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exploding damascus


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Today I fired up my new forge all stoked at the color of the interior.. This is by far my best forge yet and hits welding heat easily.

 

this was to be its virgin forge welding, trying to fix a billet I had started a while back before I ran out of propane.

 

I got the billet up to heat, flux was boiling, light was blinding :) no sparklers though, I plucked it out, sat it on my anvil and tapped it LIGHTLY with a 2lb ball pein. Then all hell broke loose.

 

The billet literally exploded where I had left a layer longer to be gripped in a pair of tongs, the 1084 was crumbled and cracked on later inspection. When the billet popped.. my light tap of the hammer sent the 5lb peice of white hot steel flying literally 5 ft in the air, I'm estimating the height by how long I was looking for the billet before it landed..

 

And, on top of nearly having this lovely glowing devil billet set itself on my head. My left ear has been ringing all day long from the report it let loose when struck.

 

anyone know what caused this? I would really prefer to avoid it happening ever again, I was very lucky today not to have a 3x5 brand on my crown. It was a literal explosion, all I can think of was there may have been flux somehow trapped in a pocket in the billet, and having it this hot allowed for it to burst sending flux and molten steel flying and blasting it up vertically..

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Glad yer alright, exploding hot steel can injure if not outright kill you if it strikes you right. I don't know the reson, but crumbling like that has me thinking brittle steel.

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just use common sense.......dude your boned

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Well if ya remember the Titanic, its not always heat that makes steel brittle, sometimes the imperfections in its making coupled with once again to hot or to cold can effect steel. I mean it is a new forge you are not used to how it heats, so. There could have been any number of reasons.

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just use common sense.......dude your boned

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honestly, the steel is great. I've used it for many blades and its fine, and I've done a damascus billet with it before with a reasonable level of success. this explosion had nothing to do with brittle steel. I tapped it light as I could within reason, and it exploded, launching the steel way up into the air, much more than I concievably could have with any sort of a strike being the cause.

 

I think it was just to damn hot, sealed around a pocket of flux, then when I struck it it blew apart the way to hot steel.

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I recently had a blacksmith tell me that if there is any water on your anvil when you weld, you'll get gunfire sound effects. I once tried to weld two files together, and it sounded like a six shooter. Kinda cool, but VERY startling when you aren't expecting it.

He that will a good edge win must forge thick, and grind thin.

-Colin Sampson

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moisture might be a possibility ...

 

but if you had already started the weld .. i might look to the weld opening up violently..

if the weld is mostly fixed .. and you heat it up without totally soaking the billet ... there might be residual springiness in the billet .. and even a slight tap could possibly unset the weld and send it flying ..

really im just guessing though as i wasnt there to see

 

do you have a pic of the billet now?

it might help with trying to piece together the mystery.

 

whats your tongs look like?

 

otherwise i cant think of anything else as yet...

deeDWF4.jpg

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I could get a pic tomorrow, what it was was a billet that had been welded already and let cool, but one layer didn't laminate, so I was reheating it to get it to weld right, and the tap after the heat was what set of the explosion..

 

tongs were fine, it was very weird :/

'

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I think it was just to damn hot, sealed around a pocket of flux, then when I struck it it blew apart the way to hot steel.

 

I think so too. I've had it pop pretty loudly with no water on the anvil, and with enough force to shift a layer if the weld hasn't taken, but never a full-scale explosion like that. :huh: Every time that has happened it's been when I was trying to fix a single seam in a billet that just wouldn't take.

 

Did the 1084 have that burnt crumbly cottage cheese texture look to it afterwards? Were there any sparks fizzing around?

 

I once blew atomized 1095 across a ten-foot 180-degree arc of shop while welding up a hawk head. I had the body (mild steel) about half welded, and had just taken the second welding heat on the 1095 edge. I knew it was too hot when I pulled it out of the fire because I could hear it fizzing and see little sparklies shooting out, but I assumed the fizzing was just boiling flux in the joints. One little tap and pow! it looked like that spray of molten flux you sometimes get, except it was brilliant white and started stuff smoldering where it hit. I kept that head for what I call my "thou shalt not" bucket I take to demo to show folks what burnt steel looks like. About half the 1095 vaporized when I hit it, leaving the other half looking like foamy black cottage cheese crammed between the sides of the hawk body... :rolleyes:

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this can also hoppen from having an over abundace of flux present. Not only trapped inside the billet but between the billet and the anvil. when i was first learningto weld I have had it sound like a thirty eight going off.

Bill Burke

ABS Master Smith

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Mr. Burke speaks the truth. If you have that extra flux trapped between two pieces of steel, I could see it making an extra loud crack. Are you certain that part of the flight wasn't your reflexes after a loud sound? Not trying to say you screamed like a little girl or anything, but a big bang can scare the best of us :)

 

-d

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yeah, im positive, even if I had jumped, the bar was broken off that I was using as a handle, so I wouldn't have been able to catapult it if I tried :P

 

but I was sort of completely stunned.. and my first reflex is to step back and look for the glowing mass which tends to nestle up to whatever plastic containter is holding large quantities of oil..

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