First try at a Hamon

Chris Railey

KNIFE MAKER
Soak it in used motor oil...I am kidding do not do that. Really its a dance, sand-etch-polish until you like it. When I do hamons I hand sand to 800 minimum. John Doyle is a good one to ask for hamon help.
 

Bruce McLeish

Well-Known Member
That's funny ... about the used motor oil. That is a bag of worms that does not need to be opened , methinks!
I will give your method a try , though. After all, I'm a hand sandin' fool!
 
First off nice looking blade!
There’s a lot of info out there on the subject. Hopefully not breaking the rules by referencing another forum, but the ABS forum used to have a great discussion featuring input from many of today’s top smiths.
I’ll try to sum my methods for you though, first of all, you can only bring out what is there..
No amount of polishing or etching will bring out activity that isn’t there in the first place. That means using a low manganese shallow hardening steel (w2), heating to the proper temp, proper application of the clay, and quenching very quickly. Either in parks50 or water.
Next is polishing. I bring it to 1500-2500 grit then do a series of quick etches in hot vinegar. Between etches I polish the below the hamon with a powdered abrasive like pumice powder, and above the hamon with mother’s mag and aluminum polish. This give the dark and light contrast seen on Japanese blades. Of course that is really going over the top.. for a using knife, I may just take it to 1500g, do the vinegar etch and leave it at that.
Hopefully this steers you in the right direction, hamons can be a lot of fun and along side Damascus are one of the best ways to add to the beauty of a blade.
Looks like your off to a good start, just needs some detail polishing.
-Justin
 

Bruce McLeish

Well-Known Member
First off nice looking blade!
There’s a lot of info out there on the subject. Hopefully not breaking the rules by referencing another forum, but the ABS forum used to have a great discussion featuring input from many of today’s top smiths.
I’ll try to sum my methods for you though, first of all, you can only bring out what is there..
No amount of polishing or etching will bring out activity that isn’t there in the first place. That means using a low manganese shallow hardening steel (w2), heating to the proper temp, proper application of the clay, and quenching very quickly. Either in parks50 or water.
Next is polishing. I bring it to 1500-2500 grit then do a series of quick etches in hot vinegar. Between etches I polish the below the hamon with a powdered abrasive like pumice powder, and above the hamon with mother’s mag and aluminum polish. This give the dark and light contrast seen on Japanese blades. Of course that is really going over the top.. for a using knife, I may just take it to 1500g, do the vinegar etch and leave it at that.
Hopefully this steers you in the right direction, hamons can be a lot of fun and along side Damascus are one of the best ways to add to the beauty of a blade.
Looks like your off to a good start, just needs some detail polishing.
-Justin
Wow. Thanks Justin. Great to hear from you. I used 1084 knowing my odds of success were slim but I had to try because this new design is calling for a hamon and desert ironwood scales!
It does surprise me on the vinegar etch, I thought FECL was the go to. Learn , learn learn!
 
Lots of people use ferric, I think it depends on your overall goal. In my mind it etches too quickly and deeply. So will show a hamon, but the subtler activity like ashi lines will be lost or not as clean..
1084 will produce a hamon, but usually just the most basic of lines. Doubtful you’ll be able to get much activity.
Again it all depends on your goals. If just a differentially hardened blade, for toughness then it will be fine. If your looking for tons of activity and complicated patterns, then a “w” series steel will be best.
Most important part is keep learning new stuff and having fun!
 

Bruce McLeish

Well-Known Member
Lots of people use ferric, I think it depends on your overall goal. In my mind it etches too quickly and deeply. So will show a hamon, but the subtler activity like ashi lines will be lost or not as clean..
1084 will produce a hamon, but usually just the most basic of lines. Doubtful you’ll be able to get much activity.
Again it all depends on your goals. If just a differentially hardened blade, for toughness then it will be fine. If your looking for tons of activity and complicated patterns, then a “w” series steel will be best.
Most important part is keep learning new stuff and having fun!
Thanks . I am learning and having tons'o'fun !
 

bladegrinder

Well-Known Member
Looks good Bruce. when you said first try at a hamon, I thought you were talking about some critter you folks had up in the woods in your parts, like pan fried hamon with corn bread. :D
 
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