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Smelting to Blade part 4


The next step for me is to make those two steel bars into blades. I will start by manipulating the pattern in the steel. This is not a foreign concept to the Japanese. They use it commonly to make mokume out of soft metals and some schools use it to enhance the visual appearance of the steel grain in their blades. Most commonly the Gassan school in creating their ayasugi hada. Since I just happen to have two bars of steel and one just happens to be a little thicker than the other thus lending itself to some manipulation.

Here is the plan in drawing. It is a modified ladder pattern that generates the wavy look of the ayasugi hada.

I first lay out my marks on the steel. I will only be doing this to the thicker bar and in the end they both should be roughly the same size.

I used a 3/8 round file to cut the grooves.

In to the forge it goes.

You can see here that I have already reversed the tip of the sunobe to make the kissaki (tip) of the blade. What the Japanese call sunobe is no other than a steel bar that has been modified to have the distal taper and width taper in to it making it easier to forge the flat and bevels from it.

Here is how it looks for now.

A little bit ahead in the shaping.

And further ahead. Pretty much now is at the stage were I can start working the bevels in.

I will start forging the bevels at the tip.

And work my way down the blade.

Like so.

Finishing by making the nakago (tang). At this point I choose to not forge the blade any further. It is easier for me to set the machi (notches) for both the ha (edge side) and mune (spine side) on the grinder.

But I will go ahead and thermal cycle the blade 3 times at this point. Starting above austenizing temperature for the first cycle and just at about austenizing temperature for the last cycle.

Here you can see the recalescence of the blade in a sequence of pictures.

I forged the other blade and thermal cycled it just the same way. So now I have to identical blades ready for the grinder.

I am not taking pictures of the grinding process. There is nothing of interest there. These are the two blades at the end of grinding. They both have 220 grit grinding marks along the length of the blade. The mune machi and ha machi areas have been cut in and they are ready for the clay.

In case you wonder how much the have "grown" from forging.




I started with 2 bars of steel about 9 inches long and now I have 2 tantos measuring 9 and 1/2 inch nagasa (length from the notch to the tip) and 3 and 1/2 inch nakago (tang). Overall length 13 inches.

Next step would be hardening and tempering.