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Shorty and it's issues


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Hi all,

Just finished this. Being a newbie blacksmith, everything about this knife is a first for me. So I also had ton of issues.

Generaly, the damascus is 75Ni8 (15n20) and 125sc (pure carbon steel, 1.25%c). 16 layers and twisted (1 turn per 2.5cm). The blade is San-Mai with 125sc in the middle.

Some of the issues I had:

1. More than half the steel dissapeared in the forging proccess (before grinding). Is that normal? I did expect loss to scale, cutting, welding ect. But not so much.

2. The 125sc (the CARBON steel) etched BRIGHTER than the 75Ni8. Same result both with Ferric chlorid and vinegar. Is that possible, or should I suspect I got the wrong steels from the supplier?

3. Couldn't get the steel to weld unless I was at the absolute verge of burning. My flux is a mix of borax, boric acid and sal ammoniac. So I think I"m ok flux-wise.

4. The lines of the pattern are very "jagged" and sharply interrupted. I expected them to be more rounded and flowing. Is this an indication of anything?

I had all sort of other mishaps, like blisters, breakage, delamination ect. But - it will cut...:P

shorty1.jpg

shorty2.jpg

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Why are you trying to learn blacksmithing by practicing advanced techniques? 

You're losing so much steel because you're spending too much time at too high a heat to do what you want to do. With better skills you can accomplish your target goals with less time in the fire. The roughness in the pattern is an artifact of burning and blistering the billet. See above.

If you were to learn basic blacksmithing THEN take on bladesmithing you only have to learn one thing at a time. Blades are just a matter of learning the feel of the steel and different heat management. Someone with good basic skills can easily pick up basic pattern welding, they ALREADY know how to do competent forge welds and not burn up so much stock.

Not a bad looking blade is the edge hard? How far did you draw the temper down? You really should pin the tang in a cleaver. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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Thank you all for the input.

The reason I jumped the skill steps is because I have a very limited time at the forge, and want to get to the interesting and challenging stuff before I"m too old. Beside - it looked so easy on all those fake youtube videos.

Frosty is probably right about pitting and loosing metal in a prolonged heating. This forge weld was my first successful, and it did take very long. I did think of another possible factor - I started with a rather thin stack - 12mm (1/2") total. Perhaps it cools too fast (especialy the outer layer), making the weld difficult? What do you think?

I don"t have treatment data for these steels, so I went with the basic proccess I know, and tempered 1 hour at 220c. It's hard, and unfortunatly also brittle. The blade was forged as a gyuto, but the tip broke trying to fix a warp (one of MANY lessons I learned).

Anyhew, now that I mastered forge welding, damascus, san-mai and knife making, looking for the next chalange.

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Sorry to burst your bubble, but you are far from mastering any of the things you listed. Unless you can make dozens of damascus blades in a row without having any of the several issues you encountered, you are no master. Look at a fellow member here on the forum named JPH if you want to see a true master bladesmith. 

That being said, your blade looks nice. But i beleive you tempered too cold, especially for a chopper like that. 

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3 hours ago, Will W. said:

Sorry to burst your bubble, but you are far from mastering any of the things you listed. Unless you can make dozens of damascus blades in a row without having any of the several issues you encountered, you are no master. Look at a fellow member here on the forum named JPH if you want to see a true master bladesmith. 

That being said, your blade looks nice. But i beleive you tempered too cold, especially for a chopper like that. 

Not a master? HOW can you say that? I spent HOURS on it. Even Theo sais it's nice, and this guy doesn"t kid. So please...

The picture misleads a bit- the blade is only 10cm (4") so it's not realy a chopper or a cleaver. Just a little wannabe knife ;)

(Forgot to reply that I use coal forge)

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Generally I tell folks that the fastest way to become a good knifemaker is to learn the basics first.  So to me this reads as "I don't have the time and so I'm taking the longer and slower way of learning." And yes I did have a student whose second project was a pattern welded billet---special circumstances and he was intensively coached. I was trying to set the hook and I expect he would have a lot of issues doing his second billet on his own.

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First - an appology. Obviously I"m still rubbish at this type of work, having a single crippled half-success. So I thought it would be clear I"m making fun of myself, declaring my "masterhood". It being so silly. But it seems you have experienced enough of the human race, that you cant dismiss any level of stupidity. My bad. I guess language and culture differences also contribute to the difficulty of conveing cynicism.

A point has been made (and again) to my inexperience. Just to clarify - I have been forging for 6 months now, and this is not my first knife. That been said, I AM a newbie, and this IS my first welded steel blade. Can anyone get into new ground without making a first step? So I took that first step and now get criticized for it.

The only guideness I can get are "the internet" and my own mistakes. I can"t tell right/wrong/too fast until I go ahead and do it.

 

 

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Glad to hear you weren't being serious. And don't worry: you weren't being criticized for trying, just for (apparently) claiming an expertise you'd not yet acquired. Nothing gets IFI folks riled up quite like that -- remember to use the irony font next time!

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Lyuv

I am also glad to hear that you were not serious. That gets my goat when a new person claims to be an expert on any subject. Its insulting to the people who have spent years upon years gathering this information, and then freely dispense such knowledge.

That being said, your knife is not rubbish. It came out pretty well for your first pattern welded blade. Know what my first one looked like? Its a pile of half welded scrap thats still sitting in my scrap bin. You made some mistakes, sure, but now you have a baseline to work off of and improve from. But maybe instead of spending the copious amounts of time required to craft pattern welded blades, you should stick to monosteel blades for a while until you develop skills like forging color identification and proper heat treatment. This is not designed to hold you back, it gives you the necessary hands on knowledge to one day produce quality pattern welded blades. No master bladesmith ever started at the top. 

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I think there is a very reputable blacksmith in Israel, Uri Hofi. I have no idea how hard it is for you to travel in your country, or how far he is from you, but that could be a place to start looking for someone that he has trained that could assist you. Good luck to you.

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Iyuv: Yeah, we get a lot of youngsters who try something once and think they're masters, then cop attitude if they're corrected. A good sense of humor will stand you in good stead.

Thicker billet will help. 10cm x 10cm. x 15-20cm. won't lose heat faster than you can get it to the anvil and has enough extra to survive excessive decarb and have enough good steel left.  It'll take considerable soak time to permit welding temperature to penetrate to the center so start with a low fire and gradually increase the blast towards the end. 

If you don't burn too much up making the billet you might have enough for maybe 3 nice utility blades. 

Keep it up. Frosty The Lucky.

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4 hours ago, boisdarc said:

I think there is a very reputable blacksmith in Israel, Uri Hofi. I have no idea how hard it is for you to travel in your country, or how far he is from you, but that could be a place to start looking for someone that he has trained that could assist you. Good luck to you.

If you manage to gain access to Uri be certain your skin is thick.  If you think the curmudgeons here are hard to deal with you are in trouble.  One of my students was lucky enough to spend three days with Uri this summer.  He told he that, for every lesson he learned, he was cursed out at least three times.  Uri sent him off on the last day with a smile, a handshake and a hammer.  

Another interesting insight he heard from Uri:  "Don't waste your time forge welding or using other traditional methods when modern technology has made it easier."

 

 

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5 hours ago, Lou L said:

If you manage to gain access to Uri be certain your skin is thick.  If you think the curmudgeons here are hard to deal with you are in trouble.  One of my students was lucky enough to spend three days with Uri this summer.  He told he that, for every lesson he learned, he was cursed out at least three times.  Uri sent him off on the last day with a smile, a handshake and a hammer.  

Another interesting insight he heard from Uri:  "Don't waste your time forge welding or using other traditional methods when modern technology has made it easier."

 

 

I know Hofi. Shortly after I got into smithing, I took a 5 days class with him, and I get my coal from him. He does have a rough manner, but that is typical for israelies of his generation - a generation that survived the worst of wars, and had to continue fighting rough land and rough neighbourhood. In Hebrew, we call a man who grew in Israel "Prickly pear" (the cactus), which means thorny outside, but sweet and soft inside. Hofi is a definitely a prickly pear.

Anyway, knowing him doen"t meen he's at my disposal. He's a very busy guy, teaching and making. In his smithy there's a constant flow of "pilgrims" - acquaintances who drop by just to say hi and chat. Even during classes. So I can't realy take hours of his time. Let alone proper advanced tutoring. But at least I was lucky to get great basic training.

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Once you master the pun you will fit in just fine. As you have mastered sarcasm, and at least for me you made it clear from the beginning your skill level (infact understated it) so I was prety sure you were poking fun at yourself and the parade of youngsters who come threw. We value the ines who stay, take their pricks and let us watch them grow. 

Oldsters are fun to, they have a lifetime of experiance to share, but we get to share their excitement as they learn somthing new!

 

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