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Alveprins

First knife - San-mai Damascus Chef's Knife

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Ok, so since I'm new here - and this is my first post - I thought I'd share my first knife and the process which through I made it.
The knife is a 108 layer, twisted double bar damascus in san-mai lamination, differentially hardened with "blue clay".
The steel used is #15 and #20 for the damascus, and "Øberg steel" for the edge.
Handle is African ebony, with mosaic pins from Russia.

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I started off with a stack of 12 sheets of #15 and #20 steel welded together at the corners with my arch-welder.

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I proceeded to hammering it out into a long bar.

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And then cleaned it up with my angle grinder, cut it in three and stacked them arch-welding the corners again.

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I then drew it out into a long bar again.

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Cleaned and cut in three once more, and ofc. arch-welded the billet.

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Now having rougly 108 layers of steel, I drew it out to a square stock and cut it in half.

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I then proceeded to twisting the two halves.

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Some more twisting...

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And then some more - until I was satisfied with them.

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I then took the two twisted bars with me to work and borrowed the belt sander a bit... (mine sucks. Building a new one...)

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And then forge welded those two bars together, and drew it out once more.

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Cleaned it up, cut it in half, and inserted the middle steel for the edge. (Øberg steel.)

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Used the angle grinder once more to get everyting nice and even.

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I used too little steel ofc... and had to forge weld three plates of #15 steel, pound them out to the correct diameter - and then forge weld the new "extra length" onto the actual damascus billet. I then drew the outline of the knife.

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I then proceeded to cut the knife out - using my trusty angle-grinder.

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And taking it back to work once more - to borrow the belt sander. :D

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I then wrapped it in clay, which cracked up - so I had to wire it in place. (ceramic "blue clay")

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I quenced in regular "food oil" I bought at the super market.

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Then heat-treated the blade in my kitchen oven at +200 celcius for 2 hours.

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Polished it to 12000grit on my #220, #1000, #3000, #8000 and #12000 Naniwa Japanese sharpening stones.(oh, and #600 paper between #220 and #1000)

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And then etched the blade in 30% hydrochloric acid - neutralizing with windex and wiping off the blade with soft paper.

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I then glued on the ebony handle scales - attaching it to the full tang using mosaic pins I got off E-bay from Russia...

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And then finished the handle using files and sand paper up to #600. (Going to apply #1200 at work tomorrow before applying some wax or oil to it as well...)

 

No power-hammer or hydraulic press was used. Only 1,5kg hammer, tongs, and a modified plummer's wrench for twisting the steel.

 

A few mistakes was made along the way - and the knife has a few flaws... Flaws that will not be repeated in the next one. (I've allready ordered materials for it. Fossilized mammoth amongst other things. :) )

My biggest disapointment though - is the lack of hamon. Perhaps it will not show on this type of steel - oil-quenched. I quenched one blade in water though - but it broke - and I didn't want to repeat that...

I definitively need to come up with some better clay... This one crack's up way too much.

 

So - after having done this project I now have a 1.5kw electric motor down in the basement, waiting for the belt-sander metal framework and wheels to arrive in the mail from Croatia. I've also been in contact with a company in China about importing a 16kg C41-16 air-hammer. Forge folding those billets is really timeconsuming when done by hand, and I figured I can save quite a bit of time by getting a powerhammer to do the rough work on.

 

Any comments or general feedback is greatly appreciated. :D

 

Sincerely, Alveprins - Norway.

 

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I have been told that getting a hamon to show on a twist pattern is difficult. You still got yourself a good looking knife though. Nice work.

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Thank you everyone for the kind remarks. :)

 

I just got back up from my forge - after pounding a 14 layer stack of #15 and #20 steel for 2-3 hours with very little result. I really need to get that powerhammer shipped from China... :lol:

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Very nice work. The intermediate stage bars are very crisp and clean which tells me you have much better forging skill than I do.

 

I feel your pain on doing this by hand because I don't have a press or power hammer either. I am lusting after building a press, but the funds are not there right now. I did find that I can move metal surprisingly faster with a 2kg hammer than I can with a 1.5kg.

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Very nice work. The intermediate stage bars are very crisp and clean which tells me you have much better forging skill than I do.

 

I feel your pain on doing this by hand because I don't have a press or power hammer either. I am lusting after building a press, but the funds are not there right now. I did find that I can move metal surprisingly faster with a 2kg hammer than I can with a 1.5kg.

Thank you good Sir! I am not really that good with the hammer - however - the key is in keeping all surfaces clean and free of clank and the sort when forge welding. Use plenty of flux, and make sure the billet is at welding temperature as to avoid cold-shuts. I try to hammer fast and hard for the first weld, making sure the entire stack gets properly smashed together. :) An angular-grinder does wonders for cleaning up surfaces inbetween welding too! :)

 

As for a DIY hammer or press - I've thought about this as well. But living in Norway - the parts are hard to come by, and the materials I'd need to buy - either used OR new - would be quite expensive. Which is why I got a price-quote for a 16kg air hammer from China the other day. Price is 1550USD including shipping to Norway - so I just put in the deposit wire-transfer minutes ago. :)

 

But I see many people in the US make tyre-hammers amongst other things. Could turn out cheap enough. Maybe someone in the community might even lend a hand.. Who knows. :)

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impressive work on the damascus.

on the issue of the hamon... i'm not familiar with the steels you used, but all that work and you finish by quenching in cooking oil? invest in a fast oil.

also, that's an awful lot of clay and it's applied close to the edge. between the oil and the clay, it makes me wonder if the edge fully hardened.

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impressive work on the damascus.

 

on the issue of the hamon... i'm not familiar with the steels you used, but all that work and you finish by quenching in cooking oil? invest in a fast oil.

 

also, that's an awful lot of clay and it's applied close to the edge. between the oil and the clay, it makes me wonder if the edge fully hardened.

Thank you.

 

Yeah, I have been told I've used too much clay. I did less on my most recent knife though, but I still see no hamon on it. I know the hardening was a success as well, because it hardened to the point I got micro-fractures in the steel all along the areas that were in direct contact with the oil. I used japanese files to measure the hardness. The 65HRC file bit the blade somewhat. The 60HRC skid right off. I estimate the hardness to be about 63HRC at the edge on my new one. The one in this post is soft... which would explain the lack of hamon. :)

 

Anyhow, I plan on making a couple of san-mai blades, non-damascus... If there's a hamon - it will show. :lol:

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