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Katana progress -- folds 4, 5, 6 - Doug Ayen's Blacksmithing Blog [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Doug Ayen

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Katana progress -- folds 4, 5, 6 [Sep. 11th, 2011|09:32 pm]
Doug Ayen
I got a lot done today, cleaning up the billet so it's even starting to look like useable steel, and completing folds 4, 5, and 6. Photos and writeup beneath the cut.

About 2pm, I got into the shop and started in on the billet. Before the hot-work, however, I had to take the cracked, irregular, and pretty crappy looking billet and get it neatened up. This wasn't just for aesthetics, if I didn't get this hunk of steel evened up, the cracks could propagate, the edges, which had been worked less, would have uneven patterns and possibly inclusions, showing up as flaws in the finished blade.

So, since I wanted some very precise "folds", I marked out some lines and cut the billet up on the bandsaw. One small piece came off, and so I took it, polished, etched, and took a few shots of the grain pattern:

The etching was too deep for decent photomicrography, so I re-polished and did a lighter etch.


Ok, not much better, but I think you can see the difference. And the inclusions, a few cold-shuts, and an awful lot of slag. Still, four more folds left to fix things up. Back to reassembling the billet:

If you look close at the edges there, you can see some more cold shuts and slag. Again, those should work out.
I ended up forging one small piece in order to make a rectangular billet, fluxed, welded, and drew it out, then folded, fluxed and welded again. During these operations, I took care to hammer the edges square and even, so they won't get out of sync and develop cracks like before. After drawing it out a bit, I decided to call it a night. It was storming, hail was deafening me on the steel roof, and I was getting tired. Here's the final result:

Ok, let's run out today's numbers:

Initial number of layers: 112
Current number of layers: 896
Staring weight: 1381
Finish weight: 997
% loss: 28%
Total % loss since start: 59%
Time spent: 4 hours today, 18 hours total