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Jonah k

First try at pattern welded steel

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Last weekend I had my first go at pattern welded steel but it diddnt turn out. When I first welded the billit I was quite optimistic but it kind of went downhill after that. One side turned out perfect but the other side had quite a few cold shuts in it. I ground it with 36 grit and then stuck it in some muriatic acid to see if the San mai was center which seemed to turn out. But after that I tried to grind out the cold shuts but ended up grinding right through the cable layer and exposing a delamination in the middle of the blade. The first pic shows the good side and the faint pattern,you can see the darker San mai at the edge. The others are the bad side and later the delamination. Core is a Nicholson file. Oh well better luck next time I guess.

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Ayup, that's a cod shut alright. How much forge welding have you done? That's not really a bad job, you were putting quite a stack together. Not bad at all, you'll get better the more you do.

Frosty The Lucky.

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1 hour ago, Frosty said:

Ayup, that's a cod shut alright. How much forge welding have you done? That's not really a bad job, you were putting quite a stack together. Not bad at all, you'll get better the more you do.

Frosty The Lucky.

I have done a bit of forge welding, I learned how to scarf weld in my gas forge a while back, that was interesting. This is the first thing that I forge welded that was pre welded with a mig and everything else I have done was mild steel. I think what happened is I was working one side more than the other with the hammer and the anvil was stealing too much heat from the bottom layer  causing the cold shuts on one side. Another try this weekend maybe. 

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That sounds plausible. Next time, try hammering a pattern on one side, flip the billet and hammer a pattern then return it to the forge to re-heat. Next set start on the other side and repeat.

By hammering a pattern, I mean begin the hammering in the center of the join and work to the edges. This helps drive flux and inclusions out of the join. 

The current common wisdom is to do a minimum of 3 sets before striking the joint on edge and general forging. You still want to be working it at welding heat till you're sure the billet is well set and uniformly welded.

Frosty The Lucky.

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That's kinda what i figured id do. Also i think doing it that way keeps the middle layer centered.

Thanks

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Just repeating things I'd read over the years, I've only done billets a couple times and they were low count, it'd be hard not to keep three layers centered. ;)

Let us know how things work. We LOVE pics you know. ;)

Frosty The Lucky.

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Seems like i see a lot of san mai blades with the core steel not all on the cutting edge. I will post an update when i figure it out.

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People have a natural tendency to work one side more than the other.  Counting hammer strikes and trying to keep them matching can help.

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4 minutes ago, ThomasPowers said:

People have a natural tendency to work one side more than the other.  Counting hammer strikes and trying to keep them matching can help.

I resemble that observation.  For me it's also helpful to alternate which side is worked first when the piece comes out of the forge.   Otherwise you'll always be working one side when it's hottest and the other side when it's cooler, which can result in one side worked more even with the same number of hammer blows per side.

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I tend to work 1 side per heat and flip the blade every time it goes into the forge. I don't let it cool much as I've worked alloys that do NOT like that...

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Get into the habit of counting the blows, and hammering in a repeating pattern during the welding passes.

The only downside is that I  find myself counting blows even when I am not welding.  That's helpful when forging in bevels, but not so much when drawing out the stem to a rose :)

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I'm doing this same is thing right now cable San mai with a Nicholson file center. What do you guys figure I should do for tempering cycles it will be in a toaster oven. It's been a while since I made a knife and I think I assumed the file was 1095 but I can't remember what I did for time and heat. Any Imput would be appreciated.  

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Depends on its exact alloys and intended use. I temper my chef knives at a far lower temperature than my bowies, for example.

2 cycles of 400°F for ~30 minutes each will produce a nice medium hardness/medium toughness blade, its what i do for EDC, hunting, and camp knives, but again, depends on the alloy. 

Dont know if you have one or not but get a laser thermometer so you can read the temperature of your steel while its in the oven, toaster ovens are not exactly known for consistent and precise temperatures. 

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Well

I gave this another try this weekend.I used some of the suggestions above which helped, thanks. The blade turned out with no weld flaws this time and I changed the profile a bit but I had a few problems with hardening. I assumed the file was 1095 and I have no idea what the cable was but I heated a little past non magnetic and quenched in warm canola oil. The core-file hardened I think but the cable Damascus didn't really harden and it seems I have kind of a soft ish spot in the San mai edge.Maybe the cable is weather hardening w1 maybe. I tempered in the oven twice at 450f and I straightened it a bit between cycles and during the last one. The pattern looks good and the San mai looks centered. So anyways I am gonna sharpen it and clean it up and see how the edge holds up, it's just roughed in right now.follows is a bunch of pics of the process. Last one shows pattern and the San mai is hard to see in the pic also I just dipped it in the acid long enough to see how the pattern turned out.anyways here they are. Pics are backwards

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