Dan O'Connor

Dan O'Connor


46 comments posted · 0 followers · following 0

262 weeks ago @ Katanablog - Making Charcoal-Part Two · 0 replies · +1 points

The jury is still out on how pine will perform in furnace. But here is a section from the Hitachi tatara site

\"According to the Tetsuzan hisho, pine, chestnut, maki pine, and beech were good for making osumi. Shide birch, kobushi magnolia, and cherry were bad, while shii oak and crape myrtle were the worst. Sawtooth oak, nara oak, and scrub were favorable. For kozumi, pine, chestnut, horse chestnut, and Japanese cedar were all superior, while shide birch, shii oak, maki pine, kashi evergreen oak, and mochinoki oak were considered inferior.\"

Osumi is charcoal for tatara Kozumi is charcoal for forging. There is no doubt in my mind as to the superior qualities of pine for forging. The main advantage is that it burns to almost to nothing. No small pieces and ash to block the airflow. Also because of its lower density it burns hotter-but faster. To get the heat required to forge weld large chunks of steel is in my opinion, not possible with hardwood charcoal unless you have an unreasonable air blast. I agree that theoretically hardwood has more heat energy than softwood but the effort to extract it makes it impractical for the type of forging I do (traditional fuigo etc). Other than having to pile on more charcoal on a regular basis, the pine makes the welding almost effortless in the amount of energy needed to power the pump.

You are correct in the that there is wide variance even in the softwoods. I now use green or slightly air dried southern yellow pine. ( have a sawmill fairly close). But I used kiln dried white pine construction scraps for years with good success. Use what you gots:) And yes, I have to remember that the goal here is to make good swords not the perfect charcoal. ;)

262 weeks ago @ Katanablog - Making Charcoal-Part T... · 0 replies · +1 points

Hi Steve,
Thanks for a great comment.Pre-cooking or \"roasting\" of the ore is a standard practice. It gets rid of a lot of impurities such as sulfur and makes it much easier to break up. Having said that the Japanese harvested iron bearing sand from the mountains and concentrated it by running though a big sluice to float out the lighter material leaving the heavier iron sand.They did not roast this iron source which was primarily magnetite. My source is rocks of ore so will roast at least some of it to see the results.

272 weeks ago @ Katanablog - Charcoal · 0 replies · +1 points


Good luck. Letus know how it turns out.

300 weeks ago @ Katanablog - About KatanaBuilders · 0 replies · +1 points

Thanks Mel,

I have been a machinist most of my life as well. I am betting you can build a PH as too! Good luck and stay in touch.

301 weeks ago @ Katanablog - About KatanaBuilders · 0 replies · +1 points

Thanks Peter.
I have been pretty lax about keeping it updated. Will change that shortly.

313 weeks ago @ Katanablog - Sendai Construction · 0 replies · +1 points


That is a good best guess. A sen is used for shaving steel.

327 weeks ago @ Katanablog - Making Charcoal-Part Four · 0 replies · +1 points

Hi Tristan,

The Charcoal from the Japanese kiln is working out very well. I have produced about 800lbs. With a full time job and time spent working on all the aspects of building the Kagi-ba I have been lax on updating the site. The Orishigane I made used the kiln charcoal. Pics are here.

I believe there is much to be done that can improve the charcoal from the self-fueling retort. I have set it aside for the moment to concentrate on the kiln method. I would not use a valve to shut down the gas because of the buildup of pressure in the barrels. Maybe a diverter would be a better idea. Venting and maybe burning a portion of the gases to control temp.I would welcome anybody improving the process. I would put it here on my website or link to yours.

Stay in touch.

328 weeks ago @ Katanablog - Hammers · 0 replies · +1 points

Hi Dave,

I had a guy at local spring shop make it for me. Took some sweet talking and quite a bit of \'splainin let me tell you:).
Thanks for the encouragement. I am focusing on this and hope to complete it soon.

328 weeks ago @ Katanablog - Charcoal · 1 reply · +1 points


It took about 45 minutes.

330 weeks ago @ Katanablog - Charcoal · 0 replies · 0 points


Great video. It is pretty cool how the process can be controlled well enough to produce the properties you need .For me this charcoal would be too soft and crumbly to use making blades. And vice versa my more solid charcoal would be almost useless in making preformed briquettes.