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The Newbies Arena Are you new to knife making? Here is all the help you will need.

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  #1  
Old 02-26-2016, 01:38 PM
WNC Goater WNC Goater is offline
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Hamon question

Forgive my newb ignorance but what it the purpose of a hamon? I think they look kind of cool but is that it, just cosmetic? Or does the "differential" provided by the insulating qualities of the coating during the heat treatment actually serve a purpose?


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Old 02-26-2016, 02:27 PM
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Andrew Garrett Andrew Garrett is offline
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A proper differential heat treat can impart better performance qualities to a blade with geometry that permits it to take advantage of this feature.

The best know example is the Japanese Katana. The edge is very hard in order to maintain its legendary cutting ability but a sword must have flexibility or it would simply shatter on its first impact with something hard or rigid. The softer spine lends its flexibility to harder edge.

The same mechanism is at work in a knife albeit; on a smaller scale. A large camp knife made to chop and pry might very well benefit from a differential HT, again, if the geometry is correct. On a small folder or pocket fixed blade much like mine, the benefit is likely just aesthetic even if, theoretically, it is superior.

However, the softer back should not be interpreted as dead soft or annealed. A spring temper or the best HT for toughness would likely be preferable. This is why a torch draw is often the best option. I prefer a thin clay (refractory cement quench) as it gives me some hardness and a great deal of visual pay-off. If I were making a large performance knife, I would do a torch draw.

That's my two bits.


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Old 02-26-2016, 03:24 PM
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Ray Rogers Ray Rogers is offline
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I think Andrew explained the purpose of differential heat treat very well. I would add that most any carbon steel can be differentially treated but not all carbon steels will develop a well defined hamon. The hamon is visual evidence of differential treating and if it is done well can add visual appeal to a blade. Again though, most carbon steels can be treated differentially and benefit as Andrew explained from the process but not all can show visible evidence of such treatment ...


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Old 02-26-2016, 05:29 PM
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Andrew Garrett Andrew Garrett is offline
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Indeed Ray!

I get favorable results with 1080, 1084, and 1095, but the best hamons--those frosty ethereal beauties--they seem to come out on W series steels best.


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Old 02-27-2016, 05:27 AM
WNC Goater WNC Goater is offline
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Okay thanks guys. Kind of along the lines I was thinking. I follow Andy on FB and see he does differential treatment on a lot, if not all, of his knives. I like the looks of his knives' finish. Not sure I would do it on the type and size of knives I'm currently making, not really any point as I cannot see that they would benefit from it other than cosmetically. On some knives I think it adds visually. Others not so much. On a big chopper or bushcraft knife I see the practical/structural benefits that could be realized with the differential treatment. Even a big Bowie though for the life of me I cannot imagine any real world practical application where a Bowie is useful for anything other than adorning a shelf.


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Old 02-27-2016, 11:00 AM
G.T.Metz G.T.Metz is offline
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Hi Guys, Just checking in quick and see you talk about a hamon (temper-line) I am doing an 8" camp knife right now, made from an old leaf spring. Did the differential heat treat (edge quench) and soft-back draw with O/A torch. Hamon showed up OK. Edge flexed on the brass rod test. Wasn't about to flex it 90 degrees though. Customer provided his own mule deer antler. Guard is from some old wrought iron picked up from an old homestead along the Snake River. Fun to make. Have a good day. J Niles Knife #1.JPG Hope the photo attached.
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Old 02-27-2016, 12:50 PM
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Pretty nice knife and that antler has more character than I usually see on domestic antler ...


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Old 02-27-2016, 01:29 PM
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Metz,
To accomplish the Diff HT, you can do the edge quench OR the soft back draw. Both is not necessary since the spine was never hardened due to the edge quench. Thus, no need for a torch draw.


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Old 02-27-2016, 03:45 PM
G.T.Metz G.T.Metz is offline
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Hi Andrew, Roger-Dodger on not needing both the edge-quench and the soft-back-draw. I should have clarified: I did the soft back draw because when I quenched I think there was a spot on the spine that looked a bit hard yet when I went to hand sanding. The spine is just under 1/4" thick and when I fully submerged the blade that spot in the spine may still have been a little hot. Generally, I fully submerge when all the color goes out of the spine. Did the soft back draw for insurance. Did a 1/8 to 3/16" blue color line down the spine and stopped 2" short of tip. Edge was sitting in pan of water. Don't think I softened the spine to much, but what are your thoughts on that? To soft a spine if doing both an edge quench and soft back draw (SBD)? This is a great place of information. Just starting to frequent it a bit more often. Thanks. Take care, Greg
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1084, 1095, back, blade, camp knife, edge, fixed, fixed blade, folder, hamon, heat, heat treat, heat treatment, hunting knife, japanese, knife, made, making, mechanism, pocket, scale, steel, temper, toughness


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