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Author Topic: 52100 damascus ?  (Read 1845 times)
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John Silveira
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« on: January 06, 2014, 08:54:03 PM »

Just came in the mail 3 one foot long 1/16th thick x 1-1/2" wide 15n20 from Jantz.

My friend at the blacksmith shop is dying to work with me to make some damascus.   Is it possible - i don't see why not that 52100 could be used as the other steel in the forging of the damascus ?

I'm also contemplating San Mai damascus with the 52100 as the core stock.   We have plenty of 5160 that we could forge together with the 15n20 for the layered damascus then we could just put 52100 as the core...

Anyone see any problems with this ?   My budy at the shop has never made damascus either have i.     

John    

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John Silveira
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« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2014, 10:56:19 AM »

Ok did some homework on this - sometimes i forget and ask a question before doing my own research   .

looks like it's do-able , either as straight damascus or even San Mai Damascus with the core of 52100 ..... 

anyway ....

cheers
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Ed Fowler
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« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2014, 09:55:44 PM »

15n20 will not have a lot of contrast with 52100 and 5160, but I suggest you give it a try and have fun with it.

One time I made some Damascus using a mild steel bearing and 52100, it was not much of a knife but was pretty. I took it to over 6,000 layers just to see what it would look like. Naturally the pattern was very fine but with a magnifying glass you could see it. Cleston Synnard made the suggestion that I try it.
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John Silveira
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« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2014, 03:36:43 AM »

15n20 will not have a lot of contrast with 52100 and 5160, but I suggest you give it a try and have fun with it.

One time I made some Damascus using a mild steel bearing and 52100, it was not much of a knife but was pretty. I took it to over 6,000 layers just to see what it would look like. Naturally the pattern was very fine but with a magnifying glass you could see it. Cleston Synnard made the suggestion that I try it.

6,000 layers !!  that's a few ...   

i'm going to only want to fold 2 or three times or so.    Yessur - and i'm not goo concerned with a vivid contrast between metals --  just want to start becoming familiar with the processes .

don't suppose you still have that knife with 6,000 layers do you ?   BTW - how many knives do you think you have in possession now anyway -  i only have about 15 ...

cheers   
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« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2014, 10:26:00 AM »

I have hundreds of knives, most of them old and not worth much, but are very useful when it is show and tell time for seminars and we are discussing design and function. My most valuable over $10,000 and the cheapest you would not pick up if you found it laying on the street.

Back when I thought Damascus had some value when it comes to cut I was working on a process to make 15N20 cut, then decided the best I could achieve would be poor when it comes to cutting performance so quit working on it.

Damascus is an art form the usually distracts from performance. I feel it is unrealistic to think that we as bladesmiths can create a better steel in our simple shops than the steel mills can develop in their sophisticated complexes.

I feel we are much better off pushing the steel they create to our desires of performance, rather than trying to create something new. There are just to many variables we cannot control when we seek to make our own steel.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2014, 03:50:29 PM by Ed Fowler » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2014, 03:53:33 PM »

I dont have much experience with damascus, it never really turned me on. Ive tried it a couple times, once even halfway successfully! lol. It seems like the san mi, or laminated with the 52100 core would certainly be a better performer. Although i doubt it would have as high a potential for performance as the straight 52100. My reasoning is the high heat needed to weld / marry the two together would contribute to grain growth and the lesser steel would have lower toughness and resiliancey. Just my just some thoughts...
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Will
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« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2014, 11:40:35 PM »

Probably the most used metals for damascus are 1084 and 15&20, there basically the same metal with one having high nickel content.  They weld super easy and have good contrast and perform very well.  Not as well as 52100, or even other steels, but not bad and will do what a knife is supposed to do.

I do something called frontier damascus that Bruce Evans taught me.  Basically start with scraps of metal and weld them up into a bar and fold until your happy with the layer count.  Makes for some interesting patterns, and is a real good way to teach forge welding with a hand held hammer.  You also need some idea of what steels your mixing and matching, but it's pretty easy.  Basically start with a big chunk, weld something contrasting on top, add something else a little smaller and contrasting on top, ect. until you have a billet then commence to folding like normal.  Heat treat is an educated guess, as your dealing with unknown mix, but again you should have some idea of what's in the mix, and you may have to sneak up on the tempering temp with the brass rod test.  Makes great use of small ball and roller bearings, pieces of old files, small pieces of drop off, ect.  The real advantage to this is making a knife from pieces too small to make a knife as they are, and the ability to teach someone to forge weld, and can have some really interesting patterns.
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« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2014, 02:12:49 AM »

Probably the most used metals for damascus are 1084 and 15&20, there basically the same metal with one having high nickel content.  They weld super easy and have good contrast and perform very well.  Not as well as 52100, or even other steels, but not bad and will do what a knife is supposed to do.

I do something called frontier damascus that Bruce Evans taught me.  Basically start with scraps of metal and weld them up into a bar and fold until your happy with the layer count.  Makes for some interesting patterns, and is a real good way to teach forge welding with a hand held hammer.  You also need some idea of what steels your mixing and matching, but it's pretty easy.  Basically start with a big chunk, weld something contrasting on top, add something else a little smaller and contrasting on top, ect. until you have a billet then commence to folding like normal.  Heat treat is an educated guess, as your dealing with unknown mix, but again you should have some idea of what's in the mix, and you may have to sneak up on the tempering temp with the brass rod test.  Makes great use of small ball and roller bearings, pieces of old files, small pieces of drop off, ect.  The real advantage to this is making a knife from pieces too small to make a knife as they are, and the ability to teach someone to forge weld, and can have some really interesting patterns.

Ok here we go again !!  the learning curve ---    so what's the brass rod test is my first question - never heard of it before ..   2 :

Lets say i start with a 1-1/2 x 1/16 " piece of 15n20 - say 6" long right ?    Then i get bits and pieces of scrap i have lying around --  such as i have 1084 -5160 - 52100 - and i spread them evenly on top of the 15n20 ( do you weld the pieces together ? )  what about the voids and gaps ?  Should i then stack another piece of 15n20 on top of that and repeat the process once more perhaps ?  bottom layer 15n20 x scrap x 15n20 x scrap x 15n20 ??      is that how you'd do it ? 

thnx
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Ed Fowler
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« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2014, 07:49:57 PM »

I would not try it because I fail to see how the blade (if that is what you want to make) would have any semblance of integrity with pieces of steel in 15N20, but don't let me discourage you, I most sincerely urge you to give it a try and see what you achieve.

Joe Szilaski once told me about forge welding up a bunch of horse shoes, nails, screws and any other scrap laying around. He first welded the pieces into a single block, then forged it out to a billet. It was a school project in Hungary, there was no thought of performance, only - Can you do it?

I once tried to forge weld some small bearings into a horse shoe, it was not pretty or successful.

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« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2014, 06:42:18 AM »

The brass rod test is simply flexing the hardened and tempered edge against a brass rod and seeing if the edge chips, flexes and returns to normal or stays flexed.  You want it to flex and return to normal.  If it chips raise your tempering temp, if it stays flexed you need to re harden and temper at a lower temp.

The way I do frontier damascus is with a thick chunk, say at least 1/4" thick, then weld something to it, generally smaller in length and width.  Build it up a piece at a time into a kind of triangle shape then forge flat and square it up and fold.  I do several folds length wise and down the middle to even out the pattern.  1/16" is too thin for the base layer, but you can cut pieces of it and add to the billet after you get a piece thick enough.  I've used high grade rebar(.6 carbon content) for the base billet, but most times use a piece of thick leaf spring.  One reason you fold is to even out the different alloys and to help remove voids.  Voids are best taken care of before they start though.  Just keep in mind while welding the individual pieces that you want to hammer the flux out and not trap it, and to not put say a socket on the billet straight up and down so it traps flux. 

This method works best with a hand hammer for welding and initial shaping as the rounded face and small contact area help push flux out of the area's being welded.  Unlike a normal billet you don't have clean and uniform sized pieces that lend themselves to say flat dies in a press.  It's also one of the reasons it's good for teaching welding by hand instead of a press or power hammer.  I do use the press and hammer after making a billet, but the actual billet is made on the anvil with a hand hammer.
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John Silveira
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« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2014, 11:54:24 AM »

The brass rod test is simply flexing the hardened and tempered edge against a brass rod and seeing if the edge chips, flexes and returns to normal or stays flexed.  You want it to flex and return to normal.  If it chips raise your tempering temp, if it stays flexed you need to re harden and temper at a lower temp.

The way I do frontier damascus is with a thick chunk, say at least 1/4" thick, then weld something to it, generally smaller in length and width.  Build it up a piece at a time into a kind of triangle shape then forge flat and square it up and fold.  I do several folds length wise and down the middle to even out the pattern.  1/16" is too thin for the base layer, but you can cut pieces of it and add to the billet after you get a piece thick enough.  I've used high grade rebar(.6 carbon content) for the base billet, but most times use a piece of thick leaf spring.  One reason you fold is to even out the different alloys and to help remove voids.  Voids are best taken care of before they start though.  Just keep in mind while welding the individual pieces that you want to hammer the flux out and not trap it, and to not put say a socket on the billet straight up and down so it traps flux. 

This method works best with a hand hammer for welding and initial shaping as the rounded face and small contact area help push flux out of the area's being welded.  Unlike a normal billet you don't have clean and uniform sized pieces that lend themselves to say flat dies in a press.  It's also one of the reasons it's good for teaching welding by hand instead of a press or power hammer.  I do use the press and hammer after making a billet, but the actual billet is made on the anvil with a hand hammer.



So you're talking something like this it seems ?    and i expect you only use a light tack weld in a couple spots just to hold each plate on as you build the stack ?

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