Salem, I am using John's clay application method now, which is to put fairly wet Satanite in a ziploc sandwich bag, cut off one of the corners and pipe the clay onto the blade like you were decorating a cake. With a modern shallow hardening tool steel like W2, the hamon is purely cosmetic, so the trick is to figure out the least amount of clay and arguably the lowest temperature that you can get away with so that you can control the pattern. If you get that right, John says that you can basically write your name on a blade and it will come out when you polish it. The good news about W2 is that the vanadium content means that you don't have to spend as much time and effort reducing the grain size as with some other steels unless you have really over heated it. For stuff that has been rolled to thin kitchen knife type stock and not blasted in the forge, you could probably get away with a quick and dirty 1200F spheroid "anneal" before you austenize and quench. I find that doing that after grinding has pretty much eliminated warping issues. According to Kevin C., if you really want to go hog wild, you quench the blade blank and then do a proper spheroid anneal where you step down the temp from 1200 or so to 900 or less over a few hours before grinding on some steels like L6. 1084FG, W2 and Cru Forge are the most complicated steels that I use, so I can get away with the 2 cycles and a "kitty litter" anneal for grinding. I up that to 3 cycles for damascus because I have been abusing the steel at temps above the point where the vanadium in the 1084Fg can control the grain growth for extended periods of time.