Cool thread, Will. Bruce Bump has a long WIP thread over on Knife Dogs where he makes one of his crushed W feather pattern blades. He MIG welds the corners of the stack and edges of the billet in some steps to help prevent the the billet or stack from delaminating, on the shapr corners or edges. As you know, there is a LOT of stress involved in many of the steps in making these complex patterns. A couple of other tricks that I learned from his thread are to knock the corners down by putting the bar in your press or hammer at 45 degrees, make an uneven octagon, then turn to the 90 degree position to start crushing your W's. That gives the outside layers a little head start. Also, DON"T narrow down the billet until you absolutely have to. Try to get a stack or two done before you do and then do it slowly. When Claude Bouchonville and I did a W billet in his shop in Belgium, we really concentrated hard on that. The billet got out to over 2 1/2-2 3/4 inches wide in his press and rolling mill before we started knocking it down a bit in the subsequent welds to its final size of 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 inches wide and about 7/16 thick and it really seemed to help in avoiding the "uncrushing" of the pattern at the edges of the bar.