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Thread: Let's see some honyaki (re)finishes

  1. #21
    Senior Member Justin0505's Avatar
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    Nice post on the process you used for the Misono and the Nick Wheeler thread. Nick is insane.
    I had no idea that using some type of acid etch was so common. It makes me wonder if there's a way to do it without the etch; I sure didn't have much success until I started using an etchant.
    Next time I have time that needs killed, drinks that need drank, elbow grease to burn, and a honyaki that needs messed around with, I might have to pick up some of that WA powder.
    So far though it's both reassuring (that I wasn't wasting my time / struggling with something that was easy for other people) and a little disappointing that there is no "easy" way to create this finish. Maybe using a power buffer to get the the initial sand-paper scratches out?
    "I gotta tell ya, this is pretty terrific. Ha hahaha, YEAH!" - Moe (w/ 2 knives). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVt4U...layer_embedded

  2. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Justin0505 View Post
    Nice post on the process you used for the Misono and the Nick Wheeler thread. Nick is insane.
    I had no idea that using some type of acid etch was so common. It makes me wonder if there's a way to do it without the etch; I sure didn't have much success until I started using an etchant.
    Next time I have time that needs killed, drinks that need drank, elbow grease to burn, and a honyaki that needs messed around with, I might have to pick up some of that WA powder.
    So far though it's both reassuring (that I wasn't wasting my time / struggling with something that was easy for other people) and a little disappointing that there is no "easy" way to create this finish. Maybe using a power buffer to get the the initial sand-paper scratches out?
    Buffers 'smear' the grain of the steel (much like some woods), and can actually make a hamon completely disappear until you re-sand everything to open it up again.

    The Japanese technically don't use etchants, but the nugui (sp?) they use is formulated, if I recall...from iron oxide (forge scale basically) and mineral oil. This produces its own type of etch. I've also read that many of the natural stones used on traditionally polished katana have an acidic component to them. Add to that the fact that stones and the loose slurry abrasive they generate open the grain to light in a completely different manner as compared to sandpapers...and you'll see that the small differences add up. In my limited experience, the Japanese see 'Western' hardening lines produced with chemical etchants as an affront lol, garish and bright and overdone. Akin to a neon sign over an Elvis on velvet painting as compared to the Mona Lisa lol.
    I try to be the man I am..in times of broken lives. Shattered dreams and plans..standing up to fight. Pressures and demands..staring at the knife. Holding in your hands..

  3. #23
    Senior Member Justin0505's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrisAnderson27 View Post
    Buffers 'smear' the grain of the steel (much like some woods), and can actually make a hamon completely disappear until you re-sand everything to open it up again.

    The Japanese technically don't use etchants, but the nugui (sp?) they use is formulated, if I recall...from iron oxide (forge scale basically) and mineral oil. This produces its own type of etch. I've also read that many of the natural stones used on traditionally polished katana have an acidic component to them. Add to that the fact that stones and the loose slurry abrasive they generate open the grain to light in a completely different manner as compared to sandpapers...and you'll see that the small differences add up. In my limited experience, the Japanese see 'Western' hardening lines produced with chemical etchants as an affront lol, garish and bright and overdone. Akin to a neon sign over an Elvis on velvet painting as compared to the Mona Lisa lol.
    That's really interesting. I figured that there must be a good reason why no one uses power buffers: guess there's just no free lunch. Still it makes me want to try buffing a blade to mirror, scratchless polish with a wheel and then taking it though the cycles of etching and hand rubbing.

    I never even thought about a stone's pH as having an effect on it's finish, but that makes total sense.

    I'm not surprised that the Japanese traditionalists would look at an etched hammon an throw-up a little in their mouths. That's why I thought I was breaking the rules by when I did it and I was surprised to see that so many other people are doing the same.
    "I gotta tell ya, this is pretty terrific. Ha hahaha, YEAH!" - Moe (w/ 2 knives). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVt4U...layer_embedded

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Justin0505 View Post
    That's really interesting. I figured that there must be a good reason why no one uses power buffers: guess there's just no free lunch. Still it makes me want to try buffing a blade to mirror, scratchless polish with a wheel and then taking it though the cycles of etching and hand rubbing.

    I never even thought about a stone's pH as having an effect on it's finish, but that makes total sense.

    I'm not surprised that the Japanese traditionalists would look at an etched hammon an throw-up a little in their mouths. That's why I thought I was breaking the rules by when I did it and I was surprised to see that so many other people are doing the same.
    Jnats are acidic by nature, just smell the slurry as you sharpen a carbon blade and you will recognize the smell, it is similar to cutting acidic foods. This not new notion, people have done tests, and in essence the hamon comes out due to the acid in the slurry, my take on the difference from vinegar or lemon juice is the strength of the acid.

  5. #25
    Senior Member Justin0505's Avatar
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    Thinking about this more, it also explains why natural stone mud smells so good to me.
    "I gotta tell ya, this is pretty terrific. Ha hahaha, YEAH!" - Moe (w/ 2 knives). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVt4U...layer_embedded

  6. #26
    Senior Member quantumcloud509's Avatar
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    You're awesome Justin.
    Amat Victoria Curam Fortune favors the prepared.
    "A human being is primarily a bag for putting food into." -George Orwell

  7. #27
    Senior Member jklip13's Avatar
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    I don't believe that It is acidity in the stone that brings out the Hamon because I have never seen any oxidation of any kind on any steel while using them. The arrangement and friability of the particles in natural stones (especially Uchigumori) produce very different polishes based on the hardness of the steel and I think it is this that shows the contrast at the Hamon

  8. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by jklip13 View Post
    I don't believe that It is acidity in the stone that brings out the Hamon because I have never seen any oxidation of any kind on any steel while using them. The arrangement and friability of the particles in natural stones (especially Uchigumori) produce very different polishes based on the hardness of the steel and I think it is this that shows the contrast at the Hamon
    You're partially right, the arrangement, friability, and even shape of the particles have a huge impact on bringing out the hamon. However...traditional natural stones have been proven to be acidic (not the stone itself, but the slurry)...its not a matter of belief at all lol. I'm sure not all of them are of course...but ones used by traditional togishi in Japan, absolutely are. To go deeper into my comment than I did previously...I have a friend who was classically trained IN Japan to polish Japanese swords. He has tested the slurry from his own stones and come up with the same result. When you mix water with the chemical makeup of the stones, the result is very often acidic (I'm sure the PH of the water impacts this to a greater or lesser degree as well, but my friend tested his with distilled water). This isn't just natural stones either. I know I myself have left a blade sitting on a stone in slurry for a few minutes when answering the phone, and when I got back to it and wiped off the partially dried mixture, everything under it was dark grey/black...and that was with a simple King 1000.

    Anyhow, carry on...I'm probably treading on thin ice with the mod(s) for posting on a knife related topic outside of the hobbyist area anyhow. I just wanted to make sure that it was understood that some form of acidic reaction plays a part in almost every method of polishing to bring out hamon.
    I try to be the man I am..in times of broken lives. Shattered dreams and plans..standing up to fight. Pressures and demands..staring at the knife. Holding in your hands..

  9. #29
    Senior Member Justin0505's Avatar
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    Interesting stuff Cris, thanks for explaining further. I don't think that your post is even within sight of thin ice as it has nothing to do with promoting or discussing your own work and is contributing knowledge to and under discussed topic. Plus, this thread is already in the "handy work" sub forum and not the main TKF pile.

    Since the topic of stone acidity was first mentioned here, I've kept it in mind and made a few observations while sharpening. Nothing as scientific as your friend, and, in the grand scheme of things not really relevant beyond knerdy curiosity. For one, I noticed the color change of the abrasive and carbon steel slurry on my diamond plate and a white stone. Even though the diamond plate was finer grit (smaller carbon steel pieces should equal more surface area and faster reaction) than the stone, the sturry on the stone went from dark grey to black to red while in the same time the diamond plate swarth never went beyond dark grey.

    To jklip13's point I don't know how much this would actually be visible during normal use or polishing where the mud is not in contact with the stone for more than a few minutes at a time, and the steel is also being constantly abraded. However, when used in the traditional polishing method where there is prolonged contact and very light abrasion, I don't think that it's far-fetched at all to think that the acidity contributes to the finish.
    "I gotta tell ya, this is pretty terrific. Ha hahaha, YEAH!" - Moe (w/ 2 knives). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVt4U...layer_embedded

  10. #30
    Senior Member jklip13's Avatar
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    I am not pretending to be an expert on sword polishing but I find it very hard to believe that patina build up (or any kind of acid etching) could occur while constantly being abraded. How could oxidation from acidic stones form as its being polished? Another thing that doesn't fit with the pH theory is that tiny amounts of Lye are sometimes added to the water by sword polishers and knife sharpeners (or they use that neon green anti corrosive water). These would counteract any minor acidity in the natural stones and prevent oxidation of the steel.

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