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Ashitaka Senju
Ashitaka Senju
Citizen
Stat Page : Stats
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Clan Specialty : Ninjutsu
Village : Konohagakure
Ryo : 500

Materials Hunting Empty Materials Hunting

Fri Aug 20, 2021 10:45 am
Mission Info:

Ashitaka's Stats:



The first ingredient needed for any steel was, of course, iron. But not all irons were created equal. They had varying amounts of impurities which could drastically reduce the quality of the final product regardless of the labor that went into it. However, there was a tradeoff. Good iron was good because it was extremely durable at the outset, and that meant even mining it out was difficult. One ended up beating a high-grade metal against a low-grade one for hours on end over multiple days. For The miners of the shinobi world, this was how they lived their lives. And despite being civilians, they were not to be trifled with lightly.

There were a number of materials besides iron that went into a good, quality steel. However, the portions of them were so small and had to be so precisely applied that basically a lab had to be built near a mine whenever a good, rich vein was found. Such as here at the north end of the Hokage Rock. The process of forging the steel, most especially its tempering, was at least as important as the alloying materials involved. As a beginner blacksmith, Ashitaka was taken on as an apprentice for the specific purpose of learning and training this process in depth. Mining out the raw iron was easy enough, since with his raw strength and the kinesthetic coordination expected of a weapons specialist ninja, he handled the pickaxe as though he were raised with one. Heating the metal via the crucible was easy enough too, since it required patience and dedication that was on a par with trap hunting.
 
The real challenge started with the alloying. The special metals had to be added in as extremely tiny percentages of the steel's overall mass, which meant weighing it while it was still liquid, and they were best handled as powders. Of course, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to guess that accidentally inhaling metallic powders would be extremely bad for your heath, so everyone wore masks while working. In fact, they tended to be bad for everything, so as a general rule, everyone working in the same room as the crucible was basically covered head to toe in disposable protective materials. This combined with the fact that the furnace itself was extremely hot and that the room couldn't be cooled at risk of causing the steel to cool too quickly meant that the generally uncomfortable heat was made hellish during the work.

Then came the cooling process. To make the higher quality steel, tempering had to be performed with an oil bath instead of a water one. This would cause it to cool at a much slower rate and reduce its propensity for cracking. Quenching oil was rarer and more expensive than iron, but its effectiveness proved its worth and like with the alloying metals, it didn't take a lot to get the job done. Also, as long as it was treated properly, it was reusable. As the red-hot steel cooled, Ashitaka hammered it flat and thin, noting in the process that he'd used too much for a normal katana blade. He bent and ultimately folded it, but that only seemed to make matters worse, so he beat it flat again, the impurities flying out in hot sparks.

More folding and flattening ensued, until eventually he decided the blade was a lost cause and just left it to cool as it had become. It was an ugly weapon, broad and generally reminiscent of an oversized chef's knife. At least the pommel ring he'd worked the end of the hilt into seemed to have the weight to compensate for the hefty blade. The other end, however, only emphasized his mishandling of the blade's forging. The tip was nonexistent, with the tang ending about four inches sooner than it should have in a shape vaguely resembling a spade. What he'd created was at best a tool for hacking and chopping, and perhaps digging, but hardly a proper sword. It was embarrassing to look at. But, like a cook eating his own failures, Ashitaka resolved himself to make use of this thing he made.

Also he wasn't about to quit here. He still had a job to do, and he was determined to prove his competence in this field. So he headed back out into the mine and took up the pickaxe again to hack himself out another few pounds of ore. Once this was accomplished, he carried it back to the loaner crucible, careful to leave the pickaxe with the others on the way. The raw iron was dropped into the clay container to be heated up while he measured out the alloys once again. This time, he only used about ten percent more metal than he expected the finished product to have, unlike his prior twenty-five. This greater proximity to the end result meant there was much less room for error.

However, this time he had every detail of the process down and before long it would be committed to muscle memory. The alloys were measured out and stirred in. The liquid metal was poured into the mold after a layer of quenching oil, with another layer being poured over it. The cooling blade was carefully extracted and brought to an anvil where it was beaten more in line with the desired distribution of metal, then folded again and formed again. It was dipped briefly into the quenching oil and then placed in a former of clay and sand which would give the tang and edge different cooling times and result in the curved form sought in traditional swords. When it was ready, it would be sharpened and brought to the chief blacksmith on site for proving.
Ashitaka Senju
Ashitaka Senju
Citizen
Stat Page : Stats
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Clan Specialty : Ninjutsu
Village : Konohagakure
Ryo : 500

Materials Hunting Empty Re: Materials Hunting

Mon Aug 23, 2021 7:52 am
"What, kid? What do you want?" the man, nearly as tall as Ashitaka himself but with at least fifty kilos on him nearly bellowed as was his typical indoor voice. The site chief was a burly, surly man who looked and sounded exactly how one would expect from someone of his rank and occupation. Which is to say a squat giant of a man whose entire build was suited to beating high-strength metals into submission. Despite being a civilian, he was not one to be trifled with, and he knew it. One of his favorite hobbies was putting the "fear of God" into these uppity rookie nin who thought their mediocre martial arts training made them a threat who could swagger in front of whomever they wanted. This kid was different though, he realized, in that not only was he respectful of the trade but also seemed to wear the auspices of modern civilization like an ill-fitting mask. Like a bear in a fancy suit.

"I'd like you to verify the quality of this sword." Ashitaka replied calmly yet bluntly, as though completely failing to notice the senior smith's effort to intimidate him. He knelt before the man in a traditional display of respect before shifting his grip on the weapon he'd been carrying to present it to the older man.

The chief scowled and snatched up the katana so roughly that if the Genin had even marginally slower reflexes, he would have lost a few fingers. He inspected it with a critical eye, gauging the sharpness of its edge with the ridges of the callouses on his thumb. He scanned every inch of the blade's edge for burrs and nicks, then lashed out and struck a wrapped and mounted six-tatami mat roll. Despite his using only one hand, he succeeded in cutting almost cleanly through the roll before knocking it over with the dispersed force.

"It's almost passable." he finally replied curtly as he casually tossed the ninja's creation into the bargain barrel from which subpar equipment was distributed. His follow-up was almost spat at Ashitaka. "Not bad for your second real try. How unfortunate for you, being cursed with such natural talent."

"I don't understand. What's unfortunate about having talent?" the shinobi asked, genuinely thrown by the direction the conversation had taken. He was used to the word being used in reference to praise for the person it was attributed to.

"It's real simple, kid." the senior smith responded as he continued to mean-mug Ashitaka. "Life is hard, cruel, and relentless. That's a lesson that everybody has to not just learn, but fully internalize in order to really live. The talentless learn that lesson early and in a manner so brutal that they have no choice but to either come to terms with it and start working to overcome it, or get weeded out. But the talented? Like you? You're liable to be doomed to never exceed the limits of what comes naturally to you. When you've got a knack for something, it seems easy until it isn't. And that's when you have to face the same reality that the talentless were met with immediately. Even then, your talent gives you a crippling handicap that they don't have: the temptation to get lazy and fall back to the level where you were good. To stall and coast the rest of your life having only ever become as good as you are, without ever trying to face the monumental task of becoming as good as you could be. That's the choice looming ahead of you down the road forged by the smith's hammer, Ashitaka Senju. It's up to you whether or not you're going to break the mold cast by the others like you who were inherently able."

"I see. I'll have to think about that. It's a lot to process." Ashitaka said as he stood up and gave the site chief a polite parting bow.

"See that you do. Now get back to work. One okay samurai sword in a day doesn't a blacksmith make. I want to see you out there pounding steel like it insulted your mother."





[WC 629. Total WC 1585]
Ashitaka Senju
Ashitaka Senju
Citizen
Stat Page : Stats
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Clan Specialty : Ninjutsu
Village : Konohagakure
Ryo : 500

Materials Hunting Empty Re: Materials Hunting

Thu Aug 26, 2021 9:06 am
Over the course of the next several weeks, Ashitaka made dozens, if not hundreds of additional blades. Not just weapons such as katana, wakizashi, naginata, spearheads, odachi, kodachi, shuriken, senbon, kunai, and tanto, but also more domestic implements. Chef's knives, bread knives, butcher knives, filet knives, steak knives, even paring and butter knives. With each piece of steel given form under his hammer, he learned a different element of the importance of properly balancing impact and precision, and the variable difficulty of maintaining the necessary cooling time across varying dimensions. Regardless of what the chief had said, he sure didn't feel talented. There were dozens of necessary re-forges, each an especially time-consuming process because the steel was by nature somewhat resistant to being re-heated, though mercifully not as much so as tungsten and its alloys. He could see clearly that he wasn't ready to tangle with that particular metal yet.

For now, there was only the grind. One after another, he made copies of each variety of blade until the process of doing it flawlessly was committed to muscle memory. Eventually, with time and effort, the presence of his mind on the task ceased to be necessary. With more, he found he could gauge the soundness of his work with any single primary sense. When he reached this point with one given design, he would allow himself to move onto the next. The smaller ones were less forgiving of the slightest error than the larger ones, and took on average half again to twice as long to get right. Such was his devotion to mastering this task in exclusion of all else that he began dreaming of working the forge and anvil, and his hands and arms still rung with their respective shares of the impacts delivered by his hammer or pickaxe long after he'd left them behind.

"Well I'll be damned, kid." the site chief muttered as he examined one of Ashitaka's most recently crafted steak knives. While it was entirely possible to use the mechanical serration accessory for the shop mill, he performed all of his serrating by hand. Not that most observers could identify this difference on sight; the young ninja's work was excruciatingly precise. "I didn't think you shinobi types could make tools as well as implements of death."

"All tools are also weapons." the Senju replied bluntly. He wondered if the senior blacksmith really believed otherwise, or this was intended as another thought exercise for him. "A tool is a type of item. A weapon is how you use it."

"Bah! Quit tryin' ta act like yer smarter than ya are, kid! Anyway, go on and get out of here. Ya've done enough. Take your pay and go."



[Mission Completed. Post WC 451. Total WC 2036/2000. Putting 20 points into Vigor. New Totals 163 (+25) = 73/25/65/25 Claiming Flying Swallow 1000/1000. Training Deflect C-Rank 1000/1000, B-rank 1500/1500, A-rank 1688/2500. Claiming 5 AP, 1 High-Quality Steel, and 2100 Ryo (50%/1050 to Kiri, +Beloved Presence).]


Last edited by Ashitaka Senju on Thu Aug 26, 2021 9:07 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Forgot Genin bonus)
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Daiko
Citizen
Stat Page : [url=statpage]Stat Page[/url]
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Ryo : 0

Materials Hunting Empty Re: Materials Hunting

Mon Aug 30, 2021 1:18 am
Approved.
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