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Thread: Question for the Smiths (pics)

  1. #1
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    Question Question for the Smiths (pics)

    I've already take up Keith's post on the General forum so I tought I'd post a different topic for this.

    Just like the Bob Engnath blade that Keith just posted, I have a mono steel blade that has the same kind of nio based lines running along the top of the hamon.

    Here's a pic:


    And also the whirlpool stuff going on around the yakiba of the blade.



    Howard or Don, if you're lurking, could you please explain what's going on with these blades? I don't think their bad at all, their actually preety cool. Just want to get a better understanding of what I'm looking at.

    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
    Fwiw, my WAG (wild ass guess) would be that it has something to do with the base stock and how it was rolled out prior to stock removal. So maybe some structure getting stretched out during rolling that has a slightly different alloy composition. Since the stock removal guys don't bang stuff up and deal with the repeated hammerings and heatings that will get all that stuff back into solution, maybe its something along those lines (pun!). And since they're near the habuchi its an area where the transitions are occuring so it's a coin toss if its gonna transform back to pearlite or stay in another state after the quench.

    Just my less informed guess. But it ain't my area.

    And the whirlpools look pretty much like the normal formations of ashi in a lower hardenability steel.

    But yeah, its all WAG from me. I'd love to hear what other folk think...
    Keith Larman
    Summerchild Polishing and Modertosho Modern Japanese Swords
    "They say I have ADD, but ... Hey, look, a chicken!"

  3. #3
    I talked with Ted Tenold about this tonight. Way back Bob was doing the swords for Bugei, Ted was polishing most of them. He had seen the long lines quite a bit and asked him about it directly. Apparently Bob Engnath thought they were millgrain from the rolling out of the bar stock like I mentioned above. Apparently the lines would become even more prominent as they go to the end of a run as well.

    Just fwiw.
    Keith Larman
    Summerchild Polishing and Modertosho Modern Japanese Swords
    "They say I have ADD, but ... Hey, look, a chicken!"

  4. #4
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    Originally posted by Keith Larman
    I talked with Ted Tenold about this tonight. Way back Bob was doing the swords for Bugei, Ted was polishing most of them. He had seen the long lines quite a bit and asked him about it directly. Apparently Bob Engnath thought they were millgrain from the rolling out of the bar stock like I mentioned above. Apparently the lines would become even more prominent as they go to the end of a run as well.

    Just fwiw.
    Thanks Keith, I see what you're saying.

    Do you think that its still possible to happen with higher carbon steel though? If it has to do with how the blade was rolled then it be a possibility right?

    You also mentioned on one of the post that bob uses 1050 which is softer than 1086 right? If it has to do with steel used, my blade is made out of 1086 and it has the same stuff that you got on you're blade.

    Just wondering. I still would love to hear what the other guys have to say out it.

    Thanks again dude

  5. #5
    You're mixing comments I made about two totally different things. The lines are because of the rolling and I doubt the carbon level of the steel matters, just how it was produced and subsequently made into a blade. I.e., stock removal vs. forming via hand forging. What might matter is how consistent the material was to begin with. And the proximity of the line to the transition zone. If it's too far away in the ji it'll just go to pearlite like everything else up in the ji, or if its too far away from the habuchi towrds the edge, it'll all go to martensite and won't be visible. So its visible with stock removal given its location on the blade and generally not going to happen in forged pieces due to the repeated heatings/hammerings and the effect that'll have on straight stretched out lines of stuff in the steel. 1050 or 1086 won't make a difference.

    The really pronounced whirlpool effect I've seen in Engnath's stuff was a combination of his heat treatment and the fact that 1050 likes to get really active hamon being on the lower end of the carbon scale. I've seen similar effects in 1086 from Howard actually, again centered around ashi, just not nearly as visible as in the lower carbon stuff I've dealt with. A bit more visible in some of his pattern weld pieces. And like I said in another post, the whirlpools I'm talking about in Engnath's stuff tended to be *very* visible, not like what you're picturing which is a lot less visible. What you're showing there is something a lot closer to what I've seen in Howard's than what I've seen in Engnath's. More or less that's how ashi tend to look in some blades. Those are awful thick given the functional aspect of ashi, but still, it looks like the softness of ashi.
    Last edited by Keith Larman; 12-19-2002 at 08:10 AM.
    Keith Larman
    Summerchild Polishing and Modertosho Modern Japanese Swords
    "They say I have ADD, but ... Hey, look, a chicken!"

  6. #6
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    Originally posted by Keith Larman
    You're mixing comments I made about two totally different things. The lines are because of the rolling and I doubt the carbon level of the steel matters, just how it was produced and subsequently made into a blade. I.e., stock removal vs. forming via hand forging. What might matter is how consistent the material was to begin with. And the proximity of the line to the transition zone. If it's too far away in the ji it'll just go to pearlite like everything else up in the ji, or if its too far away from the habuchi towrds the edge, it'll all go to martensite and won't be visible. So its visible with stock removal given its location on the blade and generally not going to happen in forged pieces due to the repeated heatings/hammerings and the effect that'll have on straight stretched out lines of stuff in the steel. 1050 or 1086 won't make a difference.
    You're right, did get confused there for a bit, sorry

    Ok I understand now what you're saying about the whirlpool thingy.

    Now the lines. If I'm understanding you correctly. Depending on the material's consistency etc., stock removal will have a more tendency to have those lines and forged won't right? But my blade is forged.

    Now what

  7. #7
    Well, either the clay lifted in one line or the blade wasn't really forged. Or something else entirely. I don't know.
    Keith Larman
    Summerchild Polishing and Modertosho Modern Japanese Swords
    "They say I have ADD, but ... Hey, look, a chicken!"

  8. #8
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    First off hello to everybody!

    What we have to remember is that Bob Engnath used bar stock straight from the mill with no material alteration of the base material, i.e. forging. In a nutshell, he ground the blades to a basic shape from the stock, heat treated them, finished the shaping and sold them. Whatever was in the bars was there to stay. He also did some Cryogenic treating to some but IMO it never did anything to really improve the overall performance or look of the swords.

    As Keith mentioned, these lines could be very prominent. A long time ago, I polished one that these were so deep and numerous, they looked like continuous lengthwise cracks. They weren't but that's the best way I can describe them. I called Bob and asked him about them. His response was that they were mill grain, and this particular blade must have come from the end of the run. As the big bar gets squished through the rollers while hot, lots of stuff concentrates in the end of the bar and it spreads as the bar leaves the rollers. It seemed a reasonable explaination to me because lots of the work he did in the same 1050 material has none of those strands, others a little as above, and some huge amounts all over.

    A few other interesting Bob E. kantei points,

    Another occasional (albeit rare) activity one might find confusing in B.E. works are dead straight, numerous, ashi extending from the edge of the blade into and somethimes past the habuchi into the ji. They look like hagiri but aren't, and resemble sawteeth. Very curious though. It took me a while to figure out what these were. They were absolutely ashi, but I couldn't figure out how they were installed. Well, at one time Bob had a problem with his clay blowing off in the quench and thus ruining the heat treat. Kuzan Oda showed him a trick of wrapping iron wire arond the blade and into the clay to reinforce it much like rebar in concrete. The result of this was that the iron wire served as another form of insulator/heat transmitter that caused these weird ashi that patterned the wrapping of the wire if they made contact with the blade itself.

    Bob also heat treated the habaki moto areas sometimes. The result will look like mune yaki extending about two to four inches forward of the munemachi and widening into the habaki moto and sometimes joining the yakiba at the hamachi. He did this to reinforce the area where the blade leave the tsuka to help prevent bending at that point. Supposedly this was in response to a martial artists suggestion, but I never verified that.

    Another thing you will find almost invariably in his blades is muneyaki. Sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. He did this to help control the curvature in the swords from being too excessive.

    Bob got huge amounts of nie too ranging from ko nie along the habuchi to the ara nie (course nie) in Keiths boshi. Ji nie extending high into the ji is rare though, and mostly focused on the habuchi area. Nie of any kind is rarely found in domestic western heat treating, and my personal guess is that because 1050 is a very forgiving steel, Bob could really cook it to high point before quench that higher carbon steels would not tolerate.

    Got kinda long fast, but in reading posts I started to remember all the stuff and figures it should be made a point of for future reference for all. Hope it helps.

    Happy Holidays to all.

    Ted Tenold
    Legacy Arts

  9. #9
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    Bob once told me that he did this to strengthen the blade at the tsuba area because he had bad dreams about someone doing a demonstration with one of his blades and the blade snapping off and flying into the crowd. Funny how things bring up old memories.

    Dan

    >Bob also heat treated the habaki moto areas sometimes. The >result will look like mune yaki extending about two to four >inches forward of the munemachi and widening into the habaki >moto and sometimes joining the yakiba at the hamachi. He did >this to reinforce the area where the blade leave the tsuka to >help prevent bending at that point. Supposedly this was in >response to a martial artists suggestion, but I never verified >that.

  10. #10
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    Last edited by Jason Arnold; 12-19-2002 at 07:54 PM.
    Black Sheep Forge
    "To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to understand all things." - a great Zen master

  11. #11

    In case anyone is interested...

    I tried to get a better closeup of the Engnath blade I just did showing the habuchi, hamon as well as the nie in the kissaki and a few of the odd lines under discussion.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Keith Larman
    Summerchild Polishing and Modertosho Modern Japanese Swords
    "They say I have ADD, but ... Hey, look, a chicken!"

  12. #12
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    Hmm. I think you have one hell of a good question. I have no idea. Some possibilities sprang to mind though...

    Would you know if the 1050 was cold rolled that Engnath used for that blade? Cause I am unaware that 1050 would typically have the problem of segregation and subsequent banding do to rolling. I'm as confused as you guys are.

    Maybe stretch marks? I've seen stretch marks on highly polished blades that were bent in a vise. Perhaps yaki-ire did its own version? Well, wish I could be of more help. But now you got me thinkin'!
    Last edited by Jason Arnold; 12-20-2002 at 12:14 AM.
    Black Sheep Forge
    "To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to understand all things." - a great Zen master

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