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I Forge Iron

bad day in the shop

Steve Sells

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A day in the life of a bladesmith:

I spent a while in the forge, and welded up 200 layers of nickel and wrought iron for a pattern welded sword guard. I have a nice, tight, 5.5 x 1.5 x 0.75 billet, Wonderful even welds. I use the bandsaw to make the cuts to give me the start of the "TEE" shape for the desired form, allowing a section to "crawl" from the cross piece down the center line of the leaf blade.

Placed in the forge, it gets nice and hot in a reasonable amount of time, I take it to the anvil to finish shaping, and using a 2 pound hammer it breaks off at the cut, looks like I found a stress fracture...

Maybe Mono steel furniture for this would be better?

Edited by steve sells
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the thing is, I can't just do a billet start-to-finish all at once. I need to let a billet cool before I can cut and grind faces clean, and fold/weld again, so while I let one billet anneal, I do work on another one, so its not all wasted time, and I do large pieces first, so IF this happens, I can use this "sword guard scrap" as a pommel (as in this case) and make more for the guard later.

but being out of plain simple 1095 series I am waiting on more so I can do more billets of the 1095/L6 for a very impatient client waiting on a very large billet, but its nice to have projects to bounce to and from, as when I get a JAM on something, I can move to the other while I think of how to fix a cold shunt or what ever.

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What I do is cut and fold hot and hot file it just before fluxing and closing it up to weld.

Then again I'm not making blades. Nor am I doing what you described above. (I just went back and reread your original post) Heck, I'm not sure what you were describing.

Do you have a pic of a successful one?

Truth is if something doesn't go wrong every now and then you ain't doing anything.


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simply I hammered/rolled wrought Iron into flats a little thinner than 1/8 inch thick, stacked them up. I added 0.30 thick15n20, pure.03 Nickel, and a little high carbon 1095 Shim stock .025 in between these layers.

So it started W,C,W,Ni,W,C,W,C,W,15,W or close to that for the layering. these shims are very thin, so basically its mainly just wrought iron, but the other metals give some dark bands, or lighter bands.

The client wanted the hardware for this blade to look like branches of trees. rather than the cut wood effect. MY first thought was simple wrought iron, but I decided to add some shim stock to add depth of color. To add in this illusion, I plan to carve the bar when its still 2x over size, with my dremel tool cutter, then finish hammering to shape, Like when doing a ladder pattern but running the length rather than across, and not parallel, but intersecting like with natural tree bark. Revealing colors as well as textures with the acid bath. Will post when I finish, there is noting to really see until then with this pattern welded stuff.

maybe its over kill, but I push to come up with my various pattern welded patterns. and not every thing is a blade edge. there are many other uses for damascus.

Edited by steve sells
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