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Benton Frisse

Norse Style Pattern Weld Core Blade

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Hey folks! 

 

So I've been doing a lot of reading and research lately, especially in The Complete Bladesmith. You folks weren't lying, what a gold mine of a book! 

I do, however, have a question. I came across his section on Norse blades with the pattern welded core (...I think page 137 but I could be entirely wrong), using 1/8' bar stock stacked 3x3, twisted, rounded, then welded. Then drawing one end to a point, cutting some medium carbon 2/3 of the way through, and wrapping this around the patterned stock, weld, and forge to shape. Sounds easy, I know. Doesn't it all? 

 

My question comes at the point of the weld of the carbon steel to the patterned mild steel. The book doesn't list any specifics, but I assume you weld the material on by hammering on the blade edges, causing the material to bond. Got it. But then when you forge to shape, don't you have to hammer against the welds to draw the blade out and "hammer to shape"? I assume that if you have good, solid welds this isn't an issue. But isn't that still a huge risk of breaking your welds apart, especially at the point where the mild and the carbon are welded to each other? 

 

Mr. Powers, Basher, or any of you other blade folks? My goal is to start off small and not to bite off more than I can chew. I think I'm going to try this first with a dagger-sized blade, and once i've done it a few times move up to something bigger. 

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I don't have the credibility you should be looking for in a responder, but I'll paraphrase some advice I was recently given with respect to hammering along the shear plane of your welds:

 

If your welds won't hold up to hammering at the proper temps, they aren't good enough.  You can't be afraid of breaking your welds apart at forging temps if your end result is supposed to be a blade.

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I once forged a billet into a disk for a pizza cutter---the hard way: stood it on end and compressed it down into a disk using hammer and anvil. Just for fun...

So part of this is you should be confident in your welds; just playing around some to get used to how much abuse they will take, what heat to work them at, etc. I'm going to have to do this myself as I picked up some 15N20 and 1087 at Quad-State and those alloys are a bit different than my usual billet stuff so I need to tweak my habits to suit.

The other part is that if your welds won't take being worked at forging temps I would not like to be dependent on them when they get stressed at ambient temps!

(and you did notice that there are currently 2 sequels to the Complete Bladesmith: The Master Bladesmith and The Pattern Welded Blade; I haven't seen notice that the 4th one in the series has hit the publishers yet---anyone have an update?)

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last I heard Jim is still  on it,  I know from experiance there is a lot more to getting a book out than just writing it.. it can be annoying too,  lol

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Thanks for the input guys! I didn't know there were more in the series, mine is The Complete Bladesmith: Forging Your Way to Perfection. 

I think you guys bring up a good point. There's only one way to find out if my welds are good enough, and that's to weld 'er up and start hammering against them! I'm also thinking of doing this style with a cable damascus core. Should be fun! 

Thanks folks! 

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Back in the old days; you could just go to the library and look around and see the other books on the same topic from the same author shelved in the same area. Nowadays you can search on their name at a book site like abebooks.com but have a lot more chaff to search through.

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I've welded up 5 blades like this this year so its still quite fresh in my mind, 3 finished  as comissions and a couple at the hardened and tempered  stage for me to finish when I get time.

 Yes you are forging against the welds when you forge the blade to shape the and yes unless you can happily forge against your weld you cant be certain that they have taken (you never can really untill the etch which will tell you for sure)......

 

However.....

 

I tend to treat  this kind of pattern weld as if it is not fully welded until I have finished working on it.  especially as a thin and tall stack like this is hard to weld up because the force lines as you hammer want to bend the material rather than join it together.

 so I normally make these swords as a wrap of layered steel over twisted core material.

 firstly I weld up the core.....In this case a 4 core.

15253293527_d374c3f2ed_c.jpg

 

 

 

then bend the edge around and tap it into shape in a swage...

15253087219_2f37f34497_c.jpg

 

I then wire it and do my initial weld on smacking the end of the blade on the side of an anvil to weld up the tip I then weld into a round swage and then V block bringing the weld back fro the tip...

 

15439863445_ae548910c7_o.jpg

 

15439863375_6c9a9661e8_o.jpg

 

I then weld the sides from the front back , welding softly under the hammer and then forging quite hard on the flats , hard hits little bites under the hammer. (counter intuitive but the power hammer will exert some sideways force as it holds a wide flat billet, and getting any unevenness is V, V, V important...) to...

 end up with this.....

15416860166_ea68ed5962_o.jpg

 

Billet is then forged down into a sword blade.

 the most important thing (amongst all the others like flux and heat and practice) is having your billet elements parallel and square. parallelogramed bars will screw you every time , hard to impossible to recover from.

 I put 100 hours into my first (decent) patternwelded blade to discover it had a major flaw.....live and learn , they do still go wrong sometimes but they are a lot quicker now.....

 have fun!!

 

thanks to Doug Macayeal for taking the photos.

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Yep, what Owen said.

Start small and do a few then go larger.

Other than technique and taking time you need to build confidence.

A good portion of forge welding is belief.

 

Ric

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Basher, 

 

Awesome photos! I think I will try the swage block weld technique! That helps clear up a lot! I just need to practice my welds more, I got a pretty nice, solid, thorough stick on a folded tomahawk this weekend on the first try. I was ecstatic! 

Ric, 

 

Thanks for the encouragement! I've been eyeballing some of your classes (and of course, have watched your Nova video probably close to 15 times. best purchase ever!) and hope to be able to attend one soon! 

 

 

 

Thanks everyone! 

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Back in the old days; you could just go to the library and look around and see the other books on the same topic from the same author shelved in the same area. Nowadays you can search on their name at a book site like abebooks.com but have a lot more chaff to search through.

 

My local library used to have several bladesmithing books, but not anymore.  There's still a few blacksmithing books, at least.

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