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Believe it or not, my very first attempt at hand making some Damascus didn’t work perfectly. So here I am looking for someone to help me through this! 

So I’m using a single burner propane forge, one side is blocked off by a half inch thick metal plate and the other side is slightly contained by some red house bricks. (I’m wondering if that’s my problem over all) 

1.) Had a buddy weld together together a few pieces of 1080 and 15n20

2.) Got things to roughly 1600 degrees, and applied 20 mule team borax to the sides with the edges.

3.) Back in the forge to what I would honestly call roughly 2000 degrees. (In the daylight of sunset, the forge and stock were almost entirely white)

4.) Over to the anvil with some relatively firm blows. Turning it over a time or two.

Didn’t really know what to expect or feel particularly sure of anything going on, so I repeated the process without borax.

After I ground one of the edges, it’s basically entirely delaminated. Hoestly delamination is probably the wrong phrase because it was never laminated in the first place.

If anyone had any quick tips or fixes it would be awesome! I know how much knowledge is on here and I’ve learned a ton from all of you already! 

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Well if you don't want to try to do it the fast, easy and cheap way...

Can you get the billet to 2300 degF in a reducing atmosphere? (Remember online colours are almost always off due to how cameras interpret glowing steel.)  

The next thing is that most people try hitting too hard.  The late great Billy Merritt used to weld a billet using a hammer HANDLE to demonstrate that you don't need to whale on it. (Firm rather than sharp blows; you want to push it together not bounce it apart!)

Lastly *speed* as the ABS Master Smith who first taught me said "Don't look at it, HIT IT!" Balancing speed and not hitting it sharply is an issue at first.

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Lessons in Blacksmithing Seeing Colors

Welding heat is best practiced at the anvil. One test is to have the two metals make contact in the fire. If they stick together, they are at welding heat. Quickly move to the anvil and BUMP them with a hammer and back into the fire. When they are back to welding heat, bump them with the hammer to insure good contact, then as they cool a bit forge them with the hammer.

It is the practice of many welds that makes it all come together. 

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Wow. I had no idea. I almost always forge outside, and stand upwind because I didn’t want to breathe the propane fumes, but I have a solid insulator that I used to build my cast iron sink coal forge.

i recon when I get home I’ll be getting rid of that stuff pretty quickly. I sure appreciate that!

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Don't get rid of it; rigidize it! It's safe enough when properly used, but on its own, it's a hazard. Look at some of the threads in the Gas Forges section for instructions on rigidizing and lining a forge; you might want to think about adding a hard refractory layer as well.

Also, before the mods get after you (and while the editing time window is still open), please delete the quote from your last comment: there's no need to quote what we all just read, and it takes up bandwidth and makes the forum hard to read. If you haven't yet, please read the page about the quote feature.

 

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I think that is his front door laying down on the bricks in front of the forge.  Looks like he is using a 1/2" kiln shelf with some refractory coating on its face and a semicircle cut out of one side.  Not the best option, but better than nothing.

From your photos it look to me like you got the billet welded up just fine, with a small amount of edge delam.  I would try just grinding a bit more away and see if it took further in.  A good indicator is the color the billet runs as it is cooling down.  If some parts get cold faster they are not welded.

Also I would recommend starting to flux when the billet initially passes the black heat stage and continuing to flux until you can forge it "on end" without the layers shifting.

Thomas and Glen's recommendations for the light "bump" initially when welding is one that has worked very well for me also.

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Most likely with the scale embedded in the seam it will be difficult, but not impossible, to forge weld the last part  of the edge together at this point.  Clean surfaces are your friend for forge welding.  Personally I would just grind until I had clean metal sides for this one.  If you aren't careful you can trap a cold shunt into the billet that when drawn out ends up being a lot further into the stock than you expect.

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Forge welding is definitely something where obeying ALL the "rules" to start out with helps a lot. With experience you can often cut some of the corners and some folks get so good that they get impossible welds!  (Billy Merritt was rumoured to have troubles getting out of his vehicle as his doors would often forge weld themselves to the vehicle body when he shut them firmly...)

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Bryson: I did the grinding and gave them to him. I ground them and then used electrical tape to show him where I wanted them. The only thing between them should have been some sharpie labeling them with 1’s and 2’s

Thomas: Hahaha guess he drove around in more of a submarine than a car at that point eh? 

 

To everyone else that helped, apparently I did get the billet welded up! I think my blows were more focused on the center, where I could see would cause the edges to curl up and away from each other, even microscopically! Forge welding is definitely one of the coolest things I’ve ever done! Metal is magic! 

Thank you all! 

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