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Figuring out how much steel you need for a billet


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So i recently started on a 9 layer 6" long billet made of some of Aldo Bruno's 1084,48"x1"x.125" and 15n20, 48"x1"x.075" and it

s about 2-3 lbs, first weld and second weld went so smoothly, but I'm starting to doubt i have enough steel for a sword, by what i calculated out i should have enough for a 30" or longer sword, easily.I have a few pictures of the billet, two after the first weld and one after the second weld

 

11917760_1008358245854061_854299393_n.jpg

 

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After the second weld i mostly kept the width the same from the first weld, I'm just unsure if it is enough steel for something relatively the same size as this long leaf blade.

 

Glawar2.jpg

 

I just want to know if I should add a second billet to my current one or if I am going to be ok. Now mind you i have no power hammers or anyone who has the free time to be my power hammer so its taken me about 2 hours of forging to get the billet where it is so large welding jobs are not easy for me haha. ANY help would be greatly appeciated

Edited by Daniel J. Luevano
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I've done at least six or seven billets by hand now, and I can tell you that it's best keep the billets small. I like about 3" by 1" by 1" to start out, and you can make several of them and stack them all up for the final weld.
Also, calculate how much you need, and then start with about 5 times as much steel as you think you need. Weld flaws are also very hard to avoid, because you have no way of putting even, gentle pressure through the whole thickness of the billet. This is another reason to go small on your billets.

From looking at your billet, it doesn't look like you've got enough steel there. Maybe if you made two more billets like it, you could stack them up and draw it out and you MIGHT have enough steel. Scale loss is a rabid, diseased chihuahua when you're doing it by hand. :lol:

Hope this helps! B)

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Forging steel under a press, I figure to lose roughly 50 per cent of my starting material through scaling and cleanup. I usually start with a 5 layer billet, normally 5-6 " long of roughly 1.5 wide by 1.5" thick to start. This is about a 3-4 lb starter billet. After 3 triple cut/restacks, I have a billet about half the weight of 135 layers.

Forging by hand, figure a loss closer to 75-80 per cent of the material- if not more.

And words of advice- save up to build a press.

Edited by Al Massey
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The last billet I made was 5" long 1"wide and 10 layers @.125"thick each. Starting weight around 1.4lbs, and ending at around .4lbs @160 layers after 10ish hours. This was also the fastest billet I put together without a human power hammer or machine help.

 

I second what Al said about realistic material loss and a press. I've never heard someone complain about not losing enough steel to scale or not going through enough fuel on a project.

 

I am very green so the only thing I'd like to stress is if your doing this by hand don't be stupid like I was/am.....my arm is currently recovering from using a 8 lb & 6 lb(slightly less dumb) sledge as a single arm hammer.

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It's common to underestimate the amount of steel for a project. There is always a certain amount of waste due to scale and more to deformation on the ends of the billet. Something that will help is to start out with 1 1/2"wide steel. This automatically adds 50% to your volume. I usually plan on making more than needed. If you end up with extra, it can always be used for handle fittings.

 

Gary

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I've found that when working by hand it tends to be easier to make a few smaller billets and weld them up into a multibar. Doing it all as one big straight laminate is the hardest unless you have a press or large power hammer.

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I've found that when working by hand it tends to be easier to make a few smaller billets and weld them up into a multibar. Doing it all as one big straight laminate is the hardest unless you have a press or large power hammer.

 

I find this to be true as well. I spent a couple months earlier this year "taking a break" due to a strained ligament in my shoulder from trying to forge too big by hand. Luke's advice is well worth following until you can get a power hammer or press.

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