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Hello all! I'm Ryan, and this is my first post. This past year i've gotten into so many things, and one of them being forging. I've been able to get myself a nice forge, and nice tools, and "Ok" material. As in I live on a farm. so that's my steel supply! haha. SO my real point behind this post is i've been trying to forge weld, or fold steel, and i have not at all been able to get a handle on this. can someone give me a non-vague response and a detailed how to? i know i sound picky, but i've been poking around on the web for a week now, and everything posted so far reads like everyone has an abundant background on the subject, so "Flux" means many things to me. Solder flux? Rosin core? Acid flux? HALP

This is my forge :D
11539235_1109905472373924_55474918422057


~Part time wizard, Part time genius, Full time idiot.

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I used "20 Mule Team Borax" from the laundry isle in the local grocery store. I think that's a good place to start.

 

Russell

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This really is one of those things that is so much easier when you're taught it my another Smith in person. I tried and failed several times to learn to forge weld, then I took a course and not only learned to forge weld but made my first Damascus billets that same day and haven't looked back!

That being said, to answer your question, grind your steel clean, flux it when or just before it starts glowing and make sure it's good and hot before attempting the weld, bubbling borax which smokes when you remove it from the fire is the sign that I look for.

Good luck!

Edited by Foundryman
typo

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Laundry borax is a good welding flux. However if you have a welding supply close check the isles for Patterson's flux. It's primarily anhydrous borax, boric acid and something else to turn it blue. It's the same basic stuff as real" forge welding flux but a fraction of the cost.

As said, clean the surfaces of the joint. Depending on the joint I like to flux then bind with wire of fold it closed before heating. Bring it to welding temperature and let it soak a bit.

Set the weld with firm blows and a moderately heavy hammer. Do NOT hit it hard, if the hammer bounces so will the steel being welded. You want an almost dead blow, the hammer comes down and just stops on the weld, no bounce.

If it's a large weld, lap or billet then the first blow should be in the center of the joint subsequent progress to progress outward in a overlapping pattern. This will force any inclusions out from the joint and not trap them.

This was the setting weld. To check it I like to lay one side on the anvil and look for a sharp change in color. If the piece fades from dark on the anvil to color on the far side it's set. If there's a sharp line fro dark on the anvil side and color on the other then the weld did NOT set.

In either case, brush it clean, reflux and return it to the fire to take to welding heat. If your weld did NOT take a set use setting blows again and retest. If it did take the set weld you can use heavier blows, that does NOT mean whale on it, just heavier blows. This is the first refining weld.

Repeat the above brush, flux reheat and refine. You want two refining welds after it's set.

The weld should be good to go.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Thank you all! I have not tried this yet, but i will be sure to do so as soon as i get back to the farm! Is there a certain practice stock i should test with? or does just any ol' rusty peice of steel work?

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where did you come up with the idea of rusty steel being the same as clean ?

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Permission ?

 

I just spent 20 minutes writing a masterpiece on the topic, ... and I don't have PERMISSION to post ?  :angry:

Get a clue.

 

Edited by SmoothBore

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Practice welding is often done with a convenient size piece of hot rolled mild steel you dress the end for welding and fold it back on itself making an easily held and manipulated practice piece.

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Seems like it is an in direct proporsian to how much your contribution would help. Probbably why you, frosty, Steve and several of the other heavy hiters keep getting picked on

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where did you come up with the idea of rusty steel being the same as clean ?

Steel lying around on a farm is often rusty before being cleaned.

Göte

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Smooth, anymore if I'm posting something more than a couple sentences, just before I hit "submit reply" I will copy the entire post - that way when it says Nope to me and rudely won't let me post, I can come back in, paste the post in a box real quick and try again.  Works about 95% of the time.  The reply boxes seem to have no tolerance for remaining open/active for more than a moment or two.   You can fool it by doing a full quick paste. 

But, 'course it goes without saying that you shouldn't HAVE to go through such machinations.   

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A specific answer; Start your fire-welding career welding mild steel to mild steel, as already suggested. 

Do not worry about flux at this point.

If you are making damascus for knives, forge a number of mild steel knife shapes before reaching for damascus, or even plain steel.

When you feel you are ready, the go get some flux.

Work slowly toward your goal. Know your materials.

You have the time to become good. Why rush to become mediocre or, more likely, not very good or even bad?

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A specific answer; Start your fire-welding career welding mild steel to mild steel, as already suggested. 

Do not worry about flux at this point.

If you are making damascus for knives, forge a number of mild steel knife shapes before reaching for damascus, or even plain steel.

When you feel you are ready, the go get some flux.

Work slowly toward your goal. Know your materials.

You have the time to become good. Why rush to become mediocre or, more likely, not very good or even bad?

Thanks, some motivation is needed at this point. And Frosty (if i may call you frosty) i have like a 5 lb flat hammer, and swinging that is a chore, but i think i have welded about an inch of a railroad spike. maybe? i don't know. all i do know is that my arm huurts.

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Wow too heavy a hammer makes it really hard to get good welds!  Billy Merritt likes to demonstrate welding up damascus billets for knives using a wooden hammer handle for the impact.

You need a firm blow not a sharp one, too heavy a hammer can make them "bounce" apart rather than weld together.

STOP THAT!

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Good grief man a 5lb. hammer is for prisoners to break rocks with! Look for 32oz. as a max weight till you develop hammer control, then decide if you want a heavier or lighter hammer. A too heavy hammer will do damage you'll have to live with later in life.

Of course you may call me Frosty, been my nick name all my life.

Frosty The Lucky.

Edited by Frosty

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I use a 4.6# normally but I start people with a 2 to 3# hammer for welding.. just a thought

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I use a 3lb personally.  And don't hit hard, not trying to move metal.  One thing, start at one end of the billet and work your way down to the other end like you are ironing your cloths.  This will help keep from forming pockets in the billet.  Those are annoying.

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Alright! should i start off with one fold, and see how it goes, or should i try to actually make a billet? (Seriously though, you guys have been so helpful!!) and i've also seen guys weld rebar rods to their billets to cut tongs out of the equation, is that good to do or?^_^ And can you weld with a wooden handle? I mean, it doesn't' sound right? but i could be... i dunno' just my gut tells me that that could be a bad idea.

Edited by Onemoarpoundplz

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  I've yet to get into making billets, but in MOST situations (life in general), I've noticed that starting small and working up is the better way to start.  It is usually safer, as well as easier to figure out where you went wrong, and more likely to be easily corrected without starting from scratch.  Once you've done enough where you get it right 90% of the time, it's time to step up to the next level.  I'm to the point where when I don't have anything else to smith up or my inspiration is lacking, I'm faggot welding a horseshoe that I straightened out back onto itself.  The latest one has been drawn and folded about 4 times now and it's starting to get small enough where I need to add in another horseshoe so I have something substantial to work.

  As far as the rebar rod on the end, you have to remember that if you cut & stack, you will have to cut the very end off so that the weld spot won't show up as a repeated flaw in the pattern of your billet, but if you're cutting and polishing between stacks anyway, that shouldn't be very hard to make sure of, and it really won't eat up that much material if your'e drawing it out pretty long between stacks.

  Finally, to cover the welding with a wooden handle. If you mean welding with a wooden handle on your hammer, a little bit of singed wood has to be better for your health than singed plastic or fiberglass, and a metal handle is bad for your wrist/elbow/shoulder/neck/back.  Seriously, don't use one for any extended period of time EVER.  It will mess you up in the long run.  I've forge welded 1.5" bars together with a wooden handled hammer and it was fine.  It didn't even smoke, although I had to wear a glove cuz that puppy was H-O-T.

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Alright, I thought you guys were meaning (Mainly because i'm 16, and young and dumb here, but...) that i use the Wooden part, and hold the hammer bass ackwards. hahaha oops. But i only own wooden handled hammers

 

There is no reason to re quote an entire post  especially when its right here for all to see.  wastes bandwidth

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