Sign in to follow this  
Nagoo

Problems with Forge Welding spring steel

Recommended Posts

I am new to black smithing and I am trying to forge weld leaf spring steel for a project,  when I folded the piece I noticed that there were a bunch of cracks along the outside of the fold,  what did I do wrong, how can I fix it, and what should I do to prevent this issue in the future?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pictures (multiple views) would be a great help to see what your experiencing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So is this your first time at forge welding?  Many spring steel alloys are difficult to weld to themselves due to stuff like Nickel in the alloy and need either a more aggressive (and usually more dangerous) flux or a piece of plain steel in between the spring pieces; or expert process control.

Cracking is usually due to working too hot or working too cold.

What you did wrong? We need more information.

How can you fix it?  Throw it away and start over. Almost NEVER worth trying to fix an issue like this with the waste of time and the substandard results, faster, easier, better to start over.

What to do to prevent this in the future.  Get good at welding before going to the more difficult alloys, Get good at temperature control before going to the more difficult alloys.  Get a mentor to walk you through a few welds. Not knowing where you are makes it a problem to direct you to someone; shoot, World Wide Web---Australia, Sweden, Chile, South Africa, France---we've even had someone from Norfolk Island post on here before!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome aboard, glad to have you. If you put your general location in the header you might have someone to show you in easy visiting distance. No fooling walking distance isn't unusual. 

Learn to weld on material that welds more easily. Spring steel is medium carbon but not a low alloy, nickle or chrome make things difficult if you don't already know how to weld. Make sense?

How deeply did you incise the outside of the bend before you folded it? 

How aggressively did you clean the joint BEFORE fluxing and closing the fold? 

Where are the pictures?

Frosty The Lucky.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I will be getting pictures as soon as my wife brings me back my phone, she stole it for her weekend trip,  I did not incise before bending and the piece was as clean as I could make it without grinding/polishing the surfaces as I do not have the required equipment to do those things as of yet, I am not a complete novice at forge welding (have had many unsuccessful attempts and a few successful ones) I have figured out how to get my temperature at welding heat with going to hot, I was unaware of the different allows in leaf spring steel so that is good to know.

 

I live in northern California half way between Redding, CA and Reno, NV

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On or near I 70? My folks lived on Lake Davis above Portola and my sister lived in Reno. 

Not incising is a mistake, full thickness puts a lot of stretch on the outside of the bend and the inside often won't close all the way. As you bend the thin part acts as a hinge, the incision opens gives you a little surplus material to drive into the weld. 

When I'm folding I let it cool and take a piece of emery cloth to the joint, flux and close it cold. 

Frosty The Lucky.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Ok, finally got my phone back.  I was trying to make a throwing knife, very basic with a point,  was folding and forge welding for the practice of it.  I am using a coal forge.  I live in Chester, CA on hwy 36 about two hours from Portola, there is a novice blacksmith in Westwood about 20 min from me and I did take lessons from him for awhile and then i passed him as he was also a novice and I had more time to practice.

20190510_201216.jpg

20190510_201246.jpg

20190510_201301.jpg

20190510_201323.jpg

Edited by Nagoo
adding more info

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The last pic is as good an example of why you need to incise the outside of the bend as is, I don't have a better pic. The welds where you cut the billet look like you didn't clean them very well, you need to get all the rust/scale off. This isn't wrought iron where enough flux can carry the crud out of the joint because you have to work it in an almost liquid state. Steel doesn't work the same way.

One of the last times I was at the Folk's place on Lake Davis Dad arranged for me to b a demonstrator at a Railroad Days celebration in one of the old mining towns, along the RR, Graeagle maybe I don't recall. The master smith was named "Fuller." I had a great time but Dad had talked me up to an embarrassing degree. It took me two tries to not ruin a simple "miner's Tommy candle holder." I kept telling them I was a hobbyist and hardly got a few hours a  month at the anvil but oh NOOOO, I was an Alaskan and a draw for no better reason. Visiting Alaskan blacksmith demonstrator was chalked in on the blackboard. Sheesh, I could'a killed Dad!

Frosty The Lucky.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ok, I tried to clean it as best I could with my wire brush but that just doesn't cut it I guess, will need to get me an angle grinder and some flap discs as my next purchase. do you know if that master smith is in Graeagle, would it be possible to get his contact info? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

On 5/10/2019 at 9:35 PM, Nagoo said:

I was trying to make a throwing knife, very basic with a point,  was folding and forge welding

Folding steel into a throwing knife is Damascus making, not the original definition, but the modern anachronism(pattern welded steel). Have you studied how to make modern damascus steel? May I suggest reading some of Jim Hrisoulas's works, or go to youtube. As Thomas has mentioned, it usually takes alternating layers, usually of high and low carbon steel, to make a good weld for damascus. At a minimum, throw in some mild sheet steel, or better yet, nickel steel from a knifemakers supply house (example 15N20) , in between your layers next time. Save that current piece for a paper weight.

Even if you manage to weld it, and weld up to 500 layers of one type of steel, there will be no alternating contrast except for the weld line, because it is all one homongenous piece. It will etch at the same rate. So, your effort will not have the look you envision, or that your efforts deserve.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for the advice,  I was not really trying to make Damascus with it just practicing the welding technique, I have learned a lot from this little discussion, thank you guys :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/14/2019 at 8:29 PM, Cedar Crest Forge said:

 it usually takes alternating layers, usually of high and low carbon steel, to make a good weld for damascus

nonsense  mild steel is a terrible choice for any cutting tool, after welding there is no longer any low/hjigh layers, its all now medium carbon due to migration.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Steve Sells said:

mild steel is a terrible choice for any cutting tool

Good point, thanks Steve! I should stay on track to what my books say. I did recommend Jim Hrisoulas's books. Hopefuly that is still on point...The copies I have are quite old now.

Hmm, I did say at a minimum, but yes it was not clear that I was referring to getting it to weld, not how well it would cut,

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this