I was polishing it (the videos I took of this will be uploaded by the way, regardless of the result of the blade,) and once I'd gotten one side up to about 600 grit, I thought I'd give it an etch in some vinegar for a few minutes. I was trying to bring out the hamon line (a video of the unexciting quench will also be put up later,) which DID in fact work. It wasn't particularly pretty, or active, but... it was there. I was happy about that.
But then, as I was sharing photos with some friends... I noticed a problem.
Here you can see the hamon line, in the middle of the blade. It spikes up, settles back down, evens out for a ways, and then spikes again. I'm happy I can see anything at all- a lot of beginners see nothing, even after an etch. Some people can see the hamon after polishing up to only 300 grit.
The hamon is faintly visible here, still. It's not very active, or attractive.
In this image, it's most apparent where the fracture is- approximately 1/3 of the blade length from the tip, there's what looks like (and what I inittially thought was) either a hair, or a steel wool fiber. No such luck, I'm afraid. It's a fracture.
I'm not sure how to handle this. Gut instinct says to scrap the whole blade, but part of me thinks that if I put it through some stress tests and it holds, it'll be fine. Do I really want to go through with that, though? This is my name I'm putting out there. Even if the blade is still balls-sharp, holds the edge well, and is durable... am I really fine with selling a fractured blade? I don't know. I really don't.