Making Damascus from chain?

What's YOUR process for making roller chain or saw chain "Damascus"?
What do you do with it when you finally have a billet?
What etching materials other than Ferric Chloride do you use and why?
Pete Stanaitis
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Hi Pete,
I'll treat this as a tutorial thread, so it's aimed at everyone.
Firstly it's a matter of finding the "right" chain, not all chain will forge weld nicely... maybe too much sulphur in the alloy.
Firstly the noobie mistake is to do too much to the chain, and naturally I did this for my first chain blade. NOTE: If you do too much at this point you lose the pattern.
Once you have forge welded the chain into something usable, or close to it (odds on that 10-15% will be crap), then it's a simple matter to shape the billet into something nice. I sort of figure that if you can forge weld you can forge a basic knife shape ;-)
I use a 4 to 1 mix of ferric chloride, but recently I have picked up some ammonium persulphate that I'm going to try (it may not work or it may... we'll see). If you wanted to you could warm up some straight white vinegar, as vinegar works and has been used in this way for centuries.
I sometimes use cold white vinegar to bring out a stubborn pattern, on a blade that has not etched for some reason.
Regards Charles
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