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Demascus question


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Reasonable for what: knife fittings or knife blades?  What is your reasonable---good strength and edge holding?  Good colour differentiation when etched?  Cheapness?

For playing around I like to start with 20-25 layer billets of bandsaw blades and pallet strapping---the pallet strapping that snaps when tested by heat and quench and tap with a hammer.   Where are you that there are no pallets or bandsaws? The bandsaw blades tend to have a nice nickel content for differentiation.

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Sorry, for knife blades I was thinking for differentiation. I figured those metals would be fine for edge and hardness but I am new to this. Pallet strapping and band saw blades that's rad. I had no idea thought I had to order new stock to get the metals needed for demascus

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Not knowing what country of the 100+ that participate here makes it hard to suggest easily found steels.

Here in the USA 15N20 and 1084 is almost a standard for make good edges and good etches and many of my friends order through the NJ Steel Baron or even buy in person at Quad-State. In your country---who knows!

However I use the BSB&PS billets for teaching. Important to size them for your forge. Starting out it's nice to be able to get the entire billet to welding heat at the same time.  Also wire the billet to allow for the outer layers to expand during heating.  If you can weld a handle to one end and tack weld that end, and wire the other end---baling wire or rebar tie wire is what I use.   I weld using 20 Mule Team Borax and Roach Pruf (cheap boric acid) about 4:1 as flux.

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You would see the pattern, but it would't be very bold. You would end up with differing shades of dark. When pattern welding, and Steve/TP know a great deal more about this than I do,  to get the light color you want an alloy that will resist the etch. The classic example most people use is here in the states is 15N20 (TP is a faster typist than I am). The nickel content resists the etch and it remains bright while the other steel of choice is darkened. The dark material etches even darker after hardening. I tend to use 1095 and 15N20.

I have seen people make billets using mild steel and spring steel. You can see the layers, but they are mostly different shades of gray. you could theoretically pattern weld anything you want, spring steel and a HC file, 1095 and W1, whatever you can think of, but to get a bold pattern you have to consider the alloying elements in each and how they react to the etch. 1095 and 1075 for example would be a bad choice for pattern welding.

Also, you don't have to buy new if you don't want to but it does help to know what material you have. You could probably use a file or some other source of HC steel in place of buying some new 10XX, but that's up to you.

How much experience do you have with forge welding? If it's something you're comfortable with then I would buy the tried and true steels new and go for it. If you don't have much then I would practice on other material so you don't accidentally burn up or waste the "good stuff". Forge welding isn't rocket surgery but it took some time for me to become confident with the process. 

Also, welcome aboard! Have you read the info in the "Read this First" tab located at the top of every page? This will help you get the most out of the site. 

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Note: It really really REALLY helps to have someone who is comfortable pattern welding "show you the ropes".  I had a 2 on 1 day long class with an ABS MS back in the eighties and that was followed up by a long demo by Billy Merritt  at an  IBA conference. A demonstrator didn't make it and so Billy stepped in.  All the locals had seen him a lot of times so there was just a handful of us and he had us come up and crowd around the forge and anvil *close*.    Billy could weld at temps I'd consider low for forging!

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I am new to it all, I have only made two knives. These are my first two the small seax looking blade is from leaf spring and the second is from a rail spike.

Thank you so much for all the tips and info definitely made the right choice joining a forum at least haha! 

USER_SCOPED_TEMP_DATA_MSGR_PHOTO_FOR_UPLOAD_1596917880069_6697959052046616979.jpeg

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Those are pretty cool! How did you get the lettering (where in the world are you located?) on there and the pattern down the spine of the lower one? Interesting shapes. Also, how well does the edge on the RR spike knife hold up? Not really the ideal blade steel due to the carbon content, but still that looks real nice. 

As far as the damascus goes, I'm not going to dissuade you, it's kind of a fun process. There is a lot of art to manipulating the pattern that I know little about since my main focus isn't on knives. In the several times I have done it I stick to the basic stuff a twist or a ladder pattern or just a random pattern. I've found I like the low layer billets, you see some interesting artifacts that sometimes get hidden when you keep stacking them up. I would just practice forge welding a lot before jumping into a blade. Even if it's just a bunch of faggot welds (yes that is the term) with mild steel or some scrap pieces. Granted the welding temperature for mild steel is higher than it is for high carbon steel, but still getting some successful welds under your belt will help boost your confidence when it comes to the real thing. It's also a great tool to have in your toolbox for general blacksmithing work. KISS principle applies when starting out on any new process. You probably aren't going to get a sprial feather fancy schmancy pattern on your first go, but you may still get something that surprises you (in a good way). But to get a bold pattern material selection will be important.

For the "light" steel I have seen that 15N20, 52100, 8670 will all give good contrast. I'm sure that list is actually much much longer. You're looking for an alloy that has a high carbon content and a nickle/chrome content to resist the etch.

Oh and two materials with similar heat treatment processes. 

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Awesome man I will do some practicing then!

Oh and I am in Alberta Canada, found a supplier couple hours drive away that has all those so I should be good to get going after some practice!

And thank you!!!! Was nervous putting up a picture of those haha

The smaller blade is a cheat lol. My cousin has a laser etching business and wanted to do something on my first blade for me. I picked out some Google images and used a rune translation app for the runes.

Second blade we used the battery charger, q-tip and salt water trick. Cut the pattern out of vinyl with a Cricut 

 

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If you'll put your general location in the header we won't have to bug you about your location and you'll lose out on opportunities: tools, materials, get togethers, etc. because folk won't know to let you know. Telling us once in a post isn't going to stick in anybody's memory once we open another post. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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