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Damascus made from railroad spikes and saw blades


Matthew Rhame
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Hello everyone, I've looked into blacksmithing and bladesmithing a lot over the years and I haven't ever heard of someone using rail road spikes and saw blades to make damascus. I assume it's possible, but I am concerned with the possibility of the carbon content being too low. So I've thought about adding 1095 steel to the "stack" if necessary in order to make a sufficient billet for a sword or seax. Would anyone mind weighing in with their expertise and/or knowledge?

 

 

 

 

 

P.S: This will be my first time ever actually blacksmithing... yes, I know a beginner making damascus is crazy and probably going to result in countless mistakes and an overall failure... crazier if not what many would consider dumb or naive is that I want to make a sword. Yes, I realize that no sane person would recommend either of these projects to a beginner, but screw it; it's what I want, so I'm going to keep at it until it works out. lol

+ Veritas Vincit +

 

"Failure is the mother of success"

~ Chinese proverb

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Doggerland, huh. It must be rough keeping your forge going where you live :P . You have reason to worry about the carbon content of the railroad spikes. The high carbon ones only have a little under 0.4% carbon in them. They also have a bit of copper in them to increase their strength at the expense of hardness. Those two characteristics tend to have an inverse relationship with each other. Adding something like 1095 to the mix will add to the carbon content of the billet which will mix with the steel from the spikes as you fold and forge weld to increase your layer count though you will get some decarberization from holding the steel at welding temperatures. You might want to omit the saw blades from the mix as they are just too much of a mystery metal of unknown carbon content. The copper in the spikes will not mix with the 1095 as it doesn't diffuse through the iron matrix like the carbon does.

 

One other piece of advice. You are already pushing things by starting out trying to forge damascus. Give yourself a break. Learn to forge damascus knives before you try forging damascus swords. They may look similar but they're whole different creatures.

 

Doug

HELP...I'm a twenty year old trapped in the body of an old man!!!

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Thanks for the kindness and words of wisdom, Doug Lester. As I said on another thread, I probably should have put more emphasis on the "seax" part rather than the "sword" part, haha. Perhaps in my over eagerness I may have been a bit fool hardy, but I do mean what I say. I may not begin by forging a sword, but I'll get there one day, but for now I guess I'll stick with practicing by making railroad spike knives and buying materials online to make damascus (1095 and 15N20)... hopefully the attempt will go well, but if not then I'll just keep trying and when I finally do have a sufficient billet of damascus, I'll try my hand at forging a seax.

 

By the way, keeping my flame going is quite difficult here in ol' Doggerland. Ever see a man weld under water? Just imagine that but on a larger scale and hours on end. lol :P

+ Veritas Vincit +

 

"Failure is the mother of success"

~ Chinese proverb

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