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Faye

Hammer in portfolio WIP

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I actually saw that video a while back and ever since have photo copied my drawings and put clear tape on both sides of the paper and cut them out. That's what I use for my templates and I can trace them out on the anvil with a soap stone when I forge. However, I have never made a template out of steel because I don't have any flat steel laying around. What is the reason behind making a steel template?

I won't make excuses for my poor forging, it's usually much better, I got a little over zealous and tried to turn two  2" by 3/4" peices of steel into blades at the same time without a power hammer. I should have broke it into two forging sessions. But instead of grinding the profiles in, I cut the largest chunks off and will turn them into jewelry.

I happily discovered today that my patterning did not entirely fail. I have my doubts that the raindrops will still be there after the bevels are ground in but it's a cool pattern right now anyway.

After reading the presentation that Alan directed me to, I made some slight adjustments to the seax blade measurements based off the specs on page 40, I believe.

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IMG_20200427_181505475.jpg

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The seax is on point :D

I like the looks of the little one too!

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5 hours ago, Faye said:

I actually saw that video a while back and ever since have photo copied my drawings and put clear tape on both sides of the paper and cut them out. That's what I use for my templates and I can trace them out on the anvil with a soap stone when I forge. However, I have never made a template out of steel because I don't have any flat steel laying around. What is the reason behind making a steel template?

 

Have you got any old white ware you can take the side out of. Old washing machines etc have a nice thickness of steel to cut your patterns from. I have all mine from that and they stand up to years of use as a scribing guide to either cut out blanks from bar stock or to scribe from for your forgings

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On 4/27/2020 at 6:58 PM, Faye said:

What is the reason behind making a steel template?

Durability mostly. I have a box of templates for blades and handles. I also have a plastic Gatorade can with my fitting templates. My slip-joint patterns are also made form the same stock, except the spring is made from tempered HC steel, so the template can actually function. I used to make my blade templates from 1/4 inch MDF board or some other flammable material. That didn't work out so well in the forging area...….

 

I am really liking that little pattern welded blade Faye! It reminds me of those little ones @Adam Weller made. Tell us more about what went into that.

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Unfortunately, I don't have any old white ware laying around either. I see where the non-flammable template would come in handy though.

The edc is a revised version of my personal edc.

IMG_20190606_185839126.jpg

 

 After carrying this little knife for about a year, I made a list of things I liked and didn't like and drew up a design based on that list. The steel is 124 layer Damascus made in one of Audra's classes. I wanted to try patterning, so I used a chisel clamped upward in a vice and a small ball peen hammer. The chisel head was a little small and pointed. Next time I am going to use a wider chisel and maybe go a little deeper.

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So this was kinda supposed to be a surprise, but I think I ran into a problem. The seax knife is 124 layer random pattern Damascus. While grinding I kept noticing fuzzy white lines up by the spine, all the way at the back of the knife on both sides. On the right bevel there is also a thinner white line running about half an inch above the edge. Though it's hard to see even when etched.

I don't know enough about Damascus to know if this is a catastrophic flaw or mostly an asthetic flaw. 

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Posted (edited)

If there is no "pit" or depression, it is not likely to be a weld flaw. 

A couple of questions

1. Where are we in the HT regimen? Is this hardened and tempered?

2. If this is pre-HT, did you do a couple of normalizing heats before you started grinding?

3. If this is post HT, did you do a couple normalizing heats before quenching?

 

Oh yeah, what steels are we talking about?

Edited by Joshua States

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There are no pits. The steels are 15n20 and 1080. It is pre HT, without normalization. What I do after I finish forging is put the blade in the forge, bring it to heat and then turn everything off. I let the forge cool over night and take the blade out in the morning.  That's my annealing process, but this is the first time I've done it with Damascus. That's the closet I get to normalizing.

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13 hours ago, Faye said:

is a catastrophic flaw or mostly an aesthetic flaw

Good  morning, Faye.  I'll defer to Joshua if needed and for details, but in my experience with damascus, and where you are in the process, I'd say neither and wouldn't worry about it at this point.  As Joshua hinted at, strange things happen to pattern welded steels during forging/welding that mostly get fixed through proper normalizing (or thermal cycling if you prefer).  

You probably already know this, but an un-hardened piece of damascus won't give good contrast post-etch. 

Also, I noticed recently that immediately after the quench  (before cleaning off all the decarb) the 'colors' look reversed.  The 15N20 has a dark film and the carbon steels (1080 and O1) look shiny and silver.  

Out of quench:

20200427_104015.jpg

After clean up:

20200505_205209.jpg

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Faye, before you do any more grinding on that blade, I would suggest you thermal cycle it a time or three. This may produce a bunch of scale and decarb at this stage of the game, but you can avoid that.  Painting the blade with an anti-scale coating (any white latex or acrylic paint will work) prior to heating will resist the carbon from exiting the steel and bonding with any loose oxygen. This will limit the scale buildup on the surface of the blade. The resulting residue from the paint wipes off easily with water and a Scotchbrite pad or 220 grit paper. Those nasty white lines are common in some Damascus and especially in multi-bar patterns. It is a result (I think) of carbon migration at the weld seam. 

 

You should probably get into the habit of doing a couple of thermal cycles (normalizing is the standard term used) by bringing the blade up to around 1600*F (orange heat) and letting it air cool. You want it below 800*F before reheating. I use a handheld IR thermometer, but you can also use a piece of steel tube that is large enough to get the blade, held in a pair of tongs, into deep enough to get it completely engulfed in dark shadow. Once the glow is completely gone and you cannot see where the blade is (or the end of the tongs) you are ready to reheat.

 

Then go for removing the scale and rough grind. When you get to working with hypereutectoid steels (1095, O1, etc.) the slow cooling process is not beneficial. That results in what is called a lamellar anneal and causes the carbides to form sheets inside the steel. These can dull a drill bit or saw blade in a NY minute. The truly spheroidal anneal reduces the steel to a soft and uniform carbide distribution. A truly spheroidal anneal is only possible with seriously controlled environment and takes many hours to perform. The air cooling of the normalization process traps the carbides in a looser state.

 

Forging does some strange stuff to HC steels and "normalizing" as we call it, returns the carbide lattice to a more "normal" condition. This will not only make grinding, drilling, and filing easier, it will also help to redistribute any carbon in the steel to a more balanced and even condition. By bringing the steel up past critical temp, the carbon comes out of, and returns to solution across the entire blade. This is a visible phenomenon called decalesence/recalesence. 

 

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26 minutes ago, Joshua States said:

When you get to working with hypereutectoid steels (1095, O1, etc.) the slow cooling process is not beneficial. That results in what is called a lamellar anneal and causes the carbides to form sheets inside the steel. These can dull a drill bit or saw blade in a NY minute. The truly spheroidal anneal reduces the steel to a soft and uniform carbide distribution. A truly spheroidal anneal is only possible with seriously controlled environment and takes many hours to perform. The air cooling of the normalization process traps the carbides in a looser state.

 

I can't emphasize that statement enough!  I've sat through several of Kevin Cashen's talks with photomicrographs of steel structures over the years.  You really, really do not want to just leave a blade to cool in the forge overnight.  It can be fixed, with some carbon loss, but it's better not to do it in the first place.  A few normalizations will act like hitting the "reset" button.  It goes against the blacksmithing lore, but the micrographs don't lie.  

 

Disclaimer: this is one of those steel nerd things where the difference in final performance after heat treating may not be noticeable.  Your drill bits will thank you, though.

 

Finally, nice work!  Carry on. B) 

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When I saw that Alan had quoted me, my first thought was that I put my foot in my mouth again...….Thankfully, that was not the case.

And yeah, I forgot to say that little blade looks very cool.

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I normalized it three times and the white lines are gone. Thank you guys.

I'll make sure to normalize more and not leave things in the forge to cool.

On 5/12/2020 at 12:08 PM, Joshua States said:

 Painting the blade with an anti-scale coating (

Can you use this for heat treating too? Or does it mess with hardening it?

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Like so many things in life, it depends. How are you determining when the blade is ready to quench?

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Non magneticish, I heat the blade with a torch in the dark so I can see the colors better and I usually go for a dull orange.

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My goodness you have courage, and patience.

Why don't you put it in the forge? You will get a much more even heat and a better quench, especially if you use a baffle tube.

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I was using the forge to begin with, but consistently got the blades too hot. I switched to the torch and have had better luck. Using a torch also makes it easier to heat the oil up without getting a ton of slag in it.

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12 minutes ago, Faye said:

I was using the forge to begin with, but consistently got the blades too hot.

Have you tried putting something like a 2" square steel tube in the forge and putting the blade in the tube to keep it from overheating in the flame?

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That is what I mean by a baffle tube. The one I used for Quenching was about a 3'x3" square and I drilled a couple of 1/4" holes in one side so I could push some round rod into it to stabilize the blade with the edge up. It fit right through the front door and up against the back door of the forge. I retired it when I got the Paragon oven.

Heat tube (2).JPG

Heat tube.JPG

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, Joshua States said:

That is what I mean by a baffle tube...3"x3" square and I drilled a couple of 1/4" holes in one side so I could push some round rod into it to stabilize the blade with the edge up

Yep, I missed that. Sorry 'bout that.  I should have pointed that out,   That's almost the exact same set-up I was using, but I used pieces of 1/2" x 1/8" flat stock  instead of the round rod  (round stock would have probably been easier, no need to file slots after drilling holes...)

Edited by billyO

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No worries Billy.

To get back to the question from Faye about whether you can use the anti-scale during the critical/quench process, the short answer is yes. @Alan Longmire has some commercially available stuff he uses, and swears by it. I have used the white latex paint, and found that I have to put it on very thin, or I have to raise my oven temp about 15*.  It did keep a 1095 blade from achieving full hardness on me once and I attributed it to the paint was too thick. So I did it again with the higher temp and got my target hardness. Typically, I am quenching at 220 grit, so the amount of decarb from the quench is not a big deal, because I am going to grind through that anyway. I just do it now because it makes cleanup so much faster.

I cannot say how it affects those using the decal/recall method, because I think it would cause some trouble seeing the effect. If you are using the heat until non-magnetic, heat a little more, and quench method, you will probably be fine.

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The anti scale stuff I use is transparent at heat, so you can see decalescence just fine. B)

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12 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

The anti scale stuff I use is transparent at heat, so you can see decalescence just fine. B)

For those of us with little memory, that "stuff" is what again?

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11 hours ago, Joshua States said:

For those of us with little memory, that "stuff" is what again?

An excellent question! :lol: I'll have to look. It's a red powder I got from blacksmithsdepot about 15 years ago.  Not the Brownell's stuff.

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I thought about using a baffle tube but at the time did not have anything that would fit in my forge. 

It seems the cards were stacked against this project from the start. Or maybe adulting is against it? Anyway originally. I had until the middle of june to finish these knives, but the guy I am going to work for this summer asked if I could start a month early. So I now live two hours away from my shop. Fingers crossed I'll have a few weekends at home and I can at least finish the seax knife, but it will definitely be a while. 

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