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Integral Explosion Damascus Kukri WIP. PICTURES FIXED!


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The kukri I just made and posted to the forum was accompanied while being built by a progression-in-pics thread that was shown elsewhere. I thought it might be enjoyed here, as well. So, I post it in a few installments!

 

Strips of 15n20 roughed out of band mill blade. I use a plasma cutter and guide bar.

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15n20 strips cleaned up and cut in half, with bars of prepped 1080. All with the abrasive chopsaw, using a depth stop so all the lengths match.

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13 layer billet prepped for the forge. The 15n20 is doubled up to near the thickness of the 1080. Some like less, I like my 'mascus to be fairly bright rather than dark in aspect.

dlviREn.jpg

 

 

Billet into the forge for first weld series. I like to do the initial welds without flux, to get nice clean welds with no trapped borax. Reducing atmosphere.

vxfRltm.jpg

 

Billet welded and flipped for w's, drawn and thirded, re-stacked and tacked. You can see my big old 9" grinder with snagging wheel, below the vise... also you can see that each time I leave a little bit more of the handle section of billet sticking out of the stack, to avoid any contamination from getting into the good blade steel.

sYuwuUm.jpg

 
 
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And there it is, finished. Thanks for following this, everyone! Anyone who may have questions, feel free to ask... Off to the shop now to continue work on the Bowie version of this knife.

....And then I had to take a break to play some banjo for the baby.  His name is Fire, he's 6 months old!

Billet after second weld series, restacked and tacked for 9 layers of w's now.

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Waiting for a heat.

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A shot of some of the forge scale popping off the billet... nice pinstripe one.

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9 layers of w's, welded and drawn out.

ACYTNWC.jpg

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In the forge for the last welding series, having been re-stacked again. 27 layers of w's now.

O5hFmZ4.jpg

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27 layer w's bar, welded, squared, and ready to draw next session into four bars to be twisted.

 

CzSo1po.jpg

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I drew the billet out to 40" long by 1/2" square, then cut in four equal pieces.

At this point I decided to add 2 bars to the original four, to increase the available mass for the blade and to easily have enough for the guard.

Another billet the same size...

 

kxCUpNV.jpg

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Second billet turned to w's, stacked out until 27 layers w's, then drawn into 1/2 square with the corners knocked down a bit. Ready for sectioning and twisting. 80" total now of 1/2" square w's.

PPe6YRn.jpg

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Cranking bars in the twisting rig. It's an old hand crank drill press. Locked into the spindle is a fabricated 1/2" square collet, and the tail end of the hot bar gets clamped in a centered drill press vise. I can adjust the height of the table, allowing me an adjustable workpiece length of a couple feet, more if I made the post longer. It works well- I keep tongs to grab the bar with and control the twist, at the side of the rig along with a water dripper for the same purpose. I take a couple heats per bar to get an even twist at both ends.

oMVWZ84.jpg

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I can twist tighter than this by quite a lot in the twister, but I like how this pattern looks at a medium rate of twist. Better explody definition at a visible resolution. The bars have all been roughly re-squared in the press, at a welding heat, with borax.

jJxUvye.jpg

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Ground the mating surfaces clean, and shot some MIG tacks on there, pretty shallow. Added a handle...

AgrrwXG.jpg

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Ran the billet through some forge welding sequences, and I'm starting to draw the end to pre-tip shaping proportions. I do this part all by hand, with lots of heat and flux, until it's good and solid, and then I'll gently begin to chomp it at welding heats with the press and power hammer. I do like how the mild drawing dies on the hammer planish the surface welds tighter at a welding heat.

 

kuUfwa7.jpg

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I cut the ends off, to get rid of the tacks and untwisted pattern. I gave it a couple of sub-critical anneals, then bandsaw cut a couple slices of the multibar pattern off, to save for the guard. Upon inspecting the welds, they were very clean. About 90% of the way through the maximum thickness, the surface was so well smeared together.
OBPirI3.jpg

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Drawn out a bit more, with the tip forged to 1" tall.

7312fhM.jpg

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Tip cut for bird's beak weld.

I5F3FVR.jpg

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Tip welded and profile 90% forged. I forge the shape at welding heats too, brushing and lightly fluxing with every heat. I want every hammer blow to be helping the welds.

1lnlImc.jpg

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A few additional remarks.

The bars were 1/2" square before twisting. After twisting, they were re-forged square at 1/2" again. The cleanest sides of each were ground scale free, which took only a little steel off, leaving about 7/16" of height perhaps to each. The billet after tacking was 2.5 - 3" wide, and after welding good and solid was perhaps 1.5" and thicker than the original 1/2' by a bit, through much of the bar. It was drawn under the hammer to about 3/8" thick all over, at welding heat. When profile forging the blade and flattening/truing things, the bevels were forged into the belly just enough to get the width I wanted, at about 1-3/4" max. This left the edge, at the thinnest part of the belly, still a solid 1/4" thick.

My point with all this, is that it's imperative to stay conscious of the pattern inside, and mindful of the fact that with twist stuff it looks better ground at least 1/3" of the way into. So, with the spine at 3/8", I knew that the thickness of the ricasso wouldn't show the explosions, which need to be ground deeply into. Since the ricasso here is small, and since I wanted it thick there and don't want to start with a 3/4" thick ricasso just to grind most of it off for the sake of pattern, I let that part slide.

I chose a 12" hollow grind, actually spread out even shallower, for the main bevel. The reasons being that I find that an advantageous grind when it needs to be sweeping and of variable pitch, and also that it's fairly close to the durability of a flat grind when that shallow, but allows me to grind just a little deeper in to the twist cores.

The clip grind is steep, full flat from the grind line down to a sharp zero edge along the spine, so it nicely exposes the explody core along the clip. Having forged the edge a little wider and thinner is fine, as I'll still be grinding at least a third off each side at the 1/4" thick edge.
Thus does my strategy and rationale proceed on such a project...

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I finished the profile, setting the ricasso in, and cut the handle off.XzE4a3B.jpg

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I took the two guard pieces that I'd cut off the end of the billet before profile forging, and prepped them rectangular and free of scale. I grabbed another little bit of 6-bar explosion that I had left on a handle from a previous blade, to make the third piece of the guard, under the choil.

 

xEl56L3.jpg

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I lightly tacked the guard pieces to the flat spot on the blade, all in areas that will be invisible on the finished knife. I held my mouth right, fired the forge up super hot, carefully fluxed on the rising heat, and set the guard welds. The guard was hammered very lightly from the end, then lightly from the sides, returned to the fire still at a welding heat with more flux, the process was repeated more firmly, and then yet again with a heavier hammer.

After the welds seemed good and set, I forged the whole pancake down a bit, still at a welding heat.

 

r24YzL4.jpg

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After a couple of forge normalizing cycles, it went into the Paragon for another three normalizings and then 2 hrs. at 1200 to leave it nice and soft.

 

dvqRf8i.jpg

 
 
 
 
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Roughed the scale off... everything looks promising. Welds disappearing as they should. using an angle grinder first to save on belts...
BJcNVub.jpg

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  • Salem Straub changed the title to Integral Explosion Damascus Kukri WIP. PICTURES FIXED!

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