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Can you get good contrast with 1075 and 15n20? I have read that they are almost the same besides nickle content. Will they weld together? I am asking because I have these materials and I think I have my forge tuned to welding temps. I want to try my first pattern weld. The only other steel I have is 5160 or could be 9260. Railcar coil spring. Scrap if you want to get down to it. It makes decent hard blades. Also the 1075 and 15n20 blades I’ve seen have a very subtle pattern.

 

Thanks, Jon

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Yes you definitely can weld them and yes they will etch well, if hardened. Etch is a personal thing, some go deep, some go shallow.

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Jon,

Of the three steels mentioned 1075 would be the best for Damascus.  I wouldn't recommend the other two.  1075 will not give you the contrast that you will get from 1080/1084 as it doesn't have as much Mn which is what gives you the dark etch.  I would recommend doing a coffee soak (14oz instant coffee in 1 gal water) to give additional contrast.

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What Gary said.  Or you could do a really deep etch, cold blue, then wipe off the high spots.  But the 1075/15n20 combo will weld like a dream.  

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Thanks for the replies. This will be my first try at pattern welding/damascus. I bought coffee grounds today. I’m glad to hear that these metals will weld.  I’ve been meaning to buy some more cold blue. Thanks for reminding me! My only other welding has been 1018 together on decorative things. From my reading and what I’ve been told, you don’t have to get these carbon steels as hot to weld. One other question. Would ferric be suitable as an etchant, or something else? I haven’t any on hand experience and would like to know before I buy. 

 

Thanks, Jon

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Ferric chloride is ideal. I use a 1:2 dilution with water (if you buy the anhydrous stuff). I like deep etches so do multiple 20min soaks, wiping off the oxides and then polishing with 1500grit hand sandpaper between soaks.

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High carbon does weld about 150 degrees cooler than mild. Not quite enough that you'd notice, in other words. Very bright yellow just short of white.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello all. I made up two billets of the 1075 15n20 combo and they seemed to have welded great. I cut and stacked the nine layer billet. It started out 3” long by 1” x 1-1/8”. I drew it out to about 6-1/2” by 1-1/2” by 5/16”. Roughly. I cut it down the middle with a cut off disc on an angle grinder. Then cut it half. I noticed there wasn’t any visible lines in the middle. So that makes me think it’s a good weld. The outside of the billet does show lines. The picture is of the four stacked. Is this normal? The other billet I made was 5 layers. I hot cut and folded. First pic is the 5 layer after folding.

 

Thanks, Jon

795ADF19-0A06-4943-BAE6-1B41F4FD0A00.jpeg

317C9440-5272-4133-B33B-C1E5E20CA82A.jpeg

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I’ve got to 288 layers. Would it be better to forge the tip in or just profile? This is as far as I am taking it. I laddered it and drew it out. My arm can’t take anymore. Any input would be helpful.

 

Thanks, Jon

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For ladder pattern it doesnt matter if you forge the tip but the flow of the pattern will likely look better if you do.

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This is what I came up with. I didn’t have enough to forge the tip in. I’m happy with the results though. I felt that I was getting too thin on the tip. So I stopped forging. I’m going to put this in the coffee etch. The pattern might jump out more. Please leave some feedback. Pictures included. This was etched with ferric.

 

Thanks, Jon

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Yep, it worked!

You won't get high contrast until it's hardened and tempered, that's just how it works. 

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On 3/16/2020 at 9:20 AM, Alan Longmire said:

You won't get high contrast until it's hardened and tempered, that's just how it works

Why is that anyway. I've always wondered!!!

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An update. I heat treated today and it went well. As far as I could tell anyway. The etch after heat treating is a lot bolder. This is only sanded to 400 grit. I’m not entirely happy with this but it proved my forge can do it. To other beginners: This was done by hand. I went through 40lbs of propane to make this. My forge will weld but it’s not too efficient. Any feedback or questions welcome.

 

Thanks, Jon

31369F4A-D869-41FD-BDC3-BF87D09A54FA.jpeg

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8 minutes ago, Jeremy Blohm said:

Why is that anyway. I've always wondered!!!

I don’t know either. The pictures show the results though. Much bolder after heat treatment. 

 

Jon

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9 hours ago, Jeremy Blohm said:

Why is that anyway. I've always wondered!!!

I can't explain it metallurgically, but I've always assumed it is because of the same effect that causes a hamon.

 

I'd say you did real good on your first damascus Jon.  It's tough to hammer out by hand.  I did if for a few years, and found that I would have 8 hours of hammering alone just to get a billet like that to make the knife from.  I wasn't as efficient with a hammer then either, but it still takes a long time.

 

I suspect you still have some larger grit scratches in there.  A little more time polishing, and you might like the result more.  Take it to 800 grit cleanly.  Then between etches, hit it with some 1200 grit using a hard backer to polish up the 15N20.  Then see what you think of it.

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10 hours ago, Jeremy Blohm said:

Why is that anyway. I've always wondered!!!

 

It has to do with the crystal form. Martensite etches darker than any other phase, but that's about all I know!

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