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Claying for hamon

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by The barefoot boy, Nov 14, 2017.

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  1. The barefoot boy

    The barefoot boy

    75
    Oct 4, 2017
    I am making my first Bowie and I am being ambitious and want to try for a hamon.

    It is 1084 steel so I know it won't pop like on w2 or 1095. I will be grateful for a subtle line.

    My question is: How should I apply the clay? I am using rutland fireplace mortar and I’ve heard its better thick. But is there a pattern/shape that I should use? I have seen some with small strips going toward the edge and some with small slits put leaving gaps toward the spine.
    I would just like a wavy line. Will the line appear the same shape as the line of clay? Or will it do its own thing even if I make the clay straight?

    Thanks all
     
  2. Willie71

    Willie71 Warren J. Krywko. Part Time Knifemaker Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 23, 2013
  3. Josh Rider

    Josh Rider KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Sep 2, 2014
    How thick is your 1084 and how are you heat treating it?
     
  4. The barefoot boy

    The barefoot boy

    75
    Oct 4, 2017
    It is 1/4 thick and I will be heat treating it with my home made propane forge. After normalization heat to critical and quench in canola.
     
  5. Josh Rider

    Josh Rider KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Sep 2, 2014
    With steel that thick I don’t even think you’re going to need clay. It will be hard to control the heat throughout without overheating the edge and tip. More than likely it’s going to auto hamon. Best to experiment and see what works for you.
     
  6. The barefoot boy

    The barefoot boy

    75
    Oct 4, 2017
    Auto hamon? So if I etched it after heat treating even without clay a line may show up?
     
  7. Josh Rider

    Josh Rider KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Sep 2, 2014
    Correct. There’s guys on here (bladeforums) that don’t even use clay and have some amazing hamon activity.
    With 1/4” stock your edge and tip are going to heat and cool faster than your spine and tang. Unless you’re heating in a controlled forge or kiln which it sounds like you’re not.
    One way you can control this a little better would be to heat the tang, then turn it around to do your edge.

    Be careful though, it’s easy to get addicted once you get going!
     
    Tyshoots likes this.
  8. Willie71

    Willie71 Warren J. Krywko. Part Time Knifemaker Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 23, 2013
    Try 1/16” to MAX 1/8” clay. You won’t get much, if any Ashi, the whispy lightning bolts coming out of the clouds in the hamon, but you can get a distinct line. Don’t overheat the blade as it’ll wash out the hamon. I would make sure you remove stress risers (grinding marks) and do 3 seconds in brine, then finish in heated canola if you don’t have engineered fast oil like parks 50.
     
  9. Willie71

    Willie71 Warren J. Krywko. Part Time Knifemaker Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 23, 2013

    This is a clayless hamon. It was created by carefully controlling the temp of the steel, how long the steel was at temp, and the quench rate, with interruption. It’s a trial and error proposition. In 1095:

    [​IMG]IMG_0765 by Wjkrywko, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_0767 by Wjkrywko, on Flickr

    This is interrupted quench in W2:

    [​IMG]IMG_5926 by Wjkrywko, on Flickr

    You won’t get anything like this in 1084.

    To be clear, I’ve got 20 crap blades for every one that looks like these.
     
  10. boy&hisdogs

    boy&hisdogs

    321
    Dec 9, 2015
    I did this just by only dunking it in the oil up to the line. 1075 steel with a propane torch and canola. Sanded to 800 and hot vinegar etched. No clay or anything special really.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. The barefoot boy

    The barefoot boy

    75
    Oct 4, 2017
    Thanks for the help guys. I think I am going to go ahead with that. I would prefer the line a bit further in the blade than boy&hisdogs’ but that looks very nice.
     
  12. Josh Rider

    Josh Rider KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Sep 2, 2014
    Shoot for the middle of the blade. Sometimes they go higher and lower, but the middle is usually a good place to show off all of the activity.
    It’s easier said than done though. I have been doing knives for a few years now and decided to buy a kiln, not to do stainless or more exotic steels, but to get more consistent heat control with w2. It’s really a sickness so be careful!!:(:confused::eek::D
     
    valknut and Willie71 like this.
  13. Willie71

    Willie71 Warren J. Krywko. Part Time Knifemaker Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 23, 2013
    It’s a rabbit hole for sure. You have to squish your face just right, and pray to the steel gods who are quite finicky.
     
    boy&hisdogs and Josh Rider like this.
  14. The barefoot boy

    The barefoot boy

    75
    Oct 4, 2017
    I just heat treated the bowie. I went a bit further into the oil than I wanted but not to big a problem.

    What should I temper at? Right now its in the oven at 400* for an hour. Should I let it cool and go for another hour? It is 1/4 thick and probably about 75% of the blade was quenched.
     
  15. Willie71

    Willie71 Warren J. Krywko. Part Time Knifemaker Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 23, 2013
    You are supposed to quench the whole blade.
     
  16. The barefoot boy

    The barefoot boy

    75
    Oct 4, 2017
    I was shooting for what boy&hisdogs did.

    For the temper I just went ahead and did a second cycle.
     
  17. olymon

    olymon

    106
    Apr 27, 2017
    Heat and quench the whole blade. if you are going to try and selective harden a big bowie then take a big step backwards and use a big rose bud torch tip on the blade and quench it. The mass of the spine might not let your edge cool at the right rate if you are only quenching the edge.
     
  18. The barefoot boy

    The barefoot boy

    75
    Oct 4, 2017
    Well that is pretty much what I did. There is just a line from the plunge line to 2 or 3 inches along the spine showing where the quench stopped. And I submerged the whole blade after a few seconds of quenching the edge so the spine heat couldn't bleed into the edge.
     
  19. Willie71

    Willie71 Warren J. Krywko. Part Time Knifemaker Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 23, 2013
    What you did is an edge quench, not the same as a hamon.
     
    The barefoot boy and olymon like this.
  20. The barefoot boy

    The barefoot boy

    75
    Oct 4, 2017
    I just etched the blade and got what I would call...a triple line hamon. It did an auto hamon at a really good spot and then two edge quench lines showed up. I am really happy with the auto hamon so I will continue to etch.

    This is after a 10 min etch in warmed vinegar, blade was hand sanded to 800 grit. I will sand to 1000 before etching further as there are some scratch lines in the hamon. http://www.barefootblades.com/Bladeforums-example.html

    What do you suggest for polishing? I have a couple different compounds and some people apply them to rags? I also have sandpaper up to 1500 grit. If I got some of the powdered pumice and rottenstone from lee valley how would I use it? Rags?
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2017 at 10:08 AM

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