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BILLET OPINION(mr.fogg-mr.furrer)

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I forged this billet a few months ago for a customer who recently started working on it.He said it has inclusions at the edges.I see one tiny spot that can be ground .I think hes seeing the laminations and like the blades ive made from my billets,the bar becomes solid after you get past the very top edges.Ive posted the pics and opinions are welcome to those that do pattern welding.Id like to add that this customer is a stock removal maker and i think this is his first billet of pattern welded steel.billet 3 (600 x 400).jpgbillet 2 (600 x 195).jpgbillet 1 (600 x 319).jpg

Edited by mark stephen
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hmmmmmmm, the black line does look a little bit like a small shut, Without knowing how much metal has been removed its impossible to tell if its just a 'lap' on the edge where the layers have rolled over each other a bit, or an inclusion.


If I was stock removing on that billet I would make that side the cutting edge of the blade, and then it would grind out (unless the pattern makes the billet directional :unsure: )


you said 'inclusions' (plural) is there more suspicious areas other than the line that looks to be a small 1/2" ?


sorry I cant be more help really, I cant think of an easy non destructive way of getting an answer (without using some fancy pants n.d.t)


This thread has reminded me why I have never sold any steel ive stuck together for other makers,. good luck, I hope it gets sorted out amicably.


edit, just a thought but a quick dip in ferric often shows suspect welds as they go 'misty' along the weld boundry, guess its a hint of the flux left in the joint?

Edited by John N
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I honestly dont see anything wrong with the billet.I forged two smaller blades out of the other half of this billet and they were solid and clean.The only other time ive had a customer complain about my billets was a guy cold forging one of them on edge under a power hammer.Mabey im missing somthing.

Edited by mark stephen
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If you're making damascus for other people, you will have inclusions at some point. Impeccable shop practices while making your billets, and a boatload of confidence are the only cures, and then, you will still have inclusions from time to time. After that, the only way out of a dilemma is to always stand behind your steels and replace them when things like this come up.


A "new" buyer of pattern welded material will be more likely to find this kind of small stripe to be disconcerting because any flaw is a huge flaw. They are used to working with flat bars of mill steels that rarely (not impossibly, but more rare than handmade stuff) have inclusions. As the buyer gains experience they will realize that for the most part this kind of edge flaw will grind out, or as John so rightly pointed out, flip the bar over and put the flaw on a part of the blade that will be ground away. Some steel is going to have to be taken away regardless, so put the flawed bits on the sacrificial parts. Try to educate your buyer to the nuances of what you are trying to accomplish on your side of the process and anticipate the way they think about what they are doing on their side. Eventually you may even be able to sell them a billet that still has the scale all over it....


Failing that, always grind the edges of each billet and never let something even this small out the shop door. Then your steels will have the appearance of being perfect until they grind down far enough to find the flaw that you didn't know was there.


My two p anyway.

There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. Will Rogers

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Wait till you sell a bar, the buyer has someone else forge it into a blade and then calls you frantic on a Sunday night saying that the steel was bad and has not only come apart in several places, but his experienced blacksmith says that it cracked when he quenched it between heats to cool it down so he could hold onto it while forging the other end......and its my fault for making bad steel. I had others send me my bars back in the form of blades that broke in the quench..also my fault I guess.


The open line I see is not bad and will most likely grind away, but when all the buyer can do is grind and hope for the best he may wish for a new bar without the visible line. You could grind a bevel and chase the open area away to dust on the floor and send an image with the flaw gone. He may accept the bar then and just continue the bevel.


I have found when chasing flaws away it helps to etch and then wait and see where the rust forms. If the flaw is there and not visible the acid may make it so.


The edges of billets are always ratty till you grind them clean, but it is best to forge larger and grind down to good material and then send the bar out.



Richard Furrer

Door County Forgeworks

Sturgeon Bay, WI

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I would agree to what has been said ,there is a vast difference between what you do with your own steel and what someone else does/thinks .I found that becoming a "stock removal" guy for a while changed the way I viewed my material ,you really cut through layers that way and see more of the interior of your steel .

I think the customer is always rite , from their perspective, unfortunately ,even if there really isn't a problem.

Edited by owen bush

forging soul in to steel



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