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Feather Damascus Suji and Gyuto WIP

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WillC

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Well, nothing knife shaped yet, but work on the materials has begun. :D
Had a pleasant, toasty warm afternoon on friday making a start on the damascus. Two largish billets, one for the blades, which will be a feathered W's pattern. Another for the ferrules and endcaps which will be a twist on a w's pattern, literally.:laugh:
Some progress in the workshop, billets prepared one to 7 larger layers, the other is 15 layers. Both alternating 75ni8/en42j

First weld complete and billets ready to be forged down at 90 degrees to crush the layers vertically.

Layers squished down vertically and billets drawn out ready for the first cut to 4.

Cut and re-stacked

Back in the fire for weld and draw number 2

Mmm toasty:D
I polished and etched the end off cuts so pattern development can be seen.
7 layer billet after forging down layers vertically

15 layer billet after forging down vertically

7 layer billet after the first cut and stack to 4

15 layer billet after the first cut and stack to 4.

Lots more to do:D
I have sketched the pattern development for a W's pattern in my thread, "out of the etch" This explains the beginnings of a Feather pattern.
 

Eamon Burke

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As a casual observer, I have to say, this looks really even. Man I love a WIP.
 

WillC

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Yeah, I love the way the 4 stack of the 15 layers looks at the moment. I'm thinking what little nic nacs I can make for xmas presents out of a similar billet, maybe bracelets. Just doing a wider billet and cut slices off it.
This pattern gets a little scary when you have to split the stacked billet down the middle, hope I don't embarrass myself at that point.:scared4:
 

Eamon Burke

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Actually, my favorite is the plain 7-layer billet. Sometimes less can be more!
 

WillC

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True, the low layer and higher layer look cool stacked alternately before splitting to make the feathers, almost cartoony. But in this case, the low layer will be forged so they are on the side of a flat billet, then twisted, so hopefully if nothing shears, I will have W's going around in a spiral for the ferrules.:D
 

stevenStefano

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I agree with Eamon that the 7 layer pattern looks nice. Sorta looks like a flower, would be interesting to see it on a knife
 

WillC

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It does look very flower like. I've seen a flower forged in variants of this pattern. By Mick Maxen, looked amazing.
Had a brief welding session and got another stack of 4 welded, re-stacked ready for the next one.
Only had time for a light etch today, tricky to photo.
The 7 layer start billet

The 15 layer start billet

Its necessary to over compress the pattern further from here, so it all looks right when it gets tiled up, welded and forged out again with the pattern on the top.
 

Ratton

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I'm really enjoying your work in progress! Thanks for taking the time to share!!! :goodpost:
 

Dave Martell

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Will, are you using the press or hammer to forge down vertically?

Nice thread. :)
 

Mike Davis

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That is awesome! Thanks for another wonderful wip! I really enjoy learning all this stuff.
 

WillC

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Thank you guys.:D
Dave I use the hammer to squish the layers flat. You loose less heat in a power hammer, so it can be done in one heat. I normally have big dies in the press and use it for more controlled operations, like evening up the sides of the billet, straightening, hot cutting, etc.


Tough day today. I got the last stack of 4 done on both, then concentrated on the feather billet as it involves so much concentration constantly.
Billet cut to 8 and stacked


Billet welded, needs a good long soak at this point to make sure the layers are consolidated enough to survive the cut. I welded a bar on at 45 degrees to allow me to work all sides.
Ready to go back in the fire again for the split, done at welding heat also.


Well that all went to plan!

Cleaned up inside the split,
 

WillC

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Back in the fire, refluxed, tap the two halves back together so there is contact and back up to welding heat. Welded, then back in the fire for a good long soak and weld again. Its really easy to get these last steps so the layers are not fully consolidated so a long soak and reweld is important. Basically, do everything at welding heat right to the end.

I went back and did some another weld on both ends of the billet but at this point wanted to check the density of the pattern, to see weather I can forge it out as one billet or split in half, so as to avoid loosing the pattern.




Looking good, can see the w's but still quite compressed, so I decided to split the billet up the middle for the two blades.

And a little forging with the fullers to get the width in the right places before forging to shape and width


I should have stopped there! But went on to forge the Suji to shape. All was good and I was about to start grinding to shape a bit more, then thought I would correct I slight lump to the back of the spine with a red heat to save grinding.
This resulted in a split up the middle from the back. I was nearly down to width and taper so this was pretty fatal. I managed to weld it back up but ended up chasing a floor that opened up further down, by now the whole thing was too thin. So I have lost the half.
Gutted, but it just goes to show you can't relax until you are nearly to shape with this pattern. Then heat cycle to reduce the grain size. I will entirely forge to shape on the next one, close to welding heat, leave nicely oversize and grind more of the taper in. Normally I forge the taper and true everything at red heat, not with his pattern though! So looks like i'll be needing to do another billet, hopefully will get 3 knives out of that lot though. Shame it was going so well!!!
I feel like having a little cry but I suppose its only a lost day or so.
 

zitangy

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Been following todays post.. trying to understand ( having a tough time) . at the end of page 2 , I felt your disappointment too. But I know you'll be hammering away again and I look to the next post..

Good luck and hv fun...
 

WillC

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Thanks David, it takes no prisoners this pattern. But it'll be worth it in the end.:D
 

HHH Knives

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Will, :( That sucks, I have been there. And this Feather can be a tricky pattern. and even more so if your trying to make pieces large enough for most of the kitchen knives..

But dont be to discouraged brother. That stuff happens to everyone, its how we learn. :)

Thanks for showing us the process its been a great WIP!
 

WillC

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Thanks for the encouragement Randy. Yeah, we wouldn't want to do it if it was easy:D
 

zitangy

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Thanks David, it takes no prisoners this pattern. But it'll be worth it in the end.:D
Then I should seriously think of owning it........ Seen a Devin adn also a Rader feather damascus ( pics only) didnt realize that this pattern is quite tricky/ difficult to make.. MY undertanding is improving bit by bit and learning to undertand via the WIPs You custom knife makers amaze me. The last time I saw a baker ( primitive bread shop 30 years ago.... making bread in a Kiln.., the heat was quite unbearable for me as a customer in the front of the shop. They are all skinny folks and I always imagine till today that their lungs would be dry... But looking at US custom knife makers( PIctures only)..Very healthy looking specimen! . Your workshop air-conditioned??.. just kidding..

tks for posting , its most educational and informative ;

rgds
D
 

jmforge

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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.
 

WillC

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Thanks all. Jo great advice, that makes allot of sense. By taking my time this time I didn't have any de lamination.... until I started finishing the blade at dull red. The corners thing sound good, i'll try that on the next one.

I had a go with the other half of the billet today. Shaped at welding heat all the way down to about 4mm on the back, 3mm at the front. Also forged the tang part at welding heat, so it won't give a split a chance to start at the back.
I did give it a gentle run under the hammer at low heat to even things up but much more carefully this time, ground the profile and taper from there. Having to allow more material has left it a bit narrow for a Gyuto. In fact I think this one is a Hybrid.:D
Its now 49mm deep at the back, 250mm long. Taper is presently around 2.8mm 2mm 1mm. Will HT and grind from here. Just wanted some feedback on the profile.

As two more will be done allowing more material to stay on plan, this one will be a wild card.

So any feedback before I HT will be appreciated. More of a curve to the choil than my normal, I think it goes with the pattern but will probably take it a bit sharper so the hand does not slip down on pinch grip. Thoughts?




 

Burl Source

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Looks like a squirrel's tail!
Way cooler than a regular feather pattern.
 

sachem allison

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excellent profile Will. love the pattern. leave it the way it is.
 

WillC

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Mark, you have a good way of looking at things, it really does look like a squirrel tail. I hadn't thought of that.
I'm glad I got a blade out of the last half so I can see what it looks like with the amount of layers and folds I did. I think it looks very natural, which is what I hoped for. I could maybe go a bit bolder with it. The bolder you go, it looks less natural and more funky if you see what I mean.:D
Thanks for the feedback on the profile, the curve is making me think about the handle design. I might try something that sweeps in a bit more rather than a tapered octagon. There will be damascus for the ferrule and endcap so it won't need to be very large to balance the knife. In fact I think i'll have to be careful not to make it handle heavy.
 

zitangy

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Been staring at it for the the last couple of days.. It grows on me.. seems to have depth and life.. doesn't look flat as the regular feather damascus.. I like it... squirrel tail... hmmnnn.. it bushy and definitely not a feather then as it is hair(y)..

Interesting... I suppose you are going to find an elegant name for it??
 

tgraypots

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Too me it looks like the flame pattern being entrained through a venturi burner, a potter's perspective. I like it, a lot.
 
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