picker77

Dry-welded, hand hammered pattern blade (8 photos)

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Wow, nothing like following an artist like Templehound with a beginner project like this. Some of you may need to avert your eyes, lol. Anyway, this utility sort-of-tanto-shaped blade was not only my first try at pattern welding, to make it even more fun it was dry welded and hand hammered. 8-3/4" OA, 4-1/4" blade. 18 layers of thin gauge 1095 and 15N20, sandwiched around a 1/16" layer of 1095, for a 1" tall, 1/2" wide, 4" long stack. It was dry welded and not folded during welding. The handle is simple polished Koa from a small supply I brought with me when I moved here from Hawaii, and is pinned to a hidden tang with stainless pins. Several valuable lessons were learned in the process, such as don't heat directly in the flame path if possible - I think doing that created some scale/stains especially on the left side I could simply not get totally polished out (especially visible in the post-tempering photos).  Tempering was 450F for an hour, and hardness seems fine, which leads me to believe the blue after-tempering color was probably caused by residual quench oil (another of many lessons learned). The biggest lesson, though, taught to me in no uncertain terms by my right wrist, is to start saving up for a small power hammer. :wacko:

8 photos below, I resized them but hope I smashed them down enough.

 

billet.JPG

forged1.jpg

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forged3.JPG

temperd1.JPG

tempered2.JPG

finished1.JPG

fnished2.JPG

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Thanks, Goat Lady! I had to work hard to get the image of the Hawaiian Islands into the pattern on the left side, but felt it was appropriate considering the Hawaiian Koa handle.

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Came out nicely Picker, I think you done good.

I'm not sure about the handle being curved up though, seems a little awkward to me but not being able to hold it means mine is the opinion of someone without the pertinent info.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Thanks, Les.

And you're right, Frosty, if I was doing it again I'd make it into more of a Wharncliffe and put the edge on the other side. My wife and chief QA inspector already gave me one of those "why did you make an upside down knife?" looks about the handle when she picked it up. But, as I lamely explained, it was less intended as a real working knife as it was a dry-welding attempt. I tried welding a billet with borax and not only had delaminating problems, the danged flux ate a crater into my kiln shelf forge floor, which really torqued me off. So I'm going to try to stick with dry welds from now on. This one seemed easier to hammer out, I had no delams to speak of, and it left the forge floor in pristine condition. Heck, now that the idea has been planted, maybe I'll re-grind the profile and call it a semi-Wharncliffe.

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I like your new knife. 

You indicated that your wrist took a beating while forging. Years ago, I tore up my elbow forging 1/2" bar stock for 1/2 Hour. The pain lasted over 6 months.

The problem was very poor hammering technique.    

First, chose a hammer weight that you can handle.                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Second, don't have a white knuckle grip on the handle. Don't ware gloves as they will require more squeezing effort to hold the hammer.  Hold the hammer mainly between the thumb and forefinger with the fingers around the handle and loose enough to allow the hand to be partially relaxed. If someone was to walk behind you and grab the hammer at the top of your swing, the hammer should be plucked from your hand.                                                                                                                                 

Third: Hold the hammer handle relatively close to the hammer head for hammer control.                                                                                                                                            

Fourth:The hammer should pivot with your hand/wrist motion. When the hammer hits the hot metal, you must get the sensation that the Hammer, not your arm or wrist is doing the work.        

Fifth: Wrap the hammer handle in the area you hand is located, with cloth friction tape to aid in you grip retention with less squeezing  effort.                                               

Sixth: Use the hammer rebound from the struck metal and your back mussels to lift the hammer for the strike.  Don't make your swing centered at your elbow.

Youtube Video of Black Bear Forge has an excellent video on proper hammering techniques.

I am 80 years old. I can forge at least 4 hours a day using a 2# to 2-1/2# hammers without any arm, elbow or wrist strain. While demonstrating, I usually forge for well over 4 hours using a coal forge that required continuous cranking.

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The only difference l have with voyagers advice is to grip with your pinky and progressively with other fingers (this is classically called a sword grip) Your pinky is acualy responsible for about 60% of your grip. 

Try both and see what works best for you. 

 

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Thanks to both of you for the advice. The wrist pain only lasted a couple of days, and faded out. This was the first layered billet I'd ever attempted to draw out, and after reading and studying lots of IFI member comments on hammer technique, I may have mentally abandoned all I thought I'd learned, and was concentrating so hard on not screwing up the billet, that looking back after it was all over I'm not sure what my hand/wrist was doing, ha. I was mainly trying to take my time and be accurate. I used an 800g hammer for most of it, but used a short-handled 3 lb little sledge for the initial series of gentle welding "taps". Learning hammer technique kind of reminds me of taking golf lessons, where there are maybe 8 or 10 things that all have to go just right simultaneously in order to consistently hit a clean, straight drive. It all comes easier with time, I'm sure, but I'm trying not to learn too many bad habits up front. Like golf and many other things, unlearning a bad habit is a lot harder than learning a good habit!

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thank you for your return comment. Did you look at Black Bear Forge on youtube for proper hammering technique? There are several other videos on hammering technique. The key to hammering is don't grip the hammer with white knuckles grip. My hammer pivots a little in my hand. When the hammer reaches the top of the stroke, I allow my wrist to swing back. When the hammer comes down, my wrist swing in the down stroke is completed when the hammer hits the metal. Think of hammering this way. If the hammer was held rigidly in the hand with a stiff wrist, the down velocity of the hammer would be much leas than if on the down swing, the forward stroke of the wrist would add significant velocity to the stroke without any mussel or tendon strain. You must get the sensation that the hammer is doing all the work and you are just guiding the hammer to its target.

Could you explain how you prepared the individual pieces of the Damascus stack to allow a dry weld.  From what I have been told about dry welding is the layers of metal must be clean and flat..

 I use borax from the grocery store as the flux. The flux seals out the scale forming oxygen while allowing any contaminants to be expelled from the weld. I use a 1-1/2# round faced hammer for welding. After the stack reaches welding temperature (when the color of the stack is the same as the forge walls or coal embers) and the surface has a molten glassy appearance and the stack has been rotated while heating, I strike quickly and rapidly down the center then pound another series of hits toward the sides Then I reflux the stack and repeat the process on the other side facing up. If I tap on the sides of the stack, the individual layers will look as if they are one welded stack. If a dark spot is seen anywhere in the stack, there is a void in the stack.. If the stack is hit too hard, the slushy melted steel will be expelled from the weld along with the flux and contaminants. welding takes a lot of hammer control with just enough force to expel contaminants and allow the slushy steel to fuse together.

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22 hours ago, hdvoyager319 said:

Could you explain how you prepared the individual pieces of the Damascus stack to allow a dry weld.

The billet was nothing special, I just was pretty careful in prepping it. The stack was made up of all new metal, alternating 1/2" x 4" wide strips of 0.035" 1095 shim stock and 0.049" 15N20, with a 1/16" strip of 1095 as the core. The first photo in the sequence above shows the billet (19 layers) after each strip was cleaned with acetone, stacked, tacked with a MIG welder, a stub added for the tongs, and after it was cleaned up on the belt grinder. I was really careful to keep the metal clean as I assembled the stack, and I ground the billet down to fresh metal on all sides after it was tacked together. After all that careful prep, the actual dry weld itself was kind of anti-climatic and was surprisingly easy to do. I had fooled around with borax on a couple of experimental billets and did not like using flux, mainly because it was messy as heck and cratered my forge's kiln shelf floor pretty badly. So I decided to go dry. I plan to try some more dry billets but have several knives for friends and family to finish up before I get back to experimenting. Also getting ready to add a VFD & 3-phase motor setup to my home built 2 x 72 grinder to replace the 1.5 hp single speed motor,which will give me some much needed speed control. Right now it's pedal to the metal at 3450 RPM or nothing. Thanks again for the hammer control advice, I'll work on it.

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Thank you for the "no flux" welding information. I will give it a try in my Side Blast Forge that I am building.. I have used Borax in the past and it worked for the weld but the hardened flux on the outside of the billet was very hard to remove. I think that the flux may have been responsible for pitting on the surface of the billet. Cleaning the billet by using a side grinder removed a lot of metal to get to the bottom of the pits. I guess that the billet width was reduced by 1/16" as a result of removing the pits.

To stack and weld the billet, did you squeeze the billet in a vice or clamp and then weld the ends together? Was the "tab" made from the billet material layup or was it a piece of flat stock welded to the billet??

Was the surface of the billet looking glassey at welding heat? Did the billet's color match the yellow/white color of the forge's interior?

I have a one burner home made propane forge. In the bottom, I placed a common firebrick rated at 2200 deg F. The flux didn't eat this brick. However, the surface of the brick was molten at welding temperature. The melted brick didn't stick to the blade billet. 

I want to build a 72" belt grinder. I have a 1725rpm 2 hp 220vac motor to drive the belt. I will rely on changing pulley ratios to get the speed needed.

I will have to order the 15N20 and 1084 thin steel for the billet. I have a lot of 1/4" thick and some thinner 01 steel which is fairly close to 1095 steel in forging and hardening/tempering properties.

My coal forge has another weeks worth of work to get it operational.. Currently, I am working on the chimney mounting.  I moved the blower from under the forge to the top adjacent to the air inlet tube. This resulted in moving the chimney opposite the Tuyere. Normally, the chimney is over the Tuyere on the same side. I hope that the Super Sucker Hood with a 10" steel chimney will work. If the sucking action of the chimney doesn't start easily, a hood will be made to be located directly over the fire to direct the smoke into the Super Sucker.

Once the forge is tested, I will make a entry under Forges with my results, including pictures.

Thank you very much for the dry welding information. I will use your information to make my next welded knife blade. On the tang end of my billet, I welded a 2' long  piece of 1/2" hot role steel to be used as a handle for the Viking Seax Broken Back blade I made.. the cutting edge is facing up in this picture.

DSCF2366.thumb.JPG.588437bdff013e1f8608f5a5fcaa0f05.JPG

 

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After reaching welding temperature, how long did you let the billet soak at welding temperature? Did you turn the billet over once the welding temperature was reached?

What did the billet's surface look like at welding temperature?

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1. Metal stack was clamped, MIG welded across each end, and also once across each long side. All welds were then ground down to flat clean steel before welding on the tong stub, which was a short piece of 1/2" square HR.

2. Don't remember on the soak time. I turned it over just once, I think. I probably slapped it down on the anvil shortly after it was yellow-white and I was sure there were no shadows.

3. I would not recommend trying this with mystery or pitted/dirty steel involved. This stuff was all new and shiny, and I cleaned every layer very carefully.

4. Do not make the mistake of assuming I knew what I was doing. This was my first time, and it just happened to come out well. :D

5. You made a nice looking knife there!

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