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Help With Controling Fire For Welding


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I really want to get into making damascus steel. I decided this a while ago and welded bits of steel by folding them over and welding back on themselves. I could do this but it wasnt consistant. about a 50% chance the weld would take and the other 50% it would just fall apart.

After about 40 mins of having the fire going, it is usless for welding. i get thumnail size bits of scale forming on the steel and clinkers mixed throughout the fire. Also, the bottom of my fire is not glowing, its black. To top it all of i get bits of ash blowing up onto my steel and sticking to the melted borax. It is a nightmare.

Iam using extremely high grade coke, no coal (i dont beleive the fule is the problem because a friend of mine used to make damascus with it with no problems) and i DO flux my material before reaching welding heat and welding. Iam not hitting to hard either, nice and lightly (not to lightly)

It just seems pointless trying to make damascus if i cant even get consistant welds and cant controle my fire correctly. Can anyone provide any help? It will be greatly appreciated, thanks :)

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If you're getting scale on the billet and the bottom of the fire looks black there could be a few things going on. A pic when it's misbehaving would be really helpful.

A little speculation till we know more. Scale says too much oxy. A cold heart tells me there's no fire burning the oxy where it needs to be consumed.

How large are the pieces of coke? If they're too large, too much air will flow around them without consuming the oxy.

Losing fire on the bottom makes me think you're blowing too hard or taking breaks without re-lighting the bottom of the fire.

Having rust or scale in the joint isn't a good thing, especially if it's on the lower carbon pieces. Clean it off and if you're going to perimiter weld the pieces get them as close to polished as you can, matching the surfaces of course. When you tack them weld the entire perimeter solid except a really small section, match head size and leave it open on all layers. Before it cools put a couple drops of 3 In 1 oil on the untacked spot. Capilarity will draw the oil between the layers as the billet cools and will act as a high end flux. Tack weld a handle on the billet on the side AWAY from the oil hole gap or it will spit really unpleasant burning oil on you when you strike it the first couple times.

I didn't think the technique would work till a guy showed me by welding a 5 layer stack of mild steel at less than bright red heat.

The fire. Keeping the oxy from the billet is as or more important than getting it hot enough so break the coke up to grape size pieces. If you take a break or notice the bottom is black just stir some burning coke to the bottom. Make sure it's a deep fire, coke needs a little deeper fire than coal. Don't confuse commercial coke with breeze. Breeze is coked coal made in your forge and it's a LOT less dense, easier to light, better insulator and consumes oxy faster.

Hope this is some help and don't be afraid to tinker till you get us some pics and someone who actually knows what they're talking about jumps in. I'm not a bladesmith but have made a few welds here and there.

Frosty the Lucky.

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