Did business with Pacific Steel in Oregon recently. Price was half what
another popular source was charging for 5160 (22 foot minimum but the price
was right). I expect shipping rates vary according to location of the
source and destination so if your on the east coast you'd probably be
better off buying from over there. Lately discovered a place one town over
from me that says they'll can supply more unusual steels as well as some
silver and copper sheet in smallish quantities (looking to try my hand at
Mokume). Yet to look hard into this though. It pays to talk to folks who
use the stainless and tool steels to find sources. I did a lot of web
searching and came up blank but the guy at the local welding shop pointed me
to another local dealer who in turn pointed me to the jackpot.
Well, they don't start out thin, they get thin during all the folding and
drawing and folding and drawing and... I start with nominal 1/4" stock and go
from there. I've found a trick that makes welding easier; keep the block as
close to a cube as you can during the folding phase when you're trying to get
the layer count up. It's a surface area to volume thing, less surface area
equals slower heat loss equals better faster welds. After you get the folding
done, you can draw it out to shape. Watch a Japanese Mastersmith, he works a
fist sized lump until he's done folding, then draws a blade out at lower heat.
Try the junkyard for material. Structural steel is usually 1025 to 1040, which
will do for the 'soft' part. Leaf springs are usually .50 to .60 carbon, which
will do for the 'hard' part. Axles are good too, but may have quite a 'memory'
so you'll probably have to use bigger hammers to convince it to change shape for
Start with a five layer stack with three hard parts and two soft parts. Every
time you fold, the layer count doubles. 10, 20, 40, 80, 160, 320, 640... it adds
right up. Depending on how fine or coarse you want the finished pattern, you
can stop folding anywhere.
I remember one time when I was talking with somebody (Aussie gallery
owner) who was insisting one of her swords had been folded 10,000 times.
I got her to under stand the folds/layer differential (5 fold = 160 layer)
but she still insisted that it had been folded 10,000 times. I'd like to
see somebody who could do that many folds outside of a vacuum chamber and
have anything but a pile of scale at the base of their anvil at the end of
If its not a pattern it might not be too bad of a loss. Ive had to add
a billet a few times just because of realizing I wont have enough for
the final size. After a uncovering those inclusions during a final
grind, I began grinding off the scale between folds, loose even more
metal, but havent wasted a billet since. BTW would a person even be
able to detect a pattern in that many folds?
I would think you would need a microscope to see them,,but I would
suspect that they would be there, unless the base steels are all just
higher and lower carbon content plain carbon steels. In other words if
they started with just 1005 and 1095 carbon steels I would think by
that many layers and reheats the carbon migration would turn the whole
billet into something like 1045. but if they started with say,1005 and
52100 then the layers could be seen if magnified high enough.
You can stop carbon migration cold by using 'shims' of nickel 300 between
the high and low carbon layers. Fold it seven times and it polishes up like
a chrome fingerprint in the steel. You can also use any really high nickel
steel, like the 'food' stainlesses and get pretty much the same effect.
Remember, 200 and 300 series SS is not heat treatable, and will be part of
the 'soft' part in the finished piece, but the 'hard' part will still be
With supercharged gas and a powerhammer, you can fold seven times in about
two hours in a single heat. For this old fart, that's a Day's Work, YMMV.
What you do is stack up a billet of whatever you have thickness, maybe
1/8" or thicker. Weld the pile and draw it out 2x in length, fold it in
half, weld again, draw, etc. After you do that 5-6 times, the layers are
really thin. So you don't need thin stuff to start.
On Mon, 29 Nov 2004 20:22:09 GMT, Charly the Bastard
Yes, there is such a thing as too much flux. It's not glue, and it's
primary purpose is to keep the welding surfaces from oxidizing while
being heated. It's secondary purpose is to be slightly corrosive and
clean the area to be welded. But when you're up to welding temp you
want that flux OUT of there so the metal faces will fuse together.
Too much flux and it gets stuck in there as an inclusion.
Nope. Give it a decent smack, but don't beat the snot out of it. The
welding surfaces will be in a molten to semi-molten state, and while
you do need to expell that flux you don't want to expell the molten
i've put most of it together now... i used so furnace cement to line the
inner tank and was thinking of useing sand in the airpocket between the
inner and outer tank wall, is this a good idea or bad, also have to figure
out how to connect the gasline and what type regulator i need... looked for
details on this but found none
Jay Hayes has everything you'll need. He's knowledgable and has a good
reputation on the email list TheForge.
I don't know how current this page is, prices may have changed. Anyway,
try him for a regulator.
Not sure about the sand but it might melt on you, Don't think there is
likely to be an immediate catastrophic failure but expect problems. Highly
recommend a good insulator inside. I don't know anything about castable
refractory stuff but I would'nt think of not using kaowool or similar for
The regulator. Good thing to have but not an absolute necessity. I'm
cheap and didn't want to spend the money on it. I just use a needle valve
and adjust it where I need it.
hehe I didnt want to say anything :)
I was about to just keep my mouth shut for awhile there, thinking that
my own cheap way of doing things must not be the "right" way. I dont
use a regulator either on my new forge, just a needle valve, and I
gotta say it much easier to adjust, I had to run out to the tank to
adjust the regulator on my old setup. This is kinda the problem I seen
in the associations, for myself anyways, everyone seem to be doing
everything one way. BTW I thought of you as I was moving my heavy
beast of a gas forge to fire it up today. IIRC that was *you* that
made the forge a few weeks ago and posted pics? If so, I loved the
simplicity and originality of it. I'm guessing its about 80 lbs
lighter than mine.
:-) Yeah, that was mine. Keep in mind that I'm on a constant upgrade path
with my forge. Add a bit here and there for each job that has special
requirements. What I need to do is build a frame that holds it up off the
ground and provides work rests/supports. I'm going to be putting some brick
or maybe some metal plate on the floor of it for those times when I want the
extra heat soak and to protect it from borax. It'll begin to add up but
I'll retain the modularity for easy transport.
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