Jclonts82

Stupid (maybe?) damascus combo

15 posts in this topic

Since I started forging, I have a cousin that is really into the art of it, not so much the study, if that makes sense. He saw a few damascus products I have made and wants one/wants to help me make him one. Wants a skinning knife for an awesome elk hunt he was drawn for in Sept/Oct. He found, and already bought, his own steels: W2 and 52100, and wants to have me try to make a knife out of them. He thinks since each steel is used to make pretty good knifes by themselves, that a blended billet would be a fantastic combo. I tried to talk him out of that combo, but to no avail.

So I'm gonna try it. My main question is the heat treat. If I'm even lucky enough to get the welds to stick, the heat treat for the two steels seem to be VASTLY different.

I'm basing my info off the "Heat Treat" app I found on this site.

The 52100 suggests austentize at 1555F, quench in oil then cryo to -95F then temper, whereas the W2 suggests Aust at up to 1555F (lucky there) then immediately temper after quench. 

I'm inclining to immediately temper ~350-375F, then cryo, then temper again?

 

I would really appreciate any thoughts/advice...  I Hope I can even get that far, since I have doubts about me being able to make welds in the first place...

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I would worry more about getting those welds to stick for now if I were you. 

Do you have a set up to do cryo?

I would temper immediately after quenching and forget the cryo. The shock of it may be bad for questionable welds (though if they survive the quench, they have a good chance.) And the cryo will likely do very little, if anything, for 50% of the billet (the W2) so the risk vs. reward does not seem worth it IMO.

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My question would come before even worrying about the heat treat. The entire point in damascus is to have the visual effect of two different etching steels. I'm not sure that even if you succeeded at everything involved that those two steels would even etch differently enough to show the pattern. I'd think it would all muddle together and look like homogeneous steel. That would beg the question, why go to that much work for something that won't look like anything. He'd be better off having you make two different knives. Or if he really wants damascus have him get some 15n20 to go with that W2.

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I have seen a post where just 15N20 was forged into a billet, then forged into a knife and etched.  It was a very attractive blade.  I do know that nickel does not like to weld to nickel but then there were the results..  You can get a very nice hormone line with just one steel (like 5160) with edge quenching.  You may be surprised by the results you get.

Wayne

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34 minutes ago, lanternnate said:

My question would come before even worrying about the heat treat. The entire point in damascus is to have the visual effect of two different etching steels. I'm not sure that even if you succeeded at everything involved that those two steels would even etch differently enough to show the pattern. I'd think it would all muddle together and look like homogeneous steel. That would beg the question, why go to that much work for something that won't look like anything. He'd be better off having you make two different knives. Or if he really wants damascus have him get some 15n20 to go with that W2.

where did you get the idea those metals wont  work or show a pattern? please cite references.

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Im going to do a test weld tomorrow... 2 small pieces, draw it out, clean it up, and try an etch just to test my welding ability and the etch contrast. 

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21 hours ago, Steve Sells said:

where did you get the idea those metals wont  work or show a pattern? please cite references.

Here's metal info on 8670: https://www.alphaknifesupply.com/zdata-bladesteelC-8670.htm Not one of the steels being discussed for use, but provided as an example stating the .88% nickel content is insufficient for a good shiny layer in damascus. When you look up 52100 you get no nickel and W2 has .20%, so we aren't finding a nickel champ here. The two steels are also fairly close in manganese that is also cited regularly as a factor of how a steel reacts to acid etching. Will there be a slight difference? Maybe, but I think the testing of small piece first is wise. I've seen where smiths weld the same steel to itself and get a "pattern" of the weld lines, but the damascus look where the layers themselves are different appears to require metallurgical differences, notably nickel content. If his friend wants that stark contrast, he may not be happy with a pattern that shows weld lines but can't discernibly say this is the W2 layer and this is the 52100 layer. Also, please note I never said it wouldn't work, just that the resulting pattern may not have the contrast the friend desires. Mr. Sells, do you have a reference to cite that W2 and 52100 will etch to a significant contrast such that doing a test etch first would be unnecessary?

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you left out the Chrome content of 52100 which is plenty for contrast against W2.   try again.

and 8670 does give good contrast to many simple steels so I disagree again

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On 8/12/2017 at 11:54 PM, Jclonts82 said:

Im going to do a test weld tomorrow... 2 small pieces, draw it out, clean it up, and try an etch just to test my welding ability and the etch contrast. 

How'd your test turn out? Interested to see just what kind of contrast it yielded in practice.

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pieces are cut, but I haven't done the weld... a bout of pneumonia, and retrieving a 'new' anvil kinda took precedence. I will post when I get something though.

 

The pieces will be 1095, 15n20, W2, 52100, in that order. This way all else being equal with heating, hammering, quencing, and etching we will be able to see what patterns they make. . four pieces roughly 1 square inch each. If successfully welded, I may flatten out that single piece 'sideways' and make a pizza cutter someone (Thomas?, Steve? I cant remember) mentioned this process/use for test damascus in another thread. 

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Ugh, sorry to hear that, hope you feel better soon. Don't know where the 52100 will land in the spectrum, but I've seen Don Hanson damascus of W2 and 15n20 that does a nice subtle contrast with the W2 not getting super dark. That's has me thinking between the 1095, 15n20 and W2 at least there should be an interesting tri color thing going on there. As for smashing it out sideways, Alec Steele does call that the most evil thing you can do to a piece of damascus in one of his videos, so I'd say if your weld holds up to it you've done a good job ;)

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52100 has a very bright contrast, even more than 8670 which in my experience is has even more than 15n20.  The biggest problem you'll have using 52100 is in the third fold.  that's about the time you've lost your outer layer of simple carbon steel (w1).  Since 52100 is one of those alloys that is fickle when welding to itself that weld may not fully take.  Forget cryo, it's a waste of time on a blade like this.  Better to focus on getting the heat treat right than worry about that extra half a RCH you'd get.

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14 hours ago, jmccustomknives said:

about the time you've lost your outer layer of simple carbon steel

I hadn't thought of that. Maybe I will do a double layer of carbon on the outside of the original billet to avoid thinning out too much during folds. The guy bought 2 sticks 48" long X  1.5" wide, said I could keep the extra, plus gives me room to experiment to try to get it right...

 

Thank you for the input.

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It was I who made the disk for a pizza cutter by taking a BSB and PS billet and flattening starting with it on end lengthwise, Alec should try that...

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Did the test. Small billet started as 1.25"L x 1" W x 3/4" thick.

Amazingly it successfully forge welded. Very happy about that. I remember Frosty mentioning in other threads, "why not flux before the billet is dull red" So I melted a bunch of borax in a 1 qt paint thinner tank with the top cut off with a charcoal fire, dipped the billet in the liquid borax after I welded the individual pieces to the square stock.

Only did 2 welding passes, them drew it to ~3 inches long x 2 inches wide, hammered on the side back to to 1.5 inch wide x ~3/8 thick.

Set forge to ~1500 F according to pyrometer sticking just past my wool liner right in line with the burner, and let it soak for about 10 minutes.

Quenched in ~100F canola oil. Cut the block end off at a 45 with the chop saw. Hit it with 120 grit on the new wet belt grinder and put it in the acid. Unknown current strength, but started as 1:3 acid to water, bought acid from amazon under "MG Chemicals Ferric Chloride".  

Light hand sanding with old dull 400 grit, light touch of oil.

In hindsight I should have drawn thinner to get more of a topography change, so I could hit only the highs with sandpaper, but I was in a hurry today. And as proof of concept I'm pretty happy as is.

 

bottom line, this SHOULD work.

Layers, left to right:
1095 @ 0.188"
15n20 @ 0.083
W2 @ 0.187
52100 @0.250

 

The sand paper hit the outside edge of the 1095 on the left, but right next to the 15n20 is was untouched and left a good contrast. I think there is enough of a contrast in the W2 & 52100 to look just fine. Plus, looks are secondary to performance

unnamed.jpg

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