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Hi all!

writing out of desperation,

as of tonight, i am on my fourth attempt (and failure) at welding SS to cabon steel. The best i got was a few partial welds on my last attempt but it can't be that hard? Can it?

first i tried a simple forge weld between several layers of aeb-l and 304, using only flurspar flux. Bound to fail, i know, but one has to try! Then i tried welding the sides and went san mai with 304 and 1075 (xc75 here in france). Three tries later and no luck! I was fairly certain i had clean welds on my last try, with aeb-l and xc75 , good heat in the forge, sprayed some wd40 before the last weld, soaked forever, and only got a few partials...

any ideas? Advice?

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I've been playing with this on and off over the last year.  Most of my attempts have been 304 to 1084, however I am just finishingup two 10" chef's knives that are 416 to 1075.

One thing that may be getting you is the heavy mill scale that can come on stainless stock.  The stuff can be a real pain to remove.

In my first attempt, I tried to sand blast it off, and thought I had clean metal.  However, I only got a few spots to wled.

Ever since then I have been grinding off a good bit of surface to get below the scale, and the welds have gone much better.

I simply TIG weld around the entier perimeter of the billet before going to the forge.  Early attempts were all done on the anvil, but these latest were done with my press.   No flux, or other special sauce.

Edited by Brian Dougherty
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Generall with stainless welds you need to run a weld seem around the outer edge of the billet.
This effectively keeps oxygen from contaminating the weld because the nickel content in the stainless is very prone to oxidization.

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Here is what I have learned.  I use 410SS and 1095 steel.  1/4" 1095 in the middle and 1/4" 410 on each side.  I use pieces 1"x3".  Grind the surfaces clean.  Stack together and weld all the seams.  Have your forge going at 2300+ degrees F.  weld a handle on the billet and stick in the hot forge.  Let the billet get hot all the way through.  Put under a press and squeeze together. Put back in the forge and bring back up to heat.  Put under a power hammer with flat dies and draw out.  

Fov5z9E.jpg

If you are interested, I can tell you how to get this pattern. 

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So, I got to ask. When it comes to forging period I am still a virgin. Most all of my knives are high carbon steel and made through reduction. However I just had a run in with a knife my son brought to me to re-point and sharpen. I tried this knife on water stones and from the roughest oil stone to the finest I had and it turned out to be nearly impossible to get a good edge on. Finally I put it on a diamond stone and I got an acceptable edge. Turns out this was a production knife made by  Spyderco, the steel is marked as CPMS30V . I had several makers comment that they did not like these types of steel for the same reason clients could not get a good edge and were constantly bringing them back! So I read the post by Tom Lewis 

41 minutes ago, Tom Lewis said:

Here is what I have learned.  I use 410SS and 1095 steel.  1/4" 1095 in the middle and 1/4" 410 on each side.  I use pieces 1"x3".  Grind the surfaces clean.  Stack together and weld all the seams.  Have your forge going at 2300+ degrees F.  weld a handle on the billet and stick in the hot forge.  Let the billet get hot all the way through.  Put under a press and squeeze together. Put back in the forge and bring back up to heat.  Put under a power hammer with flat dies and draw out.  

Now here is the question I got to ask! So you are making a knife that has the best of both worlds, You are making a piece of 1095 sandwiched between 410SS. You get the SS resistance to outside of the blade and yet the core is high carbon 1095. Making it easier to sharpen, Is that what you are achieving or am I missing something????? 

Edited by C Craft
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C Craft, the best of both worlds is part of it.  Also, I saw San Mai blades that others made and wanted to see if I could do the same thing.  I like to learn how to do different things.  Part of the attraction is the look of the stainless San Mai blade.  

Others may have different answers to your question.  

CTDNoBg.jpg

 

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So must ask another question the look or pattern as you referred to it. Is that a hamon or is it something achieved by the marriage of the two steels. I suddenly find myself wanting to learn more about this process! One more thing is this a possible process without a press, can it be done on an anvil, after welding the edges????

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25 minutes ago, C Craft said:

So must ask another question the look or pattern as you referred to it. Is that a hamon or is it something achieved by the marriage of the two steels. I suddenly find myself wanting to learn more about this process! One more thing is this a possible process without a press, can it be done on an anvil, after welding the edges????

C Craft,

I'm a newbie, so any information I give in response is just gathered from what I have read, and could be entirely wrong as I have no real forge time in yet.  But, I believe the pattern is from etching. And I've heard layering steels can be done by hand, just a lot more work and a bit harder. 

 

Tom,

Absolutely gorgeous work sir.  I've saved those pictures to my, "sexy knives" folder.  Your handle work is just beautiful.  A big thank you for sharing your technique with us. 

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3 hours ago, Tom Lewis said:

Fov5z9E.jpg

If you are interested, I can tell you how to get this pattern.

I am interested in the pattern also. 

It appears that you used a chisel of some sort down the edge of the blade and you left the edge fairly wide and as you ground the edge it allowed the stainless to come down to the edge and where you didn't use the chisel the carbon steel came up the side?

I hope I said that right but its like doing a ladder pattern Damascus but not cutting?

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Mr. Misch, thanks for the nice comment. 

Much of what I know about this process came from Ed Caffery.  He was very kind to answer my questions and gave me lots of help. 

I will try to answer the questions.  If I leave yours out, ask again and I will try to answer  

1.  I think it would be hard to make this San Mai with out a press.  I would say try it and see what happens.  A press welds everything together all at once. Also a press will keep the 1095 in the center of the billet where you want it.  

2.  After I have used my 100lb power hammer to draw out the billet, I bring it up to heat and then go back to the press and with large round dies I put a sort of ladder pattern in. 

vrmwCPo.jpg

Then instead of grinding off the ridges like you would for a Damascus ladder pattern, I just go back to the power hammer with flat dies and flatten the billet.  I hammer on both sides of the billet to keep the 1095 in the center.   I have had no problem with the billet separating after the press sets the weld.  Using the power hammer I do hammer the edges to help draw the billet out.  I don't try to forge the point or bevels because that might get the 1095 out of the center of the billet.  I do forge in the tang on hidden tang knives.  

3.  I then anneal the billet in a heat treating oven at 1350 degrees F for two hours and then let slowly cool overnight.  The forge scale is pretty tough.  I have heard of those who soak the billet in vinegar or something else to remove the forge scale, but I just use a Blaze 36grit belt and it grinds fast. 

4. Then I do pretty much a stock removal on the blade. 

5. I etch the blade in a 1-3 FeCl solution for 40 seconds.  Neutralize with windex. 

6. It's not really a hamon, the black part of the blade is the 1095 and the silver part is the 410SS. 

7. I make a lot of Damascus, and this San Mai is a lot faster and easier to make. 

 

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12 hours ago, Brian Dougherty said:

I've been playing with this on and off over the last year.  Most of my attempts have been 304 to 1084, however I am just finishingup two 10" chef's knives that are 416 to 1075.

One thing that may be getting you is the heavy mill scale that can come on stainless stock.  The stuff can be a real pain to remove.

In my first attempt, I tried to sand blast it off, and thought I had clean metal.  However, I only got a few spots to wled.

Ever since then I have been grinding off a good bit of surface to get below the scale, and the welds have gone much better.

I simply TIG weld around the entier perimeter of the billet before going to the forge.  Early attempts were all done on the anvil, but these latest were done with my press.   No flux, or other special sauce.

Thanks Brian, I have been grinding quite thoroughly but I'll give it an extra grind next time I try. I stick weld my stock, do you think it makes a difference to TIG welding? 

Do you not spray with WD40?

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3 hours ago, Alex tritten said:

Thanks Brian, I have been grinding quite thoroughly but I'll give it an extra grind next time I try. I stick weld my stock, do you think it makes a difference to TIG welding? 

Do you not spray with WD40?

I do not spray with WD40.

I don't know much about stick welding.  (I don't know how to do it)  I TIG mine because it seems like I can get the edges sealed up with the least amount of heat.  The whole time I am welding, I am worried about creating a new oxide layer onthe stainless :)

 

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4 hours ago, Alex tritten said:

Thanks Brian, I have been grinding quite thoroughly but I'll give it an extra grind next time I try. I stick weld my stock, do you think it makes a difference to TIG welding? 

Do you not spray with WD40?

The good thing about tig welding is you can seal up the billet without adding different materials to the billet. Or if you use a filler rod you can choose what kind of filler you wanna use.

Edited by Jeremy Blohm
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OK, now I am learning. The press is probably very much key, (most likely) in this process. I don't tig I am old school ( I arc weld) but, will tell you with stick you will create more heat, (more than likely IMO)! 

While I am typing this Jeremy posted and that is true as well about the rod material. You can probably overcome the process of adding in other material by watching what rod you are using (stick welding) but, from what little I do know about Tig, the heat build up from the stick process is going to be far greater. Unless you weld in short runs, which in itself could be problematic! 

Tom said;

Posted 

Mr. Misch, thanks for the nice comment. 

Much of what I know about this process came from Ed Caffery.  He was very kind to answer my questions and gave me lots of help. 

I will try to answer the questions.  If I leave yours out, ask again and I will try to answer  

1.  I think it would be hard to make this San Mai with out a press.  I would say try it and see what happens.  A press welds everything together all at once. Also a press will keep the 1095 in the center of the billet where you want it.  

2.  After I have used my 100lb power hammer to draw out the billet, I bring it up to heat and then go back to the press and with large round dies I put a sort of ladder pattern in. 

vrmwCPo.jpg

Then instead of grinding off the ridges like you would for a Damascus ladder pattern, I just go back to the power hammer with flat dies and flatten the billet.  I hammer on both sides of the billet to keep the 1095 in the center.   I have had no problem with the billet separating after the press sets the weld.  Using the power hammer I do hammer the edges to help draw the billet out.  I don't try to forge the point or bevels because that might get the 1095 out of the center of the billet.  I do forge in the tang on hidden tang knives.

 

So for the files on new insight. One reason I think the press is so key,  is just natural thinking it through but, two is I know Ed. He is good people and if tells you this is the best way, it's because he has already tried the other way and it don't work or work well at all! He starts something new and he takes his process thru several tests before any of it ever leaves his shop!!!

Gonna have to put this info in my for the future ideas folder but, I still think the press may be more key than most would think, and definitely so given the look of the hamon. Thanks for the info guys, at 60 I am still learning new things! Like I am not as fast as I use to be or it hurts more to take a tumble, and ,..............LOL

Edited by C Craft
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I have seen people use nickel foil in regular damascus, but the same oxidation issues that make stainless difficult to forge weld mean the nickel will not help in this regard.

And that hazy pattern that looks like hamon is carbon migration from the high carbon 1095 to the relatively lower carbon 410.  Neat visual effect!  Also, one which nickel sheet will stop dead.  Nickel effectively prevents carbon migration from happening since the speed it happens is so much slower compared to in iron.

From what I've seen, a stick welder won't help you much.  TIG or gas shielded MIG with stainless wire do work, as does squishing it all together in a length of aluminized exhaust header and MIG-ing that closed with a piece of paper on top of the steel.  A press is absolutely mandatory for doing this unless you're Jim Hrisoulas ;). Mere mortals get one shot at setting the weld.

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4 hours ago, Brian Dougherty said:

I do not spray with WD40.

I don't know much about stick welding.  (I don't know how to do it)  I TIG mine because it seems like I can get the edges sealed up with the least amount of heat.  The whole time I am welding, I am worried about creating a new oxide layer onthe stainless :)

 

 

8 minutes ago, Alan Longmire said:

I have seen people use nickel foil in regular damascus, but the same oxidation issues that make stainless difficult to forge weld mean the nickel will not help in this regard.

And that hazy pattern that looks like hamon is carbon migration from the high carbon 1095 to the relatively lower carbon 410.  Neat visual effect!  Also, one which nickel sheet will stop dead.  Nickel effectively prevents carbon migration from happening since the speed it happens is so much slower compared to in iron.

From what I've seen, a stick welder won't help you much.  TIG or gas shielded MIG with stainless wire do work, as does squishing it all together in a length of aluminized exhaust header and MIG-ing that closed with a piece of paper on top of the steel.  A press is absolutely mandatory for doing this unless you're Jim Hrisoulas ;). Mere mortals get one shot at setting the weld.

Ok, I feel a little bit better, I think the stick weld is the problem! I tried again this PM, cleaned the crap out of my stock, did a beautiful job of welding the lot nice and clean, lit up the forge like the fires of hell, and ended up with the odd partial welds... Luckily i had two normal damascus billets going at the same time so it wasn't a total waste of gas and time...

Reading your comments yesterday I was worried my stick welding would oxidize my stainless. I don't know so much about welding, but would never have thought the differences in temperature would be so important between stick and TIG?

I have a cheap MIG as well, using shielded wire. I may go and buy a roll of stainless wire and give it a try, or find someone with a TIG welder!!

Understanding is half the job done, thanks guys!!

 

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I'm guessing here, but from what the others have said, the shielded wire MIG may not be as efective a a true MIG with an argon source.  I have heard of others allowing the gas to run to fill in the space between the plates before striking the ark to weld.  I've never really believed that would work, but then again, I am not a welder.

Edited by Brian Dougherty
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Here is an example I have been working onthe last couple of weeks.  I wanted to make two gyuto-ish knives.  One for me because I still don't have a decent chef's knife in my kitchen, and one for my daughter's boyfriend's parents.  

These blades are a 410/1075 combination.  The initial billet was made from 3/16"  x 1.5" x 9" pieces of steel for each type.  After grinding the steel clean on a 10" wheel with a 40 grit belt, I TIG welded all the way around the stack.  I don't leave the oft reccomended pin-hole becaue I have no doubt that my TIG welding will already have a few ;)

My forge runs a bit cold for welding.  On a good day I can get it to about 2250F, but that is only at the hotest spots.  So I let these soak for quite a while at temp before I tried to set the weld. (maybe 10-15minutes?)  Then I let them soak again after the first welding pass.

These were welded on my press, and drawn out to 2+" x 15+" billets.  I had a small area on one that did not weld completely, but I was able to isolate that to the tang area.  (I guess that one will be my knife :rolleyes:)

The blades are 11" long, 2" high at the heel, and 0.110" thick at the spine.  Here they are in an early state of polish with a test etch.

IMG_20180119_075639438.jpg

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On 16-1-2018 at 2:01 AM, C Craft said:

Now here is the question I got to ask! So you are making a knife that has the best of both worlds, You are making a piece of 1095 sandwiched between 410SS. You get the SS resistance to outside of the blade and yet the core is high carbon 1095. Making it easier to sharpen, Is that what you are achieving or am I missing something????? 

That would not be the case. When you have SS in contact with carbon steel, the exposed carbon steel will rust a lot faster due to galvanic corrosion. It's the same as why you don't use SS bolts in a steel construction. 

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