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Making Mosaic type Damascus for thin blades.
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    WillC's Avatar
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    Making Mosaic type Damascus for thin blades.

    Here is my quandry. I would like to start making W's pattern style mascus for thin blades. I'm not keen on the idea of loosing loads of stock cutting to expose the pattern. So I tend to compress my W's, then do the final stack to 6 or 8 and forge it out so the W's decompress and are on the top and bottom of the billet in the end. Trouble is getting the compression right. I seem to have it fine for 5mm blades, but forging down to 2mm and below is a different matter. Next I want to try this pattern, but forge it down to an inch square, cut it in half lengthways. Cut the halfs so I have 4 pieces for a 4 bar pattern. Then try forging into a thin wide billet for Santoku. Hopefully I will still have some W's left.
    Does any one else have these kind of issues with more complex patterns and thin forged blades. Or do you have a few tricks up your sleeve?

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    If the pattern is an end grain one that goes all the way through the billet as opposed to being a twist based pattern like firestorm or explosion where you have to grind away 2/3 of the steel to expose the pattern, why not make a thick billet to the width that you need and maybe even the rough blade shape, square the flats and surface grind it and then cut it or have it cut on an EDM machine into say 3/16 slices lengthwise and surface grind it down to the desired thickness? Kind of like a "loaf" billet.I would think that would be a good argument for doing a "Ferry flip"as opposed to an accordion cut as the pattern on the final thin bars would be pretty much lined up from one side to the other and you wouldn't have to waste half of the final billet accordion cutting it.
    Quote Originally Posted by raisedbybrocks View Post
    Here is my quandry. I would like to start making W's pattern style mascus for thin blades. I'm not keen on the idea of loosing loads of stock cutting to expose the pattern. So I tend to compress my W's, then do the final stack to 6 or 8 and forge it out so the W's decompress and are on the top and bottom of the billet in the end. Trouble is getting the compression right. I seem to have it fine for 5mm blades, but forging down to 2mm and below is a different matter. Next I want to try this pattern, but forge it down to an inch square, cut it in half lengthways. Cut the halfs so I have 4 pieces for a 4 bar pattern. Then try forging into a thin wide billet for Santoku. Hopefully I will still have some W's left.
    Does any one else have these kind of issues with more complex patterns and thin forged blades. Or do you have a few tricks up your sleeve?

  3. #3
    WillC's Avatar
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    Thats a good plan. I could do a big loaf and just keep it in the end grain. Maybe several W's billets combined into the final loaf, 100mm x 50mm by however long I can do. Forging them out a bit does no harm if they are a bit compressed. So i could just cut 5mm slices to forge out to the right size. Need to get the donkey saw going though. I might start with a twisted W's type and do the cut down the middle. Lots of experimenting to do. I've not tried the firestorm yet.

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    I haven't tried firestorm yet, but from what I see, you end up with 1/3 blade steel and 2/3 waste if you saw the middle out. The side pieces could be used for bolsters or cladding for a san mail blade, but you wouldn't want to grind into them too deeply or you would lose the pattern and be stuck with the plain twist from the outside of the original bar. Tiling would eliminate that problem, but it dosn't really help you on those twist based W patterns. Now if you wanted to do something like that high contrast 4 way radial starburst pattern that Mick Maxen showed on his BB tutorial and tile that out......... Kyle Royer did a pattrn like that that didn't use the dark filler steel and he 4 wayed it one or two more times to get a lot of those little brusts and then tiled it using the Ferry method. He has a number of tutorial/WIP videos on his website and on Youtube.
    Quote Originally Posted by raisedbybrocks View Post
    Thats a good plan. I could do a big loaf and just keep it in the end grain. Maybe several W's billets combined into the final loaf, 100mm x 50mm by however long I can do. Forging them out a bit does no harm if they are a bit compressed. So i could just cut 5mm slices to forge out to the right size. Need to get the donkey saw going though. I might start with a twisted W's type and do the cut down the middle. Lots of experimenting to do. I've not tried the firestorm yet.

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    WillC's Avatar
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    Now that could be a plan. I've been meaning to have a crack at that one. Spare days is all I need...

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    I have made some attempts to get a mosaic pattern on something as large as a chef knife and to be able to get a few knives out of the pattern. I got a quote for having an EDM cut the loaf and it was about 150 dollars per slice. That is pretty pricey. I believe a large metal cutting bandsaw with a sturdy fence would be the way to go. Also for some reason for me and in my shop, getting a very solid weld when you are stacking all the w's billets is very very difficult. I have two pieces of damascus that have totally kicked my ass. It totally can be done it just a matter of working out the process that will work. Best of luck, I would love to see some progress shots.

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    WillC's Avatar
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    I think I'm gona go for some controlled distortion until I get my big saw fixed. I've been making 30 layer W's billets and compressing them, then forging out with the pattern on top. I think with a 30 layer start the W's are getting too fine. I quite like a bit of distortion so i'll try this to start with with a bolder start billet. Could always just forge it to inch square and slit it lengthways. Then I would have 2 billets of W's I can forge out a bit more without things getting lost. Really want to give Micks one a go though. There is picture of a "fire within " Billet somewhere he accordian cut. Wasteful but it looked amazing.

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    From what I have been told, you should dry weld tiles. Some guys use a can or foil and others weld all of the seams. I am told that the cleanest method is to use a TIG torch and seal up the seam without using any filler metal. I have also heard that folks will super glue the tiles together first and the glue burns up any oxygen that might be trapped when you put it in the forge. Doing it the normal way with borax supposedly can be tougher and leave you with gray lines. As for the EDM, they must be charging a hell of a lot for setup Bailey Bradshaw and Steve Scharzer both have EDM setups. Steve used to offer EDM services to knifemakers (don't know if he still does) and I don't think any of them could afford $150 for one cut. he implied that you could pretty much offset the cost based on the amount of metal you didn't have to waste cutting it with a saw.
    Quote Originally Posted by JMJones View Post
    I have made some attempts to get a mosaic pattern on something as large as a chef knife and to be able to get a few knives out of the pattern. I got a quote for having an EDM cut the loaf and it was about 150 dollars per slice. That is pretty pricey. I believe a large metal cutting bandsaw with a sturdy fence would be the way to go. Also for some reason for me and in my shop, getting a very solid weld when you are stacking all the w's billets is very very difficult. I have two pieces of damascus that have totally kicked my ass. It totally can be done it just a matter of working out the process that will work. Best of luck, I would love to see some progress shots.

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    I didn't like the way that Mick's billet looked when he accordion cut it. The round outside tops of the cuts messed with the pattern too much. That is a pattern that needs to be tiled or at a minimum, use the drill and cut at 45 degree methoed, but thayt would waste even more..
    Quote Originally Posted by raisedbybrocks View Post
    I think I'm gona go for some controlled distortion until I get my big saw fixed. I've been making 30 layer W's billets and compressing them, then forging out with the pattern on top. I think with a 30 layer start the W's are getting too fine. I quite like a bit of distortion so i'll try this to start with with a bolder start billet. Could always just forge it to inch square and slit it lengthways. Then I would have 2 billets of W's I can forge out a bit more without things getting lost. Really want to give Micks one a go though. There is picture of a "fire within " Billet somewhere he accordian cut. Wasteful but it looked amazing.

  10. #10
    Marko Tsourkan's Avatar
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    The process you are listing here is a bit too technical for me, but I would like to comment about thickness. An idea that kitchen knives have to be super thin (2mm and under, unless you are factoring in a distal taper and measuring near the tip) is overrated. Proper grind on a thicker knife will give you a better performance than so called "lasers" and you will get a heft and rigidity. I would not make a knife thinner than 1/8 over the heel (in finished state), as you will get flexing and a flimsy feel - a sign of an inferior knife in my opinion.

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