Monday, October 14, 2013

Alloy Banding - Kindjal

Have you ever searched for the answer to a question many times, only to, much later, stumble across the answer? 

Some time ago, I forged a chef’s knife out of 1084 steel:

When I quenched and heat treated it, a weird zig-zag pattern appeared. I got it to happen in another piece as well, but didn’t know what it was.  Apparently, I recently learned, this is called carbon banding or alloy banding.  From the quench line to the edge, the steel reverted back to a plain silver/grey.  The knife is still sitting on my shelf, so I don’t really know how the performance is affected. It’s still pretty though.  I’ll just have to see how my current project works out, since I’m working in 1084 again.

And this time…nothing, possibly if I hadn’t used clay to try to get a pattern in the hamon; but who knows.
So here is the project…

Not too long ago I started working on a Kindjal – in this case a double edged slightly curved long knife, in the style of weapons used by the Cossacks a couple hundred years ago. There are various stories about the origins of the knife, but they don’t all agree, so that’s what I am calling it.
I started off with a foot long piece of 3/8th inch thick, 2 inch wide 1084FG steel.

Over a couple of forging sessions I stretched it and shaped it to about 20 inches of blade and handle.

I’ve mentioned many times that making something double edged is a pain – and this was no exception.

In the past I’ve gotten some interesting banding patterns in this type of steel, so I thought I’d give it a shot with a clay temper, once I got to that point.
Working with such a long blade was kind of a pain, because the weight of the blade would bend the hot metal more than I wanted.
The quenched blade did need some minor straightening as well.
After waaaaay too much time spent polishing (belt sander to 320, then back to 220 hand, 320, 400, 600, (ran out of 800), 1000, 1500, 2000.

There was a slight suggestion of a temper line towards the handle, but a little acid failed to show anything else, so I buffed it back to a mirror.

There were still a few irregularities along the back edge that I took care of with a diamond file.

I went with a more traditional handle, 3/8” Brass for the guard that will be just wider than the blade, stepping down to the grip, finally stepping back up to a rounded pommel.  I used a variety of pins to decorate the handle – not quite what I was planning, but my selection of carbide bits is a bit marginal at the moment.  Time to buy some more to match my collection.

I decided to go with a piece of Tineo (South American) for the handle, fairly light colored wood, but with some flaming – I intentionally chose a piece without much veining.  I turned the handle on the lathe and then flattened the sides for a nice feel.

All that is left now is the final edge and marking the base of the blade.

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