First damascus billet!!!

Feb 1, 2000
I welded up my first damascus billet this weekend! I started out with a 10 layer stack of 1/8" 1084 and 1/8" L6 that I cut from a large saw blade. The first weld went off without a hitch and the second did also so now I have a 20 layer billet that I drew out to about 10" long and 1" square.

Cleaning, restacking and welding again (3 more times) will have to wait until next weekend when I have access to a friends shop. I set the welds with a hydraulic press and used the press and power hammer to draw out the billet. This is very exciting and I think I will try a twist pattern though a random pattern would be just as gratifying at this point. I see now why so many blacksmiths and bladesmiths own power hammers and hydraulic presses!

Now I'll be truly impressed with myself when I duplicate all this work at home sans power hammer and press!

Guy, I think you are hooked. Since you have a press to use and have your billet square now, cut it in 4 equal lengths and clean up and etch the ends. Now stack them in a sqaure again and turn them until you have a basket weave pattern. Remember to look at the end view not the side view. Now you are on your way to mosaic damascus. Arent forging presses nice?
I hate you, Guy. I've had dislikes before, but this is real. This is hate. Jealousy inspired hate, but real nonetheless.
Congrats, ya pattern-welding bastid.
Don't fret Oz, I'm still envious of your hamon lines! The hydraulic press really made this billet. I still need to learn by hand but this is WORK even with the power equipment. I think a friend with a sledge hammer would be in order for drawing this stuff out at home. Not to mention grinding the forge scale off in order to get clean surfaces! They have a new toy though at the shop, one of the guy's set up a 2
hp Bader III with 40 grit ceramic belts. That cleaned it up nicely!

Hey Oz, did you get the pictures of the hamon and hada of those Japanese swords I sent you?

Bruce, you are so right about the press, I like it better than the power hammer (it's certainly quieter!). I now have an addition on my must have (someday) list!

I got those pics. I'll email you on that so we don't tease everyone here with how cool they are.
Besides, hamon are EASY to do. You just have to be willing to break half of the blades you make! :mad:
I know where your coming from. That first billet of you own, the feeling is great and it will not be long till you start planing your own press. I was there only a few weeks ago. Wait untill you grind into that sucker and etch it to see what you created.
I gave my second billet a good number of twists to test the welds and patturn it at the same time.

Got any other good ideas you picked up "recently"
to share with us new pressaholics.
I think I'll probably do a twist when I reach 80 layers or so, though a maidenhair pattern with a higher number of layers appeals to me. The fields wide open at this point. The loose association of knifemakers that meet at my friends shop make the mosaic damascus from billets forge welded up from 1095 strapping and thin saw blades from a portable mill known as a "wood miser". They do the basket weave pattern that Bruce mentioned, draw out and restack in fours again, several times, then make off-set triangle shaped cuts out of two opposing sides giving you an accordian shape which is then caefully forged flat! Makes a beautiful mosaic.

What I do with this first billet will probably depend on how long I can stand it before I stop welding and go with whatever layer count I have. (Each welding step has the potential of ruining the whole thing, I think that also gives the process a certain appeal!).