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A while ago I tried to pattern weld with an old metal file.

On my first welding heat it cracked and broke in half,

does anyone know why?

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Probably overheated; the higher the carbon content the lower the forge welding temp.  This can make it tricky if you are trying to weld alloys with very different forge welding temps.  You need to weld them at what may be a quite small range of overlapping welding temps.

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21 hours ago, ThomasPowers said:

Probably overheated; the higher the carbon content the lower the forge welding temp.  This can make it tricky if you are trying to weld alloys with very different forge welding temps.  You need to weld them at what may be a quite small range of overlapping welding temps.

+1 Thomas's description is correct..  if you want to experiment use farrier grasps instead..

A lot of them are case hardened and are easier to forge weld with only a slight problem with over heating and temperature variance between multiple metals..

Older files in particular are usually a very high carbon non alloy steel and some can only handle a bright orange as a welding heat while the other bar will need to be at dark yellow or yellow..

It will appear that the file will be to low a temperature till the 2 touch and stick as the file will start to pull heat from the hotter material as the weld is set..

I consider this type of well an advanced forge weld as everything has to be about spot on as can be for manual labor..

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