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Ittetsu Kurouchi - Complete transformation

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ModRQC

Kurouchi Down!
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An older project, this – before the recent Moritaka and Mabs thread I posted. Pics had been sorted out but I never found time to publish.

Here’s a pic of the original, so we know where we started:

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The main idea here was simply to etch aiming to make the cladding line pop out more, since the original grind was pretty insipid. Leading into something for sure – it seems you can never just do ONE thing to a knife. They have a mind of their own, these things. Besides in this case I found that the handle was too bulky, and while it wasn’t really disturbing, I had a mind to possibly work on that too.

I had an inkling that the following result could happen, and had I been bothered by the possibility, I would have prevented it.

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Kurouchi down!

Not the first time this happens to me. In this case, contrary to the Moritaka, underneath was a pretty usable Nashiji finish. I personally like the Ittetsu better this way, perhaps I was even banking on it when I saw OOTB it was a Nashiji Kurouchi and decided to etch it, but to each his own.

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Clad line still was not to my liking. A project could be defined easily: mirror polish the grind and re-etch…

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And resharpen it when done. Long etching method with mild acid solution does this. I’m glad I just found a shortcut since then that avoids dulling the blade and takes about 2 minutes obtaining the very same results. I would probably even have saved the Kurouchi here with the shortcut method. Long etching has its advantages with mono carbons though: if you’re so inclined, the forced patina left behind is highly effective. My Masahiro VC has seen a lot of garlic and onions since I etched it this way and it pretty much looks the same as just after etching – add a few very faint traces, no real spotting. Mind you, I’m not into wiping my blade down in between of anything neither, but I do wash immediately when a prep is done is all.

Result of mirror polish - before etching:
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Result after etching:
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ModRQC

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Since some sandpaper was involved, I also tapered/rounded off the handle near the neck more aggressively, leaving the rest as is except surface sanding to have an equal finish. The butt of the handle was completely left untouched. Not the most beautiful rounding work, but it alleviated the bulk where strictly necessary, and I would see from there in use what further work was required, if any.

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You can also see the effects of the etching fumes on the handle near the neck. The major part of it was sanded off since so that the whole handle pretty much looks the same, but it has brought out some more character darkening some of the grain deep down in the wood. No adverse effect of note – wood is not rotting or anything. It was protected by the original lacquer, and my waxing treatment, before any etching, the reaction was mostly kept to the surface.

Then getting it sharp and bring it back into circulation to test the handle and reactivity effects on the cladding.

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ModRQC

Kurouchi Down!
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A couple of weeks later, I was satisfied with cladding behavior, but had decided on fully unleashing my internal workaholic on the handle. I modeled myself from the feeling of the Moritaka handle, which I like very much, and went for a rounded octagonal. I removed a lot of material from all four cardinals first using #100, resurfaced the obliques as well as the whole handle with #150, rounding the geometry at the same time, then finished with #180. BTW, this was done free handed, just sitting outside on a chair taking in the sun, smoking a few cigs and working on my lap. Then my usual oiling, waxing and polishing on the underside of a leather belt.

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The effects of the etching fumes are now unmistakable only at the tang insert where the whole end of the handle is forever darkened almost to black.

As for how the cladding and finish takes on patina now:

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I've found that for iron cladding, the brownish tainting occuring within minutes changes within a couple of days, looking all brown and ugly to begin with, then you come back to it and a lot of color has popped out and it looks... well messy but also, to me, quite fantastic.

I feel this knife was entirely worth the hassle, for me: the White #1 is properly heat treated so sharpens very easily and holds it as well as relatively soft White can, the geometry is very effective OOTB, and it was quite on the cheap for such a well-performing tool. The forging is a bit rough, and overall it cannot really claim much aesthetically speaking, but it’s very pleasurable to work with.

Be well folks!
 
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