Here is my Damascus billet I forged out for this.
It started its life as two stacks of 15n20 and 1075.
Then thy are all clamped up and welded. I also weld on a stub so I an get ahold of it with my tongs.
This is after the first welding pass. I dry weld with no flux, just use an adjusted forge atmosphere to keep it scale free. But after the first weld I flux the billet because sometimes the very edges don't weld when you go dry. So a little borax sprinkled on for the next pass in the press.
This is the second welding pass. I do two welding passes, the first one that sets the weld and the second sends it home and seals up the edges. Want to make sure your welds are solid befor drawing out the billet because your welds can pop if thy are not real solid.
Next I start drawing out the billet, I go at it rather aggressive as I don't have time to baby it. If everything took then it can handle it. I use 1" round drawing dies to draw it out.
Just keep working it till I got the length I wanted. Then I forged it round and twisted it. To give you and idea of the size of this, that's a 16" lobg steel ruler in front of it on the anvil.
Then I forge down all the twist marks and make it nice and round. I do this at a welding heat and I flux as I go. I gave found that if I don't then I can get weird closed up areas that are not welded.
Then I started forging it down flat with the gole of getting the thickness and width needed for a sword.
Here it is all forged down to the size I want. I don't care about it not being perfectly stright on the sides as this will be forged into a sword blade so it will get all worked out there.
Next I lay it out for notches. I'm giving this twisted bar a ladder pattern to break up the simple twist. Plus I just thought why not might as well try it as I have not seen any Damascus personally that is a twist/ladder.
Here it is with all the notches ground in
A side profile to show how ladder pattern notches are laid out.
Now time to go back in the forge and heat up. I use the verticle forge for this.
Then I just forge down the bar into a flat bar agian. I do this part by hand. Don't know if it matters but I like to do it and have the control. Don't mind the stick, I use that to straighten out some of the curve in the bill. The wood does not mangle the edges of the steel when used as a hammer.
Next I grind a little of the surface off to check the pattern. This is my favorit part. I could be on the verge of death and you could not drag me away from this part.
I had more then enough Damascus for the sword so I cut off some to make a knife for a customer. And the patter is rather nice, I'm glad I put in the ladder pattern. It's a bold corse pattern that I don't think really shines in a small blade like a knife like it would in a sword.
So that's it for now, I'm planing on hitting the shop this morning after I sketch out my design and start forging the blade. I am a huge fan of the pirates of the caribbean movies so I think I'm going after a "jack sparrow" style cutlass.
Here is a few pictures of what I'm going after.
I'm scratching my head on how to do a few parts but that's what makes this fun. I might change up the handle a little bit with how the guard atatches to the rear of the handle. But not sure yet.
After just posting this and looking it over I dont think the guard is atatched to the pommel. This makes it much easyer.