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Thread: New - Yanagi-ba WIP by Stacy Apelt

  1. #1
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    New - Yanagi-ba WIP by Stacy Apelt

    I messed up on the other thread and the photos did not show up. Hopefully I will get it right this time.

    Yanagi-ba - WIP - A kitchen knife being made for me by Stacy Apelt

    Stacy Apelt is a Bladesmith I have known for several years on one of the other knife forums.
    A while back I had posted a photo of a piece of fiddleback koa I thought was too pretty to use.
    He suggested using it as handle material on a Yanagi-ba.

    This is the knife as it is being made with comments and photos by Stacy.
    Bear in mind that a lot of his comments are aimed at other knife makers with limited knowledge of Japanese knives.

    ================================================== ====

    Stacy Apelt - WIP - Yanagi-ba

    This project is a smaller Yanagi style blade for general kitchen slicing chores.
    Yanagi means “willow” in Japanese, so a yanagi-ba is a “willow blade knife”. This describes its long, slender shape with a pointed tip.

    The project will entail making the blade form a san-mai billet with a center core of 52100, and outer segments of 1095 and pure nickel damascus.
    The blade will end up about 1.25” wide and have an edge length of 7”. The handle will be 5” long.

    The blade will be single bevel “Chisel Grind“, or Kata-kiri-ha .
    The back will be ground in a shallow hollow grind, and the front a single bevel rising half way up the side. I will do almost all the shaping by stock reduction.

    The handle will be an assembled two-tone octagon shape. More on that later.

    Lets get started:
    The billet was a bit too narrow for this project, so I pulled down the edge a bit to widen it. While the forge was on, I drew out the tang and roughed in the bevels and distal taper. This could have been cut from a wider billet without forging.

    Photos of the forging







    The basic profile was roughed in on the grinder, using a 60 grit Blue Zirconia belt. These belts will really hog steel, but also leave a surprisingly smooth surface.
    The tip is placed about the center line. The bevel is only roughly ground to set the angles.

    The back will need to be hollow ground. I would normally do this on a 48” radius platen, but later on I will show a trick on making a larger radius with a smaller wheel.

    I shaped the tang to a taper, then refined all grinds with the same 60 grit belt. This is where we will stop grinding. The rest will be by hand.

    I etched the blade to show the pattern. The surface is 60 grit right now.


    Mark Farley / It's a Burl
    Phone 541-592-5071, Email burlsource@gmail.com
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    Weird Wood Pusher Burl Source's Avatar
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    OK, got some work done:
    The blade is just out of the tempering oven (that is why it is dark and blue).
    I will do the hollow back grind on a 6" wheel with a 120 grit blue zircon belt. By tipping the blade about 20° from a normal 6" hollow grind, you increase the grind to about the equivalent of a 48" wheel.
    I will; start with a centered normal hollow grind. Then I will re-do the grind at an angle, to widen the grind.


    Flat grind parallel to wheel
    Hollow grind at 90° to 6" wheel
    wider grind at an angle
    Start hollow grind with a stop to set beginning
    48" hollow grind done at about 70° ( 20° from perpendicular)







    Second photo is the grind being checked with my 48" curved platen

    In the first shot, I put a 14" hollow grind on the edge. This will aid in the later shaping of the edge. It will be polished away as the edge is worked down on the waterstones.


    Mark Farley / It's a Burl
    Phone 541-592-5071, Email burlsource@gmail.com
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    Weird Wood Pusher Burl Source's Avatar
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    Starting the togi. - The shaping and sharpening are one continuous process in togi. The waterstones are used over a "pond" and they are constantly kept wet. At every stone change, the pond and everything is washed to prevent grit contamination.

    Foundation polishing - this is where the flat surfaces are established on stones from 220 grit to 1200 grit.

    Edge hollow grind almost polished flat at 1000 grit ( notice that there are only two small "pools" of hollow left)







    Back is done
    Edge getting almost sharp ( see the few tiny flat spots sparkle in the light)
    Nearly done at 1200 grit
    3000 grit stone - at this point, you have to be careful. One slip and the very sharp blade in your fingers can remove one of them.





    Mark Farley / It's a Burl
    Phone 541-592-5071, Email burlsource@gmail.com
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    OK, the togi is done.
    Shots of the blade as it is now, and of the stones after cleaning things up. Stones are from 220 grit to 4000 grit.

    I will do a little hand polishing of the flats, but the blade is pretty near done.

    It is screaming sharp.

    Next, we will start the handle........more to come soon.





    Mark Farley / It's a Burl
    Phone 541-592-5071, Email burlsource@gmail.com
    Visit our web store

  5. #5
    Weird Wood Pusher Burl Source's Avatar
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    Please let me know if the photos are showing up in this thread.
    I asked Dave to delete the other one.
    Thanks, Mark
    Mark Farley / It's a Burl
    Phone 541-592-5071, Email burlsource@gmail.com
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  6. #6
    Twistington's Avatar
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    Yep i can see the photos! Fun project!

    Any photo of the wood for the handle?
    [FONT="Microsoft Sans Serif"][I]-"we're gonna make gluten free lasagna"[/I][/FONT]

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    Quote Originally Posted by Twistington View Post
    Yep i can see the photos! Fun project!

    Any photo of the wood for the handle?
    If all goes well it will be this piece.
    Mark Farley / It's a Burl
    Phone 541-592-5071, Email burlsource@gmail.com
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  8. #8
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    Seems like a curious first take on a yanagiba-like knife. It would be interesting to see the final construction of this knife up close and how it would sharpen over time. At least the cladding is hardenable. What are the final hardnesses of the core and the cladding going to be?

  9. #9
    Did he wipe out most of the hollow on the back side when sharpening it? It looks like the sharpening scratches cover a lot of the ura (concave side), while what Jon told me is that you should only really see a thin line on the spine and edge of the knife that's been sharpened. Maybe he could grind the ura back in or I might not be seeing the right thing.

  10. #10
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    That's true but none of it matters if he didn't solve the sanmai problem.

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