58. Making a Kitchen Knife
The difference between a sword and a kitchen knife.
The difference from the finished products made it obvious.
Another difference was the process.
Kan, kan, kan—
After the process of forge welding, which joined the metals together, I proceeded to the next process of ‘forging.’
What I was doing looked exactly like forge welding, but if forge welding joined metals, forging was the process of further forging the joined metals.
Without that process, the end result would be a failure.
By striking it, it’d be forged and changed into a harder material.
During that process, the shape and thickness would be changed into one of a kitchen knife’s.
The kitchen knife that I was making was a deba, one meant for handling fish.
Therefore, the blade needed to be thick and sturdy.
“Look, Grave. Every time Liliana swings her hammer, the shape changes. From just a plate, it has been transformed into the shape of a knife.”
“It’s true. Just like when she makes swords, it was a strange sight no matter how many times I see it.”
While saying that, Grave resumed his work.
He arranged the boxes containing metal while checking the contents.
“Hey, are you really watching?”
“I’m watching. But if I were to focus on it, I’d just end up being fascinated. So, I’m just looking at it from the side right now.”
“What a shame!”
“It’s good enough. There will be many opportunities for me to see it from now on.”
I could hear Grave’s calm voice.
As he said, there’d be many opportunities to see it.
From now on, we’d continue to manage the workshop and store together.
When I thought about that, my cheeks naturally loosened.
If I were to be seen by my master, he’d get angry at me without a second thought.
“I have to concentrate.”
I didn’t want to show an awkward expression with people watching.
Because there were those that couldn’t see the process, I wanted to prove my sincerity through the finished product.
I struck the steel.
To be strong—to train my heart.
Now, the next step.
I needed to change the shape of the steel. I drew a line on the kitchen knife with fire and cut off the excess to finish it.
For that, a tool called a ‘push-off’ was used.
As the name suggested, the tool was pressed against the blade to cut it.
It must had been a strange sight, to cut a blade with a blade.
I followed the line I had made in advance, and cut it into a shape close to the finished product.
The kitchen knife that had just been pushed out was distorted.
That was natural as it had been forcibly cut off. As it was, it wouldn’t work as a kitchen knife.
Therefore, I moved on to the next step—plastic surgery.
First, I put it in the furnace and heated it.
Then I gradually lowered the temperature while finely tapping the knife.
I corrected the distortion created by pushing and cutting. I would also provide finishing to the parts that couldn’t be cut off.
I was literally shaping it.
As adjusting the force was necessary, I needed to exert more concentration than before.
Only the sound of iron being struck could be heard.
I couldn’t even hear my surroundings.
“What a tremendous level of concentration. I think I’ve fallen in love.”
“Hmm? What’s wrong?”
At the shaping stage, I made the brim. It was the part that connect both the blade and the handle.
Because it wasn’t possible to work on it at the burning stage, I made the brim while preparing the main body.
Some people engraved their names on kitchen knives, but I was too embarrassed to do the same. I also hadn’t decided on the name of the product.
After shaping, I reheated the knife.
The heat generated during the shaping created unevenness within the body of the kitchen knife.
To smooth it, I heated it once and cooled it gently.
While waiting for it to cool down, I relieved my tension.
The next process was the most important.
It was a test of blacksmithing skill—I couldn’t fail.
I reinforced my concentration.
Then, I confirmed that the kitchen knife had cooled down.
I renewed my spirit and proceeded to the next step.
Quenching, tempering—the repetition of these processes were called heat treatment.
It was a process to determine the hardness and stickiness of the blade.
It was the most important process, and serious skill was needed.
Depending on the steel used, identifying it would be difficult. Craftsmen would usually rely on their eyes and intuition—
—intuition, something which was gained by accumulating many years of experience.
Sensing changes that no ordinary people would understand and performing the appropriate processing.
Before tempering, I covered the knife with some mud and dried it.
The mud would make it easier to understand subtle changes in temperature, and also eliminated unevenness on the surfaces.
It was necessary to harden the blade.
However, if the blade was ‘merely’ hard, it’d break once force was applied.
After it was heated, I then soaked it in oil for 46 minutes to make the steel sticky.
I succeeded with the most important step.
Since I had reached that point, all that remained was to prepare it.
When heated and cooled, the kitchen knife repeatedly expanded and contracted.
I had to correct the distortions created by the process by hand at room temperature.
After the corrections were finished, I sharpened the blade.
Finally, I had given the knife a blade.
To keep it from heating up, I sharpened it while keeping it moist with water.
Finally, the knife had a blade.
However, it wasn’t finished.
After attaching the handle, I sharpened it once again.
It could cut even before being given a handle, but it hadn’t reached its maximum sharpness.
The final sharpening brought the knife to its highest point of sharpness.
I had finished the kitchen knife.
***T/N: Cool, cool.
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