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JamesK

First attempt at damacus, 20 layer tomahawk

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My first time successfully making a Damascus product over 10 layers, so I’m happy with it for sure! Only thing is it has a dirty Damascus kinda look to it, even though I had a 600-grit finish. In a 4-1 ratio water to ferric chloride, I took about 45-60 mins with about 15-20 min soaks followed by a 600-grit sand on both sides, followed by another soak. What do you all think? I kind of like the worn look, but would have liked a specific pattern. What should I look out for in the future?Also, you can clearly tell where I heat treated the metal, so it’s very dark compared to the back of the hawk

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More layers and more stock removal.  On something like a hawk where you forge it completely to shape, you'll find making a patterned bar before turning it into a hawk will give you a better range of possibilities. A straight laminate bar wrapped, welded, and forged to shape gives you, well, what you got.   The pattern only shows where it was ground to expose the edges of the layers.  A very high layer bar works better for that application if you want a random pattern.  And to get a lot of pattern in a random bar, you have to forge it ugly (full of dings, deep hammer marks, and uneven surfaces), then grind it smooth to expose all those edges.  The higher the layer count the less ugly you need to make it and the less you need to grind off, since the layers will be so thin.

That's the thing with pattern-welding, though, the only limits are what you can think up!  I think a Turkish Twist would make a great hawk.  That's several square bars of simple twists welded edge-to-edge to make up the width you want.  The other basics like ladder or raindrop would do interesting things when forged to shape, but you have to make the patterned bar first.  Practice with two colors of Plasticine or Play-Doh. Watch Owen Bush's demo from Arctic Fire 2016 on the video page.  That's an hour well spent even if you know how it works and what you're doing, I can't begin to think how mind-blowing it will be for someone who hasn't been playing with this stuff for as long as I have.

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I agree the arctic fire 2016 video on pattern welding is a great video to watch. It explained a lot to me that I didn't quite understand.

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I get much darker etching using instant coffee mixed up really strong. Some of my blades came out just gray in color when etched in Ferric chloride, but then when I put them in the coffee for 45-60 minutes, they came out black and the nickel was nice and clean. Looks much better. I used half of an 8 ounce jar in as much water as it took to fill that jar.

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