Jul 17, 2011

Kitaeji Maintenance 1

 The maintenance of Kitaeji is very easy using Japanese natural finger stones.
I will write about it in part 2.

First some pictures of out of the box (OOTB) Kitaeji:

Kitaeji Gyuto 240mm

Kitaeji Santoku 180mm

Another Kitaeji Gyuto 240mm
The Kitaeji is made by carbon steel and very soft iron. You can read about it here:  Q&A with Iizuka san

 The patterns of Kitaeji carbon steel (see arrow) can be white or black. 
 It will depend on light. Carbon steel is more like a mirror and very soft iron has haze. If the blade reflect the light direct the carbon steel is white (white arrow). If it does not reflect the light direct the haze of very soft iron reflect more light and get brighter than the carbon steel (black arrow). 

 Kitaeji has also very narrow "hairlines".
 I do not know if I can show you it in this picture:

"Hairline" Kitaeji
It is the same "hairline the Kasumi finish has:

"Hairline" Kasumi
 You can see it much better in the Kasumi finish picture. But if you have the knife at hand you can feel the "hairlines" with finger or nail.

  Iizuka san does not tell me how he makes these hairline finish by hand. I think it is secrect.

  Other blacksmith who use machines make such hairlines with rotating steel brush. I do not have such machine so I will skip to make these hairlines.
  There are also some broader lines OOTB.

Broad Lines
 There are some broad lines which I indicated with white arrow. Iizuka san said these are "characters" of Kitaeji. The reason of these lines are not clear. Uneven diffusion of carbon from carbon steel to soft iron or uneven distribution of boric acid powder can be the cause.

I tested 3 different finger stones.

Here the pictures of stones I made the finger stones:

Ohira Uchigomori Suita Sword Polish Grade

Nakayama (Maruka) Stone (a bit more orange than egg color)

Hakka (Finer an a bit harder than usual Hakka)
 Picture of the finger stones (Uchigomori and Hakka)

Left Hakka and right Uchigomori finger stones.

Continued to part 2

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