forge welding unknown steel

Jun 29, 2001
I guess I should give you some background. I am a cabinet maker. I come by smith work because woodworking tools need to be repared or modified or are unavailable and need to be fabrcated. Most of the knives I've made are cut ground from old jointer steel(m-2), brased on tang, built up handle. I have also forged afew o-1,w-1,& a-2 pieces. I've been wanting to try a patern welded blade. I have been saving ond band saw blades for years and have a fair pile(more than 50) some can be easily made into other things anealed, drilled, cut, and rehardend. Others well, if you heat them cherry for 4-5 min and bury them in sand or ash to cool, you'll still burn up your bits trying to drill through it, and don't to file them either . I've never forge welded anything.... so what do you think .... bundle some of this stuff together and go for it ? .... am I going to have a problem forging this unknown aloy? :confused:
Eric, Yes just cut your steel into equal size pieces, stack them up and wire feed weld the ends to hold everything together as it heats. Some people just wire the billet together but sometimes my wire burns in half before the billet is to welding heat. Use anhydrous borax as a flux. Be sure to start putting the borax on before the steel gets red or scale will form. Bring it up to red and add more flux, keep heating and watch the flux flow like butter, rotate the billet to flow and heat evenly. Remove and strike when it is lemon yellow (2300 deg.) you only have 5 seconds to make the weld. Reflux and reweld as needed for longer billets. For forging reduce the temp and stop fluxing as it makes a real mess. I use a wire brush and start removing the flux, also install a mild steel shelf in the forge for the blade to set on for forging. This keeps it out of the puddle of flux on the floor of the forge. Does this all make sense? Bruce B
The bandsaw blades weld up real easy,infact I use them in between layers of Damascus that don't want to stick together very easy.I learned this trick from Jim Batson...I did do a bundle of bandsaw blades the other day and they welded up nice but didn't give much of a contrasting pattern without adding some other stels in the mix.
Good Luck and have some fun.
If you have never forge welded anything before, I'd take some mild steel leftovers and practice a few times first.
What do you think about a slab off an old silver steel saw blade for contrast?:)
(silver steel is high carbon high crome)
If it has to much chrome in it you may have trouble getting it to weld.The L6 steel in the wood cutting saw blades is a great steel for contrast and welds up nicely.
The best thing I can tell you is just to experiment,and try different things,and see what works.