Jan 9, 2017
Hey there, it’s Vic, welcome to the show and thank you for
tuning in this week, you guys! It’s episode #94 and this year I’ve
decided to read some technical articles written by Jay
Burnham-Kidwell. A resident of Arizona, Jay is the owner of Metal
Design and Restoration. Since 1974, he has worked in various
mediums and exhibited his work throughout the world. He works
as a studio artist, lecturer, and demonstrator in all kinds of
metalsmithing including jewelry, copper hollow forms, and
blacksmithing. I met Jay at the ABANA conference last summer
in Salt Lake City Utah and we hit it off right away as if we’d
known each other for a long time, I think that’s how Jay is with
everyone. He mentioned he had more than 40 articles that he
had written for various magazines such as the Anvils Ring and Anvil
Magazine, and he would be happy to share them with me so I could
share them with you on the podcast. I’m going to call these
technical podcasts “The JayBurn Journals” and I’ll sprinkle them
throughout the year. So today is episode #94 and it’s a JayBurn
Journal titled “Pattern Forge Welding”. I picked this
particular article because “JayBurn” will be teaching a Damascus
workshop at Adam’s Forge in LA California January 21 & 22. You
can find more info on the www.adamsforge.org website.
- Pattern forge welding, aka “Damascus Steel” is an offshoot of
the traditional forge welding of the blacksmith craft. The original
material was known as “Wootz”. The result of the
“Wootz” process was a weapon grade steel of good
flexibility and edge holding capability.
- Austenite is an alloy of iron and carbon is part of a
crystallization process that occurs in the Wootz process
- Materials used:
- Wrought Iron – almost pure iron, easily welded with a high
- L-6 – a low alloy, chrome-nickel steel used in large saw
blades, exhibits good forge welds to other metals
- 15N20 – a medium carbon steel that produces a high contract
with other steels due to its high nickel content
- 1095 – a high carbon steel frequently used on tools and
applications in industry
- 4140 – a low carbon chromium-vanadium alloy of toughness, used
for hammer dies, punches and car axles
- W-2 – a high carbon steel commonly used in toolmaking,
particularly in files.
- A-36 – An alloy steel that has replaced 1010, 1018, and 1020
mild steels, the catchall of modern steel production.
- 5160 – This steel is touch and springy, low chromium-silicon
steel that can be readily forge welded and heat treated.
- Steel Cable – great resource for Damascus patterns, make sure
it is clean and not plated. Four grades are Base Plow Steel (1084),
Improved Plow Steel (1070), Extra Improved Plowshare Steel (1084),
and Extra Extra Improved Plowshare Steel (1095). The last two digit
give the carbon content, the “10” signifies a simple carbon steel
of iron, carbon, and a bit of manganese with trace elements of
phosphorous and sulfur.
- Nickel – will readily forge weld to ferrous metals but not to
itself. Retains its brilliant whiteness.
- “Road Kill” – chain, guns, horseshoes, old files, chisels, ball
bearings ect. Avoid all plated and galvanized metals.
- Preparation of the stack is important in the welding process.
All layers should be close in thickness, clean and as tight as
possible. Put the higher welding metals on the outside of the
- Welding should be done in 3 to 6 seconds and in few as heats as
possible, this will lessen the amount of overheating, burning,
carbon migration and oxidation of the materials.
- Cutting edge Damascus tools need to be 125 or more layers.
- It is possible to lose 15% - 40% of the original mass in the
- There are two etching mordent categories: acid or
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