View Full Version : Hamon... Gone!?

03-25-2005, 09:45 PM
So , I took your guys advise and brought my blade up to a 600 grit polish then re-etched. My hamon is gone...

I want to try and figure out what I did wrong here. Right now it looks more like an edge quench than clay hardened.

Did I maybe use the wrong quenchant? I used oil, that's what I normally use to quench blades in. Are you supposed to coat the tang with the clay? Does the whole blade, tang and all, have to be submersed in the quenchant? Was there something I maybe did wrong during the polishing? At different stages throughout the polishing I was able to see somewhat of a hamon. But after 400 grit to 600 grit there was no hamon that could be seen.

So obviously it didn't work out as planned, any advise guys? It would be greatly appreciated.

Chris Nilluka

03-26-2005, 03:57 AM
It usually takes me multiple dips with cleaning with steel wool/scotchbrite pads, or VERY lightly sanding. It looks like you ruin it when you clean it up, but next etch it's a little better then the last, then cleaning again seems to make it worse and etching again makes it better yet, etc. What steel did you use though? Some show a hamon better then others.

03-26-2005, 10:04 AM
Well first off, this blade was etched three times....

Blade steel is 5160. I know the 10XX's usually work better. I have some 1084 on the way.

Chris Nilluka

03-26-2005, 11:06 AM
After a little further research, I am finding a couple things I did wrong...

First, blade steel.... 5160 is not the best candidate.

Second, I should have coated and quenched the entire blade, except for what I wanted hardened.

Third, quenchant... I am finding mixed theories of what to use here. The tutorial I used recomended oil.... however, a lot of what I have read elsewhere recomends heated water. I think I might try heated water next time.

My finishing process probably would have worked had these three items been correct. So for now I need to wait for my 1084 to come in and I'll try again.

I still had fun trying it though!

Chris Nilluka

03-26-2005, 02:46 PM
You're right that 5160 isn't the best hamon steel. It'd be risky to try using water on it since it's an oil quench steel, it's possible it'd work but cracks are likely. You should definately have better luck with your 1084 when it comes.

03-26-2005, 06:39 PM
Even though that knife doesn't really show a hamon.... it hardened alright. And holy crap did it take an edge! :eek: I don't think I've ever made a knife that sharp! I might post a pic in a couple days or so.

Chris Nilluka

Joe Walters
03-30-2005, 08:45 PM
Hi Chris,

I looked at your other thread and while it looked like you had a hamon, what I think you really had was etching/decarb from the clay during the heat treat.

5160 will make a hamon, and a distinct one at that, but you have to do things differently and you're pretty much stuck with a notare-type hamon without any of the subtler activities.

If there is indeed differential hardening, then you will definitely have a demarcation line of some sort on your blade, if there's no line between the hard/soft, I think something's wrong with the heat-treat. How did you do your HT/what were your temps?

I'm in the Tigard area and specialize in the Japanese-style stuff and would be happy to help you out if you're interested at all, but it will be June before I get any free time. Where did you find the 1084, and in what size? I've switched to 1080 because I can't find anymore 1084. I miss the old stuff!

03-30-2005, 09:29 PM
Yeah I think you are right about what I thought was a hamon...

My heat treating was 350 degrees for an hour done three times. Letting the blade cool to room temp by itself inbetween heats.

As far as help goes... I'm always up for it! Anytime I get a chance to meet other knife makers and possibly learn something from them is time very well spent. I'm an easy teach too... I'm an observe and learn type guy. So if you want to get together some time just drop me a line.

The 1084 I buy from Texas Knife Supply. The dimensions are 1/8 x 1 1/4 and you buy it by the foot. I have yet to find anyplace that carries it thicker than that. I might be buying some 1095 through Admiral Steel when I get the money. They have a lot of different sizes of it.

Chris Nilluka

P.S.: What a beautiful blade..... Did you make it?