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Welding Tangs

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Bill Moran used to make Damascus blades and then ARC WELD on mild steel tangs...Presumably too save Damascus ...Does anyone else actually do this???.....I've been making my blades and tangs one piece and that eats up alot of Damascus but it seems like it would make a better knife..

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I just did it on two because the very tang end had a crappy weld in it on both, so cut it off and added on some other steel, hoping it works out good.

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A lot of makers use this method including myself to save on stock and if done properly it is stonger than the stock itself.

 

Bob

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eeeggghhh.... I don't not like that idea at all... :huh:

 

Sacrificing quality for the sake of saving a little work and showing off more pattern is just not worth it.

 

Ive seen to many welded on Rat tail tangs and read to many stories about horrific incidents as to when the welds fail and end up in horrible hospital visits....

There is just no point in doing it.

 

 

the solution: get better at damascus and make more of it!

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eeeggghhh.... I don't not like that idea at all... :huh:

 

Sacrificing quality for the sake of saving a little work and showing off more pattern is just not worth it.

 

Ive seen to many welded on Rat tail tangs and read to many stories about horrific incidents as to when the welds fail and end up in horrible hospital visits....

There is just no point in doing it.

 

 

the solution: get better at damascus and make more of it!

 

Looking at your example, I would agree...other than the fact that a good weld is stronger than the material around it. The trick you see, is to get a good weld =). Your production rat tail tangs are just that, production. There's no thought put into what materials are being welded to what, what rod (or wire) to use, whether to preheat and if so to what temp etc, or what facing to put on the materials being joined (butted, lapped, vee'd). They just fuse them with what's handy, and send them out the door. It's not a wonder they fail...it's a wonder any of them stay together. On a piece welded properly, the material around it will always fail first. Now, as a disclaimer, I've never welded a tang to a blade (I've only made 2 and a half blades!), but I've done quite a bit of welding in other circumstances. Circumstances that require a good bit more strength than a welded tang...so I'd think there wouldn't be a problem. I'd also think that anyone who will take the time to properly weld a damascus billet together will be very meticulous with their weld quality on the tang joint.

 

Honestly, it even has historic precedent. Many many historical tangs were soft iron forge welded to a carbon steel blade. Quite strong enough, even in a sword length application.

 

Sorry for the sermon lol. It's just that good welding is often very misunderstood =).

 

Another option from what I understand is silver brazing but I've never done this in any format much less bladesmithing, so I can't comment as to the quality of strength first hand. But, guys like Wayne Goddard and others swear by it so it's not something I'd discard out of hand.

 

Cris

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I'm not a good welder, so I wouldn't do it. Maybe a fire-weld, but then again, maybe not. It's just one more thing that could go wrong.... If I'm going to the trouble of making damascus, I might as well take the time to draw out a tang. Lots of folk do it, folk I respect very much, but I would not.

 

I would choose brazing/hard soldering over welding if I had to make a choice.

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If done well, there is nothing wrong with the method. If it is not done well, it is asking for trouble.

 

I prefer to use a whole piece of material, and make the tang the same, not welded on. I do sometimes silver braze a bit of threaded rod onto the end of a narrow tang that gets a butt cap threaded on. I have also forge welded wrought iron tangs on, just to show off. :)

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I always weld the mild steel tang on my blades. Reason for that is, my damascus is so hard to anneal and one component is air hardening - I can't drill it, I can't make a thread, I can't ... well, all that stuff.

If welding joint is not just straight crossing the tang but more like fishtail, there should not be much problems. Also, better make a joint where a solid material will cover it - then there is not much tension on.

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This is an interesting subject, in that there seem to be many differing philosophies and techniques.

 

I tend to side with David, although, I've had to weld a cracked tang, or 3. :lol: I like to harden the tang also, and draw it back a little more than the blade.

 

If I had to weld one, here is a good tutorial by Al Massey.. http://forums.swordforum.com/showthread.ph...ghlight=welding

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It's interesting that a perfectley acceptable blade can be made by WELDING steel layers together but there is some hesitation about welding a tang.(????) Has everyone completely missed the logic on that one? With arc, MIG or TIG welding the steel goes molten compared to pattern welding where you're getting a near molten fusion.

 

As allready mentioned a good weld will be as strong if not stronger then the tang steel. If you are a crappy welder then you better find a plan "B" for stretching your damascus. For god's sakes, we have all flown in planes that are mostly riveted together. Ponder that one for a moment.

Edited by B Finnigan

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I have done a lot of stick tang knives and I silver solder(high temp) a piece of threaded rod on for the buttcap. This piece is 1 to 1 1/2" long and the whole thing(handle) is glued and screwed together. After the epoxy sets, its one tuff knife. Silver soldering requires less heat and it doesn't crystalize the high carbon steels, IMO its a better way to get this job done.

 

Peter

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As allready mentioned a good weld will be as strong if not stronger then the tang steel. If you are a crappy welder then you better find a plan "B" for stretching your damascus. For god's sakes, we have all flown in planes that are mostly riveted together. Ponder that one for a moment.

 

:D :D :D

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Not having had to weld on a tang (yet) myself, I was wondering how much destructive testing people have done for this method?

 

Thanks, Dennis

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i can testify that many shamshir have the tangs forge welded on.... so wrought iron tang to wootz blade..... i've also seen them rivetted very nicely....

- aswell i've seen couple tulwar with similar wrought iron tang welded to wootz...

 

so.. the tradition of welding iron tangs to steel has been around a very long time on serviceable blades.. !

 

 

besides ... if you have ever welded iron plates together, and bent the coupons in a press... you'll see the arc weld will hold up very nicely if properly done...

 

 

Greg

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It all boils down to understanding the metallurgy of what happens, whichever way you do it. It can be done any number of ways, and be very strong. It can also be very weak, by some of those methods, because the individual doing the welding and or heat treating did not understand what happens in the steel both in the weld it's self, and adjacent to it in the heat affected zone on either side of the weld.

 

One cannot make the blanket statement that it is wrong, nor right, and be correct all the time. It can be either, and depends on how well it is done. How that goes depends on the understanding of the human being doing the work. Almost always. With many things... :)

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Does anyone scarf then fireweld tangs on as a traditional blacksmith would have. I've done a lot of forge welding and struggle to make the scarves invisible so tips are welcome too

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It all boils down to understanding the metallurgy of what happens, whichever way you do it. It can be done any number of ways, and be very strong. It can also be very weak, by some of those methods, because the individual doing the welding and or heat treating did not understand what happens in the steel both in the weld it's self, and adjacent to it in the heat affected zone on either side of the weld.

 

One cannot make the blanket statement that it is wrong, nor right, and be correct all the time. It can be either, and depends on how well it is done. How that goes depends on the understanding of the human being doing the work. Almost always. With many things... :)

 

 

See, this is why it's ALWAYS a good thing to listen to Howard. ;)

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Does anyone scarf then fireweld tangs on as a traditional blacksmith would have. I've done a lot of forge welding and struggle to make the scarves invisible so tips are welcome too

 

I haven't forge welded any tangs, but I've done plenty of forge welding. What you need to do is upset the end of the pieces before you scarf them. Make sure that the ends of the scarfs don't go past the end of the upset, or you will start thinning your piece.

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Does anyone scarf then fireweld tangs on as a traditional blacksmith would have. I've done a lot of forge welding and struggle to make the scarves invisible so tips are welcome too

 

Here's an interesting tutorial over on SFI from a guy who is a BIG supporter of forge welding tangs for various reasons.

 

http://forums.swordforum.com/showthread.php?t=43522

 

Now, again...I've never done it, but this looks completely plausible to me. If it's in any way mistaken please let me know.

 

Hope that helps,

 

Cris

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I weld my tangs on my damascus all the time, I have absolutely no concern that the tang will break or get damaged.

It all comes down to understanding your tools and the proper procedures for welding High carbon steel.

For those concerned I strongly encourage you not to do it until you educate yourself on this process.

Chris

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It all boils down to understanding the metallurgy of what happens, whichever way you do it. It can be done any number of ways, and be very strong. It can also be very weak, by some of those methods, because the individual doing the welding and or heat treating did not understand what happens in the steel both in the weld it's self, and adjacent to it in the heat affected zone on either side of the weld.

 

One cannot make the blanket statement that it is wrong, nor right, and be correct all the time. It can be either, and depends on how well it is done. How that goes depends on the understanding of the human being doing the work. Almost always. With many things... :)

 

 

Howard can you elaborate on the proper way to go about arc welding the tangs on?

I did this on two damascus blades recently as the tang portion ended up with a cold shut in it that wouldn't weld, so I cut off those portions leaving about half the length of tang I wanted, so I forged a full size tang from some carbon steel, welded both blades onto the ends of it, and cut it in the middle, then proceeded to normalize both tangs a couple times the following day.

 

Any tips?

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I tend to forge a short tang on a lot of my knives 2.75 inch or so, then forge that in a taper keeping it oversized, cut a slot in a bit of mild square open the slot with the chisel, then hammer it to fit a quick bead on it to keep it in position then forgeweld and forge to shape and finish up.

Since a lot of my knives are hidden tang it makes cutting a thread so much easier.

 

Richard

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As mentioned there is no definitive YES or No answer here. The main consideration is shock from striking when it comes to tangs. Unfortunately many knife makers work final destination is to become a wall hanging or trophy case amusement. Because of this, the knifes not being "Used Hard" there is no "Failure" where one would get the proper feedback to actually know if their design was ineffective.

 

Having experimented and discussed this over the last year with fulltime makers I have come to my own conclusions based on my experience in design and testing. The greatest threat to a tang is shock, the tang is most likely to break at the shoulder or within the first two inches there after as that is where shock will have the greatest vibration. Therefore I try to avoid "Squared" shoulders, leaving them rounded unlike my first efforts where I spent hours making the shoulders as square as possible. I have become a huge advocate of bolsters and would not consider making a forged hidden tang design without a bolster. Having arc welded tangs and having failures, have come to the conclusion that welding on 1 or even 2 inch's onto the end of the tang is acceptable but it should be a scarfed weld which distributes vibration better.

Scarfed Weld on round bar.

 

SparWeld45.jpg

 

Typically what I have seen locally are stub tangs with long pieces of mild steel tang welded on to complete the hilt. For me its not acceptable but that is not stopping people from doing it and selling such work. Here is about the worst case example of poor design and workmanship I have seen but its typical. Notice the weld is located exactly where the bolster meets the wood. If the weld were located at the rear of the tang as I mentioned before it would be a much stronger design but this would require the maker to work harder and have a better skill set.

Disclaimer, the picture is a "How not to do it" for reference only.

 

 

Usual%20tang.jpg

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