Hand Tools Archive
the discussion below about knives reminds me that I have a stick of rikizai. it's white 2, and can still be bought on ebay. I've never used it because it's three layer and I just wanted to try it (it's not that expensive) and there just isn't enough there if you file off one of the outside layers and try to make a thin chisel with it.
It also wasn't straight, but one of the issues I have with files and other water hardening steels on the mules is that if the knife doesn't meet the rest of the file evenly on both sides, the handle and blade will be straight, but they will bend at the joint (think of the bent part of the letter K).
I tapped this piece straight and realized that while I can't correct my file knives without ruining their temper at the back of the blade (or differentially hardening them in the future so that part of them can be manipulated with hammer taps), this still can be hammered on the laminations even after the knife has been quenched and tempered.
Will post results after I'm done. It's not quite wide enough for a chef's knife, but it's big enough to make a knife similar to a large petty knife.