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Stainless Damascus - how to do it?

Tomas Benadik

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Greetings, gentlemen.


I recently tried to do the stainless Damascus for the first time.

In my blacksmithing master's shop (not having my own yet) we followed instructions by Ariel Salaverria to the letter (http://www.aescustomknives.com/docs/tutorial16.htm).


On the first attempt, the container burned through after several minutes, hence the stacked steels were too cold to weld.


We thought that perhaps the temperature was too high or there was too much WD40 inside. Hence, on the second attempt we put paper soaked in WD40 only on one end of the container and we poured out WD40 after squeezing it inside. We also started with slightly lower temperature.

Result - after several minutes the container exploded, scattering burning coke around the shop.

Luckily, nobody was injured and the shop didn't catch fire, but it wasn't very nice.

Please see the attached picture of container after it was recovered.


Any ideas how to do it properly? Is there any other way to do stainless Damascus in the forge?

It is a simple coke-burning forge.


Many thanks!

photo 2.JPG

Edited by Tomas Benadik
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The amount of oil or wd40 isn't that important. The key is to have enough fuel to burn off all the oxygen in the tube, and to leave a small pin hole in one end (under 1/ 16" closer to 1/32) for the trapped gasses to escape. The idea with this method is to make a super reducing fire inside the tube. This forces the iron/steel or in this case chrome and nickel to release the oxygen it has bound up in oxides to the unburnt fuel to form co2. As long as the interior of the tube stays hot it will be under positive pressure and no new air can enter keeping this reducing atmosphere intact. With stainless I find a soak at temp of 20-30 min is necessary for the nickel and chrome oxides to break down and allow the welds to take. Others I have asked have used longer and shorter soak times with good results so I am really not sure what the min soak time should be, just what has worked for me in the past.


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no problem, I forgot to mention, I have found that it only works for me if the bars are CLEAN, like in the oil right from the grinder with no time for even a small amount of oxide to form... Good luck!!


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