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Sanmai and forge welding


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Hey guys this is my first try forge welding/sanmai. I wrapped a piece of W2 between Aldo's low Mn 1075. I chose this method because I don't have a welder to weld the Seams. I fluxed the billet and "welded it" 3 times using light hammer blows. It doesn't seem like a very good weld. I made 3 cuts into it to view it. Please help me get my next welds nice and clean! Is this billet able to be saved or is it scrap? Thanks

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I'll let others that do a lot more forge welding than I actually give you some tips, and they will, but if you can provide some more info that would help. What did you do to prep the surfaces (grind, blast, etc.)? How were the bars held together (wire wrap)? What are you using for heat (solid fuel or gas)? At what point did you flux it (hopefully just after it started showing color, dull red)?

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No it doesn't appear to have welded.

I'm not going to go into how to forge weld as much has been written on the subject, but it's been my experience that "gentle hammer blows" must be a subjective term because when I've set welds "gently" I've had no luck whatsoever. Personally I give it a pretty good whack, it needs to drive out the flux.

Beyond that, I'd say hotter and longer.

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Once we learn a bit more of how you went about it, we'll be able to help you. Yes, you can salvage those pieces as long as you're able to clean all the surfaces back to fresh steel. Assuming you're able to get to welding temperatures, my guess is the center didn't reach welding temps before you started hammering. That's a thick billet.

Edited by Austin_Lyles
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Hey guys thanks for the replies. I'm using a gas forge with a 3/4" Venturi burner...I successfully welded a small piece of W1 onto itself the other day. At first I tried just stacking them and setting them in the forge but they kept sliding off. So I bent the 1075 in a u shape and inserted the w2 core. I fluxed when it was cold and multiple times between my "welds". What kind of wire should I hold it together with? My surface prep was taking all of the pieces to the grinder and hitting them with an36 grit belt.

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Sorry and if I was going to salvage this piece how would I go about it? I suspect that certain portions may be welded because a few wacks with a 3 pound hammer did not break the bonds between the steel.

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You can use just normal bailing wire to hold it together. Fluxing when cold won't do much, if anything. Once your forge heats up, put your piece in and wait for it to get to a dull red, then flux at that point.

 

Hmmm, you may not be able to salavage it if you can't get the pieces apart.

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dont mean to hijack but this was my first attempt last night.. the back 4 inches seems to have failed on one side but looks to be ok towards the end?

 

I dont have a welder so i took the 1" 1084 bar stock and C clamped it to my 1" a36 bar and welded one side, Cut the a36 off flipped it reclamped and forge welded the other side.

 

my process was heat to cherry dunk in borax > heat to white almost- tack the weld reborax reheat>> bring it out at white again and set the weld. I think i need to be more deliberate with blows and i didnt start in the middle.... and i forgot to remove the mill scale from the start :([

 

 

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12499483_10153152152390146_915980526_o.jpg

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For some general forge welding info and tips, I've written up a bunch of info here.

 

Gabriel, the other thing to take note of is that A36 is really inconsistent in composition and often just won't weld at all. If you want mild to weld to something, use "cold rolled" 1018.

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I second Deker's great advice. 1018 is consistent, and welds easily.

 

Get ALL of the mill scale off. Try to get the faces as flat as possible, and then wrap with wire or tack weld. I flux, when I use flux, two or three times. Once just when the outer steel is turning light blue/gray, then again when dull red, and then one last time when cherry red. Then, let it get to welding heat, and let it soak for another minute beyond just to make sure.

 

You CAN weld at bright red, but there is no need to try it. Get everything as hot as your forge will, or if it is solid fuel, to just below sparking. Then, let it soak. Then, weld it.

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only 1018 i could find locally was a 3ft round bar at industrial supply place for 15 bucks :(

 

all the hardware stores seem to carry a36 or zinc coated stuff or aluminum and thats it....

 

 

But thanks for the tip. I welded a scrap peice of 1095 to itself last night successfully !

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  • 2 weeks later...

only 1018 i could find locally was a 3ft round bar at industrial supply place for 15 bucks :(

 

all the hardware stores seem to carry a36 or zinc coated stuff or aluminum and thats it....

 

 

But thanks for the tip. I welded a scrap peice of 1095 to itself last night successfully !

 

Try looking for a welding/fabrication shop or a machine shop in your area. If you ask for "cold rolled" steel, they'll hand you 1018. Be friendly, take some of your work in, chat with the guys. It won't work at every shop, but if you find a good shop where you can make friends with the guy at the shop desk, you may be able to get shop drops at discounted prices, etc. I've got a welding shop and a machine shop locally that have helped me out more times than I can recall. Machine shops will have tool steel too.... ;)

 

-d

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Try looking for a welding/fabrication shop or a machine shop in your area. If you ask for "cold rolled" steel, they'll hand you 1018.

 

Not necessarily. The A36 you get from the hardware store is cold rolled, and a lot of machine shops get stuff just like that too. If you explain that you want something a little nicer than A36 they should be able to help you out though. Another good key word for something you're trying to avoid is "structural steel".

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yea Im friends with 2 different welding shops here all they have is A36 -- they have 3ft round bars at the industrial supply place but they are 13-15 bucks a piece... i guess if i want one bad enough i can get it there or order it online. I got my san mai to shape and HT ill post a pic when i get it finished up

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So it has a few flaws but i went ahead and Hollow ground it and etched -- i plan on keeping it myself since everything i have made thus far has been sold or given away. Just before i attempted the san mai Karls pics struck me to the core so i tried to create some ongulations with the peen -- they came out on one side a little... perhaps accidentally!

 

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I plan on going crazy with the handle and making my own scales from some seasoned oak firewood i have lying around.

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Not necessarily. The A36 you get from the hardware store is cold rolled, and a lot of machine shops get stuff just like that too. If you explain that you want something a little nicer than A36 they should be able to help you out though. Another good key word for something you're trying to avoid is "structural steel".

 

Point taken. I've never actually LOOKED at the the steel in the hardware store. :)

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