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Forge welding handle breaking off


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So I just tried to make my first billet of damascus, and after only two heats the handle broke off. I had beveled the edges and welded it solid the whole way around to the billet, so I was pretty sure it would hold. Unfortunately it came apart on one side and peeled apart the layers it was still attached to, so my billet was ruined. Any tips to keep the handle on longer?

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Maybe bevel a little more and make sure you get the billet tacked together well before welding on the handle? In the few times I have done damascus I kept the whole billet clamped up tight until all my welding was done. There will also be more material on the billet side so you will want to hang there longer to get better penetration. 

Granted I'm not a welder and you may have done most of that. I'm sure you're not the first to have that happen so perhaps someone else will have some more advise for you.

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I find that rather than weld on a complete handle I just weld on a couple of inches of either 3/4" or 1" round and hold it with properly shaped tongs.  If you are only a little off on your strikes on the anvil or with the power hammer a lot of torque goes on that joint to the billet, and it is often a failure point.  With a short section to grip you can take up some of that bending moment with the tongs and put less stress on the joint.  Worth a try anyway...

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