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A while back, I began a small project. It was to take old bits and cut-offs of various high carbon steels as well as a 15n20 circular saw blade I cut up and forge weld them together to make my first piece of damascus. I gave this random patter the ever so creative name of "scrapmascus". The idea was that the random shapes and sizes of the bits would create a purely random pattern, which it did, but it came with some project ruining welds that actually left two very noticeable gaps in the blade.

 

Does this concept make it impossible to not get a bad weld, or should I just chalk this up to lack of experience and a power hammer? I have a bunch of 1075 and 1095 cut-offs that I'd like to try again with, but I don't want to bother if it's not possible to do it.

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It is possible, but difficult to do without getting a few flaws, especially working without a press or power hammer. I take it you resolved your propane issues? People have been calling it scrapmascus for years, dunno who came up with the name.

 

I have never heard of a circular sawblade being 15n20, but it would be handy if they were. Where did you get that information?

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My propane issue was thankfully solved. I knew that bandsaw blades were 15n20, so I optimistically picked up the circular saw blade from a trading post near me. I first tested it to see if it would harden, and it did. I then put a piece of duct tape on one side of a piece of the blade and then left it to etch for 30 minutes. When I pulled it out and peeled off the tape, there was no coloration difference and it remained unchanged by the acid as a whole. I don't know any other testing methods for this, I just sort of made it up on the spot. Whatever it was, it still showed up as a few bright layers after the blade was etched.

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I've tried this and it is tough with all the irregular pieces. Try a can weld with powder and random bits. sharp triangular shapes work well. You can get some really cool looking steel this way.... and some really ugly turd looking stuff lol. but even if you get turds just cut em, stack em and turn it into a higher layer random billet. As the layer count rises even the really ugly stuff starts to even out and look good.

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The challenge of welding a bunch of small random pieces is large and I would suggest that many cut, folds and welds, like the Japanese do will help to force everything together and push any crap to the outside of the billet.
Doing this by hand without strikers is very hard to do.
a press or a PH is very helpful.
You can build an pneumatic press from a bottle jack.
There are guys on here that have had a lot of success with them.

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If your scraps are small sections of flat bar, it's fairly easy to do. Just sand the mating surfaces smooth, stack them up and weld them. If they are irregular you can do a variety of things.

One is the suggestion by Bret. Ed Caffrey does this with his cut offs and cut outs. He calls it "Fossil Damascus."

Another one is to forge the bits out flat and then stack and weld them.

Another one is try to arrange them so they form a flat bar shape, tack the ends and sides with a stick, MIG, or TIG welder, and then forge weld them a into a solid piece. I did this once or twice with the pieces I cut out of an accordion cut pattern. I used a straight 45 degree cut out so I had all these little right triangles. They laid up pretty easy (with a small amount of sanding) and I made them into a flat bar for fittings.

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Thank for all the suggestions. I don't have an electric welder, so I'll just go with the stacking method. I do want to make my own forge press, but I have a backyard shop at my parents house, so I don't really have the room for big machinery like that at the moment. Besides, my belt grinder is still out, so that takes priority over the forge press.

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  • 2 months later...

I'm about to try some scrapmascus using small drops from various billets I've forged sandwiched between 1095, 1" bandsaw blade and nickel sheet. Who knows the results but worth a shot.

If you need some bandsaw blade shoot me a pm. I work in fab shop and have dozens of old blades 1" and 2". Willing to share the wealth.

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A good way to weld up scrapmascus is in a can using powdered steel as a filler for the gaps.

 

Buy some powdered 1084, weld a cap on a 4x4 tube of steel, fill it with your end cuts and then pour the powdered steel on top, shaking to fill in all the crevises. Weld on a cap to seal it in.

 

Oh, either line the inside of the can with stainless foil, or coat it with the black stuff from a torch running with just acetylene with no oxygen. It will keep the can from welding to the scrapmascus.

 

Heat it to welding, and squish it in the press. After a few welding passes, let it cool and cut off the can. Draw it out, fold it a time or two, and see what you've got.

 

YMMV.

 

Luck.

 

Dave

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I heard White out works as well? Im going to get around to doing this as soon as i get a welder! 4x4 sounds incredibly too large for hand hammering however :P

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White out works great. Didn't think about doing can weld but makes sense. I will go with 1 1/2" square tube as have dies that size in the press at shop.

Thanks Dave, great suggestion

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