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Feather damascus WIP attempt n 2

Alex tritten

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ok so I thought I would post a few pictures this time so that if it goes wrong (again) it may help some others...

here are the first stages in pictures...

1075 and 15n201 stack 1.png



4.pngrounding off the edges. my power hammer needs more power for this jig through, but it seems to have worked.



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and the first etch...not so good a picture, but there is a distinct distortion of the layers, better than last time already!7 first etch.png 

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second session at the forge, here are a few pics, so far, so good...

8.png first stack of four welded up plus some Borax



9.png a few taps with the hammer and under the power hammer it goes!

11.png And drawing it out!12.png once again, i loose the handle before the end and finish off with the tongs... It seems I can't get a handle welded on properly... ever! i use 3 mm sticks, do a couple of passes, but it never lasts till the end... 

13 second etch.pngand some good W's appearing, this feels like victory, nevermind the end!


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next session coming up, I only have enough for a three stack, this steel is disappearing fast!Screen Shot 2018-02-02 at 7.31.16 PM.pngScreen Shot 2018-02-02 at 7.33.12 PM.pngLight tap with the hammer, notice the new respirator, the ceramic fibre lining in my forge is coming apart and i don't want to be breathing it...

Screen Shot 2018-02-02 at 7.33.41 PM.png then under the hammer. It's worth mentioning I am trying a full mig weld along the edges here, and no flux. It ends up being one of my worst forge welds ever, with deep cold shuts I will have to grind for a while... after reading a thread on this forum, I now realize that flux-less welds are done at a slightly higher temperature... If life was simple, it wouldn't be interesting...

Screen Shot 2018-02-02 at 7.34.13 PM.png trying to brush off the scale as often as i can, these are two steel brushes screwed inside a frame, quite practical!

Screen Shot 2018-02-02 at 7.35.31 PM.png ...And more drawing out

Screen Shot 2018-02-02 at 7.36.22 PM.png Guess what? the handle has come off again...

Screen Shot 2018-02-02 at 6.59.10 PM.png Very fine pattern emerging, so fine it's hard to see!

Screen Shot 2018-02-02 at 7.37.29 PM.png Cutting in five. I'm thinking, I want to keep it relatively wide so I won't need to do too much lateral drawing later on. Drawing out a good heel on my chef knives is my black sheep (one of the herd)

Screen Shot 2018-02-02 at 7.37.43 PM.png No more cutting discs for my machine, so I have to use the grinder and pray for straight cuts.

Screen Shot 2018-02-02 at 7.39.00 PM.png Only welded the corners and using borax.

Screen Shot 2018-02-02 at 7.39.22 PM.pngtwo rounds on the hammer

Screen Shot 2018-02-02 at 7.39.41 PM.pngthen onto the power hammer, good long soaking times in the forge, not taking any chances.

Screen Shot 2018-02-02 at 7.40.06 PM.png The billet is small, so I can fit it with a blunt cutter tool under the hammer

Screen Shot 2018-02-02 at 7.40.25 PM.pngand cut it in two heats only. Man do I want a press!

Screen Shot 2018-02-02 at 7.41.07 PM.png Last half inch with a very old axe, which dies in the process. The rest of the blade will make a nice wedge... When i have a press! 

Screen Shot 2018-02-03 at 10.38.49 AM.pngI then flux the gap and hammer it all back together. For once, the handle hasn't come off, so I need to cut it off so I can hammer the gap flat, soak it and weld it back together. Somewhere along the way, something went wrong, and the weld comes apart first time I try to take it sideways on the power hammer, possibly because i didn't do my usual four flat squeezes, only two (but 2 with the hammer also...). So back in the forge to soak for a while with a bit of flux, and start the process again, press twice with the hammer, then 4 heats flat with the power hammer, next try on the side seems to hold, and here are the results, what seems to be a BAD weld on the spine of the feather!!!

Screen Shot 2018-02-03 at 10.38.04 AM.pngI'm not crying yet, as this is a partial success (I have a feather), and the fat lady hasn't sung yet. I have several options, giving up not being one of them:

I can soak it back up and give it a squeeze, then try to draw it out.

I can heat it up, split it back up, and try welding it again.

I can cut along the seam in two halves, clean them up, weld them, then forge weld them, solution i am leaning towards...

Let you know when I know!

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So I chose to cut my billet back along the bad weld and weld it all over again. There was a whole square centimeter of inclusion in the middle!

Screen Shot 2018-02-03 at 8.49.05 PM.png

Screen Shot 2018-02-03 at 8.49.39 PM.pngTired of stick welding the handles and loosing them, thought I might as well Mig weld my handle and loose it...

Screen Shot 2018-02-03 at 8.50.09 PM.png Bit of Borax...

Screen Shot 2018-02-03 at 8.50.47 PM.png Three heats with the hammer for luck, 

Screen Shot 2018-02-03 at 8.52.01 PM.png and four heats flat under the power hammer before starting to draw it sideways.

Screen Shot 2018-02-03 at 8.52.55 PM.png Bit of fish mouth on the end, hammering it flat gently

Screen Shot 2018-02-03 at 8.54.09 PM.png Start a bit of a tang, mostly to be able to hold it with better tongs,

Screen Shot 2018-02-03 at 8.54.30 PM.png Hammer a pointy bit. I'm always weary doing this and always end up with less of a point than I would like... Then I draw out as much heel as I dare before flattening the whole lot and drawing out the tang a bit more.

Screen Shot 2018-02-03 at 8.56.32 PM.png

Screen Shot 2018-02-03 at 8.59.02 PM.pngNo way am I trying to forge the full shape, I'm going for a nice thickness, about 6/7mm, as I have seen a little line develop on the weld...

The blank is left in the forge to cool down slowly from non-magnetic, it's as much normalization as it's going to get.

Screen Shot 2018-02-04 at 8.14.33 PM.png the morning after, grinding willl tell if we have a knife!

Screen Shot 2018-02-03 at 8.59.32 PM.png

Screen Shot 2018-02-03 at 8.58.31 PM.png

Screen Shot 2018-02-03 at 8.55.03 PM.png

Screen Shot 2018-02-03 at 8.53.23 PM.png

Screen Shot 2018-02-03 at 8.52.29 PM.png

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Screen Shot 2018-02-04 at 8.33.53 PM.png The too that gets used the most in the shop, apart from myself...

Screen Shot 2018-02-04 at 8.34.45 PM.png Tired of the grinder, so I stick a 60 grit on and get it flat to see if I can get rid of the little line on the weld on one side. I have 6mm to play with so shouldn't be a problem

Screen Shot 2018-02-04 at 8.36.08 PM.png Cutting to shape. I really wish I was better at forging, but then again, it's a way to get rid of mig welds and I get to place the spine of the feather where I want it...

Screen Shot 2018-02-04 at 8.36.32 PM.pngrefining the outline and getting it straight, then rough grinding the bevels, up to 240 grit.

Screen Shot 2018-02-04 at 8.37.45 PM.pngThe line in the spine is still there... I don't want to thin the blade out anymore though, it's right where I know there is little risk of warping during heat treat.

Screen Shot 2018-02-04 at 8.40.57 PM.png Non magnetic, soak a bit and dunk in warm oil... it doesn't go PING!

Screen Shot 2018-02-04 at 8.42.27 PM.png And it's hard, file is skating. Into the oven at 200C for a couple of hours...

Screen Shot 2018-02-04 at 8.43.46 PM.png And we have a hardened and tempered blade! The tiny line in the spine is still there so I know it's not a perfect blade, but then again, my kids aren't perfect either and I'm still keeping them so...



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I admire your tenacity with this project.  I can't tell from the pics but you mentioned  that  "the line" is still there.  Is  it a black or a  white line?  A black line usually means an incomplete  weld.  A white line is usually from carbon loss and can be eliminated with thermal cycling and carbon migration.





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4 hours ago, Gary Mulkey said:


I admire your tenacity with this project.  I can't tell from the pics but you mentioned  that  "the line" is still there.  Is  it a black or a  white line?  A black line usually means an incomplete  weld.  A white line is usually from carbon loss and can be eliminated with thermal cycling and carbon migration.


probably a bad weld then, not throughout the blade, but still! Pictures coming up!

If I understand well, thermal cycling is normalizing the steel? But what about carbon migration? I've read it's a process that occurs in the forge, didn't think it could be controlled

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What he meant is that if it is decarb at the weld line, doing a few thermal cycles (proper normalizing) will cause carbon migration and thus fix the decarb.  Carbon moves relatively fast in steel.  Check out Gary's most recent pinned thread on mosaic damascus in this very subforum for an example.

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Screen Shot 2018-02-05 at 7.22.53 PM.png Productive day today, onto the grinder for the final grind, from 120 to 240

Screen Shot 2018-02-05 at 7.23.09 PM.png

Screen Shot 2018-02-05 at 7.23.33 PM.png then every one's favorite job

Screen Shot 2018-02-05 at 7.23.48 PM.png Not forgetting the choil!

Screen Shot 2018-02-05 at 7.24.39 PM.pngThree baths of 10mn

Screen Shot 2018-02-05 at 7.28.35 PM.pngAnd after one more bath, instant coffee this time! You can see a bad weld on the heel, little black spot...

Screen Shot 2018-02-05 at 7.29.34 PM.pngSize wise, i'm pleasantly surprised, it's the same size blade as my latest chef's knife, and the heel is the same height as my stainless work horse, so I'm quite happy all in all. Can't wait to cook with it!

Screen Shot 2018-02-05 at 7.30.30 PM.png I can't find a good piece of stabilized wood in my arsenal, so I spend an hour or so cutting a piece of walnut tree I have lying around, and stick it under vacuum with cactus juice. It will go into the pressure pot next for the night.

Screen Shot 2018-02-05 at 7.31.01 PM.png Little piece of random damascus for a guard, here goes my afternoon.

Screen Shot 2018-02-05 at 7.31.22 PM.png


Screen Shot 2018-02-05 at 7.27.41 PM.png

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Screen Shot 2018-02-07 at 8.51.14 PM.pngI had to redo the spine to fit the guard, so on goes the nail varnish to protect the rest of the blade whilst I re-reveal it.

 Screen Shot 2018-02-07 at 8.51.25 PM.pngthe guard is going in the ferric chloride

Screen Shot 2018-02-07 at 8.51.39 PM.pnga few bits of double dyed thuya, oak, and a classic walnut to fit this knife.

Screen Shot 2018-02-07 at 8.53.14 PM.png sanding the handle

Screen Shot 2018-02-07 at 8.53.43 PM.pngheating up the epoxy, it's cold outside today!

Screen Shot 2018-02-07 at 8.54.29 PM.png polishing the handle

Screen Shot 2018-02-07 at 8.54.49 PM.png4000 grit stone

Screen Shot 2018-02-07 at 8.57.04 PM.png Classic look for an organic pattern...

Screen Shot 2018-02-07 at 8.59.47 PM.png...and It cuts!

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A few better pictures...

IMG_3116.JPGIMG_3125.JPG I may grind this bad weld at the heel, but for now, it's going to get some kitchen time!


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