Wealthy Affiliate the Crucible of Training

Last Update: April 27, 2018
Katana, Samurai Sword

In a recent blog, the word transformation was mentioned. Immediately, I was reminded of metal smelting. In this process, metal ore combined with coke or charcoal is burned at high temperatures. Intense heat generated from high temperatures coalesces impurities. As they meld, ore and carbon combine producing steel. This high grade, pure steel can be reshaped into verified objects of beauty, durability and utility.

One object exemplifying this process is a traditional Samurai sword, called Katana. It stands as one of the most valued, enduring, functional and beautiful items known. In feudal Japan, it was symbolic of aristocracy, status, power, and strength. It represented the highest of the elite.

Made in the traditional way, its functionality and beauty rivals no other. A special raw product called tamahagane is the foundation steel used. In its smelting process two different types of tamahagane are formed, one contains high carbon, the other is low carbon. Both are required to produce katana.

Origins

There is a region in Japan, known to contain pure iron ore sand, high in oxygen, low with sulfur and phosphorus and best to make tamahagane. A special furnace able to hold temperatures up to1500 degrees Celsius is constructed. Carbon, in the form of coke or charcoal is added to iron ore sand and both set to burn slowly. Iron ore is never allowed to reach its molten state. High temperatures enable carbon to combine with oxygen leaving elemental steel. A master overseer vigilantly monitors the burning mass for 3 days. When the furnace is dismantled, the amalgamated product of tamahagane is made. An expert metallurgist separates high and low carbon content pieces to be packaged for a sword smithies to use.

Masters

A master smithy's expertise creates a legendary sword of beauty. All traditionally made katana originate from special Japanese, tamahagane steel. The smelting process to produce a katana is exacting and lengthy. In a furnace, at 1000 C. degrees, individual tamahagane, either of high or low carbon pieces are wrapped together and placed in the furnace. High heat melds tamahagane into a solid block. Hammering the block draws out impurities. Folding a portion of the hot metal over onto itself both transversely and longitudinally encourages steel blending. Repetition of this process produces twelve to sixteen layers of combined steel within one block. The process of creating layered blocks from high and low carbon pieces of tamahagane are done separately to assure uniformity of either high or low content in each individual block.

A Dedicated Process

Forging the sword is the next process. Smithies use blocks of high carbon steel to produce the hard, razor-sharp cutting edge. Properties of low carbon steel are soft and best as a flexible core in toughness for shock absorption, flexibility and durability. The block with high carbon is fashioned into a long, u-shaped channel. A processed low carbon block is snugly placed within the u channel. This newly, restructured block is returned to the furnace for its heat to meld both steel pieces. Smithies hammer the block into its elongated sword state. The finishing step uses a mixture of clay and charcoal, called slurry. A thin layer is applied at the blade's cutting edge. On the upper front side, back and spine thicker layers are painted. Slurry protects the blade and presents the signature wave design seen on many swords. In the furnace, a final application of heat fuses the slurry to the blade. Upon removal from the furnace, only the sword's cutting edge is dipped in water. Cool water quickly hardens slurry at the blade's edge. The spine of the blade is allowed to cool slowly for its low carbon to harden and produce the distinctive curve seen in many katana. After the sword smith completes his work, his signature is affixed on the blade.

Delicate Work

A master polisher concludes final treatment. Various types and series of grinding "water stones" are used to hone the blade's edge for its sharpness. This is the first concluding process, polishing follows. Polishing is also done by hand. Several weeks are required to hone and polish the blade using specific stones. The master observes the evolving process until he is satisfied with its mirror finish. The sword's tip is polished last.

Almost complete, the sword goes to metalworkers to fashion a distinctive pommel and guard for the hilt. A wooden or leather scabbard is made. Artisans may add decorative finishes such as tassels or other adornments. With these additions the sword returns to the sword maker for his final approval before it is assigned to a merchant.

What does this have to do with Wealthy Affiliate?

You may think this is good information, but what does it have to do with Wealthy Affiliate?

Looking at the components required to make a traditional katana, can be compared to my process in learning this business. I compare myself to tamahagane and to the sword smithy as well. Raw, unfinished and lacking polish, I've jumped into the hot furnace of Wealthy Affiliate. The process of amalgamation, of the metal representing me is taken on with trainings, tools, senior members' expertise, videos and general encouragement. Acting as the smithy, molding and refining metal can be a grueling process. The crucible is hot and essential for identification of imperfections. Found, these are addressed. Growth essential. Development. Enfoldment. Patience. Time. Practice. Non-judgmental. Persistency and consistency are linchpins toward my unfolding and blossoming.

My Process

Writing is a basic element in this business. Often, when I think on a topic, its unfolding, itself is a process. What do I say, how do I present it, how do I relate it to, uh, uh? Frustration. After research, a jumble of ideas scramble forward in my mind, vying for attention and dominance. Ideas seem elusive and overflowing at the same time. I step away, to return with renewed vigor and a fresh approach. How do I frame my composition? My mind flits from one approach to another. Confusion and lack of clarity seem to reign. This is my process. It may be a component either of my individual brainwork, my dyslexia? Or, perhaps, it may be a process to refine one of my personality traits. I don't know. I do know; I must persist.

Writing my compositions is done concurrent with research. This method is essential, due to my short-term memory deficit. During research on katana, many thoughts surfaced. Selected information vital for understanding were added. I scroll down, or up to include these in my composition; otherwise it would be lost. Over several days numerous revision are required.

Writing this post helped me to identify my process, accept it and know this is the manner in which my mind works. This is my process of amalgamation. Writing is a skill, improved with practice. Persistence and consistence refines the development of my writing to engage a reader.

As a raw product in the crucible of Wealthy Affiliate, I will continue to hone my skills and develop my understanding of online marking as a business.

Thank you for your attention.

Lovetta**

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Curly65 Premium
I believe your writing process is....WOW!
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Starbound Premium
Hi Sheila,

Happy you enjoyed my writing.

Best wishes for your success,
Lovetta**
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skendrick4 Premium
Fascinating process to make the sword, and the parallel to writing is splendid! Thank you.

Sheila
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