the most hated part of knife making besides making a guard! I too,
have read Stephen Fowler's hamon tutorial and picked up some great tips, one is to take a piece of steel (I used a piece of 1084) 1 1/2 wide and about 2 1/2 feet long, used some double sided tape to attach a piece of leather that's the same
width <Thanks Stephen!>. Using this tool takes a while to get used to but once you can judge the right angle for the blade your working on, it makes it easier to get to get an awesome finish! Just be careful and don't use a
lot of pressure until you know where the sandpaper is biting, I take my
sandpaper (I highly recommend Rynowet Redline) I cut the sheets into 1/3's, I
wrap the paper around the leather attached to the steel, with this set up you can add a lot of downward pressure on the blade while sanding, but don't do that
until you know where the sandpaper is biting, also be very careful at the plunge
line or other grind lines, it will wash it out if you run
over it too many times, with not much pressure, also pay attention to the paper while sanding, even good paper won't last very long, you can get somewhere between 10 to (sometimes) 20 passes, before the paper loads up and you have to
find a new place on the paper, especially the higher grits, they may not last 10
passes depending how much pressure you apply and the state of the steel. The first time sanding a blade after HT, I start off at 50 grit depending on how high I
took the finish before HT and how much decarb is on the blade. No matter how high I take the finish before HT, I will start at 50 to 120, there are so many variables that can make this different, you just have to make a guess based on the
the decarb, and how high you took the finish before HT, the higher you take it
the better the results. I guess I should say IMHO. Depending on the type of
knife it is and what the intended use is. I hand sand from my starting point to
somewhere between 400 and 2000. That is dependent on the type of knife it is
and what it will be used for, it's up to you how high you want to take the finish.
The higher the finish the better the hamon...sometimes, it's a pretty hot topic,
but it's been my experience that the Hamon does come out looking better but it
makes the blade scratch very easily. I read a post where Ed Caffrey said that
when he finishes a knife he sands to, I think, 1000 or 2000 grit, not sure but it was a very high grit. Then he finishes with 400. Which is a little tougher finish
than the higher grits. OK you have gotten the finish you want on it,
Time to ETCH!

6.) Etching is done several different ways, I doubt very many people do it the same way I was taught to do it, the main reason I do it this way is because it is so much cheaper and I don't have a need for large etching tank. It's a very simple, and straight forward way of etching a blade for a hamon after all the sanding is
done, you must MUST CLEAN THE BLADE...seriously, it has to be clean, I like
Alcohol, as Acetone leaves a residue.The smallest things will show up on the
blade if you don't get it fully clean. The most common mistake is finger prints.
The oils in your hands will act as a template for the acid, where the oil is will be protected, where the oil isn't the acid will etch away. Having a big thumb print
on the blade is not a desirable finish! If you have any scratches they will GLOW! I use a generic windex from the Dollar Store, I use the glass cleaner for neutralizing the acid, plus it comes in handy for other uses.
7.) Poishing!!!! Now the fun begins!!! The supplies I use are:
1.)Red Rouge used for buffing steel, it comes in sticks and is inexpensive.
3.)PCB Etchant (PCB E), or Ferric Chloride for etching the steel after hand sanding. PCB Etchant can be bought at any Radio Shack and is what most Makers use, this acid is very mild, but still dangerous, take the necessary precautions to use it safely. This is already a weak acid, but we are going to dilute it more. If I
remember this correctly, it's 3 parts water to 1 part PCB Etchant. Always
add ACID TO WATER, never water to acid! On the skin,
provided you aren't sensitive to it, won't do more than discolor you skin. But, in
the eyes, it will blind you. Wear eye protection, I always say better safe
than blind!!!!
4.) The red rouge will be used with the WD-40, but first I scrape some off with a knife, or some other way. I was scraping it off with my knife like I was
taught, using this method you have to make sure you remove any chunky white pieces of red rouge (sounds kinda dumb that there are white chunks in red
rouge) or it will scratch the fine finish.

The Etch
This the most economical way to etch your blade for a hamon, this may sound
like it won't work, but it does and it works very well, once I get set up with a ferric etching tank I will more than likely use that to etch my blades, but until I do get it I will continue to do it this way.
After cleaning the blade, I take one of my thick paper towels and twist the
corner up and feed it inside a water bottle that I used to mix my PCB E in. It has been in the same plastic water bottle for 2 years, be careful to not allow it to
drip out, if it lands on any clothes, just know they will be ruined, I had that happen once and was quick enough to get the glass cleaner on it, it still put an
orange stain on them and will not come out. So now you have the paper towel
soaked in the etching solution, simply take the towel to the blade and wipe it on gently, making sure you get a good even coating. Keep it wet for around 90
seconds, DO NOT LET IT DRY!! After around 90 seconds or more, it's time to
neutralize it, using another paper towel I spray it down, and wipe everything off. make sure you clean the bottom side, if there is any acid that drained to the
other side of the blade and it has time to dry, it will be a mess so it's best to
clean the entire blade. Repeat the same process on the other side, then on to

Now, here comes the easiest part of all, don't get in a big hurry, take your time.
Take the WD-40 and give your blade a squirt, not a lot, just make sure you have a good puddle on it and take your finger and gently move it from the area it is
thicker in, to any areas it's not. Next scratch up some rouge and put it on the
blade, using the same finger you used earlier you want it to look kinda like a
slurry, I use a paper towel wrapped around one or 2 fingers (whatever is comfortable) rub in small circles from the ricasso to the tip, back and forth being
careful to stay on the bottom half of the blade, I don't polish the top of the blade as much as I do the bottom, when the rouge starts to get thin on the bottom, I pull some of the red rouge at the top down to the bottom. I try to keep the
rubbing going for as long as I can. Once your happy with your results on the
bottom half, I give the top half a quick polish and then wipe the top half off, and get the rest of the rouge off.

At this point you should know if the hamon is "popping" enough for your likes, if not and you want it to really POP! You have to start over probably around
180 grit and repeat the process from there, I usually end up repeating the
process at least 3 times

Next is more circular rubbing on the same bottom half with Flitz, you can use
other products as well, I've heard that Simichrome works good, and polishing
compound works fairly well. The main goal at this point is to shine up the harder steel on the bottom, I like to leave some of the grey looking patina on the top,
once it is just about out of Flitz, I'll rub the top side with whatever is left of the
Flitz. At this point it should be done, if you have a hamon you should have been able to see a shadow in the steel, if you didn't it does not mean that there isn't a hamon there it might mean it will be harder to get it to show real well.
One more thing, Never put a differential HT'd blade on a buffer,
it will ruin the hamon.

Well that's pretty much all there is to it, once you go through it a few thousand
times it will be second nature to you! Hope this helps, Rex