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This is the Tanto Manifesto. - Doug Ayen's Blacksmithing Blog [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Doug Ayen

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This is the Tanto Manifesto. [May. 5th, 2005|09:55 pm]
Doug Ayen
The tanto is just another knife design. This one will be yours.

The edge is sharp. Please be careful. Bandaids are in the first aid kit.

It's your knife. You are making the hamon, you are shaping and polishing the blade. You can be as wildly creative or as strictly regulated in your design as you like.

Leave enough space for the edge to harden, but be creative.

There is often more beauty in a well executed simplicity than in a mediocre complexity.

Try to keep the pattern even on both sides or the blade may warp.

A turnback near the tip is considered by many to be a beautiful thing.

If you cover the entire back of the blade with the clay, the blade may curve too much and crack. If you leave it entirely uncovered, it will curve the other way. Uncovering the spine and just a bit of the rear flats of the blade is usually the way to go.

If you wrap the blade with some wire after claying it up, there is less of a chance of the clay falling off during quenching and messing up the hamon.

Temper the blade at around 300-325 F. That 's not enough to destroy the hamon, but enough to relieve some of the heat treatment stresses.

The edge needs some meat behind it, or it won't have enough support to hold an edge for long.

The bevels should curve smoothly and evenly to the edge. A perfectly flat bevel will not support the very edge, and a flat bevel that suddenly curves to the edge can look out of place.

Always remove all the scratches left by the previous grit before moving on to the next grit. You can always go back if you need to, but removing even one scratch of 220 grit when you're working with 1000 grit is tedious and time consuming.

The base polish is the most critical phase of the polishing regime. If the base polish isn't perfect, the knife can never be perfect.

There is no such thing as a perfect knife. But that doesn't mean you can't keep trying.

If you get to a point where you realize you didn't quite achieve your desired level of perfection at a previous stage, don't be afraid to go back and fix it.

Realize at some point you will have to say "This is finished." Then stop. Having a friend hold a gun to your head to enforce the point is optional.

--doug
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