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I Forge Iron

Damascus from chains

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When considering pattern welding from scrap materials for blades there are several considerations: Will it make an interesting pattern? Will it hold a good edge?  Will it weld easily? Will it heat treat easily?  

If you have concerns about the second one, "Will it hold a good edge?", You can do things like add in an alloy that will increase the carbon content of the billet.  (I like the old Black Diamond files that were 1.2% C) Or you can do a San Mai with the pattern welded sides and a good edge steel center. (My general go to when I'm trying something weird.)

You can also try new mixtures and use the billets for fittings---guards and pommels--if they do not heat treat well for a blade.

Please be certain that no item you are using is PLATED as quite toxic materials can be evolved!

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15 hours ago, Steve Sells said:

chain saw blade wont work, Bike chain will

Could you elaborate a little?   Is it a carbon content issue, plating, or something else with chainsaw chains?  It's one of those things I've had in the back of my mind to try sometime, but I don't have so much spare time that I want to waste it.

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As a younger knifemaker I tried different chains to forge weld into a blade, but always as a san mai construction, like Thomas suggested.

Because from the view what performance a whatever chain has to bring  there are or maybe at least 2-3 different types of steel involved.Chainsaw, motorbike timing chain and outside chains,

they all took some hardness but it was obvious that there are parts which are meant only to be tough.So as a mono blade there is in my opinion no edge holding to expect.

Another point is the chain outsides on chain san mai will move much faster under the hammer than the core. you have to spot weld overall a few points first to keep them from moving away.

I made two san mai blades from I guess what was a motorcycle time chain with an A2 core....I had a hard time to drag the core even with the outside layers, the A2 moved much too slow and I tried not to deform the chain pattern.At the end they look phantastic, like some wild cat camouflage pattern but the A2 core had some cracks......I love A2 but today I would take some steel that forges and welds much easier.

And its not so easy to get all the spaces and gaps in that chain package weld shut....today I would look for some 1095 Powder or something like that and canister weld it.

The bigger the parts of thechain are the more pattern survives under the hammer blows. With smaller chains like chain saw is much likely that there is nothing left that looks like a chain or pattern at all...it is all squished and crushed....so today I would take big chains a press and then a roller to eliminate the deforming as much as possible.

Making such blades requires great effort and is IMHO absolutely nothing for beginners and less experienced knifemakers if they want to have some satisfactory results.

But that is only my opinion and experience and in fact I saw through the years awesome looking chain san mai blades at knife shows, of course didnt know something about there performances.

....but like I said ...its not so easy:unsure:



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17 hours ago, Steve Sells said:

I never said chain saw chain wont work, re read what was typed,  he said blade not chain

Fair enough.   I've always called the portion that the chain rides on/in the "bar," while in general a "blade" is the part of something that makes cuts.  Either way thanks for clearing that up.

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You can still buy wire (I think) saws intended to cut cylindrical things like limbs. Somewhere I still have a "wire" saw, IIRC it's about 24" long with a finger ring in each end. They're slow but sure beat packing a bow saw in a ruck and so much less scary than a city character swinging a hatchet. Now I'm wondering what kind of pattern a person could develop with one included in a billet. Hmmmm.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Plumbers use a wire saw. You can cut pipe in those places to tight to get any other cutting tool into.

I've never used the term chainsaw blade. I've always thought of them as two separates, bar and blade.

On this new tree shaking concept,, I too agree with Frosty

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