Techniques to bring out alloy banding

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Hi all, I just picked up a Togashi Blue 1 Honyaki. I know these are famous for alloy banding, what should be my process to try and get some to pop out? I have read multiple things including uchigomuri powder, lemon juice, micromesh, etc. On hand I have lemon juice, some hazuya finger stones, a hideriyama and hakka tomae jnat, and some tosho kasumi powder. The knife currently has a mirror polish right now, I am assuming using any of the powders will cloud up the mirror?

What steps should I take on this "finished" knife? Btw cannot find the hamon on this guy which I know is kind of typical for blue honyakis, not sure if it would pop with some polishing or not.

togashi1.jpg
 
Correct that stone powders will mute the mirror polish a bit. I’d recommend ordering some vitamin c powder and citric acid powders and making your own etchant. Wet a soft towel in the acid and rub it into the blade until you just start to see the banding pop then rinse and neutralize with window cleaner or water mixed with washing soda. You can then lightly rub in powders and alternate etching and powder until your happy. Alternatively diamond paste will keep things more mirrored than powder. Same strategy. Hot lemon juice also would work.
 
Correct that stone powders will mute the mirror polish a bit. I’d recommend ordering some vitamin c powder and citric acid powders and making your own etchant. Wet a soft towel in the acid and rub it into the blade until you just start to see the banding pop then rinse and neutralize with window cleaner or water mixed with washing soda. You can then lightly rub in powders and alternate etching and powder until your happy. Alternatively diamond paste will keep things more mirrored than powder. Same strategy. Hot lemon juice also would work.
What ratio for the vitamin c and citric acid? I do have some diamond stropping compound...
 
2:1 vitamin C to citric is what I found works best for me. I like to measure out my water as well and add 9% by weight of the acid powder mix to the water.

That said, you needn’t take that as gospel. I’ve dabbled in honyaki polishing, but others here have more experience than I.
 
In my opinion vitamin C was more trouble than it was worth, it’s very easy to just use lemon juice instead, also another option is using dry uchigamori powder.

That’s right you can use it dry with a small felt pad. This way you don’t have to worry about overdoing anything or scratching anything over etching or oxidixation.

It also makes it so that you could leave the mirror finish above the hamon ie the Ji as it is giving a great amount of contrast

You just worry about everything below the homon line ie the Ha and the homon itself of course
 
In my opinion vitamin C was more trouble than it was worth, it’s very easy to just use lemon juice instead, also another option is using dry uchigamori powder.

That’s right you can use it dry with a small felt pad. This way you don’t have to worry about overdoing anything or scratching anything over etching or oxidixation.

It also makes it so that you could leave the mirror finish above the hamon ie the Ji as it is giving a great amount of contrast

You just worry about everything below the homon line ie the Ha and the homon itself of course
Interesting, not sure I've heard about using it dry. Where is the best place to source it? Only found it in Europe at about $50 before shipping
 
Hi all, I just picked up a Togashi Blue 1 Honyaki. I know these are famous for alloy banding, what should be my process to try and get some to pop out? I have read multiple things including uchigomuri powder, lemon juice, micromesh, etc. On hand I have lemon juice, some hazuya finger stones, a hideriyama and hakka tomae jnat, and some tosho kasumi powder. The knife currently has a mirror polish right now, I am assuming using any of the powders will cloud up the mirror?

What steps should I take on this "finished" knife? Btw cannot find the hamon on this guy which I know is kind of typical for blue honyakis, not sure if it would pop with some polishing or not.

View attachment 185078
Beautiful knife 😍
 
I know these are famous for alloy banding, what should be my process to try and get some to pop out?

A word of caution (admittedly from an arm-chair observer)...

The fact that Togashi is famous for banding does not guarantee there will be banding in his honyaki. Further... if a knife has banding... it doesn't necessarily mean it will be particularly 'strong'. Some banding is really obvious and others are more faint. Sometimes you can exaggerate it with polishing and etching... other times you might struggle to improve the situation.

I am not trying to disappoint you! Togashi honyaki are beautiful (very jealous).... But be prepared for all outcomes. You dont know what is hiding below the polish. For instance, in the unlikely case that you cant bring out any banding, you might be disappointed you ruined the mirror polish. You also might find that the mirror polish was hiding a hamon you were not expecting (a different or irregular pattern). So be 100% sure you want to commit.... because once you start messing about with the polish, it will be tedious to restore.

Look at your knife under lots of lighting conditions. Look at it from various angles. See how the surface changes as you move the knife?? Try and find some evidence to give you confidence to proceed. You could also consider etching a small section of the tang to see if anything pops up?? It is hidden in the handle... so any mistakes will also be out of sight ;). That might give you confidence you could bring something out of the steel before working on the visible parts of the blade??


What steps should I take on this "finished" knife?

Depends on how you want it to look... totally up to you!

:)
 
A word of caution (admittedly from an arm-chair observer)...

The fact that Togashi is famous for banding does not guarantee there will be banding in his honyaki. Further... if a knife has banding... it doesn't necessarily mean it will be particularly 'strong'. Some banding is really obvious and others are more faint. Sometimes you can exaggerate it with polishing and etching... other times you might struggle to improve the situation.

I am not trying to disappoint you! Togashi honyaki are beautiful (very jealous).... But be prepared for all outcomes. You dont know what is hiding below the polish. For instance, in the unlikely case that you cant bring out any banding, you might be disappointed you ruined the mirror polish. You also might find that the mirror polish was hiding a hamon you were not expecting (a different or irregular pattern). So be 100% sure you want to commit.... because once you start messing about with the polish, it will be tedious to restore.

Look at your knife under lots of lighting conditions. Look at it from various angles. See how the surface changes as you move the knife?? Try and find some evidence to give you confidence to proceed. You could also consider etching a small section of the tang to see if anything pops up?? It is hidden in the handle... so any mistakes will also be out of sight ;). That might give you confidence you could bring something out of the steel before working on the visible parts of the blade??




Depends on how you want it to look... totally up to you!

:)
Some good points! I would be very surprised if there is no banding in here however, since this batch for James at KnS seems to display it pretty heavily, appearance of banding comes from heat treat(after the right surface finish of course), so unless Togashi randomly changed up his heat treat on me...I should be good in that regard. It's not a perfect mirror (I have never received a honyaki with a perfect mirror and I have had quite a few of them, so I might be a little bit more likely to experiment with thise one.).
 
Ladies and gentlemen we have banding(and a nice wavy hamon)! Thanks to @EricEricEric for the dry uchi powder trick. @LucasFur also gave me some tips using bar keepers friend to etch. It looks great. I spent about 2 hours on it today, going to work on it a bit more over the week.

Only thing I am having a bit of trouble with is patina formation after etching. As you can see below in the last pic after etching I get instant patina, not sure how to deal with that besides using more of the barkeepers friend and more manually polishing with the uchi, but it is quite stubborn to remove.

Vid:

banding1.jpeg



banding2.jpeg


banding4.jpeg


banding3.jpg


patina.jpg
 
The uchi powder would’ve done it for you alone, or the lemon juice

It looks like it may be etching too hard causing the discoloration

You may need to polish out the knife again
 
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