My current Hamon process

Hamon process for W2


I normalize the steel at 1650, 1500, then 1450


I then pre-grind my blade to 1-2mm at the edge (this is important for ashi)


I currently use satanite which I mix with water to make a grainy paste. I also sometimes use hamon 1800 premix.

I then clay a desired pattern. The main portion or base of the pattern is the thickest clay, as the legs come down it thins out. I will sometimes do dots in random place to try and get ashi in random place (this does not always work)


I will then dry the clay with a heat gun. If I’m not in a rush to heat treat it that day I will leave it over night to dry(this is the best and safest practice to ensure the clay doesn’t come off during the quench) 


When I quench I ensure my oil is at around 75-80 degrees with one of those laser temp things. I use parks 50 for W2 as it’s a shallow hardening steel and requires a faster quench


If the clay comes off that is not a big deal but you will get a different effect if the clay stays on vice it coming off, but either way works


I quench it until I no longer hear the knife bubbling in the water. When I take it out it’s smoking really good and that lets me know I’m still at the temp where I can do last minute straightening. I wipe the scale off as I walk over to my leg vice and I straighten the blade in the vice.


I have my oven preheating at 350 for chef knives and 400 for everything else. I temper the knives twice at the desired temp for 2 hrs at a time with a time in between where I let it cool to room temp before putting it in for the 2nd temper cycle.


After grinding to final thickness I hand sand the blade to a dirty 1500 grit

And it’s ready for the etch


I etch in a 4 to 1 mixture of water to ferric chloride for 3 minutes.

Once I take it out, I hand sand away the oxides with 2500 grit.

Then I etch again for 1 minute.

I then grab a clean makeup pad and soak it in the ferric/water mix and wipe the blade continuously until I get the desired darkness of the hamon line as it will eventually turn black.


Once the hamon line is where I want it, I spray the knife with window cleaner to neutralize the acid.


I will then coat the blade in oil to ensure no further etching happens and I will grab a new make up pad and polish all of the oxides off with the watery flitz metal polish. Once the blade is a shinny grey and the hamon is a black line, you can either leave it there or take it to the next level


The next level is take 1500 grit carbide powder and mixing it with oil into a watery paste. I will use a butter knife and put the past on a furniture pad that is stuck to my hand sanding block.


You then polish the hardened portion of the blade up to the hamon line. You will be doing this for a while so do not despair if nothing really happens for a little while. Keep polishing and eventually the black hamon line will become a smoky white. It will also reveal more hidden ashi.

Once you have a fully white line, you can then polish inside the hamon to ur desired shade ensuring to not over polish here. Lightly polishing here will give you a nice gradient effect from inside the hamon to the almost mirror like polish outside the hamon. Then you wipe off the blade and enjoy your hard earned work.