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O-tanto hamon etch 1075. should I etch again?

Discussion in 'Hammer & Tongs' started by running bird, Feb 26, 2017.

  1. running bird

    running bird

    277
    Sep 29, 2015
    I recently got around to etching an O-tanto I have been working on. I etched in a ferriccloride solution for 5min. The solution is 1 part ferriccloride 4 parts water. After etching I used some Mothers mag to polish the blade.

    I was wondering if I should rub the blade down with some 0000 steel wool or a scotch brite pad, then re etch. Or should I leave the blade as is.

    Some spots look a little off to me and I need some extra opinions on what to do. I haven't made a blade with a hamon in a while so I'm a little rusty and where to go from here.

    Any advice is appreciated.

    Pictures: https://imgur.com/a/WOR9q

    Thanks for helping,
    Kevin
     
  2. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
    That looks pretty good for Shiage-togi. In the shitagi-togi, you should selectively polish the ha-ji for the hard steel, and the shnogi-ji for soft steel. Mothers mag is good stuff. Rouge will be good for the ha-ji. Repeat the etch along the hamon as needed with Q-tips and FC, 100:1 nitric, or vinegar/lemon juice. What you want to accentuate is the shininess of the hard steel and the graininess of the soft .

    I just (did a tanto yesterday tat came out looking very much like your blade. You have to decide what color you want the ha to be. It looks cool to be dark, but it won't last. I like a dark rouge polish It is a dark shine, not dark like an etch), and a whiter ji above the hamon.
     
  3. running bird

    running bird

    277
    Sep 29, 2015
    Thank you, I'll try doing this later today and I will post pictures along with it.

    If I understand correctly I should polish the soft side of the blade and the hard side of the blade (except for the hamon), then use q-tips to apply FC just to the hamon to bring out a little more detail?
     
  4. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
    Sort of -
    This process can be very complex, but a simplified technique would be something like this:


    You polish the upper surfaces with a polish like Mothers-mag that will leave a more matte finish. depending on the steel and itys condition of polish, it may also darken the steel a bit.Polish the whole blade surface. You will re-do the ha next.

    Next, you polish the ha (lower surface) with a harder polish, like rouge, that will leave a very smooth and shiny surface. You polish to the top of the hamon with the rouge while doing the edge. This will make it disappear to some degree. Using any of a variety of etchants, use a Q-tip to lightly etch the hamon and bring it back out. You don't want to etch the whole blade, just the hamon. Some of the ha and shinogi-ji will get etched and change color/look. That is OK, just try and keep it to the minimum.

    After the hamon is brought out again, very lightly touch up the polish to remove any darkness. Some folks like to leave the ha ( lower surface) dark. This step is often done with little finger pads of a makeup removal pad that is folded into a triangle. You can use any of a large group of polished to bring out the desired color and leave the hamon showing sharp. The list below will give some choices. They all leave a slightly different look, so you may have to try a few and see which fits the particular blade.

    I will use rouge for an example:
    Put a little rouge powder and a few drops of oil (choji (clove), eugenol, olive, etc.) in a small clean bowl or plate (the center circle on a coffee saucer is perfect) to make some polishing paste. It should be just slightly liquid, not runny now too thick.
    Dab your clean index fingertip in the red paste and put a few tiny dots just below the hamon on a 3" section of the blade. About a dot an inch.
    Use the tip of the folded triangular pad with your thumb or fingertip and carefully polish to the top of the hamon. If the shinogi-ji changed color touch that up the same way with a tiny dab of Mothers-mag. Try to go just up to the hamon, but not over it. The trick is to clean up the blade surfaces without changing the hamon. A trick that works really well sometimes is to paint nail polish over the hamon and any ashi. Then you can do the shtagi togi on the surfaces without having to worry about ruining the hamon. Once they are done, use acetone to clean off the nail polish, and clean up with a very light polish or just some uchiko.


    Polishes:
    use finely powdered and well graded
    Flitz
    Mothers polishes
    Simichrome
    Assorted grits of silicon carbide up to as fine as you can get. 800, 1500, 2500, 4000, 8000 are all good.
    Assorted diamond polishing compound. It comes in syringes, usually color coded from 325 grit to 100,000 grit. The most useful for polishing a blade are 600, 1200, 3000, 8000.
    Rouge ( red iron oxide) AKA red kanahada
    Black rouge (burnt iron oxide that will leave a dark surface in polishing) AKA black kanahada
    Magnetite powder (burnt black iron oxide) AKA jitekko or shashikomi
    Chrome oxide AKA Aoko
    Tin oxide
    Aluminum oxide
    Linde A
    Linde B

    A good book on togi ( sword polishing) is a wise investment. There are great books in Japanese, but only a few in English. My favorite is "The Art of Japanese Sword Polishing" by Setsuo Takaiwa. It covers all steps of sword finishing. It costs $30-35 ... or about 4000 yen :)
     
  5. running bird

    running bird

    277
    Sep 29, 2015
    update:

    Before going ahead and doing shiage-togi like you explained I decided to scrub down the blade with a scotchbrite pad and etch it a second time.

    This revealed a bit more detail in the hamon

    Pictures: https://imgur.com/a/tomgp

    Thank you for all the information, this is going to help me a lot. I'll be sure to check in as I work on the blade
     
  6. running bird

    running bird

    277
    Sep 29, 2015
    It has been a while since I have been able to work on this blade. I was wondering if you have any recommendation on sources to buy kanahada ( so far I can only find it for sale from Japan). I like the darker finish that it will add and I just want to make sure I buy good stuff. Would it be easier for me to buy a very small micron iron oxide powder and mix it with mineral oil?

    I have also read that traditional kanahada may not work on modern Steels like the 1075 that I used for this blade. Is this true?

    Thanks
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2017
  7. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
    Ebay will be a good source for most all polishing supplies. There are several kanahada mixes listed. The book I recommended above has all the mixing and use info for the traditional polishes.

    As to what works for what steel, that is why you want a kit of several polish powders. Different ones work on different steel and even the same steel may vary depending on the hamon type and the HT.

    The traditional kanahada is made from finely powdered steel scale ( black iron oxide). The old guys make it by burning thin steel snippets in a oven/forge. Then they grind it in a mortar, sieve it to a fine powder, and mix with oil. They have special papers they use to filter it for use. They filter it though layers of filters so only the very finest oxides get used.
    I use a Western alternative using purchased powder - I mix with the oil to a slurry, put a teaspoon of the oil/powder mix on a stack of three or four small coffee filters. Set the stack over a glass petri dish and let it seep through. When doing the kanahada polish, lift the stack and touch your CLEAN fingertip to the bottom of the stack. That will give you a dab of the filtered polish.
    However, unless you at a dedicated traditionalist, buying a bag of fine powder, or a small bottle of the prepared polish mix, from eBay is far simpler.



    A kit with a small bottle of choji oil ( or any non-rancid type oil) and five or six powders will do most any polish.

    Here is what is in my togi kit:
    Choji oil, denatured alcohol, acetone.
    Assorted grit 3X10" DMT diamond stones and some other special sharpening/shaping stones. Each is stored in a heavy Zip-lock freezer bag.
    About a dozen water stones and a pond tray. Each stored in its box and in a freezer bag.
    Finger stones - hazuya and jizuya ( I rarely use these).
    Various grits of high grade SC papers. They go from 220 grit to 2500 grit. They are all cut into 2X2" squares, and stored in labeled Zip-lock plastic bags.
    Cut up pieces of 3M polishing papers ( really a fiber cloth). These go from green/400 to white/8000.
    Covered Oke for clean water.

    Various labeled bags and tubes of polishing powders and compounds. Each is in a plastic bag or bottle/tube and stored inside a second labeled zip-lock bags:
    Flitz
    Mother's polishes
    Simichrome
    Assorted grits of silicon carbide up to as fine as you can get. 800, 1500, 2500, 4000, 8000 are all good.
    Assorted diamond polishing compound. It comes in syringes, usually color coded from 325 grit to 100,000 grit. The most useful for polishing a blade are 600, 1200, 3000, 8000.
    Rouge ( red iron oxide) AKA red kanahada
    Black rouge (burnt iron oxide that will leave a dark surface in polishing) AKA black kanahada
    Magnetite powder (burnt black iron oxide) AKA jitekko or shashikomi
    Chrome oxide AKA Aoko
    Tin oxide
    Aluminum oxide
    Linde A
    Linde B
    I use covered petri dishes and domed glass discs for filtering, mixing, and applying the polish slurries. The domes discs are a variety of things I have found for free or super cheap domes like pocket watch crystals, and laboratory glass filtration discs. You can buy pocket watch crystals at $10 for 50-100 on ebay. If you know an old watchmaker, he will likely give you all you can ever use for free. I got a cabinet filled with about 5,000 for $20. I kept the 20 drawer cabinet and a few rolls of 100 and gave the rest of the crystals to a watchmaker friend.

    I also have an uchiko ball that I rarely use. ( unless someone is watching :) )

    A roll of soft disposable paper towels. Get the best and softest brand available, as it will likely have less grit in the paper. Store it in a large zip-lock bag.
    A tube/roll of makeup removal pads. These are perfect for applying and working the polishes. They are soft fiber material and just the right size for finger polishing.

    Most of this is stored in two big tool/hobby/fishing boxes with clear plastic tops and lots of internal storage.


    Use all sanding/polishing papers and polishing/cleaning supplies like they were free ... especially paper towels used to wipe things down. Trying to get more like from them, or re-using them is not a good idea.
     

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