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Tungsten Carbide for Horimono


Alex Roy

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I have some small lathe bits (tungsten carbide) and i was wondering if i could use them for horimono and or mei. My issue is that Tungsten carbide is probably far to brittle to sustain any impact at all (especially on hard steel). I was wondering if the rest of you see that as an issue or have any ideas as to what steel I could use, I.E. 15n20, L-6, or anything of that nature. As you can tell by my choice of steels I am an amature.

Thank you for your time and patience.

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Hi Alex,

I don't know what horimono or mei are, but I use tungsten carbide bits (3/32") in a reciprocating handpeice to carve steel, and it works quite well, and the edge holds up better than anything else I know of. So, if you already have some, you should try it. I don't use it for gravers, because for that, it does tend to be too brittle. For that I use lathe cutoff bits (5% cobalt HSS steel) They work nicely.

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Guest ford hallam

Hello Alex,

 

If you feel a "mei" on the tang of a Japanese sword you'll notice that the characters are defined by a raised edge. They are not actually cut into the metal but rather chased, ie the metal has been displaced rather than cut away. If you examine a decent signature you'll no doubt see the overlapping, elongated triangular punch marks. This technique is refered to as geribori (geri means "to kick") as opposed to kiribori where kiri means "to cut". Bori means carve, as in hori/bori mono (carved thing)

 

You probably know all this anyway but just in case..... :)

 

regards, Ford

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Guest DFogg

Thanks for the definitions and explanations. I don't believe you would find carbide an advantage. I would use a good high carbon steel and it would allow to easily make the tools and heat treat them yourself.

 

The raised edge comes from using what amounts to a cold chisel for the cuts and it pushes the metal away from the cut. I really like the way it looks and have been meaning to do some of that one of these days.

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I've never felt carbide to be an advantage either, considering the extra effort needed to put an edge on it.

These days I am only working in nonferrous or unhardened iron, so to me it's not worth it. With my sharpening technique it literally takes moments to sharpen HSS or hardened carbon steel and it lasts for hours in the soft metals.

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