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Laminated Steel Kiridashi Knives


Woodland

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For years I've been using two Kiridashi laminated steel blades that I purchased from a luthier's estate. Great ability to hold an edge, very rarely did I have to hit the water stones, regular stropping kept the edge. They were clearly laminated, but not the Damascus type with the strong, dark lines. I needed some in the 6mm width and I finally found them, on Metropolitan Music's website listed as high-end Kiridashi knives. A co-worker of mine said he had a laminated knife delaminate on a slow-speed grinder. Even though I've never had to grind a laminated blade in the past, I'm curious if my Tormek would be safe enough if I wanted to change the angle of the blade. The steel seems awfully strong, and I don't know what would be safer than a Tormek. Apparently they were ground somehow at the factory...

IMG_8599.jpg

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2 hours ago, FiddleDoug said:

I’d say that if a blade delaminates, it wasn’t properly welded, and is defective.

Yup. 

3 hours ago, Woodland said:

For years I've been using two Kiridashi laminated steel blades that I purchased from a luthier's estate. Great ability to hold an edge, very rarely did I have to hit the water stones, regular stropping kept the edge. They were clearly laminated, but not the Damascus type with the strong, dark lines. I needed some in the 6mm width and I finally found them, on Metropolitan Music's website listed as high-end Kiridashi knives. A co-worker of mine said he had a laminated knife delaminate on a slow-speed grinder. Even though I've never had to grind a laminated blade in the past, I'm curious if my Tormek would be safe enough if I wanted to change the angle of the blade. The steel seems awfully strong, and I don't know what would be safer than a Tormek. Apparently they were ground somehow at the factory...

IMG_8599.jpg

Very pretty knives.  A Tormek should be fine.  The important thing is to not heat them up, because that can ruin the heat treat.  I sharpen mine on Jnats.  :)

Why do you need to change the bevel?  :huh:

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I don't want to derail this thread but what is the point with these laminated blades?

I see that the cutting edge is within single thick layer of steel so what is the function of the laminations?

As I undestand damascus/layered steels they were layered to get more even distribution of particles in final steel (like kneading the dough) or to layer different steels for final toughness of sword (to prevent bending or breaking) but the actual cutting edge is often made of separate layer of steel without layers so it won't chip unpredictably at the "joints".  Other than that the nice pattern showing after etching are interesting but don't add to the performance of cutting wood.

Am I missing something?

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In the knives shown, the layered part is not the hard steel, and does no cutting. It could be for the sake of appearance, and does look good.
Many knives are quite traditional styles, so they may have been made in this manner for centuries.

The Japanese knives I have,are all a double layer for the single bevel, and a triple layer for the double bevel.

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7 hours ago, HoGo said:

I don't want to derail this thread but what is the point with these laminated blades?

I see that the cutting edge is within single thick layer of steel so what is the function of the laminations?

As I undestand damascus/layered steels they were layered to get more even distribution of particles in final steel (like kneading the dough) or to layer different steels for final toughness of sword (to prevent bending or breaking) but the actual cutting edge is often made of separate layer of steel without layers so it won't chip unpredictably at the "joints".  Other than that the nice pattern showing after etching are interesting but don't add to the performance of cutting wood.

Am I missing something?

 

6 hours ago, Dave Slight said:

In the knives shown, the layered part is not the hard steel, and does no cutting. It could be for the sake of appearance, and does look good.
Many knives are quite traditional styles, so they may have been made in this manner for centuries.

The Japanese knives I have,are all a double layer for the single bevel, and a triple layer for the double bevel.

The triple-layer sandwich technique is called sanmai in Japanese, and is a very venerable lamination type which goes back at least a thousand years in swordmaking.  The idea is to support an extremely hard-quenching (but brittle) high-carbon core (which becomes the cutting edge) with less frangible sides of lower-carbon steel.  The two-layer technique as seen in single-bevel kiridashi can be viewed as one half of a sanmai, with protection given to the side that you are most likely to apply force to with your fingers while cutting.  You can see similar laminations in other hand-made Japanese tools.

The patterned steel used in the OP kiridashi is considered superior to using mill steel, for aesthetics as well as for evoking a sense of Japanese tradition.  It is also some "showing off" on the part of the smith, and gives the impression (true or false) that tamahagane might have been used in forging the knife.  Many of the families which wound up in the tool-smithing business after Meiji banned the wearing of daisho and disbanded the samurai class, were originally sword smiths who had to scramble for business after the haitorei edict dropped the bottom out of the swordmaking market.  :)

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24 minutes ago, Violadamore said:

The patterned steel used in the OP kiridashi is considered superior to using mill steel, for aesthetics as well as for evoking a sense of Japanese tradition.  It is also some "showing off" on the part of the smith.  Many of the families which wound up in the tool-smithing business after Meiji banned the wearing of daisho and disbanded the samurai class, were originally sword smiths who had to scramble for business after the haitorei edict dropped the bottom out of the swordmaking market.  :)

Thanks, that's fascinating!

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For what it's worth, the laminated Japanese knifes (different source) I have are some of my favorites. The larger and medium widths I use perform wonderfully and have proven plenty durable. If I have trouble with any of them it's the smallest width bridge knife I use. I have had minor delamination occur at the point of these smallest ones, but I grind a rather long bevel on them (so I'm aware I'm stressing the steel... leaving the point a little too flexible... but I do it anyway).

I've not noted any problems I can blame on the Tormek... and I've been using these blades along side western ones for at least 25 years. I prefer ceramic stones to hone them.

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