Tuesday, March 8, 2011

How To Make Different Damascus Patterns in Pattern Welding

Damascus Steel Patterns

Sorry to bother you so late at night (over here anyway)
But I was wondering what patterns you can pattern weld I have seen your ladder pattern and other patterns on the internet and was wondering if you could give me a few tips.
That you for your time.

There are hundreds of patterns and variations to work on.
Most are based on layering steel, then either modifying the surface such as the ladder pattern (cutting material away) then flattening and grinding to expose the pattern.
flat layers that are twisted, then shaped, and ground to expose the pattern.
Both of these techniques can become very complicated depending on the layer count and the manipulation.
There is a third technique
Called Mosaic Damascus
This can be done with powdered metal or machined "pixels" put together to create a "picture" in the steel. It is a bit of a different process using a hydraulic press for the fusion weld to maintain the structure of the picture.

The best thing to do is get 2 colors of modeling clay and layer them together like a damascus billet and then twist and manipulate them. Then use a knife to cut some of the outside material away to expose the pattern (sames as grinding on the steel). Experiment with this but keep notes as you go so when you find a pattern that you like you can reproduce it in steel. This is a fast low cost way to experiment with these techniques.

A couple of very good books on the subject are
Damascus: Forging Techniques
The Complete Bladesmith: Forging Your Way To Perfection

You may want to check out some the knifemaking forums for some other details.
I hope this helps.

David Robertson
Artist Blacksmith

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Blacksmithing Removing Scale, Tinted Glasses, Upsetting

Blacksmithing How to Remove Scale, Tinted Glasses, Upsetting

I have a few questions for now.
If you use hot rolled steel how do you remove the scale on the parts that is not heated for forging? Do you use a wire wheel, and acid bath or sand the area?
Do you wear special tinted or filtered glasses when you do blacksmithing and have to stare at the fire alot.
I want to flare out a 3/4 square bar so that it will form a pyramid type base. If I heat it should I slam it on to a thick steel plate to flare it out. Is that the best way to do it?

Removing Scale
There are couple of options, they mostly depend on what coating you are putting on it.
Wire wheel for clear coating.
Sandblasting for paint.
Acid etch for galvanizing but this is done at the galvanizer.

Mostly it depends how you want the finished piece to look. Complex shapes may not get completely cleaned of for clear coat and painting.

Tinted glasses
Yes I wear rose dydimium glasses. This is the old filter style originally designed for glass blowers. There are other filters that are better recommended for blacksmithing such as AUR-99 from www.auralens.net. I have not used this lens so can't really comment on it. The exposure to UV and IR are generally minimal in blacksmithing, but it does become important with lots of forge welding as the temperatures are so much higher.

Upsetting 3/4 inch square bar
Depends on the length. short can be done on the anvil or clamped in the vise and a light hammer used.
Long bar yes heavy steel plate on the floor and it is sort of bounced on it.
It must be at yellow heat. You should also taper the edges (basically knocking the corners off the end of the bar) this lets the force go deeper into the center of the bar instead of being dispersed at the end. Upsettting is tricky to do well. Practice first and easier to do on a larger bar than a smaller one.

I hope this helps
David Robertson
Ontario Artist Blacksmith