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I’m getting ready to attempt my first canister Damascus billet. I have an eight inch mild steel can with a bottom welded on. I spent way too much time cleaning enough  old rusty nails to fill the inside. I have 1095 powder to fill in the gaps. My questions are...

What would be a good way to keep nails away from the cutting edge?

Would 1084 powder be a better choice? 

Would I be better off using less pieces of bigger steel for my first can?

Any other tips/tricks would be greatly appreciated. 

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How big a forge and power hammer/press do you have for an 8" long billet that size?

As for edge: why not put in a strip of HC steel to be used for the edge?  Mark the side that will be the edge so you can work it that way. If it runs 90 deg from the canister side you will have a sort of san mai thing going. if it's flat against the side you will get a different thing going.

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My forge set up is a single burner propane fuel made out of an old air compressor. It gets up to around 2400 f with firebricks in the front. I’ve only ever made mono steel billets so this can idea is a little intimidating. As for power hammer/press situation is non existent. I do everything with hand hammers and an anvil. I know I need compression for the welds to stick but I can do that with a hand hammer right?

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your nails will suck carbon from the powder, due to normal carbon migration, so 1095 is better, your mild steel nails will be fine on the cutting edges as they wont be mild steel by time you finish forge welding

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Thanks that’s the kind of information I needed. Any other tips are much appreciated. 

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