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The Newbies Arena Are you new to knife making? Here is all the help you will need.

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  #1  
Old 08-24-2015, 11:08 AM
dtec1 dtec1 is offline
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Steel for damascus or pattern weld

Hey guys i have a question that i am sure many of you will tell me not to even bother with yet . My question is about the materials for making Damascus (or pattern welded steel). I have seen many people say to use 1084 and 15n20. So my 2 questions are... first i have seen on one site it advertised as just "15n20" and another site "15n20 High contrast" the 2nd advertised for Damascus but do you need the High contrast or will the regular 15n20 work. Second could 1080 be substituted for 1084? I also saw somewhere that a guy added a certain type of steel nail and washer (i cant remember off the top of my head exactly what kind have to look). Any way i am going to get some 1080 (enough for a few blades) i think i am going to get some extra and some 15n20 and just mess around. I am not expecting to get it anywhere near good but i got some extra time so i figured at the very worse it is a learning experience and that is always good. Please give advice if your willing regardless of my current skill or experience. THANKS all answers are very much appreciated
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Old 08-24-2015, 12:23 PM
dtec1 dtec1 is offline
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oh also so the piece of 1080 is between 1/8-1/4 (probilly 1/4 or close) the 15n20 doent need to be as thick right (many places sell only or only have thinner pieces) what is the thinest you should go with the 15n20?
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  #3  
Old 08-24-2015, 02:09 PM
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Ray Rogers Ray Rogers is offline
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As far as I know there's only the one type of 15N20. All the other descriptions are as bogus as 'surgical steel'. By its makeup all 15N20 is high contrast which is why we use it in pattern weld (that, and the fact the HT specs are a good match with 1084).

Either 1080 or 1084 could be used.

Exactly what sizes you use depends largely on the equipment you have. Since you are working by hand you would want the thinnest pieces you can get, otherwise your layer count will be too low for a decent pattern. I understand the desire to try all this stuff, everyone goes through this phase. Realistically though, you aren't likely to make much of a pattern until you get some power equipment. Unless, of course, you happen to be a gorilla or have two strong friends who can swing 8 lb hammers along with you in a co-ordinated manner as it used to be done ....


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Old 08-24-2015, 02:19 PM
dtec1 dtec1 is offline
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Thanks ray do you think i should keep both steels thin? i was going to use 1/4 1080 cause i figured that it would give me a lil room for error when grinding the shape and edge (not with the 15n20) do you think i should go to a 1/8 or in between?
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Old 08-24-2015, 04:27 PM
damon damon is offline
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keep in mind that im not making Damascus myself... (yet).... but the ones making the products I like using start with 1/8" thick pieces of 1084 and 15n20.

1/4" would take a whole lot of beating id think.
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Old 08-24-2015, 05:12 PM
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Ray Rogers Ray Rogers is offline
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The choice of thickness used determines some of the characteristics of the final pattern. Using 1/4 1084 with 1/16 15n20 on a simple random pattern is going to create wide expanses of plain steel between thin strips of shiny thread. No matter how may times you restack that the basic relationship is likely to maintain. So, much depends on what you want your pattern to look like but the entire exercise may turn out to be moot anyway as forge welding is a skill that must be mastered before there is any hope of success and, so far, you have yet to successfully HT a blade. But, it is your money and time and no matter how it comes out you will definitely learn something useful ...


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Old 08-24-2015, 08:07 PM
dtec1 dtec1 is offline
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yeh by no means do i expect much out of this at all just wondering what i can do..as i said in a previous post i was going to take a square bar and mess around with it and see what shape and thickness i could get out of it so i figured if i am going to be beating metal maybe i could experiment with forge welding and see what happens i ended up getting 2 feet of 1/4x1 1/4 of 1080, 2 feet .187x1 of 1080 and 2 feet of .065x1 if 15n20....i have been ridiculously bored recently and will be for the next few weeks so as i said why not at the VERY WORST its a learning experience. Oh i do have another question....i used to have a web page that listed the colors steel gets and APPROXIMATE temp. for that color some how i lost the link does anyone have anything like this?....i was also thinking about getting a temp gauge for HT ing but number one i dont want to spend to much (no more than would be needed) i looked around a lil and seen the IR guns and also the ones that have probes but those are very cunfusing to buy different types of meters and different probes (i think a k type probe would work) any sugestions? thanks again guys
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Old 08-24-2015, 08:55 PM
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Ray Rogers Ray Rogers is offline
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Forget about colors, no use at all unless you have a lot of experience working with them under specific conditions. If you want a pyrometer, try this one:

http://www.auberins.com/index.php?ma...roducts_id=199

But, most beginners - and a fair number of experienced smiths - simply use a magnet. After all, for simple carbon steels the point at which the conversion takes place is pretty much the point at which the steel becomes non-magnetic. To actually use this method is more challenging than I made it sound but that is the basics of it.

You might want to check further on that steel you stretched out. No doubt, it has a lot of hammer marks in it and more than a little scale. Cut off a piece and clean it up, maybe even profile a blade from it. The point of this exercise is to find out how much thinner that bar gets before it starts to look like clean steel.......


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Old 08-25-2015, 10:27 AM
dtec1 dtec1 is offline
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you can use a magnet for everything with this steel? i have done it before with annealing and hardening. i thought doing that doesnt always produce good results kinda a last resort thing. is there any instructions anywhere that go into a lil more depth on the magnet issue. you have helped alot ray....by all means if you have a link on this topic that way you dont have to explain it all
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Old 08-25-2015, 12:24 PM
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"Everything' is a pretty large group of topics. The magnet can be used for the hardening process and not really useful for anything else. True, it doesn't always produce good results but that's mostly because there is so much bad information about how to do it. It has been explained at length and in depth numerous times in this forum so a Search should help you locate it ...


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Old 08-25-2015, 05:33 PM
Doug Lester Doug Lester is offline
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Remember that the steel becomes non-magnetic just before the iron changes from a body centered crystal to a face centered crystal. That mean that you have to find where it becomes non-magnetic and let it get just a little hotter (brighter). With a little practice the method is reliable with simpler steels that don't require a long soak at temperature.

Doug


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Old 09-05-2015, 09:50 AM
BrindleBoss BrindleBoss is offline
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Is there any way you can make Damascus steel without a welder? For instance how did they do it in the olden days?
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Old 09-05-2015, 09:54 AM
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Welder? You mean for tack welding the bars together before the forging operations? Sure, you can wire wrap and then forge weld it if you're patient, careful, and have a ton of flux available . After you're done you'll have a considerably higher possibility of having an inclusion somewhere in the billet due to the tendency of the loose bars to warp away from each other and create gaps that trap flux ...


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Old 09-05-2015, 02:09 PM
jmccustomknives jmccustomknives is offline
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Having a welder makes things go much easier and faster. Not only can you fuse the billet together but put a handle on it. Tongs do tend to slow things down and can suck the heat out of that end of your billet.
Another option would be cable, you don't need a welder for it. It's watering isn't near as bold as the 1084/15n20 steels, but is considerably easier as you don't have to fold it.
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