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Hagire Question


Ilovekatanas
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I had a tanto that i made crack during quenching; i was curious what the result would be of welding it using the TIG process. The crack was repaired, but the result was an area that was visibly different from the surrounding area. As Jean stated, this could be disguised by kesho polishing, but the area would still be softer than the hardened steel that forms the hamon. If no filler or a steel filler of the same composition was used, it is theoretically possible that the blade could be rehardened, and it would not be apparent that a repair had been made. Obviously this is not a desirable process for nihonto.

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As long as there is enough hamon that the crack can be polished out, without destroying the shape of the blade, it is reparable.  As to the early conversation, I would buy a Masamune with a hagire in a heartbeat.  I might even have it polished.  I have never held one in hand, but the beauty of the hada and hamon would certainly be worth having such a blade.  Now as to the price I would pay, that is another thing.  

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Gentlemen,

by discussing the possibility of 'polishing' out a HAGIRE, it should be considered that the respective blade will not only lose a good part of its width, but the overall appearance will change as well. The blade would have to be ground a lot thinner as well to keep the NIKU and the cross section angles close to that of the original. This may result in a significant loss of KAWAGANE, exposing the SHINGANE probably in most of the blade's surface, if it is a laminated construction.

This will of course be a smaller problem with simple one-piece constructions as found in later TANTO.

In my opinion, any repair attempt of a HAGIRE is a great risk and will not work out to be a true restoration of the blade.

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JUST accept the "Hagire"  one found when this was polished i decided to have the togi finish, fatal yes but it really is part of its history, Why does everyone want to cover up its story. BTW it passed shinsa until there was a pow wow and i received a pink  

 

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I think he means if it does not go all the way through the hamon, it is not fatal.

But if it is say only 1mm long, with plenty of ha left, is it a hagire? We are taught hagire are fatal. A crack that is small could be ground out. Ugly, but not fatal. So is a hagire a crack that goes all the way through the hamon?

 

Hi Brian 

 

I now see where I had a difficulty!

Its in reference to 'hamon' as opposed to blade edge (ha).

When I phrase is as the 'ha' of the blade, and then apply hagire, the crack then self explains to both sides of blade.

Thus extending into the hamon, at this point the term hagire indicates this condition. 

At this point yes it is both sides, should the 'both sides' condition not be seen,  then a blade scratch could be considered.

I don't have a reference to cover a 1mm hagire, to say its 'o' hagire or any other size reference.

But if a togishi is of the opinion that a reprofile of the ha, followed by a both sides of blade polish, will remove the condition then so be it.

The term 'fatal flaw' is an opinion expressed, before an expert pure judgement examination is done.

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Gentlemen,

 

by discussing the possibility of 'polishing' out a HAGIRE, it should be considered that the respective blade will not only lose a good part of its width, but the overall appearance will change as well. The blade would have to be ground a lot thinner as well to keep the NIKU and the cross section angles close to that of the original. This may result in a significant loss of KAWAGANE, exposing the SHINGANE probably in most of the blade's surface, if it is a laminated construction.

 

This will of course be a smaller problem with simple one-piece constructions as found in later TANTO.

 

In my opinion, any repair attempt of a HAGIRE is a great risk and will not work out to be a true restoration of the blade.

 

 

I must redraw your attention to Jeans post here.

This brings into focus of the term 'fatal flaw'.

If the hagire is in a blade of some age, there may very well not be enough metal left, to allow for the restorative work.

Even if that hagire is only 1mm long. It would be judged as a fatal flaw.

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I think “hagire are a fatal flaw“ is too general.

What is the meaning of “fatal“?

It depends on the type of blade (tachi or tanto), placement and lenght of the crack, if you are a collector or a bushi and so on...

I wouldn't see it too strict and focus more on the individual case...

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Guest Rayhan

Just to shed some light on this in a neutral way. If we have 2 identical copies of katana and one has a few major chips in the hamon that do not extend into the ji and makes the sword salvageable, and the other has a hagire (hairline fracture) that also does not extend into the ji the treatment is the same. A polisher will try to save the sword by polishing away the damaged areas of the tempered edge, try to save as much of that tempered area along the entire profile of the swords as possible and in consequence will reduce the width of the sword every across the entire profile. This is the same in both scenarios.

 

I think what we need to establish is the nature of the Hagire as a flaw, it is a hidden detrimental flaw that at any moment, if left unchecked can erupt (by way of treatment; battle in the past or mistreatment today) into a major structural defect that cannot be salvaged. Fatal is to do with the structural aspect of the sword.

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Guest Rayhan

I am also not sure if polishing within the swords tempered area has the risk of exposing the core steel, in my opinion it doesn't as long as the boundy is kept

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Many references are being made to ‘the polisher’ and his ability to magic away, both blade chips and hagire.

 

Before any work is done, the blade on first inspection, can give information as to its history, with a probable accurate indication of age, style and its smith. This is achieved from the form the blade presents.

 

But early period swords do not present today, the health and shape as was present when made. So how is kantei even possible??.

 

A clue might be gained, if we regard just what a togishi creed is, and what has been accepted and taught for centuries.

 

“No matter the stage at which the polisher begins his work, the shape and character of the sword must be preserved and enhanced. The main aspects of the blade’s shape that should be observed are the length, the curvature, the width and proportions, the degree tapering from the base to the point of the blade, the shape and definition of the area around the point, the cross-sectional shape, and the thickness of the blade”.

 

How that is squared with the removal of edge chips and hagire, I don't know, as I am not a togishi, if you are perhaps you could advise?

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Hagire is a (mostly) vertical crack which cannot be polished or repaired. It renders the blade susceptible to cracking there.

 

Smaller edge flaws are often referred to as hakobore. They can be polished away but often are left to preserve the character and because removing them would mean halving the hamon.

 

So, I have a higher end sword with a hakobore which was deliberately left by the polisher. And sure enough, the blade passed Juyo even with the hakobore.

 

So whatever heat treatment (microscopic or not) is applied to fuse the hamon, it will weaken the yakiba or mess the habuchi. Any polisher cosmetic repair will be superficial and for decorative purposes only.

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i seem to remember a very good sword that had a hagire, it was "cut out" (there was a deep cut made into the blade) the blade then passed Juyo, i guess the big cut was considered a chip. I am sure others remember this and will correct me if i remember incorrectly. My thought at the time was that the blade looked ugly after the cut and i thought it looked better before (the hagire was not as noticeable as the cut), but the sword's value was much higher as before it was unpapered and had a hagire but after it was Juyo, so i guess it made sense financially

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Guest Rayhan

Juyo is possible with flawed swords as long as they have the provenance and historical significance for sure. It takes collectors many years of learning and a good eye for what will pass, even if flawed.

 

With regards to changes in shape I think we would be remissed to discount the countless times a kamakura blade went to battle and to a polisher over the span of 1000 years. Fact is we are very lucky to see complete examples today in good form.

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I am also not sure if polishing within the swords tempered area has the risk of exposing the core steel, in my opinion it doesn't as long as the boundry is kept

Rayhan,

 

you are right that there is no SHINGANE to be found in the YAKIBA. I tried to explain that the whole blade would be submitted to massive changes in an attempt to remove a HAGIRE.

 

In post 45, Denis gave a good explanation of what should be expected from a polish. 

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Many references are being made to ‘the polisher’ and his ability to magic away, both hagire and blade chips (repeated from my earlier post?

 

Lets just regard the word ‘polish’ for a moment By its very sound its gives a vision of a soft cloth and a tin of Duraglit. Stop there, it’s not!.

 

A blade enduring this process will lose metal. By their very nature of the stones employed, will grind with different degrees of aggression, the surface of the blade metal.

Knowing the application of this method, and the blades condition at start, is why the training of Togishi is so long and intense.

 

But also know this, subjecting a blade to a polish is a risk. Risk? Even the most skilled Togishi using the maximum of care, and the minimum amount stone, can uncover a ‘ware’ that could not have been expected to be there. (This could also apply to hagire previously unseen).

 

Should you care too, spend time on the examination of the various angles, and areas of importance of the swords construction. Most especially the area from the shinogi to the ha, the area under discussion here. Each and every angle is what makes the blade unique, and gives it its cutting ability, and its rightful reputation. Jean nails this in post 34.

 

So can hagire and blade chips, be removed without determent to the swords previous health?

I can't answer that, but I am happy in the knowledge, that I can find a man who can.

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My personal belief is that the mechanical skill is learned relatively quickly if the aptitude is there, but what takes a lot of time to develop is good judgment and sensitivity, and the ability to kantei swords to know what they should look like.

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