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First Damascus billet


KPeacock

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Well I finally got my first billet welded up and forged down to something close to knife thickness. I realized that I have more steel than I need for the two knives I had planned on making so I plan to make a damascus blade for one of my EDC storebought folders. I am not confident enough in my finishing abilities to attempt a folder just yet, but I do believe I can duplicate the blade shape and size and simply swap out the blades.

 

Anyhow, here a couple of pics of the pattern I ended up with. I etched in ferric for about 1 minute or so. I tested the end of the mini-billet with cold blueing. I then rubbed one side down with fine styeel wool to see what it would do to the blued finish.

 

Thoughts, comments, and criticism welcome.

 

Thanks,

 

Kris

pattern3.JPG

pattern.JPG

leathermanstore_2040_11079835.jpg

Have you ever thought about the life of steel? It's interesting to think that you can control the fate of a piece of metal.

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Mighty fine looking steel, congratulations on your success. Got three questions...

What steel types did you use, how many layers in the first stack?

Did you forge the pattern in then grind flat, or grind it in then forge flat?

 

Not a bad idea to test finishes at this stage...

George Ezell, bladesmith

" How much useful knowledge is lost by the scattered forms in which it is ushered to the world! How many solitary students spend half their lives in making discoveries which had been perfected a century before their time, for want of a condensed exhibition of what is known."
Buffon


view some of my work

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Steel Use: I'm not entirely sure. When I first began posting here, Mike blue contacted me about a get together he was having. While down at his place I was able to observe some folks making damascus and picked up a lot of info. This is some steel that Mike had laying around his shop. Based on the colors that it etched at, and commonly used metals, I'm guessing 1084 and 15N20. By the time I get a blade worked out of the larger billet, I'll have to find out for sure so I can properly heat treat the blade

 

The original stack had 25 layers. I worked it to 200 layers an called it good. It's personal preference, but I like the patterns that have fewer than 250 layers. They have more of a bold look to me.

 

I forged the billet into 200 layers, and then I did not draw it out al lthe way. I kept the billet at about 1/2" thick by 2.5" wide and however long it was. So, basically I had a thick piece of bar stock. I then ground grooves into it about 1/8" thick ,give or take. See picture of how I did this. I used an agle grinder to make the grooves.

 

After making the grooves, I simply drew the bar out. The High spots that were not ground on get smashed down to the same level as the low spots. this exposes some of the different layers giving the grained appearance. I drew it out to 1/4" thickness which will leave me plenty to make wahtever knife I decide on. This is just a bit off of the end of the billet that I sanded up to see the pattern.

P1019539.JPG

Have you ever thought about the life of steel? It's interesting to think that you can control the fate of a piece of metal.

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Well, the success stopped at the billet stage of the game. I figured as long as I was successful at first attempts, I might just as well try a quench in water and see what happens. I edge quenched in warm (to the touch) water and got a marvelous crack in the blade. I plan to oil quench the knives that this billet is destined to become, but I only had an hour or two into making the small test blade, so it was worth it to see what would happen in water.

 

The blade steel is 1095 and 15N20. I'll get some pictures loaded this afternoon.

Edited by KPeacock

Have you ever thought about the life of steel? It's interesting to think that you can control the fate of a piece of metal.

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Nice looking damascus. Sometimes I also have problems cracking 1084 or 1095 when quenching in water (although it is best for creating an active hamon with Japanese clay coatings). For what you're doing here you might want to try quenching in warm vegetable or mineral oil next time. Never gives me a problem that way.

Edited by WPeterson

Wes Peterson

 

www.wpbladesmith.com

Southeast Georgia

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Thanks for the advice, Wes. It was recommended that I quench in oil, and I plan to. I was curious and I let that get the better of me. It's disappointing to see a blade crack like that, but ultimately, I just lost a 3.5" blade, not a 36" blade. At least I have that going for me. Also, lessons learned when expirimenting will likely help me out down the road. I plan to use "extra" bits of the billet to make a series of coupons to test with differing heat treating strategies. I've been told the ideal way to treat this metal, and I expect that method to perform the best, but I don't like to blindly follow someone elses lead.

 

While I can certainly appreciate learning from others mistakes, I want to see first hand the results of quenching from too high of a temperature, or quenching in water versus oil. Whjat is the difference in ormalizing in air versus in vermiculite...etc.

Have you ever thought about the life of steel? It's interesting to think that you can control the fate of a piece of metal.

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attached are some pics of the crack. I combined photos into a PDF file. I'm not sure that this will post propertly. I used one of my co-workers cameras and the pics are 3264X2488 and a bit over 2 megs. This is a bit large to be posting here, so I tried to shrink and combine them.

cracked_blade.pdf

Have you ever thought about the life of steel? It's interesting to think that you can control the fate of a piece of metal.

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