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Ed Caffrey's Workshop Talk to Ed Caffrey ... The Montana Bladesmith! Tips, tricks and more from an ABS Mastersmith.

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Old 03-26-2001, 11:12 PM
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Length of damascus billet

I'm putting together a damascus billet of 1/8"x1" L6 from an old saw blade and 1/8"x1" 1084. I want to start with either 8 or 14 layers but I'm unsure what's a good length for my stock. I originally thought 4" would be fine but now wonder if 6" would be better. Seeing as this will be my first attempt I don't want to leave much to chance.

Guy Thomas
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Old 03-27-2001, 09:18 AM
Ed Caffrey
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Hi Guy!

Much will depend on what you want to create from the billet. I personally use 5" lengths of material, mainly because the 1084 and 15N20 I purchase are in 40" pieces, and 5" lengths means I don't waste it. If your doing it by hand, use shorter will make things more managable. If you have a powerhammer or press, go with the longer lengths. You can expect about a 30% reduction in material as you go through the process. As an example....I have both hammer and press, and try to start with the most material I can. I routinely have 25-40 layers in my billets to start, at the 5" length I mentioned. This does two things. 1. It exposes the steel to fewer welding heats, and 2. I can get to a higher number of layers more quickly than if I started with only a few layers.
Let us know how the work progresses!
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Old 03-28-2001, 10:32 AM
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Thanks Ed, I have access to both a power hammer and a press at a friends shop but for some twisted reason I want to make my first piece at home which means Arm&Hammer so perhaps the 4" is not a bad idea after all. I'll let you know what happens. I'll post a picture of the 5160 blacksmiths knife you helped me heat treat soon also.

Guy Thomas
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Old 03-31-2001, 09:22 AM
Jason G Howell
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Re: damascus

I'm using about 7" and 21-25 layers. I started working several billets at a time, one weld each, anneal till the next day... cut cold, restack, and prep for another weld session... repeat
I don't have that daily gratification of seeing a pattern, I get it all in one day

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blade, knife

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