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I Forge Iron

Pattern welded flower and other stuff

mick maxen

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Here are a few pieces of my work using my own pattern welded material. The first photo is a flower I made for a blacksmithing competition over here in the Uk. The other two pieces were also entered into the competition.

This flower is about 6 - 7" wide and made from three different patterns. The leaves are made from a feather pattern bar of steel. The petals are from a random sheet of damascus with about 160 layers and the bud is from a trick piece of mosaic steel.


This clock has a pattern welded face of about 120 layers and is 5" round


This is a small trinket box made from a 7 bar piece of pattern welding. Three of the bars are just normal straight layer stuff with 4 bars of twisted steel. The lid is made from the same steel. Since this photo was taken I have changed the base, which is Oak, to stainless steel to match the lid handle. The diameter is about 2 1/2"


Happy to answer any questions and Thanks for looking,


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Mick,the quality and precision of your craftsmanship is simply outrageous,and seeing all this in real life must be something else yet.
I can only marvel at it,being of a scaled/black persuasion meself...
Did you seam the trinket box in a straight line,and if so,was it very tough to weld a wide ring like that shut?Or,is it spiraled like a gun barrel?
Thanks much for posting this,and such quality pictures,too!

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woah!!! i actually laughed out loud when i saw that flower - incredible!! that is the best use of pattern welded i have ever seen - i love the knives and all that but they are cool for other reasons. your work is simply stunning, i cant imagine making anything that skilled and minutely detailed - you have a special kind of mind at work there! thanks for the pictures mick - the flower is my favourite :)

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Thanks Mick. I knew the other members would love your work as much as I do.

I saw the flower & the clock, maybe the box too, on BB. You never cease to amaze me with the way you use your pattern welded steel, never mind that you can make those patterns in the first place. I reckon you & Owen are 2 of my biggest inspirations in the blacksmithing side of things.

Is the box the same one that was in the fire & iron gallery a few years back? And was the clock there too?

All the best

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Thanks for all the kind words about my work.

Jake, the first few of these I made with random pattern steel had the seam forge welded. The only problem to my mind was the weld looked like an ugly mess compared to the rest of the pattern. Now I am making them with much fancier steel/patterns, I file the seam so there is barely any daylight showing and silver solder the seam up. Silver solder in the UK is the hard solder that is in the form of flux covered rods, not the lead solder that I think you call silver solder, like the plumbers use.

There are a few advantages to using this solder. First of all it does not contaminate the ferric etchant and is a similar shiny colour to the bright steel in the pattern. Also the pattern runs all the way around these containers almost without interuption, when done right.

I can see why you ask about barrel welding as there does look like a slight spiral to the pattern, but this piece is from a 7 bar pattern formed around a mandrel. I have done barrel pattern welding and the spiral is usually more pronounce.

Matt, you will have seen similar boxes in the Fire & Iron Gallery, but not this one. I made it about 5 years ago and brought it home to show the other half, before taking it to the gallery. She laid claim to it and it has never left the house apart from going to the New Forest Show. Someone did ask about buying it at the show, but it came home with us.
This clock is the second one like this I have made. The other was at the gallery but you had moved down under by then, I think.


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MIck: I am left almost speechless, your work is stunningly beautiful, something to aspire to for sure.

Silver solder this side of the pond is hard solder and is very strong, it's used to solder the carbides on earth drill bits. Plumbing solder no longer contains lead here and is in fact a low melt tin/silver solder.

What alloys did you use, the contrast is perfect. Thanks for sharing with us.

Frosty the Lucky.

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Frosty, I am glad we are both calling the same thing silver solder, it makes life a bit easier. I have heard soft solder being called silver solder in the knife world but I think its just a generic term for shiney. Our plumbers solder does not comtain lead either. In fact now a days the only thing that contains lead is lead.
The steels I use for these are 15N20 which is the bright steel as it contains 2% nickel and 20C or CS70 which are just plain carbon steels, very similar to your 1075 and 1095.

Don A, good to hear you lurk about on Don's site. I think there are a few of us that do.

Steve Sells, damascus is ideal for leaves as the pattern can be made to pretty much what you want. No more beating/chasing in viens.

Arbalist, the Fire and Iron Gallery is still very much open. I know what you mean about the website, it does need revamping a bit. There is a facebook page for the gallery.

I think I mentioned at the start of this thread that the flower was made for a competition that was "make a piece containing flowers and leaves". So all this flower had was a stalk and one of the comments from the judge was that it needed a purpose rather than being just a flower. So I have revamped the whole idea and gone a bit "arty".



The three small flowers are about 1 1/2" and made from the same steel as the main flower and with mosaic steel buds. The driftwood is 17" long.



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Wonderful,Mick,turning it into a composition really expanded(?,scrambling for a right word here)it into something much greater than the sum of it's parts!

Thanks much for your detailed explanation.I was always extremely impressed with your precision,as allied to the PW process,and am now again surprised at the level of it,seeing it extend even unto the fitting of a weld-seam...Terrific!

Thanks again for all your hard work on the frontlines of this amazing art!:)

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When I see forged flowers and leaves I like to know I'm looking at METAL, yours are metal on steroids! Bravo.......
The other items, to the untrained eye,could fool some into thinking they're looking at some kind of strange stone or meteorite....It looks like magic to me............

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Mosaic steel is just another form of pattern welding. Bars are put together so that the pattern is on the end. Then multipule bars are welded together to form a bigger pattern. The photo below is a block of steel that has been made from 16 bars with an identical pattern on the ends.


A close up of the 4 centre bars,



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