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Being a completely self taught smith, I am usually all for the "Try it, then refine it" mindset. There are quite a few tutorials scattered around this amazing forum, by some of the best guys out there doing pattern welded blades. Just type in "damascus WIP" into the search bar and you will probably get quite a few hits that might help. Might have to sift through some finished pieces, but a good majority of the pinned topics in the "show and tell" are related to pattern welding. Pick one and start reading!

A word of caution though. Getting the nuances of damascus right is tricky, even the pro's occasionally get defects in their pattern welded billets. I have been smithing since I was a kid, and made blades seriously for probably a good 5 years before I felt comfortable making my first damascus. Once I was done, half of the billet was full of delaminations/bubbles and I got 3 good knives out of a 2.5' billet because of my lack of experience. If you are new to bladesmithing, this might make it even more difficult to get a nice product at the end with a manageable mount of frustration :)

Some people can hit the ground running though, and I have heard of new guys who fired up their brake drum forge and hammered out a quality blade in the first week. A guy I went to school with could just look at something and reproduce it with a hammer. He was a trained artist blacksmith, but his brain just worked in a way that made figuring things out based on how they look very easy. He literally went from historical sketch to finished product on multiple occasions without any trial and error. Maybe you are also that kind of guy, I dont know.

Just offering a word of caution is all, and good luck!

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One thing to keep in mind is without a press or power hammer you will spend alot more time burning fuel while you get your layer count up. If you have a friend and a big hammer I highly recommend double teaming your billet to help keep your cost down. Good luck and have fun! I've only been smithing for a year having more failures then sucesses with pattern welding, but it sure is worth it when you get it right.

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I've just begun bladesmithing and wanted to make some damascus steel on a minimal budget with not much tools

Forging welding is primarily temperature control but making Damascus can be made much easier with the right steels. The two best & easiest to weld are 1080/1084 & 15N20.

 

Do some time researching online and you will find lots of good info on getting started.

 

All my best & have fun.

Gary

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