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Alex Middleton

Ladder pattern question

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I welded up a billet today that ended up with a few flaws in it.  I'm going to keep going with it to see if I get the pattern that I'm looking for before I start on another one.  I'm planning on trying a version of a ladder pattern, but I've never done one before.  Out of curiosity, after I finish putting in the grooves, should the follow on forging be done at a welding heat?  Is there a better way to avoid cold shuts when flattening the billet back out?

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Welding heat is good.  Make sure you round off the tops of the grooves and you shouldn't have cold shuts.  It's sharp edges that contribute to that.  How are you cutting the grooves? 

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16 hours ago, Alex Middleton said:

 Is there a better way to avoid cold shuts when flattening the billet back out?

Hi Alex.  Not sure if you saw this, but here's a thread I posted earlier that may help:

 

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Alan, I'm planning on grinding them in for the most part, and then cleaning up with a file.  Thanks for the tip on rounding off the corners, I'll make sure I do that.

Thanks for that link Billy.  I had forgotten about that thread, there's some good info there.

 

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I actually managed to find some shop time this afternoon so I worked on this a bit more.  I wanted to something a little different than a straight up ladder pattern, so I ended up marking my grooves with a cutoff wheel, widening them out a bit with the corner of a square file, and then finishing them with an 8" half round file.  Since it's a dagger, and I wanted symmetry, I tapered the depths from the edge up to the spine on both sides.  It ended up looking like this:

20200209_162525(0).jpg

Being another snowy day here, I didnt really feel like working on the honey-do list so I pulled the forge out and fired it up.

20200209_163219.jpg

After a very rough grind and a test etch, I was excited to see the pattern come out pretty much like I'd hoped for:

20200209_175711.jpg

You can see that I need to be more careful when filing in the grooves, I also need to leave more material to grind off after forging in the bevels.  I guess using this as a practice blade was a good idea.

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35 minutes ago, Alex Middleton said:

  I wanted to something a little different than a straight up ladder pattern,

That ought to look good...

35 minutes ago, Alex Middleton said:

I was excited to see the pattern come out pretty much like I'd hoped for

Welcome to the addiction.....:ph34r::D

Looks good, still.  Is there enough there to make a smaller neck knife?  It looks like you've already got the shoulder for the tang at the deeper grind mark....

Edited by billyO

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Its possible.  I'm afraid that theres too many weld flaws hidden inside to make it worth while though.  I can definitely see how this can turn into an addiction all right.  I've already started working on the next billet using some more predictable materials than what went into this one.

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Looks good!  And yeah, there's a lot of waste in some patterns.  One more reason Damascus is not cheap!

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1 hour ago, Alan Longmire said:

 And yeah, there's a lot of waste in some patterns.  One more reason Damascus is not cheap!

 

Ladder and twist especially.  Some twist effects require that 66% of your starting billet end up as dust on the floor.

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2 hours ago, Brian Dougherty said:

end up as dust on the floor.

 

When I want the eddy effect found in the center of a twisted bar, I split it down the middle with a bandsaw, turn it inside-out, and reweld. ;)  Much less grinding.  

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3 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

Looks good!  And yeah, there's a lot of waste in some patterns.  One more reason Damascus is not cheap!

 

That doesn't even include the scallops that it ended up with (didn't get a picture) after forging in the bevels that all had to be ground off to get it back to shape.  I had thought about forging them back flat, but I figured that it would disrupt the pattern too much.

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25 minutes ago, Alan Longmire said:

 

When I want the eddy effect found in the center of a twisted bar, I split it down the middle with a bandsaw, turn it inside-out, and reweld. ;)  Much less grinding.  

So, do you then just have to grind about 15% off each face to get to the stars?

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The stars start at around 20% and continue through about 40%, so I do those the normal way.  Only for the loops do I use the split and weld backwards method, since they are in the central 10%.  Look at Niels' visualization here:

and here:

 

Only if I am after the bottom pattern do I split.  And as far as I know, the twist is the only pattern that works with.  Laddering and raindrop only go so deep and can be ground right out.  There a bit of difference between cut grooves/drilled holes forged flat and using a press to press grooves and blisters that are then ground flat, but both methods will go away if ground too much.  And you just took a mosaic class, so you know how much that process wastes...

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There is also this:

 

 

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