Friday, March 22, 2013

Proper Japanese style hammer, at last.

A friend made me a gift, a machined hammer head, made of Uddeholm Hotvar steel, which I finished, heat-treated and made a handle for.
Its 4.3cm wide, 13cm long, with a 34cm handle made of an old oak plank. Weight of hammer head is 1310gr, and together with the handle 1490gr. Perfect!

What was particularly interesting was the heat-treatment. Heat up to roughly 1000C, quench the first 5cm in soapy, warm water for 30 sec, and then let the heat of the remaining piece dissipate and do the tempering.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Athame finished!

Finally finished the athame! A note on materials, the wood is iroko blackened by burning it, in the Japanese sugi-ban manner, and the steel (such as it is) was tempered for 1 hour at 320C to get the blue-black oxide.

A big note on mystery steels! Don't use them! 
At least not unless you do a quench test, which I did not. Hence, the old handmade rasp I had found, turned to be unhardenable, though I tried both oil and water quenches. For this particular piece its no big deal as it a ceremonial item and will not see any cutting use, plus the 320C temper would have softened it a lot anyway. But still... its a shame.

Anyway, another lesson is that when I do decide to make a proper knife shaped like a yari, I will run into countless problems keeping it straight in the quench. This one took a wild upward curve, which I removed easily since it did not harden, but I really do not know what I would have done otherwise. In any case enjoy!


Saturday, March 2, 2013

Inspired toolmaking - Hammer

 After watching the previous inspiring videos, I decided to finish up some older tool projects and maybe start some new ones.
The following is a rather old project, which I had never finished, namely a Japanese style, weight-forward forging hammer. Is is basically a piece of AISI 1060 steel, with a round hole machined at one end, and then heat-treated to about 50 HRc, the same hardness as my anvil, or maybe slightly softer.

 Of course after finishing it, I realized how simple, clunky (though it still does its job well) and inelegant it truly is. Hmmm, better design next time. For now here are some samples of proper Japanese style forging hammers, found at:


Friday, March 1, 2013

Inspired toolmaking!

Just came across this video (which is actually the first in a set of three) about a small group of Latvian
craftmen, Neeman Tools, building hand made tools, like knives, axes and chisels.
The videos are excellent, and their site has been overwhelmed with orders... which is perfectly logical
as they exhume the true spirit and joy of good craftsmanship. Enjoy!

Just to be fair, it came to my attention that John Neeman, the bladesmith after whom the previous site
is named, went out and established his own firm, Autine, which has come out with another video. Equally impressive, though I feel the speak-over is unneeded...