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I Forge Iron

Powdered Steel tanto ( aka canned damascus )


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To make a wood grain pattern, assemble a billet of about 25 layers, bandsaw blade and steel banding works well and gives a nice contrast. Forge the billet out to about 1 inch wide and 1/4 inch thick then taper both ends. Now start rolling the billet up welding it as you go like a jelly roll. when you have finished it, you should have a cylinder about 1 1/2 inch in dia and one inch high. Now hammer it down from the end and forge it into a blade. The link will take you to a blade with that pattern.

Woodgrain or Jelly Roll Pattern - Blacksmith Photo Gallery

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Here is how I did it :

I cut a 6 inch long chunk of 3/4 " square steel tube , then made a 1/2 " cut at each corner, so I can fold the "flaps" like a card board box.

I used 1095 & 1084 Powder this time, but I have also used O-1 Mill/ drill chips. ( got a good buddy at a machine shop )


I weld the flaps together on one end then start filling a scoop at a time packing and tamping often, I also put a small pinch of sawdust at each end.


Once its full I pound the top flaps together and weld a handle on.


Here it is ready to be forge welded.


And here it is soaking slowly up to a welding heat.


The fist few welding heats were weird , kinda felt like hammering on a cooked noodle. About the 3rd heat it just got solid all the sudden and started acting like one bar of steel.





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Thanks for showing us how you did that. Very interesting. Definitely going to have to get off my rear and try it. looks too interesting. one question though. is it hard to remove the square tube after the welding process? and if so, why not use something like stainless foil as a barrier inside?

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Andy,to clarify this blade was through hardened, not clay coated, what you see in the blade is the contrast in the different steels. To answer your question though: I profile and rough grind with 80,120 and 220 grit on the belt grinder then finish with sandpaper & stones. Trying to power finish like with a high speed buffing wheel will smear and obscure a hamon. But it wont ruin it, as it is a structure IN the steel not a surface treatment, so you could go back to stones an paper to bring it back. I'm sure you have seen some of Howard Clark's blades, he does the rough work on a belt grinder too, it sure dosen't play funny buggers with his hamons, they're sweet! :)

Keep hammering


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